Archived Legal Articles from 2010

Housing & Regeneration


Housing hat trick for Forbes Solicitors


Forbes Solicitors has reinforced its position as a leading provider of social housing work following three further tender wins. Forbes has been appointed to provide legal advice to HALA (Housing Associations' Legal Alliance) for housing and asset management across the North of England, City West…

Better late than never says Court of Appeal in ruling on tenancy deposits


In November 2010 the Court of Appeal gave its judgment in the combined cases of Tiensia v Vision Enterprises Ltd (T/A Universal Estates): Honeysuckle Properties v Fletcher & Others [2010] EWCA Civ 1224. These two appeals were heard together as they both related to the same issue, namely the…

Fire Safety Bill to increase heat on landlords to protect tenants


A Bill currently making its way through Parliament could potentially have massive implications for both the private rented market and the social housing sector. The Fire Safety (Protection of Tenants) Bill, which was due to have its second reading in the House of Commons on 19 November 2010 but has been…

Recognition in Chambers UK increases for Forbes Solicitors


In one of the leading guides to legal services in the UK Forbes Solicitors has increased the number of categories it is ranked in to five. The categories Forbes was ranked in are Crime, Dispute Resolution , Personal Injury: Mainly Defendant (both North West and Yorkshire) and Social Housing .…

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European Court provides judgment on defences to possession proceedings


In a recent decision the European Court of Human Rights (which sits in Strasbourg, France) has given its view on the latest developments to the law in England and Wales on possession proceedings for residential property. The decision in Kay v United Kingdom offers an analysis of the present law on how…

Breaches of gas safety law see landlords fined


In September 2010, two landlords of a property in Bristol were fined after a prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The reason for the criminal charges was that the landlords had not complied with their duties under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. Atulkulmar…

New guidance provided on assessing rough sleepers


In September 2010, the Government published new guidance on how local authorities are to conduct street counts of the number of people who are sleeping rough in their area. It is said by the Government to be a more accurate of estimating the total with the aim of obtaining a more accurate image of the…

Rising from the ashes: what is the future for social housing regulation?


The abolition of the Tenant Services Authority (TSA) was announced on 14 October 2010 by the Housing Minister Grant Shapps. The announcement signals the end of one of the principal organisations designed to regulate the social housing sector. With the intended closure of the Audit Commission also due to…

Notices to Quit do determine tenancies says High Court


A Notice to Quit is one of ways of determining a tenancy available to both landlords and tenants. Essentially, the notice is a document which can be served by either party and informs the other that they no longer consent to the tenancy continuing in the future. Subject to any statutory protection or…

Prosecution of landlord highlights dangers of Legionnaires' disease


It has recently been reported in the publication Inside Housing that a housing association has been fined £12,000 following an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease at a sheltered housing scheme. This led to one resident being hospitalised with the illness. The housing association pleaded guilty to…

Dog owner given ASBO


A Merseyside tenant has been given an Anti Social Behaviour Order for two years following incidents where her dog was set upon parents and children as they walked from a nearby school, according to a report in Inside Housing. The tenant, from Aigburth in Liverpool, is now barred from walking her dog…

Supreme Court rules on succeeding to secure tenancies


On 23 June 2010, the Supreme Court delivered its judgment in the case of Austin v Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Southwark [2010] UKSC 28. This case, which previously had been heard by the Court of Appeal in 2009, concerned issues relating to whether the brother of a secure tenant could…

Uncertainty in a tenancy agreement can certainly lead to possession orders


If there are any discrepancies or ambiguous terms in a tenancy agreement, it can lead to problems arising for both the landlord and the tenant. It is often the case in such situations that the parties do not fully understand their rights and obligations under the agreement and this may only come to…

Foster child fails to be considered a 'family member' for succession


Succession can be one of the most difficult and emotive issues that a social landlord has to deal with. It is often the case that a decision reached on whom, if anyone, should succeed to a tenancy will leave some family members aggrieved. In order to prevent tenancies from being passed on forever,…

Last Orders for the ASBO?


