Wednesday, 16 August 2017

GLC manages 54% of housing debt in Glasgow in 2016/17 under GCC Financial Inclusion Partnership

Figures for Glasgow's Financial Inclusion Partnership confirm that Partnership advice agencies managed almost £11m of housing debt for clients across the City in 2016/17.

Of that total, Govan Law Centre (GLC) managed 54% of all housing debt in the City for its clients (homeowners and tenants in both the social and private rented sectors) - £5,920,241.93 of an overall City-wide figure of £10,949,317 in 2016/17.

This represents an 8% increase on GLC's managed housing debt figure for last year (2015/16); with housing debt across Glasgow (under Financial Inclusion Partnership agencies) having increased by almost 13.5%.
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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

2017 Annual Report for Govan Law Centre published

GLC has published its 2017 Annual Report, which is available here as a PDF.  We believe everyone, not just those who can afford it, must have access to high quality, professional legal services. In fact, in our view vulnerable people now need legal services more. This is why we take our services out into the community with more home visits, rights hubs, community surgeries and why we work in partnerships with other organisations.

We also know the law plays a crucial part in tackling poverty and discrimination and we are determined to play our part in improving the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable people. We hope you agree that Govan Law Centre has been doing a good job: preventing homelessness, increasing incomes, improving housing conditions, helping clients to repay debts and righting injustices.
However we are never complacent, we know the face of poverty continues to change. We know we must continue to learn and develop our services to meet the changing needs of vulnerable people: our ageing population, increasing numbers of those in low paid work, increasing numbers of private tenants, people who are coming to live here in a new country, those who feel vulnerable because of our changing relationship with the world, or the persistence of poverty and discrimination in our communities.

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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Housing association tenant wins 'fair rent' appeal before Inner House of the Court of Session: Wright v. Elderpark Housing Association

GLC has been successful in a statutory appeal before the Inner House of the Court of Session in the case of Wright v. Elderpark Housing Association [2017] CSIH 54.

On 4 August 2017, the Lords, having resumed consideration of the appeal against the decision of the Private Rented Housing Committee dated 10 September 2016, answer each of the first, second and third questions of law listed in the appeal for the opinion of the court in the affirmative; accordingly allow the appeal; quash the Committee’s decision of 10 September 2016; remit the matter, with the opinion of even date, to a differently constituted Committee for re-hearing and determination with the direction the Committee apply the approach discussed within Lord Drummond Young’s opinion of even date when determining a fair rent in terms of section 48 of the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984.

Giving the judgment of the court, Lord Drummond Young said: "[19] For these reasons I am of opinion that the level of rents charged for comparable rented properties in the private sector will generally be a relevant factor in setting the fair rent of housing association property.  Nevertheless, in such a case, for the reasons given by Lord Reid in Skilling v Arcari’s Exrs, supra, in the passage quoted at paragraph [11] above, it will frequently be appropriate for the rent officer or committee to begin with the rents that have been registered for comparable properties falling under Part VI of the Act (housing association properties), and to use the private rented market as a cross-check, making allowance for any scarcity in accordance with subsection (2) of section 48".

"Such a cross‑check may be appropriate to ensure that there is some correlation between the level of rents and general inflation.  Moreover, in their determination of fair rent, a rent officer or committee may give differing weights to evidence of registered rents of housing association properties and evidence of rents charged in the private sector, on the basis that the former are a more exact analogy than the latter.  Ultimately, the decision as to what is a fair rent is a matter of judgment for the Committee, and it may properly attach greater or lesser weight to comparables according to how closely in point they are. The existence of a recently fixed rent for a comparable housing association property may well be significant".

"[24] [...] In the present case, the fundamental flaw in the Committee’s reasoning was to disregard registered rents of comparable properties without good reason and to rely instead on a range of rents derived from an internet search without a proper assessment of whether the properties involved were truly comparable. 

[25]  I accordingly propose that we should quash the Committee’s decision of 10 September 2016 and remit the case back to a differently constituted Committee in order that a fair rent may be determined in accordance with section 48 of the 1984 Act, applying the approach discussed above".

The appellant was represented by GLC's Mike Dailly, Solicitor Advocate.
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GLC recuitment: Financial Inclusion/Capability Officer (closing date, 4pm, Friday 25 August 2017)

Financial Inclusion/Capability Officer

34 Hours per week, Full Time, Glasgow, Salary £26,500 p.a. Funded till September 2019 (Job Share Considered).  Location: Glasgow.

Role:  An exciting position within our new and innovative city wide Private Rented Sector Team providing dedicated services to PRS tenants at risk of homelessness.

The Financial Inclusion/Capability Officer, reporting to and working closely with the PRS team project coordinator/senior caseworker, will deliver full financial inclusion services with crisis intervention around rent arrears and debt: with full financial capability services tailored to the individual service user and in terms of MAS Financial Capability Framework. Welfare rights experience desirable. Working with and providing services to vulnerable individuals and groups.

The Team will be based in Govan Law Centre and covering outreach ‘Rights Hubs’ throughout Glasgow.  Click to open Job Description (opens as a Word document).
Organisation profile:  Govan Law Centre (GLC) is an independent, charitable community controlled law centre operating in Scotland.

Application notes: Please send or email CV and Covering Letter to: Alistair Sharp, Manager POHP, Govan Law Centre, Unit 4, 18-20 Orkney Street, Glasgow G51 2BX. m@ govanlc.com
Closing Date: 4:00pm Friday 25th August 2017.  Telephone 0141 440 2503.

If you have not received a response from Govan law Centre by Friday 1st September 2017 then you have been unsuccessful on this occasion.


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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

GLC recruitment: Solicitor post (closing date, noon, Friday 18 August 2017)

Solicitor – Govan Law Centre

34 Hours per week, Full Time, Glasgow, Salary commensurate with experience; Funded till September 2019 (Job Share Considered)

An exciting position within our innovative city wide Private Rented Sector Team providing dedicated services to PRS tenants at risk of homelessness

Working with the PRS team coordinator, Financial Inclusion Capability Officer and Welfare rights Officer, the qualified Solicitor with a good civil court and tribunal experience will be responsible for complex legal and court work, working with the client. Experience in housing, homelessness, employment, equalities law and public administrative law would be an advantage as is experience in working with vulnerable clients. 

Job Specification

Please send or email CV and Covering Letter to:
Candy Walker, Service Manager, Govan Law Centre, Unit 4, 18-20 Orkney Street, Glasgow G51 2BZ or by e-mail to cwalker @govanlc.com

Closing Date: NOON ON FRIDAY, 18 AUGUST 2017
Telephone 0141 440 2503

If you have not received a response from Govan Law Centre by Friday 25 August 2017, then you have been unsuccessful on this occasion.
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