Lime Legal's
Housing Law Week

General Editor: Jan Luba QC

10 December 2014 Update

 A very warm welcome to the final issue of Housing Law Week for this year.

 We are absolutely delighted with the overwhelming interest in, and support of, Housing Law Week since its launch in October.

Sincere thanks to all of our new subscribers for their support and their feedback and to our General Editor, Jan Luba QC, for all of his hard work, and enthusiasm.

Our next issue will be on Wednesday 14 January 2015.  If you are reading this message but you are not yet a subscriber in your own right then sign up now at

Merry Christmas everyone and a really Happy New Year!  

Best wishes,
Lime Legal ’s Housing Law Week Team


Policy Issues in Housing Law

Housing Benefit
The restrictions on local housing allowance (LHA) provide for an up-rating by only 1% in 2014/15 and 2015/16. But there is power for the Government to increase rates beyond that limit in areas where rising market rents are significantly reducing the availability of affordable accommodation. This allows rates in certain areas to increase by 4%, subject to LHA maximum limits. A new Order sets out which areas will benefit from the 4% increase in 2015/16. For the Order, click here  For the Explanatory Memorandum, click here  

Gas safety in social housing
The regulator of social housing in England has issued a regulatory notice following the failure of another social landlord (this time, Yorkshire Housing Ltd) to ensure that it complied with annual gas inspections to secure the safety of tenants. For a copy of the notice, click here  

Tenants of social housing
The annual Big Tenant Survey provides an insight into the tenant perspective on social landlord services and performance. For a copy of the 2014 survey report, click here  

Retaliatory eviction

After the talking-out of the Tenancies Reform Bill, there is to be an attempt to introduce the same provisions controlling retaliatory eviction as part of the Deregulation Bill which is currently going through the House of Lords (see below under Housing Laws in the Pipeline). For a copy of the proposed amendment, click here 

Improving the Private Rented Sector
A new report, addressed to councils in London, sets out what can be done to help private landlords improve the energy efficiency of properties they let out to tenants. For a copy, click here   

Legal aid in housing cases

Two Parliamentary Committees have been examining aspects of legal aid funding of civil cases (including Housing). The Public Accounts Committee held an evidence session about the costs and savings achieved by legal aid reform on 4 December 2014. For the details, click here  The Justice Select Committee is also considering the impact of the civil legal aid reforms and has its final evidence session on 10 December 2014 with the Chief Executive of the Legal Aid Agency. For details of that inquiry, click here  The House of Commons Library has published an updated version of its briefing paper on the latest round of legal aid reforms. For a copy, click here 

New housing law in Wales

The roll-out of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 is now underway. The first commencement Order has been made and several provisions were brought into force on 1 December 2014. For a copy of the Order, 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. The bill has completed its House of Lords Report Stage and had a Third reading on 8 December 2014. For more details about the bill and its progress, click here  For the latest version of the Bill, as amended on Report, click here  For the recent debate on parts of the Bill concerning letting agent fees, 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 yet to be fixed. For more details about the bill and its progress, click here


Mohamed v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
5 December 2014
The claimant home-owner was served with a planning enforcement notice in respect of what was said to be the creation of a separate self-contained dwelling in the back garden. The claimant appealed against the order claiming that a dilapidated garage had been repaired to provide an additional separate bedroom for the extended family. An inspector dismissed the appeal, having been satisfied that the unit was a self-contained dwelling. But the decision notice failed to explain why the works were outside the scope of permitted development. The High Court allowed a further appeal on the basis that the inspector’s decision had not given adequate reasons. For the judgment, click here.  

