Issue 92 - 21st April 2008

Monday 21 April 2008

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The Latest Housing Law News

Regulating Social Landlords: the Housing Bill presently before Parliament will create a new "regulator" in the social housing sector - "OFTenant". Progress on establishing that organisation is outlined in a letter Kate Barker has sent to all stakeholders. For a copy of her letter click here.

Housing Bill: the next stage for this Bill is its second reading in the House of Lords (see below). The National Housing Federation produces a Bulletin monitoring the Bill's progress. For a copy of the latest issue, click here.

Housing the Homeless: how do "homeless households" fare when local housing authorities allocate available stock through choice-based letting schemes? That is the question addressed by Michael Jones of the University of Cambridge in his new report Choice, lettings and homelessness in the South West. For a copy of his report click here.

Home Ownership: the latest Affordability Index published by Shelter reveals increasing difficulty for those seeking to enter the home ownership market. It explains that while the average weekly income of working households has risen 53 per cent over the past 10 years from £590 to £900; average monthly mortgage payments have increased dramatically from £304.80 to £827.87 - a rise of 172 per cent. For a summary of the findings click here.

The Latest Housing CaseLaw

15 April 2008
Allison v Wandsworth LBC
[2008] EWCA Civ 354
The council decided that a homeless applicant was not vulnerable and therefore did not have a 'priority need'. A judge quashed that decision but the Court of Appeal allowed an appeal by the council. The decision-making process had required the council's officer to review and weigh the medical evidence before her, including reports that the council itself had commissioned. She had made no error of law and the judge should not have interfered with her decision. For a copy of the judgment click here.

16 April 2008
Watson v Croft Promo Sport Ltd
[2008] EWHC 759 (QB)
Homeowners brought an action in nuisance against the owners of a motor racing circuit complaining of excessive noise. The defendants claimed that the use of the land for motor racing had been within the terms of planning consent they had been granted. The High Court declined to grant an injunction but held that the defendants had no defence of "reasonable user" to the nuisance claim. Substantial damages were awarded.

17 April 2008
Manchester CC v Moran
[2008] EWCA Civ 378
Most women having sought shelter in women's refuges apply to local housing authorities as "homeless persons" in order to secure longer-term housing. They can only be homeless if the refuge is not "accommodation" or is accommodation which it would "not be reasonable to continue to occupy". In this case, the Court of Appeal has decided that shelter in a refuge is "accommodation". In order to decide whether a resident is to be treated as "homelessness", because the accommodation is "not reasonable to continue to occupy", a council must take into account both the general and particular factors listed in the judgment. For a copy of the judgment click here.

18 April 208
Lettings International Ltd v Newham LBC
[2008] EWHC (QB)
Newham invited bids for a contract to provide private sector leased accommodation for homeless households. The claimant put in a tender but was not successful. The council decided to let the contract to five other providers. The claimant claimed that the council had wrongly evaluated and marked the other tenders and unfairly declined its tender. The High Court decided that in order to prosecute its claim, the claimant was entitled to an order requiring the council to disclose the other bidders' tender documents so that the marking by the council could be examined.

Housing Law Events

(1) Next Week

28 April 2008
Defending Possession Proceedings.

A LAG training course in London. For details click here

28 April 2008
Housing Bill

Second reading in the House of Lords. For a copy of the latest version of the Bill click here.

29 April 2008
Individual Rights vs. Social Responsibility

A SITRA and LAG conference on Supported Housing. For details click here

01 May 2008
Rent Arrears and Housing Benefits

A LAG training course in London. For details click here

02 May 2008
Using the Local Government Ombudsman

A training course for lawyers organised by the Local Government Ombudsmen. For details click here.

(2) Next Month

21 May 2008
Social Housing Law & Practice Conference
2008. A Lime Legal Conference. For details click here

21 May 2008
Homeless Young People & Housing
. The HLPA Members' meeting in London. For details click here


Garden Court Housing Tenancies

We seek two barristers to join our excellent and thriving Housing Team.
Candidates must be housing specialists committed to practising within the principles and ethos of chambers. Knowledge and experience of community care law an advantage. We seek suitable candidates above eight years call and above three years call.

Click for more information and to download the application pack

The closing date for applications is Tuesday 6 May 2008.
Applications from ethnic minorities and women candidates are particularly welcome. We seek to operate a fair recruitment policy.

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