Lime Legal's
Housing Law Week

General Editor: Jan Luba QC

21 January 2015 Update


Policy Issues in Housing Law

Possession claims
Many possession claims brought by mortgage lenders, private landlords and landowners are likely to be ‘stayed’ if occupiers raise arguable defences that the making of an outright possession order would infringe the right to respect for their home (Article 8). That may be the result of the Supreme Court granting the occupier in McDonald v McDonald permission to appeal on the question of whether Article 8 can be invoked to defend a private claimant’s action for possession. The authority for the grant of a stay in such circumstances is Kingcastle v Owen-Owen (Times, 18 March 1999).

More councils in and around London are placing homeless families out of borough. Waltham Forest Council is consulting on changes to enable it to place more households in temporary accommodation outside its district. For the consultation paper, click here.  Wandsworth council’s latest homelessness review indicates that a third of its private rented sector offers were out of borough: click here  In response to a parliamentary question on the issue, the Housing Minister said “We have made it clear that no council should be sending tenants en masse to a different part of the country”. For more on that answer, click here  

The organisation Homeless Link has published a manifesto on the action needed to tackle the housing and homelessness crisis. For a copy, click here

The latest statistics for homelessness applications made to local authorities in Scotland have recently been published. For the figures, click here For a recent  Shelter Scotland report on the use of temporary accommodation for the homeless, click here 

Private renting
A new report from Citizens Advice suggests that tenants should be able to get their rent back from their landlords when their home is dangerous or uninhabitable. For a copy, click here 

New research has found that many private rented homes are excessively cold and causing health problems for families and children. For more details, click here

Because tenancy deposits held by custodial schemes are no longer required to be repaid with accumulated interest, regulations have been made abolishing the prescribed interest rates. For a copy of those regulations, click here 

The UK Government has established a £1million fund to help meet legal costs for councils taking planning enforcement action in the courts. That could include action to tackle “beds-in-sheds” and the unlawful conversion of houses into HMOs. For details of the fund, click here 

Regulating social landlords
The regulator of social landlords in England has issued two regulatory notices to social landlords concerned with breaches of the consumer standards designed to protect tenants. The first is yet another notice about a social landlord’s gas inspection failures. For that notice, click here The second follows a balcony collapse endangering tenants. 

Housing benefit

New regulations have been issued on the 'treatment of earnings' for benefit purposes. They are designed to address a controversial Upper Tribunal decision on the earnings rules. For a copy of the regulations, click here  For the explanatory memorandum, click here

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has produced a new report on fraud and error relating to Housing Benefit. It suggests that the problems are increasing and that underpayments causing hardship have not been tackled. For a copy of the report, click here  

Gypsy & Traveller sites
The Housing Committee of the London Assembly has called on the Mayor of London to respond to a range of recommendations on the provision of sites in the capital. For a letter setting out the proposals, click here

Housing Laws in the Pipeline  

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. In the course on 12 January 2014 the Minister told the Commons "We are determined to tackle the minority of rogue letting agents...". For the full debate click here  

Deregulation Bill

This is a 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 and a date for Report Stage has been fixed for 3 February 2015 . For more details about the bill and its progress, click here   For the amendment designed to insert provisions relating to retaliatory eviction into the Bill, click here  For a Lords debate on the Bill’s proposal to change controls on lettings in London, click here.  For the parallel debate in the Commons, click here 


Gloucester City Homes v X and others
16 January 2015
The claimant was a social landlord. Following numerous reported incidents of anti-social behaviour and noise nuisance associated with one of its tenanted homes (which included arguing, shouting, foul language, physical fighting, numerous animals being kept at the property and fly-tipping) the claimant applied for and obtained interim anti-social behaviour injunctions
against six members of the tenant’s family.  The injunctions exclude two males from the property and place prohibitions on the tenant, her partner and adult siblings. For more details of the claim, click here

