The Last Week
On Friday 16 November the new Housing & Regeneration Bill was published. It will amend the right to buy, offer councils more powers to deal with anti-social families, give priority to armed-service personnel in housing allocation, extend security of tenure to gypsies and other travellers on local authority sites and establish a new Office for Tenants and Social Landlords (Oftenant). It may also provide an opportunity for a range of other amendments to housing legislation. For a copy of the Bill click here . For the Explanatory Notes click here . For an Impact Assessment of the Bill's provisions click here The Government has set up a dedicated website for other material on the Bill which can be accessed by clicking here
On Thursday 15 November 2007 the Government published the third edition of Standard Issue, its journal for social landlords seeking to implement the Respect Standard for Housing Management. For a copy click here
On Wednesday 14 November 2007 the Housing Corporation issued a new circular (09/07) for housing associations setting out the Corporation's expectations on rents and rent increases. For a copy click here
On Monday 12 November 2007 the Housing Corporation launched a new Housing Information Sharing Protocol to set a national standard on sharing information about applicants for re-housing. It encourages exchange of information between councils nominating housing applicants to housing associations and vice-versa. For a copy of the Protocol click here
The new provisions for withholding or reducing Housing Benefit where tenants have been previously evicted for anti-social behaviour are now in force in 8 pilot areas. Recent guidance issued to benefit authorities by the DWP says: "This measure has attracted a lot of interest and a lot of criticism from various quarters. It is therefore likely that interested parties will be monitoring the use of the sanction and potentially willing to assist households up to and including funding a challenge by Judicial Review" (para 12.4). For a copy of the summary guidance click here For the full guidance click here
The Communities & Local Government website has been recently revised to include a page of materials to help private and social landlords of assured and assured shorthold tenants to serve the right statutory notices on their tenants in relation to eviction and rent increases. It provides immediate access to all the prescribed forms. For the webpage click here
Last Week's Cases
Hastoe HA v Ellis  EWCA Civ,  All ER (D) 241 (Nov), 15 November 2007,. The housing association began a possession claim alleging anti-social behaviour by an assured tenant. The tenant agreed to offer undertakings acceptable to the association as to her conduct for two years on terms that the proceedings be adjourned for that period and dismissed if there be no recurrence. A consent order was drawn in those terms and preparations for trial were put on hold. On the trial date, the judge refused to make the order and dismissed the claim (as it was not ready for trial). The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal. The judge should have made the order sought under Housing Act 1988 section 9(1).
Zalewska v Department for Social Development. House of Lords. 15 November 2007. The Lords have decided that leave to appeal should be granted to the claimant in this important case about the rights of A8 EU nationals to housing and benefits. For the Court of Appeal judgment click here
20 November 2007. Postponed Possession Orders and all that. An Advanced HLPA Seminar covering latest developments for members. Click here for details.
20 - 22 November 2007. Lettings and Homelessness. The Chartered Institute of Housing's three-day conference in Nottingham. For the details click here.
23 November 2007. Managing Social Housing without Discrimination. A Lime Legal Housing Conference. For the details click here.
Later this Month
29 November 2007. The Roof Conference. A conference on Homelessness to be held in London. For the details click here
4 December 2007. Housing Management Conference 2007. A Lime Legal Conference in Manchester. For details click here
5 December 2007. Regulating and Developing the Private Rented Sector. A Lime Legal Conference in London. For details click here
5 December 2007. Housing Disrepair. A Legal Action Group Training Course. Click here for details
7 December 2007. Housing Management Conference 2007 A Lime Legal Conference in London. For details click here
7 December 2007. Social Housing Law Association Second Annual Conference. For details click here
12 December 2007. Introduction to Housing Law. A Legal Action Group Training Course. Click here for details
13 December 2007. Housing Law Practitioners Association Annual Conference. For details click here
Specialist Housing Advice (for Free)
Firms and agencies holding LSC Contracts or Quality Marks can obtain free written or telephone advice on Housing Law matters from the team of Specialist Housing Barristers at Garden Court Chambers from now until at least April 2008. For full details click here.
Specialist Housing Law Training
Firms and agencies holding LSC Contracts or Quality Marks can send delegates to a host of reduced-cost specialist training sessions this Autumn/Winter in a range of Housing subjects. The trainers include specialists from Shelter, One Pump Court, Doughty Street and Garden Court Chambers. For the full brochure of events click here.