Lime Legal's
Housing Law Week

General Editor: Jan Luba QC

25 February 2015 Update


Policy Issues in Housing Law
Social housing
The UK Government has established an £84m fund to help social tenants in England to buy homes on the open market. The policy objective is to encourage social mobility by assisting those who do not wish to exercise the right to buy on their current home because they want to move. Local authorities will distribute the money in the form of grants, allocating up to £20,000 per tenant (£30,000 in London). For the prospectus and application form for councils wishing to take part, click here
Anti-social behaviour and housing
The Chartered Institute of Housing has published new guidance for social landlords on how to tackle racially motivated hate incidents. For a copy click here
Safety in social housing
The social housing regulator for England has given yet another social landlord (Severn Vale Housing Society) a Regulatory Notice for failure to comply with gas safety requirements. For a copy of the notice click here
A new report from Citizens Advice, on the help available to victims of domestic violence, suggests that the current approach to homelessness laws means that many women are trapped in abusive relationships by their difficulty in accessing alternative housing. For a copy of the report click here

Two new videos about the services that local housing authorities should provide for the homeless have been released on YouTube . For the film made by a CAB, click here  For the film made by a legal aid firm, click here
Mortgage arrears
A new report from a Northern Ireland taskforce contains useful practical guidance, of general application, on how to address mortgage arrears, repossessions and negative equity. For a copy, click here
Housing association homes
The latest housing construction statistics contain details of new-build by housing associations. The figures show that starts on new housing association homes were 26% down and completions of such homes were 6% down when comparing the last quarter to the previous quarter.  For the full statistics, click here
Housing Benefit
The latest Housing Benefit Circular from the DWP (HB G2/2015) was issued last week. It covers 'bedroom tax', universal credit and other issues related to housing benefit. For a copy, click here 
The House of Commons Library has produced a new briefing note on the issues related to withdrawing housing benefit entitlement from young tenants. For a copy, click here
The DWP has published a new guide on Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Overpayments. For a copy, click here
A recent New Policy Institute report suggests that thousands of the tenants affected by the ‘bedroom tax’ were also subject to the effects of reductions in council tax support. For a copy of the report, click here


Housing Laws in the Pipeline  
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 is scheduled for Friday 6 March 2015. For a copy 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 is scheduled for Friday 6 March 2015.

Carers Bedroom Entitlement (Social Housing Sector) Bill
This private members Bill is also expected to have its second reading debate on Friday 6 March 2015. It 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

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 24 February 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 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 Report Stage and is scheduled to have its Third Reading on 4 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.


Appeal of Friedhelm Adolfs
18 February 2015
Mr Adolfs had been a tenant for 40 years. His landlady sought and obtained a possession order based on alleged nuisance. The nuisance consisted of Mr Adolf’s smoking cigarettes in his flat with the smoke and smell of tobacco seeping under his front door into communal areas and causing offence to neighbours. The Federal Supreme Court doubted the lower court's finding that this issue was bad enough to have "disturbed domestic peace" in the building and set aside its possession order. For more details, click here

Obichukwu v Enfield LBC
16 February 2015
The applicant sought compensation for loss of her tenancy following the making of a compulsory purchase order. The council said that the tenancy had been surrendered before the entitlement to compensation arose. The tenant had given her keys back to the council (her landlord). It had accepted them and had required her to remove her possessions. The Upper Tribunal reviewed the law relating to surrender by operation of law and held that the tenancy had been determined by such a surrender. For the judgment, click here

Hyslop v 38/41 CHG Residents Company Ltd
16 February 2015
A landlord applied to a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal for a ruling that service charges were recoverable from a tenant. The landlord paid the application fee and its application succeeded. The LVT ordered that the fee be reimbursed by the tenant. The tenant appealed on the basis that the LVT should have considered her income and her eligibility for a fee waiver. The Upper Tribunal held that there was no obligation on the LVT to enquire whether the appellant was in receipt of a qualifying benefit and dismissed the appeal. For the judgment, click here

R (Sobko) v Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea
13 February 2015
The claimant made a claim for housing benefit. The council decided that the local housing allowance (LHA) maximum for rent applied, leaving a shortfall.  The claimant sought a judicial review, arguing that the accommodation was a hostel which was excluded from LHA by Housing Benefit regulation 13C. The High Court dismissed the claim. The accommodation did not meet the definition of ‘hostel’ contained in regulation 2(1) because the rent charged did not cover the provision of meals. The judgment is noted on Lawtel and Westlaw.

