Lime Legal's
Housing Law Week

General Editor: Jan Luba QC

11 March 2015 Update


Policy Issues in Housing Law
Housing cases in court
Significant increases in court fees in England & Wales, for issuing claims and taking steps in civil litigation, took effect on 9 March 2015. For the last minute House of Lords debate about the increases, held on 4 March 2015, click here

Anti-social behaviour and housing
The new injunction provisions of Part 1 of the Anti-social Behaviour etc Act 2014 (which replace ASBOs and ASBIs) will come into force on 23 March 2015. For the commencement order, click here Where the injunction is sought against a person under 18, the application must be made in the local Youth Court. For the new rules governing such Youth Court applications, click here For the new legal aid rules that apply in relation to the new injunction applications, click here  The House of Commons Library has published an updated briefing note giving an overview of the remedies available to social landlords to deal with tenants who exhibit anti-social behaviour. For a copy, click here

Private renting
A new draft Order proposes broadening the reasons for which a local authority can designate an area as subject to selective licensing of private landlords. It would add four additional sets of factors, any one of which may be satisfied in order to enable selective licensing. These relate to poor property conditions, current or recent experience of large amounts of inward migration, areas which have a high level of deprivation, or areas which have high levels of crime. For the draft Order, click here For the draft Explanatory Note, click here  The House of Commons Library has published a briefing note explaining the history and operation of selective licensing schemes for private rented properties since local authorities acquired the power to introduce such schemes in 2006. For a copy, click here

Housing association tenants
In an adjournment debate on 6 March 2015, the UK Government confirmed that council tenants who have been subject to a stock transfer to a housing association do not have the legal option to reverse the process and vote to change landlord again. For the debate, click here

Access to legal advice on housing
The Low Commission, which is  reviewing access to legal advice about social welfare law (including housing law), has published a further follow-up report on what can be done to improve the position. For a copy, click here

On 3 March 2015, BBC TV broadcast the programme No place to call home. It considers the impact of eviction and homelessness on children. To watch it, click here  Also, the organisation Homeless Link has published its annual review of support for single homeless people in England. For a copy, click here

Help with housing costs
On 3 March 2015, the House of Commons held a debate about the Work and Pensions Select Committee report on support for housing costs in the reformed welfare system. The report dealt with the series of reforms to housing benefit and other support to meet housing costs that the UK Government have introduced since 2010. For the debate, click here For the report of the Welfare Reform Committee on the cumulative impact of welfare reform on households in Scotland, click here

Under-occupation in social housing
The House of Commons Library has published a briefing note on under-occupation in the social rented sector. It explains who is affected by the under-occupation deductions from Housing Benefit (HB) - also referred to as the ‘spare room subsidy’ or the ‘bedroom tax’ - which were implemented in April 2013. The note summarises legal challenges to the HB deductions and the responses by landlords and tenants. For a copy, click here

Social housing: direct payments of housing benefit and universal credit
A new report from the national federation of ALMOs considers whether social landlords are ready for the rest of the roll-out of Universal Credit. For a copy of the report, click here  In Wales, a Welsh Government Task and Finish Group has produced a report on direct payment of housing benefit in the social rented sector and sustainable tenancies. For a copy of that report, click here

Short term lets in London
On 4 March 2015, the House of Lords debated amendments which introduce provisions into the Deregulation Bill to relax restrictions on the use of residential property in London for short term lets. For the debate, click here  For more detail on the Deregulation Bill, see below.

Gypsies & travellers
On 25 February 2015, Part 3 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 was brought into force. It makes new arrangements for site provision for gypsies and travellers in Wales. For the commencement order, click here

Housing in Wales
The Welsh Government has published an annual report with information on empty housing, the number of homes rented to tenants and the number of social housing tenants who are in rent arrears. For a copy, click here

Housing Laws in the Pipeline  
Housing Ombudsman (Power to Settle Disputes between Neighbours and Tenants)
This new Private Members Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 3 March 2015. It would provide a discretionary power to enable the Housing Ombudsman to attempt to resolve disputes between occupants of neighbouring properties in cases where nuisance is caused by tenants. For the initial debate on the Bill, click here A second reading has been scheduled for 27 March 2015. To follow the Bill’s progress, click here

Household Safety (Carbon Monoxide Detectors) Bill
This Private Members Bill would introduce a requirement that a functioning carbon monoxide detector be installed in all newly built and all rented residential properties. A second reading has been put back to 27 March 2015. For a copy of the Bill, click here  For details of the progress of the Bill, click here

Private Rented Sector (Decent Homes Standard) Bill
This Private Members Bill would require private landlords to ensure that any property they let meets the requirements of the Decent Homes Standard. It is moved by Conservative MP Laura Sandys. For her description of the Bill’s proposals, click here  For the debate on its introduction, click here  For more details of the Bill itself, click here The Second Reading had been scheduled for Friday 6 March 2015.

