Forbes Solicitors
Forbes' Housing & Regeneration eNews  February 2019

Shared Ownership - misunderstood and underused by the age group most likely to benefit?

According to YouGov national research recently commissioned by Leeds Building Society, three-quarters of people in the UK know about Shared Ownership. However, the research revealed that around 40% of 18-24 year olds had limited awareness of the scheme, despite being the most likely age group to benefit from it.

Shared Ownership was originally introduced to provide an opportunity for people to purchase a share of a property and then pay rent on the rest. However, out of the 18-24 year olds aware of the scheme, 20% revealed they had no understanding of Shared Ownership beyond knowing it existed.

The scheme offers a realistic way of getting onto the property ladder and is a proven formula that helps individuals secure a home, even when they cannot obtain a traditional mortgage. However, the research shows that 26% of 18-24 year olds thought that Shared Ownership meant buying a property with family, a partner or friends.

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Property Guardians - A Legal Update

Property guardianship is an arrangement by which people are granted accommodation within a property at a below market rent in exchange for keeping the property under observation and in good condition. The guardian's continued occupation provides a disincentive for the property to be occupied by squatters. The occupation agreement, often labelled as 'licence for non-exclusive shared occupation of premises', is a sub-licence granted by a guardian agency who have been granted a licence by the property owner.


Is a dedicated Housing Court the solution to our problems?

The Government has recently consulted on the proposal to introduce a specialist housing court to try to tackle the problems frequently experienced by landlords and tenants bringing legal claims: delays, adjournments, lack of technical legal and procedural understanding, increasing numbers of litigants in person, lack of specialist knowledge amongst the Judiciary and lack of available advice.

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CJEU clarify the basis of holiday pay calculations under European law for short-time workers

Hein v Albert Holzkamm GmbH related to a construction worker in Germany working under a collective agreement providing that holiday pay would be paid on the basis of a 13-week average calculation in accordance with national law in Germany. After a 26-week lay-off, his holiday pay was calculated on the basis of this 13 week average, excluding overtime, meaning that it was lower than his normal pay.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) held that this breached EU law in respect of the 4 weeks' paid holiday guaranteed under EY legislation. As a result, the national legislation allowing for collective agreements to take into account reductions in earnings due to short-time working for calculating holiday pay was incompatible with EU law. The CJEU also held that, despite many years of national law allowing employers to calculate holiday pay in this manner, its ruling could not be limited to avoid retrospective effect due to any legitimate expectation of employers of legal certainty.

The CJEU clarified a number of interesting additional points in relation to holiday pay and annual leave. Where overtime was exceptional and unforeseeable, it did not have to be taken into account in calculating minimum holiday pay.


Faraday Development Ltd v West Berkshire Council - Problems and Pitfalls in Packaged Procurement

Recent case law has shed light on the interlocking worlds of land development agreements and public procurement law. The Court of Appeal recently heard the case of Faraday Development Limited v West Berkshire Council, which has reaffirmed the need for caution and compliance when the two overlap.

Synopsis and decision points

On 14 November 2018, the Court of Appeal handed down judgment on the question on whether a future commitment in a development agreement entered into by West Berkshire Council constituted a public works contract for the purposes of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

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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 Commission.

The report highlights a number of recommendations, one of which is that 3.1 million new social homes should be built in the next 20 years to help solve the housing crisis which has left millions in unaffordable rented homes.

The report looks at the expensive and time-consuming process of gaining planning permission for, and then building social housing. It draws particular attention on the Land Compensation Act 1961, which gives landowners a claim to 'hope value' in the price of their land. As it is not economically conventional to purchase expensive land to build supported affordable homes the Commission has suggested the Government reform this Act, so that landowners are paid a reasonable price for their land rather than a price it might achieve with planning permission it does not have.


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