Issue 82 - 21 January 2008

Monday 21 January 2008

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Last week

On 14 January 2008 the Government announced the injection of a further £11.5million into the funds for Disabled Facilities Grants for the current financial year (2007/08). Anyone thinking of making a housing adaptation to deal with a disability might be advised to make a swift application. For the details of the Government statement click here.

On 16 January 2008 the Government published "Research into the financial benefits of the Supporting People Programme". The report suggests that the funds ploughed into the Supporting People schemes of Housing-related support have had a substantial cost-benefit outcome. For a copy of the report click here.

On the same day, the Welsh Assembly Government released the latest homelessness statistics for Wales. Like the recent results for England these show a decline in the number of applications accepted by local authorities. For the Welsh figures click here. For the latest figures for England click here.

Recent Cases

Attorney General v Smith [2007] EWHC Admin, [2008] All ER (D) 30 (Jan), 16 January 2007. Mr Smith wanted to help a tenant (who was a friend of his) to bring proceedings against a landlord. He signed the court papers as though he were the tenant himself. He signed an affidavit before a court officer as though he was the tenant. The following day he appeared before a judge, representing himself to be the tenant and was granted an injunction. At a subsequent hearing, the tenant also attended and the position became clear. Mr Smith admitted the earlier misrepresentations. The Attorney General applied to commit him for contempt. Given exceptional mitigating circumstances and a ready plea of "guilty", the Divisional Court passed a sentence of only 3 months imprisonment.

Birmingham CC v C, S and Others [2007] 10 January, Birmingham County Court. The council had become concerned about the activities of gangs of young men congregating in the city centre and on housing estates which it believed had lead to the commission of serious crimes. It launched 30 to 40 sets of proceedings against individuals seeking injunctions (under Local Government Act 1972 s222) preventing them from congregating in groups and from entering proposed "exclusion zones". In the first cases to come to trial, HHJ MacDuff, the Designated Civil Circuit Judge, ruled that the county court had no jurisdiction under s222 to make the wide-ranging orders of the type sought.

Jackson v JH Watson Property Investment Ltd [2008] EWHC 14 (Ch), 7 January 2008. A building had been converted into flats. The tenant took a lease of one of the flats. Later, he experienced penetration of rainwater from the light wells in the common parts adjoining the flat. The problem was that concrete in those common parts had been badly laid when the building was converted. He brought a claim in "nuisance" against the landlord as owner of the common parts. The High Court dismissed his claim. The defect had been present before he took his tenancy. The principle "caveat lessee" (let the taker of a lease beware) applied. The cause of the nuisance had been present before the tenancy started and the tenant took the property subject to it. For the full judgment click here.

This Week

22 & 23 January 2008. National Housing Management Conference. A CIH event in Nottingham. For details click here

22 January 2008. Domestic Violence. A free practitioner seminar (evening) at Garden Court Chambers. For details click here

23 January 2008. Best practice in Housing Act (Homelessness) Appeals. An HLPA members meeting in London. For the details click here

23 January 2008. Recent Developments in Housing Law. A Legal Action Group training day. For the details click here

Next Week

31 January 2008. National Homelessness Conference. A CAPITA training event. For details click here

Coming Up

13 February 2008. Recent Developments in Homelessness Law. An LSC training day (in London) with speakers from Garden Court Chambers. For details of this (and all other Specialist Support training) click here

Housing Law Advice (for Free)

Free written or telephone advice on Housing Law matters is available to solicitors' firms and agencies holding LSC Contracts or Quality Marks from the team of specialist Housing Law Barristers at Garden Court Chambers. For full details click here.

Housing Law Training

Firms and agencies holding LSC Contracts or Quality Marks can send delegates to a host of reduced-cost specialist training sessions in a range of Housing Law subjects. The trainers include specialists from Shelter, One Pump Court, Doughty Street and Garden Court Chambers. For the full brochure of events click here.

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