Loveridge v Lambeth LBC

3 December 2014
The claimant had been a secure council tenant. While he was temporarily absent, the council wrongly repossessed and re-let his flat. In his claim for unlawful eviction, he sought damages assessed under Housing Act 1988 sections 27-28 being the difference between the value of the property to the council with and without him as a tenant. At trial, he was awarded £90,500. The Court of Appeal set that award aside. On a notional sale the claimant would have become an assured tenant of a private buyer liable to pay a market rent. Such a buyer would pay the council the same whether he was in possession or not. The Supreme Court allowed a further appeal by the claimant and restored the award made by the judge. The damages had to be assessed on the basis that the claimant had been – and would remain – a secure tenant. For the judgment, click here 
For a summary, click here  For a commentary, click here  

York City Council v Darren Avey
1 December 2014
The defendant was a private landlord. He let a house to nine occupiers without obtaining an HMO licence. At York Magistrates’ Court he pleaded guilty to not having a licence and was fined £10,000 plus a £120 victim surcharge and £1,755 costs. For more details of the prosecution, click here  

R(C, T, M & U) v Southwark LBC

28 November 2014
A mother and her three young children became homeless. The mother was not eligible for homelessness assistance or social housing. Children's Services found them one room in B&B accommodation and provided subsistence payments. They were later moved to other accommodation (in another London Borough) and eventually found long term accommodation in Rochdale. They sought judicial review of the Council's performance of its duties under Children Act 1989 section 17. The claim was dismissed. Although the accommodation had not been ideal, and the subsistence payments had changed frequently, the council had not acted unlawfully. For the judgment, click here 

Medway Council v Robert Emery
27 November 2014
The defendant was the private landlord of several properties in the council’s area. On inspection by the council, three of his houses were found in poor condition. The council served a prohibition notice on one and improvement notices on the others. Emery pleaded guilty to three offences of non-compliance. At Medway Magistrates' Court he was fined £8,300 with costs of £3,430 and a £350 victim surcharge. For more details of the prosecution, click here 

Barnet LBC v Four Seasons Property Ltd
25 November 2014
The defendant property company converted a three bedroom house into a seven bedroom HMO, which it then let out. It was found guilty of five breaches of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations at Willesden Magistrates’ Court. It was fined £25,000, with £2,466 costs and a £120 victim surcharge. For more details of the prosecution, click here 

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Receipts from council housing sales
The DCLG is consulting on proposed amendments to the regulations governing the use of receipts arising from the disposal of council housing assets and use of the receipt arising from such disposals. Closing date: 19 December 2014.  For a copy of the consultation paper, click here 

Consultation on a New Tenancy for the Private Sector

The Scottish Government is consulting on new arrangements for security of tenure and/or rent control in the private rented sector. Closing date: 28 December 2014. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here  


Joint tenancy rights (commentary on Dacorum BC  v Sims) Jane Plant [2014] Inside Housing 3 December. To read the article, click here  

Evictions and homelessness
(commentary on R (ZH and CN) v London Boroughs of Newham and Lewisham) Nicholas Dobson [2014] The Law Society Gazette 1 December p18. To read the article, click here  

Having a legal right to settled accommodation empowers homeless people in Scotland
Beth Watts [2014] LSE Blog To read the article, click here  

Sorting myths from facts over housing cases
Jan Luba QC and Sara Stephens [2014] Legal Action November Issue. To read the article, click here (subscription only) 

Bruton, licensees in possession and a fiction in title
Adam Baker [2014] Conveyancer & Property Lawyer 495 

10 things you should know about housing and health
Jill Stewart [2014] EHN Online 3 December. To read the article, click here  

Recent developments in housing law
Jan Luba QC and Nic Madge [2014] Legal Action November Issue p37. To read the article, click here (subscription only)  


10 December 2014
Supreme Court to hear the appeal in Aster Communities v Akerman-Livingstone (on possession and disability discrimination defences). For details, click here  

15 December 2014
Supreme Court to hear the appeal in Johnson v Solihull MBC (with other appeals on homelessness and vulnerability). For details, click here 

19 December 2014
Closing date of consultation on use of receipts arising from the disposal of council housing assets (see above)



Community Care/Housing Solicitor Job Vacancy with TV Edwards Solicitors

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