The English legal system on housing law is complex and based on principles going back hundreds of years. The contract law and basic common law principles underlying this, plus housing and landlord and tenant statues, in both private and public housing, have been defined, interpreted and refined over the years by many hundreds if not thousands of case decisions.
It’s a really interesting field when the basic historic principles of housing law and landlord and tenant law, as they have developed, are fully explained.
Some say the whole area is ripe for modernisation and reform, but if the experience of recent attempts at new legislation are anything to go by, (see other articles in this Newsletter on the Deposit Protection changes), then – in my humble opinion as a non lawyer – it’s perhaps wise rather that the authorities save themselves a lot of time and effort, accept things as they are, build on past experience, and be guided by the wisdom of experience and countless high court decisions.
For the layman, the landlord, the housing advisor and solicitors, there is therefore always a need for good analysis and clear interpretation which brings together the numerous strands all in one up-to-date volume.
This book easily fulfils such an aim. Published in 2012 this second edition of Diane Astin’s book has become accepted as an authority in its field. It’s a brilliant reference for all those wanting instant access to all aspects of housing law. We’ve found it invaluable.
As with all legal texts for use by the layman and the professional alike, the test is, are the basic principles presented in a lucid, organised and understandable fashion? Does the text provide a practical and clear guide through the myriad of cases, rules and regulations to make clear decisions possible? In my view this book does just that.
Starting with the basic principles of occupiers’ rights and security of tenure, it goes on in various sections to cover public and private housing law, the various kinds of tenancies and importantly more recent issues surrounding the Human Rights Act, the Equality Act 2010 and the Data Protection Act. The common law issues of lodgers, resident landlords, succession, assignment and subletting are all covered in detail including the living and tenancy conditions surrounding these and tenancies in general.
A section on leasehold and leaseholder’s rights is followed by three sections on possession claims, harassment and unlawful eviction. Housing benefit is covered in detail, along with homelessness tests and decisions, allocation of social housing, community care, improvements and adaptations and the various grants and subsidies available.
Finally a large section covers the all important rules on civil court proceedings and the now all important civil procedure rules; rules to be followed before starting and during civil proceedings.
There is a large table of cases and ones on statutes, statutory instruments, and the European legislation as it affects housing law in England and Wales.
At around 900 pages we are talking here about a large comprehensive volume, but for anyone who wants a really thorough but concise and authoritative reference to Housing Law in one volume – this is it. I can happily recommend it.
Books form the Legal Action Group (LAG) can be purchased on-line for the book shop www.lag.org.uk/bookshop.aspx or by telephone on the order line at: 01235 465577
Tom Entwistle, Editor.