Carers Bedroom Entitlement (Social Housing Sector) Bill
This Private Members Bill will now have its second reading debate on 27 March 2015. I would provide that people in receipt of Universal Credit and Housing Benefit and accommodated in the social housing sector should be entitled to an additional bedroom related to caring responsibilities or overnight care. For a copy of the Bill, click here  For more details of the progress of the Bill, click here

Consumer Rights Bill
This is a government bill that relates to housing by: (1) repealing and replacing laws dealing with unfair terms in tenancy agreements and other contracts; and (2) requiring letting agents to publish their fees. For more details about the bill and its progress, click here The bill has completed its House of Lords stages and the consideration of Lords Amendments by the House of Commons took place on 12 January 2015. The Commons disagreed with Lords Amendment 12 and have returned the Bill to the House of Lords. The Bill now travels back and forth between the two Houses, until both agree on the text of the Bill. A motion to extend the carry-over period of the bill by 67 days until 30 March 2015 was agreed on 12 January 2015 following the consideration of Lords amendments. The Bill was scheduled to receive further Parliamentary consideration on in the House of Commons on 9 March 2015. If passed, the Act is then expected to come into force in October 2015. The UK Government is consulting on the draft guidance it proposes to issue on the new unfair terms provisions. For the consultation papers, click here

Deregulation Bill
This is a UK Government bill that relates to housing by: (1) reducing the qualifying period for right to buy; (2) removing the power to require preparation of housing strategies; and (3) amending the law on tenancy deposits. The bill has completed its House of Lords Committee Stage, Report Stage and Third Reading. It was scheduled for further consideration in the Commons on 10 March 2015. For more details about the bill and its progress, click here  For the Government amendments passed on 11 February 2015 designed to insert provisions relating to retaliatory eviction into the Bill (and to achieve the other changes described above), click here  For the Bill as it appears with the amendments included, click here 

Renting Homes (Wales) Bill  
This is a Welsh Government bill introduced in the Welsh Assembly. For a copy of the Bill, click here   For the Explanatory Memorandum, click here To monitor the progress of the Bill, click here There is a consultation exercise associated with the content of the Bill, see below.


R (MT) v Oxford City Council
6 March 2015
The claimant lacked mental capacity. He lived in his family home and received care from his father. He applied as homeless. The council refused to accept an application from someone who lacked capacity to enter into a tenancy and/or to manage a tenancy and understand their obligations under the tenancy.  The High Court dismissed a claim judicial review. It was bound by R v Oldham MBC, ex p Garlick (1993). Those who lacked capacity could be assisted under National Assistance Act 1948 section 21.For more details, click here

Enfield LBC v Najim
4 March 2015
Ms Najim lost her private sector tenancy because the landlord declined to renew it. She applied as homeless. The council decided on review that she had become homeless intentionally. That was because she had witheld her rent and that had resulted in the claim for possession against her. A judge quashed that decision and the council appealed. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal. The reviewing officer had made no error of law and was entitled to find that non-renewal was the reasonable result of the failure to make payment of rent when due. For commentary on the decision, click here

R v Roy Jackson
4 March 2015
The defendant had run a letting agency (Suffolk Letting). He was imprisoned for fraud for 20 months. His gains from his criminal activities in operating the business were accepted as being £49,544.57. But at a Proceeds of Crime hearing only £2,964.27 remaining resources could be identified. At Ipswich Crown Court, the defendant was ordered to pay that money by 30 April 2015 or serve a further six weeks in default. For details of the hearing, click here

South Ayrshire Council v Leonardo Ippolito
2 March 2015
Mr Ippolito was a private landlord, renting out numerous properties in the council’s area. Inspections revealed that: there were no valid gas safety certificates at any of the properties; there was inadequate smoke alarm provision in more than half the properties; almost half the properties were below the tolerable standard; and every property was in need of maintenance and repair.  Mr Ippolito had three conviction for operating unlicensed HMOs. The council decided that he was not a ‘fit and proper’ person to hold a licence to let in its area. It revoked his licence and refused applications for new licences. Mr Ippolito lodged an appeal but at Ayr Sheriff Court, he submitted an undertaking that he had exhausted his right of appeal and agreed not to pursue any further action. For more details, click here

Oxford City Council v Zahid Butt
2 March 2015
The defendant was a private landlord. Council officers found that his house was occupied by five people but had no HMO licence and they identified several contraventions of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006. At Oxford Magistrates’ Court, he pleaded guilty to an offence under Housing Act 2004 section 72 of failing to license the HMO. He was fined £6,500 with £1,406 costs. For details of the prosecution, click here

