The DCLG has trumpeted a new Guide on Council and Police powers on ‘Dealing with illegal and unauthorised encampments’.
A new guide will give more power and a stronger voice to local residents and councillors to challenge council officers if they claim ‘nothing can be done’ about this problem. It follows on from the recently scrapped diversity and equality guidance which discouraged councils from taking enforcement action.
So says the DCLG press release, which also trumpets that ‘New Temporary Stop Notices now give councils powers to tackle unauthorised caravans, backed up with potentially unlimited fines.’
However, the ‘Summary of Available Powers‘ makes clear that the only ‘new’ … Read the full post
3 cases have recently been decided by the ECtHR Chamber
Busuioc v Republic of Moldova  ECHR 684 (16/7/13)
The Applicant (B) complained to the Court under Arts 3 and 8 ECHR about the State’s failure to protect her and her two children under the provisions of Moldovan national law from domestic violence perpetrated against them over several years by B’s former husband, VB, when they failed to order his eviction from the flat which they occupied together.
The parties had divorced in 2007 but B was repeatedly beaten by VB after their divorce. B’s application to have VB evicted from the flat was heard by the Supreme Court on … Read the full post
Malik v Fassenfelt & Ors  EWCA Civ 798
The idea that an Englishman’s home is his castle is firmly embedded in English folklore and it finds its counterpart in the common law of the realm which provides a remedy to enable the owner of the castle to secure the eviction of trespassers from it. But what if the invaders occupy for long enough to establish their home within the keep? Whose castle is it now? Whose home must the law now protect? [Sir Alan Ward]
This was a case that was potentially important for establishing whether Article 8 defences could be run by private tenants, or by licencees and … Read the full post
In which two [now confirmed as four] Housing Associations behave very badly in anticipation of the benefit cap.
Haringey is one of the pilot boroughs for the benefit cap, limiting the total amount of benefit, including housing benefit/LHA (and astonishingly Child Benefit) that any household can receive to £500 per week. The prospective effects of the benefit cap on housing provision and the homeless have become apparent in the astonishing actions of two [now three] Housing Associations.
First up, and in Haringey, Genesis. The Guardian reported on ‘eviction letters’ being send to Genesis tenants because of the benefit cap. Although it isn’t clear from the report, I’ve established that these … Read the full post
There was an interesting case-note on Lawtel this week which I suspect most of you saw. The case was LB Enfield v Phoenix and others, High Ct, March 19, 2013, and seemed to concern the circumstances in which a possession claim can properly be issued in the High Court. I have been provided with a note of judgment and so can give you a bit more detail.
Imagine, if you will, that a large number of the good people of North London are, to put it mildly, somewhat dissatisfied with the Tory/Lib Dem cuts to public expenditure (a view, I should add, which is plainly shared by all right-thinking… Read the full post
OK, so the title of this post may be an exaggeration of what is only a passing reference to an old friend in Fareham BC v Miller  EWCA Civ 159. But it is interesting to see it used as part of the ‘nuts and bolts’ of an Article 8/proportionality judgement.
Mr Miller (M) held a non-secure tenancy of a flat with Fareham BC. M was a habitual offender and a long-standing heroin addict who spent his life in and out of prison. On 13/5/10 the council served a notice to quit because of rent arrears which were cleared very soon afterwards. However, by September 2010, it became clear that … Read the full post
Property Guardians seem to be a growth industry. If you haven’t come across these yet, you probably will at some point. The Guardian agency puts people into a vacant commercial or residential building to live as occupiers, effectively providing security to the owner of the building against burglary, squatting etc.. The schemes have largely received a fairly uncritical press, being held up as providing cheap accommodation for occupiers prepared to accept flexibility. I have no doubt that much of the time, that is indeed how it works.
The way in which many of these schemes seem to operate is that the agency takes a licence from the property owner, … Read the full post