R (Alemi) v Westminster
City Council
15 January 2015
The council added a new provision to its housing allocation scheme that “Homeless applicants will not be eligible to bid via CBL until 12 months after the date of acceptance, with the exception of applicants assessed with mobility category 1 or 2 or who require Community Supportive Housing” (para 2.1.3). After a contested hearing, the Administrative Court gave permission for a judicial review of the legality of that provision. For a copy of the council’s allocation scheme, click here

Gilks v Hodgson
15 January 2015
The parties were neighbours. They could not agree the boundary between their properties or the extent of a right of way. Resolving their dispute took a 10 day trial and then a 3 day appeal in the Court of Appeal. The costs exceeded half a million pounds. The court described the litigation as "Dickensian". For the judgment, click here

Complaint against Southwark Council
14 January 2015 – publication date
The complainant was homeless. She went to the council’s offices and was seen by a ‘filtering officer’. Their role is to determine if an applicant is likely to be homeless, eligible for assistance and in priority need, and to signpost to the most suitable next course of action. The officer told her she needed proof of employment as evidence of eligibility. No homelessness application was taken. The Ombudsman found that: the council should have treated the approach as an application for assistance with homelessness; the failure to do so was fault; and "the council should ensure that the practice of gate keeping does not occur". For the report, click here For commentary on the report, click here     

Oldham Council v Stuart Mather

14 January 2015
The defendant was a private landlord. Two of his houses did not have any fire detection systems and both the electricity and gas supplies had been tampered with. Flammable materials were left in the path of fire escapes, fire doors were open and had handles missing, and plug sockets and light switches were loose and faulty. Safety certificates for gas and electrical appliances were also missing. At Oldham Magistrates’ Court, he pleaded guilty to 13 breaches of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006. He was fined £1,495 – £115 for each offence – with costs of £2,700. For details of the prosecution, click here

Saghinadze v Georgia

13 January 2015
The applicant brought a complaint in the European Court of Human Rights.
The Ministry of the Interior had taken possession of a cottage, which had been the applicant’s home for more than ten years, and turned it into a police station. On 27 May 2010, the Court decided that, in addition to giving rise to a breach of Article 8, there was also a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (see Saghinadze v. Georgia, no. 18768/05 §108, 117-118 and 122). The parties could not agree a remedy. The government offered to transfer to the applicant the ownership of two apartments and pay 3000 euros compensation. The court accepted that the offer satisfied the complaint. For the judgment, click here  

Council v Adam Michael Penpraze

9 January2015
The defendant was a private landlord.
The roof of his property was storm damaged in early 2014 allowing water into the flat below. By December 2014, works had still not been satisfactorily completed with water again entering the flat and a section of the ceiling collapsed. The defendant pleaded guilty to failing to comply with an improvement notice served under the Housing Act 2004. At Bodmin Magistrates’ Court, he was fined £700 with costs of £1,558.24 and a £70 victim surcharge.

Waltham Forest Council v Shiraz Akbar Khan
8 January 2015
The defendant was a private landlord. He made an unauthorised conversion of a single dwelling into two self-contained flats and failed to comply with an enforcement notice. He was found guilty at Stratford Magistrates’ Court and fined £5,000 with costs of £1,558 and a Victim Surcharge of £120.For details of the prosecution, click here 

Council v Jin Ming Cao
6 January 2015
The defendant was the private landlord of seven rooms above his Chinese restaurant which were occupied by 10 workers. At
Truro Magistrates’ Court, he pleaded guilty to six offences under the Housing Act 2004.  Three related to non-compliance with improvement notices (concerning a dangerous staircase and the installation of a fire detection system) and three related to the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations (concerning an obstructed fire escape route, absence of a gas safety certificate and an unmaintained/faulty fire alarm). He was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling over £24,000.