Swanbrae Ltd v Ryder
24 February 2015
In 1994 possession proceedings were settled, on the basis that of the grant of an assured tenancy. Between 1994 and 2013 notices of increase of rent given under Housing Act 1988 section 14. They were referred on five occasions to rent assessment committees and four times the rent was increased to the market rate.  In 2013 the landlord sought a further increase but the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) struck out the application on the grounds that the tenancy was still a regulated tenancy under the Rent Act 1977 and not an assured tenancy. The Upper Tribunal overturned that ruling on appeal. There had been no evidence before the FTT that prior 1994 the relationship of landlord and tenant had existed between the current parties. For the judgment, click here

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The Welsh Government has initiated a consultation on the future of the Right to Buy in Wales. The consultation runs until 16 April 2015. For the consultation arrangements, click here

For the consultation paper itself, click here

The Competition and Markets Authority is seeking views on draft guidance relating to the new unfair terms provisions of the Consumer Rights Bill (see above) currently being debated in Parliament. For the consultation documents, click here  Responses should be made by 5pm on 30 March 2015.

The Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee of the Welsh Assembly is consulting on the contents of the Welsh Government’s Renting Homes (Wales) Bill. For the consultation documents and details, click here Any submissions should arrive by 

27 March 2015
The Welsh Government has published its consultation draft of its new statutory Code of Guidance on Homelessness & Allocations. For details of the consultation exercise and arrangements for responses, click here The deadline is 23 March 2015.


Recent Developments in Housing Law. Jan Luba QC & Nic Madge [2015] March issue Legal Action magazine. Available in print and on-line. To read the article (subscription needed), click here

In the race for specialised housing, will vulnerable residents lose out? Gemma Joyce [2015] The Guardian Housing Network 3 March. To read the article, click here

Housing affordability ranked as most urgent issue affecting councils Liam Kelly [2015] The Guardian Public Leaders Network 4 March. To read the article, click here

How long should a severely disabled child wait for housing? Stacie Lewis [2015] The Guardian Disability Network 3 March. To read the article, click here

People hit by council tax support cuts are broke, but the system is broken Dawn Foster [2015] The Guardian Housing Network 6 March. To read the article, click here

What is the state of support for people who become homeless in England? Helen Mathie [2015] Homelessness Link Blog 6 March. To read the article, click here

Paying rent in London eats up two thirds of tenants' incomes in some boroughs, figures show in London. Pippa Crerar [2015] London Evening Standard 2 March. To read the article, click here  

Case Study: the human cost of welfare reform Joanne Phillips [2015] Z2K blog 4 March. To read the article, click here


11 March 2015
Supreme Court delivers its judgment in Akerman-Livingstone v Aster Communities on housing possession and disability discrimination. For the judgment, click here  

12 March 2015
Justice Select Committee publishes its report on the impact of changes to civil legal aid made by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. For details of its inquiry, click here

17 March 2015
Supreme Court to hear appeal about out-of-borough placement of homeless households. For the Court of Appeal judgment, click here

23 March 2015
New arrangements to replace ASBOs and ASBIs take effect (see above)

Consultation closes on draft Code of Guidance on Homelessness & Allocations for Wales (see above)

27 March 2015
Consultation closes on the contents of the Welsh Government’s Renting Homes (Wales) Bill (see above)

30 March 2015
Consultation closes on draft guidance relating to the new unfair terms provisions (see above)


Housing Caseworker / Solicitor / Legal Executive

              Oldham & Rochdale
Salary:                  £21,519 - £27849 (qualification bar at £23,708)
Hours:                  35 per week
Contract type:       Fixed term until 31/03/2016 (possibility of extension subject to performance)

An opportunity has arisen within Oldham CAB to become part of the Legal Advice team providing specialist housing advice across both Oldham and Rochdale bureaus. The role will involve providing complex casework along with representation at local County Courts; there may also be a requirement to participate in the County Court duty scheme.

Oldham CAB is an equal opportunities employer.
For a job application pack, please email or telephone 0161 620 9317 ext. 8998

Closing Date: Monday 23rd March 2015 – midday

Interview Date: Week commencing Monday 30th March 2015

Housing Solicitor Vacancy (locum maternity cover)

Greenwich Housing Rights seeks a 3+ years PQE Housing Solicitor to join its specialist casework team to provide locum maternity cover. 

Fixed-term 9 month contract which will ideally start before 17 April 2015 (possibility of extension)

Experience of running a busy publicly-funded caseload is essential.  Experience of community care and public law will be an advantage.
Salary: £31,000 p.a. + 5% pension contribution

Closing date
for applications: 27 March 2015
Apply by email to  or call 020 8854 8848 to request an application pack. 

For full details click here

Advertise your housing jobs at no charge – simply email for more information.


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