In July 2010 the Home Secretary, Theresa May, gave a speech which call for changes in the way anti social behaviour is to be tackled. It was said by the Secretary of State that one in seven people believed that their local area suffered from high levels of anti social behaviour and that alterations had…

Government announces plans to alter social tenancies


In recent announcements the Coalition Government has announced its intentions towards making changes to social housing tenancies. The proposed adjustments are significant and could potentially alter the working practices of social landlords. It is expected that there will be a consultation taking place…

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Forbes comes out top in Lancashire


In the leading guide to legal services, the Legal 500, Forbes Solicitors has increased the number of categories it is recommended in to 13, up three from last year, and once again out performed all its local competitors. Forbes is the only Lancashire law firm to appear in six categories - Property…

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Court of Appeal rules on domestic violence ground in possession cases


Under ground 14A of Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988, it is possible for social landlords to seek possession of a property let under an assured tenancy due to domestic violence. The discretionary ground requires that the property in question was being occupied (whether alone or with others) by a…

Supreme Court rules on succeeding to secure tenancies


On 23 June 2010, the Supreme Court delivered its judgment in the case of Austin v Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Southwark [2010] UKSC 28. This case, which previously had been heard by the Court of Appeal in 2009, concerned issues relating to whether the brother of a secure tenant could…

Looking after 'looked after' children: when a local authority's duty ends


Local authorities are obliged under the Children Act 1989 to support and protect vulnerable children and their families. These duties include providing accommodation for them to reside in. When such children find alternative means of housing (for example through residential schools), one issue that…

A Notice to Quit does not infringe human rights rules High Court


When one joint tenant decides that they wish to stop living at the tenanted property, it is often the case that they also wish to end their legal obligations towards the tenancy. If a tenant simply leaves without following the correct procedure, they can still be liable for the payment of rent and other…

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First post-Weaver case to be heard by High Court


In June 2010, the High Court will hear the first case to test the law after the decision of the Court of Appeal in R (on the application of Weaver) v London & Quadrant Housing Trust [2009] EWCA Civ 587. The Weaver decision had stated that housing associations could be classified as public bodies…

Tackling sub-letting in social housing


The issue of the sub-letting of social housing stock is arguably one of the chief problems facing the sector at the present time. With a shortage of such accommodation in the United Kingdom, efforts are being made to prevent these properties from being sub-let to third parties, without a landlord's…

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High Court rules on assessing the health of a housing applicant


Given the relative scarcity of social housing in the United Kingdom and the size of the waiting list for such accommodation, it is necessary for local housing authorities and housing associations to be able to prioritise those who are in the greatest need. This classification of applicants is normally…

Jackson Review could lead to changes in housing law


In November 2008, Lord Justice Jackson was appointed to chair a review of the costs involved in civil litigation. His report, which was published recently, contained a wide number of recommendations and observations about a number of areas of law. One such area was housing law and a number of…

Barking up the wrong tree: Landlords aim to deal with nuisance animals


The current trend for owning a pit bull-type dog as a 'status symbol' has led to an increase in the level of anxiety about such animals and is an issue which may become increasingly important for housing associations in the future. Figures obtained by the publication Inside Housing from the Health and…

Jail for landlord after breaches of gas and fire safety laws


It has been reported that a landlord has been jailed for two and a half years following a fire at a property which left a tenant with such serious injuries that her prospects for recovery were stated at one per cent. Following charges of breaching health and safety, gas safety and fire safety laws…

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Nationwide alcohol ban shows importance of Drink Banning Orders


It was reported in the national media in April 2010 that a woman from Bromsgrove has been issued with a Drink Banning Order (DBO) for the maximum possible period of 2 years and is valid across the whole of the country. The terms of the DBO mean that she is not permitted to purchase any alcohol from any…

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Landlords and engineer fined as tenant suffers carbon monoxide poisoning


The importance of landlords adhering to the requirements of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 was underlined on 24 March 2010 at Southampton Magistrates' Court following a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution. The landlords of a property, Mr Robert Watts and Mr David Watts…

No FIP flop: Success sees Family Intervention Projects increase in use


The Government announced in March 2010 that there would be a further 88 Family Intervention Projects (FIP) across the country in addition to extra funding for local authorities to start or expand FIPs in their area. It is said that the new FIPs could help around 1,200 families each year and are funded…

Landlord punished for breaching gas safety laws


In March 2010, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported that it had prosecuted a landlord from Dewsbury who was found to have been breaching the laws relating to gas safety in residential properties. Mr Mahmud Bulbulia of Dewsbury (who owned and rented out a property in the town) was ordered to…