Hillingdon Council v Partap Singh and Manjit Thagie
5 January 2015
The defendant couple let an outbuilding for residential use, without having planning permission. At Uxbridge Magistrates' Court they pleaded guilty to failure to comply with an enforcement notice which had required them to stop the use as a residential property and to remove the fitted kitchen, shower room, toilet and internal stud walls. They were fined £3,000 each and ordered to pay £814.30 each in costs. For details of the prosecution, click here 

Enfield Council v Evangelos Evangelou
22 December 2014
The defendant was a private landlord. In October 2010, he had converted a three bedroom house into six self-contained units and let them. The council served an enforcement notice requiring him to restore the property but he failed to comply. At Wood Green Crown Court, he pleaded guilty to an offence under section 171B(2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.  He was fined £7,500 with costs of £6,794.15 and a £120 victim surcharge. A confiscation order was made for £125,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act, representing the profit from renting out the unauthorised conversion. A 27 month prison sentence was fixed in default of payment. For more details of the prosecution, click here

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The Welsh Government has initiated a consultation on the provisions of new regulations relating to aspects of the handling of homelessness applications made to local councils in Wales. The consultation runs until 26 February 2015. For the consultation arrangements, click here For the consultation paper itself, click here  

The UK Government is undertaking a consultation about its Starter Homes proposals (designed to enable 100,000 homes to be built over the next 5 years so that more young people can buy their own home) and seeks views about the proposed planning policy change and its implementation. Responses are sought by 9 February 2015. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here  

The Welsh Government is undertaking a consultation exercise about: (1) the designation of a single licensing authority for Wales to manage the registration of private rented sector properties and the licensing of landlords and agents under Part 1 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014; and (2) the requirement of the designated licensing authority to stipulate the training requirements necessary for a licence for landlords and agents licensed under the Act and to be given the power to approve trainers and training courses. Responses are sought by 6 February 2015. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here 



Hundreds of households in temporary accommodation for more than a decade Lia Sanders [2015] Inside Housing 16 January. To read the article, click here  

Recent developments in housing law
Jan Luba QC and Nic Madge [2014] Legal Action December 2014/January 2015 Issue. To read the article, click here (subscription only)  

Stop talking about renting a home as though people have a choice
Hannah Fearn [2015] Guardian Housing Network 16 January. To read the article, click here 

Housing repairs update 2014
Beatrice Prevatt [2014] Legal Action December 2014/January 2015 Issue. To read the article, click here (subscription only)  

Nations apart
(comment on recent research on single homelessness) Andrew Arden QC and Clare Cullen [2015] LAG Housing law blog 15 January.  To read the article, click here 

Rent caps and protests
the housing issues to watch out for in 2015  Hannah Fearn [2015] Guardian Housing Network 9 January. To read the article, click here  

The offer is unrepeatable: suitability revisited
Miriam Mackreth [2015] 167 The Adviser Jan/Feb issue. p18

Retaliatory eviction and Article 8
Dirghayu Patel [2015] 167 The Adviser Jan/Feb issue. P26

Selective licensing, consultation and the whole borough (comment on Regas v Enfield) Jonathan Manning and Justin Bates [2014] Local Government Lawyer 18 December. To read the article, click here  


26 January 2015  
Supreme Court to consider rules on service charge clauses in the appeal Arnold v Britton

29 January 2015  
Supreme Court to consider rules on intentional homelessness in the appeal Haile v Waltham Forest LBC

6 February 2015    
Free evening leaseholder event run by the LEASE advice service. For details, click here

Closing date of consultation on landlord licensing in Wales (see above)

9 February 2015   
Closing date of consultation on Starter Homes proposals (see above)

26 February 2015
Closing date of consultation on homelessness regulations in Wales (see above)



Vacancy for Private Rented Sector Manager 

Hyndburn Borough Council

Vacancy is Permanent full time 

Salary: £30,978 - £33,857 p.a.

Location: Hyndburn

Closing Date: Friday 30th January 2015

For details of this vacancy click here 

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

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