Coventry City Council v Helen Allen
9 February 2015
The defendant was a private landlord. Council officers found that her property had been converted into two flats and failed to satisfy the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation regulations. There was failure to provide an adequate fire protection system, inadequate fire doors, no fire blankets in the kitchens, etc. On a guilty plea to three offences, the defendant was fined a total of £2,911. For details of the prosecution, click here

R (XX) v Southwark LBC
30 January 2015
The claimant was homeless. He went to the council’s offices with his family. The first time, he was turned away. The second time, he was provided with a single room on the basis that the family could occupy it while he looked for private rented accommodation. The council only treated him as having made a homelessness application after the intervention of solicitors. Suitable accommodation was provided only after a judicial review claim was made. The claimant contended that the council was undertaking gatekeeping (‘a number of unfair policies and practices that unlawfully defer or avoid the making of a homelessness application’). By consent, the High Court ordered extensive changes to the council’s 'housing options' arrangements, practices and procedures. For more details and a copy of the order, click here  For a fuller commentary, click here

TG v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

30 January 2015
From 2009 to 2011 the eligibility of some EU citizens, for social housing and homelessness assistance in the UK, turned on whether they met the requirements of the Workers Registration Scheme which had been extended for those two years. In the Upper Tribunal, in a pension credits case, a judge has held that the extension of the scheme was in contravention of EU law. For the judgment, click here 

Bakiu v Albania
29 January 2015
Following the end of communist rule, private ownership rights were restored to those whose properties had been nationalised. Many were tenanted. After a transitional period, the private owners were able to obtain possession orders against the tenants. Several complained to the European Court of Human Rights that to evict them infringed their Article 8 rights. The Court posed this question for the parties: “Has there been a breach of the applicants’ right to respect for their home, contrary to Article 8 of the Convention? In particular… (a)  Did the manner in which the authorities ordered eviction comply with the requirement to establish proper justification for the interference with their right to respect for home? (b)  How did the authorities assess the specificity of the applicants’ situations’ household? Did they conduct any (economic or social) study to determine the situation of each household? (c)  What arrangements did the authorities make for providing alternative housing to vulnerable applicants? (d)  What weight did the authorities attach to the timing of the applicants’ eviction, having regard to the approach of the winter season? (e) Were the applicants afforded procedural guarantees to challenge their eviction before national courts?” For the statement of facts, click here 

Sagvolden v Norway
12 January 2015
The applicant was a woman aged 80. She was the part-owner and part-tenant of an apartment in a housing cooperative. Her adult son moved in with her and began to commit serious anti-social behaviour directed towards other residents, resulting in criminal and civil proceedings and his imprisonment. The co-op obtained court orders for the sale of the apartment and the eviction of the applicant. She complained to the European Court of Human Rights that to evict her on account of her son’s conduct infringed her Article 8 right to respect for her home. The Court posed this question for the parties: “Did the order compelling the applicant to sell her apartment entail an interference with her rights under paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Convention that was not ‘necessary’ within the meaning of its paragraph 2?” For the statement of facts, click here


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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 UK Government has issued proposals for another significant increase in civil court fees, including the costs of issuing possession claims. For the consultation paper,
click here For the impact assessment on the increase to possession claim fees, click here  Responses should be made by  27 February 2015.   For details of how to respond, click here 

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.

The UK Government has launched a consultation exercise seeking views on changes to the Homes and Communities Agency guidance on shared ownership and on the terms of the model shared ownership leases. The options include changes to the operation of the pre-emption right in shared ownership standard leases and other proposals to streamline the resale of shared ownership properties. For the consultation details, click here Responses should be made by 28 February 2015.

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 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 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 


Recent Developments in Housing Law. Jan Luba QC & Nic Madge [2015] February issue Legal Action magazine. To read the article, click here

Access to justice in decline (court fees and legal aid in housing cases) Andrew Arden QC and Clare Cullen [2015] LAG Housing Law Blog 18 February. To read the article, click here  


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

27 February 2015
Closing date of consultation on increases in court fees for possession cases (see above)

28 February 2015
Closing date of consultation on shared ownership (see above)

4 March 2015
Scheduled House of Lords Third Reading of the Deregulation Bill (see above)

6 March 2015
Scheduled House of Commons Second Readings for Household Safety (Carbon Monoxide Detectors) Bill, Private Rented Sector (Decent Homes Standard) Bill and the Carers Bedroom Entitlement (Social Housing Sector) Bill (see above)


Vacancy for Housing Solicitor/Legal Executive

Sheffield Citizens Advice and Law Centre (t/a Advice Sheffield) intend to appoint a solicitor or Legal Executive who has an up to date knowledge of housing law and experience running an LAA contract including conducting litigation under Legal Aid certificates.

: £28,000 p.a. + 6.5% pension contribution
: 35 per week 
Closing date for applications : Noon on Tuesday 3 March 2015

For application pack including job description and application form (CVs will not be considered), click here or e-mail

Housing Coordinator Vacancy

Praxis Community Projects

  • Salary NJC Scale Pt 31-35 (£29,871 - £32,859 inc.London Weighting)
  • Location Tower Hamlets, London .
  • Job Type: Permanent

Praxis is seeking a Housing Coordinator to join their team and coordinate the delivery of the programme. This is an opportunity to play a key role in the development of an award-winning housing project providing a home to destitute migrant individuals and families with No Recourse to Public Funds

(*Female applicants only as the post involves working with women escaping gender-based violence. This post is therefore exempt under the Equality Act 2010, Part 1, Schedule 9). 

Closing date: 12pm, 9th March 2015
For further details click here 

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

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