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Housing Litigation Update Spring 2014

Welcome to the spring 2014 edition of Housing Litigation Update

Sustainability: The Green Building Regulations

Does employee ownership work as a model for delivering public services?

Employee ownership was brought into the spotlight in the recent Budget with the Chancellor announcing a series of tax reliefs aimed at the promotion of employee ownership as means of running a company.  These include income tax exemptions for bonuses paid to employees of employee-owned companies and an increase in the maximum value of shares that employees can acquire under share incentive plans.  But what is employee ownership and how can it be used in the delivery of public services?

Gifts and hospitality in the workplace April 2014

Pinning down payments

Social landlords are often faced with an administrative nightmare when it comes to construction and repairs contracts that deal with high volumes of cyclical works and responsive repairs.

Breaking free to build homes

Tearing loose from housing revenue accounts, councils are setting up their own companies to provide homes.

Family friendly developments back on the radar

Just in case the forthcoming spate of family friendly reforms was in danger of falling off your agendas, the recent Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decision on surrogacy has put them back on the radar!

A new dawn for public sector bonds

In the light of the recent North Tyneside PFI Housing Project, Paul McDermott looks at the scope for the public sector to use bond finance for long term capital projects.

Zero hours consultation does not address ‘any key issues’

The government is “trying to have its cake and eat it” in its conduct of the zero hours consultation which closed last month, a lawyer argues.

Muscat cracks down on corruption

The Omani government has ramped up its anti-corruption drive and is looking to boost transparency in order to attract more foreign investment

BIM bytes: the client-side imperative

Government backing of BIM has given consultants and contractors the critical mass of throughput such that profit can be gained from investment in BIM skills and technology.

Green light for New Directive on Procurement of Public Contracts

Following delays to the implementation timetable in 2013, we are pleased to confirm that the new EU Procurement Directive will now come into force on 17 April 2014 after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union on 28 March 2014.

Policy shifts support litigation funding

Third party litigation funding is not new, but although historically frowned upon it is becoming more acceptable and popular. 

Zero hours - responses

Quarterly Commercial Update Spring 2014

Welcome to the Spring edition of Quarterly Commercial Update.

Property Litigation Update

A round-up of noteworthy news, all of which could influence the way you deal with your property.

Statutory limitation periods: The sense of an ending

If a statutory limitation period for making a claim can begin with the adjudicator’s decision, disputes can potentially drag on for over a decade. There may be a solution lurking in NEC3...

Building Interest

Welcome to the March edition of Building Interest.

Around the board table: Tania Tandon

Today we meet Tania Tandon, employment partner at Trowers & Hamlins.  A mum of two, we asked Tania about her career, how she combines her career with family life and the wider issue of diversity and how Trowers & Hamlins retains female talent.

Reforming the Judicial Review process - will it be in public interest?

The government's response to the consultation paper "Judicial Review - Proposals for further reform" has recently been published. The initial views about the potential impact of these (and earlier) reforms are mixed. This bulletin will examine the key reforms and reactions.

OGC Model ICT Contract replaced by New Model Services Contract

The new Model Services Contract, which replaces version 2.3 of the OGC Model ICT Contract, should be used with immediate effect as the basis of the draft contract for all procurements for IT delivery services and Business Process Outsourcing services with a value of £10 million or more.

Women in construction: Can we bridge the gap?

With skills shortages threatening the sector how can we make sure that the best and brightest women are being encouraged to join the world of construction?

The budget that forgot social housing?

With the focus of George Osborne’s fourth budget heavily focused on savers and those with defined contribution pension schemes, you might be forgiven for thinking that this is the budget that forgot social housing.

Non-UK investors in UK real estate – the UK tax regime

You may have heard that using an offshore company to buy property in the UK is not a good idea any more. Is that right? It depends on the type of property and how it will be used. There is good and not so good news. In 2013 and 2014, the Government has introduced new tax costs for companies which own family homes in the UK. But these taxes will not normally catch residential properties which are let out to unconnected tenants and do not apply to commercial properties at all.

The UK Budget 2014

The headline tax measures announced were major changes in the tax and regulatory regime for pensions and a further attack on supposedly high value residential properties. This note contains a high level overview of the main tax measures announced in this year's Budget and measures announced previously but taking effect from April 2014.

Expo 2020: Hotels in focus

What does the announcement of Expo 2020 mean for those involved in the development, ownership or operation of hotels? Let's start by looking at the figures.

Budget 2014: Stamp duty raid hits rich buying houses through companies

The stamp duty net has been widened to catch more wealthy foreigners who buy homes in Britain through company structures to avoid tax.

Budget 2014: Did the Budget go far enough to meet housing demand?

Chancellor George Osborne heralded an improving economy with promises for businesses who invest in the UK in his Budget speech this week.

Budget 2014: Pensions

For people aged 65 or over, the Budget announced that National Savings and Investments will launch a choice of two fixed-rate bonds, available from January 2015.

Budget 2014: £150m loan fund for regenerating housing estates

George Osborne has announced a £150 million loan fund for social housing estate regeneration in the 2014 Budget.

European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR)

As part of an international effort to stabilise the "over-the-counter" or "OTC" derivative markets, a piece of European legislation known as the European Market Infrastructure Regulation or EMIR has come into force.

Introduction of FRS102 - loan agreement issues

How the introduction of FRS102 will affect obligations under your loan agreement(s) and what you can do to stay in compliance with them.

Mothers receiving surrogate babies not entitled to maternity leave

Working mothers are not entitled to paid maternity leave if they are receiving a baby through surrogacy under European law, however individual states may go further, a court rules.

Letters of intent: paved with good intentions

The motivation for signing a letter of intent may be admirable, but the trouble they can cause should not be underestimated, as a recent case involving engineer VolkerFitzpatrick shows

NHS pension scheme - new guidance implementing New Fair Deal

Following the publication of the New Fair Deal guidance in October 2013, the Department of Health has published guidance (the Guidance) in relation to the application of new Fair Deal to the NHS Pension Scheme (NHSPS). The guidance is intended to provide further clarity to contracting authorities, bidders and providers.

Compliance with the Data Protection Act: the ICO reports

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has published a report following nine advisory visits and four audits of Registered Providers and ALMOs (referred to by the ICO as 'housing organisations') carried out within the last three years. The good news is that there were some encouraging findings, where the ICO was satisfied that housing organisations were coping well with their obligations under the Data Protection Act (the Act).

Housing Matters - March 2014

Welcome to the March edition of Housing Matters.

Big Data - the opportunities and challenges

Much has been written about the value that can be derived from harnessing Big Data – data sets that are so large and complex that they are too difficult to manage through traditional management tools.

Councils look to PRS to increase returns

Low interest rates push authorities to invest in new private rented homes

Back to the future - Supreme Court tears up the rule book on when injunctions should be granted

The Supreme Court has substantially widened the discretion afforded to judges to decide whether damages should be awarded instead of an injunction in cases where property rights are infringed. In Coventry and others v Lawrence and others [2014] UKSC 13 the Supreme Court addressed several points of law relating to private nuisance and the circumstances in which the court should award damages instead of an injunction.