Improved mechanisms for addressing Anti-Social Behaviour


The Home Secretary Alan Johnson has announced a proposal that all reports of Anti-Social Behaviour are to be dealt with in a 24 hour time frame, reports Inside Housing (12th March 2010). Siobhan O'Donnell from the Housing Litigation team at Forbes Solicitors considers how realistic the 24 hour deadline…

Feeling Empty - Why EDMOs can bring people back to properties


It has recently been reported that Bolton Council has become the first local authority in the North of England to make use of an Empty Dwelling Management Order (EDMO) in order to take control of a privately owned property, make necessary repairs to it and make it available for residential accommodation…

LEAP forward - Housing Association assists tenants in changing their lifestyles


The 5th March 2010 issue of Inside Housing reports how Sentinel Housing Association are shunning enforcement proceedings as a way of tackling Anti-Social Behaviour and are instead opting for training programmes for their tenants. Siobhan O'Donnell from the Housing Litigation team at Forbes Solicitors…

Varying ASBO terms only needs necessity for public protection to be shown


The granting of an Anti Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) is potentially one of the most intrusive orders that can be made against a person, as it can significantly impact upon their freedom. Therefore, a court will want to be satisfied that such an order is necessary and proportionate when it is granted…

Gas engineers sentenced for breaching gas safety rules


In two recent prosecutions, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has sought to tackle the problem of people undertaking work to gas appliances when not correctly registered to do so. Both of these cases indicate how seriously the HSE and the courts view beaches of gas safety rules. It is therefore…

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Double trouble as gas engineer prosecuted for second time


The importance of complying with gas safety rules has been highlighted by the prosecution of a gas engineer from Gloucestershire for not following the law. It was said to have been the second time that Royston Godsell, of Cheltenham, had been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for gas-…

Notices must be clear and unambiguous says High Court


Whenever any legal document such as an enforcement notice is to be served upon an individual or organisation, it is vital that the terms used are as clear as possible. They should be drafted in a manner which means that there is no chance of any misinterpretation arising. Should a notice (or indeed any…

Possession proceedings must be 'reasonable' rules Court of Appeal


It is generally considered that seeking an order for possession of residential accommodation and thus removing someone from their home is one of the greatest interferences with a person's life. Therefore, it is imperative that social landlords are able to demonstrate to a judge hearing such a claim that…

Prosecution of Gas Engineer shows importance of gas safety rules


A man from Manchester has recently been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, by carrying out work to gas appliances when unregistered. Grimsby Magistrates' Court heard that between January and February 2008, James O'…

Engineer fined for breaches of gas safety laws


A gas fitter has been fined by Hereford Magistrates' Court after it was found that he was unregistered and that the work carried out posed a significant risk to other people. Jaime Loxston pleaded guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Gas Safety (Installation and Use…

Landlord fined for ignoring gas safety rules


A landlord from Oxfordshire has recently been prosecuted for failing to maintain the safety of gas appliances in the tenanted property. On 1 February 2009, Didcot Magistrates' Court heard the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that between January 2009 and July 2009, Graham Barnes failed to…

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Debunking the myth over gas appliance work


In January 2010, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has made the focus of its 'Myth of the Month' feature the rules relating to work being carried out to gas appliances. Under the slogan of 'Gas and Cowboys don't mix', HSE has made attempts to highlight the importance of such work being undertaken…

Students to be taught the risks of gas in rented accommodation


In January 2010, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched a new safety awareness campaign, aimed at students at university. The 'Will You Wake Up?' operation targets students, their parents and their landlords to inform them about the dangers posed by carbon monoxide. With HSE figures showing…

New Year brings new Judicial Review claims against Landlords


2009 could arguably have been seen has a turbulent year for landlords and other social housing providers in the context of judicial review. With the decision in R (on the application of Weaver) v London & Quadrant Housing Trust [2009] EWCA Civ 587 still being digested, January 2010 saw one of the…

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05 Feb 2019

Housing & Regeneration


A Vision for Social Housing - Report

This month saw the release of 'A Vision for Social Housing', a report written by Shelter's Social Housing…

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2017 edition Legal 500

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2011 Legal 500: The team at Forbes is 'responsive and proactive'.

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