Lime Legal's
Housing Law Week

General Editor: Jan Luba QC

12 November 2014 Update


Policy Issues in Housing Law

Social Housing & Anti-social Behaviour
The House of Commons Library has published a new update of its free Briefing Note on anti-social behaviour in social housing. It takes account of new tools and powers which came into force last month. For a copy, click here 

Private Renting (1)

On 1 December 2014, the provisions of the Immigration Act 2014 relating to landlord lets to migrants start coming into force for landlords in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton. To help those private landlords prepare for the changes, the Home Office has produced a “right to rent” factsheet. For copies, click here   There is also a Summary Guidance for Landlords leaflet. For a copy, click here  Even though there is less than a month to go before commencement only the draft Codes of Practice are available at time of writing. For copies, click here 

Private Renting (2)

The House of Commons Library has published a new free Briefing Note on Retaliatory Eviction in England. It reviews the background to the measures proposed in the Tenancies (Reform) Bill (see below). For a copy of the briefing note, click here 

Social housing under-occupation and the ‘bedroom tax’
On 3 November 2014, the Secretary of State at the DWP told MPs that, of the claimants affected by the ‘bedroom tax’, “as at December 2013, around 22,000 had downsized or moved a year ago. New figures to be published in due course show that if that trend continues, up to 50,000 will have moved or downsized by now, with the total no longer affected even higher.” For the full debate, click here

Regulation of social housing
The regulator of social housing in England (the Homes & Communities Agency’s Regulatory Committee) has re-published its suite of documents for organisations wanting to pursue internal appeals against its decisions. There does not appear to be any right of appeal for individuals complaining that a serious detriment has resulted from the conduct of a social landlord. For the documents, click here 

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Housing Laws in the Pipeline  

Affordable Homes Bill
This Private Members Bill would (1) introduce three new exemptions to the application of the under-occupation deduction from Housing Benefit (or the housing element of Universal Credit) for claimants who are deemed to be under-occupying their social rented homes and (2) secure a review of the availability of affordable and intermediate housing by the Secretary of State. The bill was in its House of Commons Committee Stage on 29 October 2014 but that stage has been adjourned until after the House has passed a money resolution for the spending the Bill will incur. For the sponsoring MP’s reaction to the adjournment of the proceedings, click here  For more details about the bill and its progress, 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. The bill will have its House of Lords Report Stage on 19 November 2014. For more details about the bill and its progress, click here For the latest version of the Bill, 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 is currently in its House of Lords Committee Stage which resumed on 11 November 2014. For more details about the bill and its progress, click here 

Tenancies (Reform) Bill

This is a Private Members Bill introduced by Sarah Teather MP. For her explanation as to why it is being introduced, click here   Its purpose is to protect tenants against retaliatory eviction and to amend the law on notices requiring possession relating to assured shorthold tenancies. The government has stated that it supports the principles of the Bill which will have its second reading on 28 November 2014. For more details about the bill and its progress, click here  The All Party Parliamentary Group for the Private Rented Sector has launched a consideration of the Bill’s proposals and issued a call for the submission of evidence. For more details, click here   For the response submitted by the Race Equality Foundation, click here 

Carers Bedroom Entitlement (Social Housing Sector) Bill

This is a Private Member’s Bill introduced by Barbara Keeley MP. Its purpose is to provide that people living in the social housing sector, who are in receipt of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit, be entitled to that benefit based on needing an additional bedroom related to caring responsibilities or overnight care. For a copy of the Bill, click here  The Bill’s Commons Second Reading is scheduled for 21 November 2014. For further details, click here 


R (C1 and C2) v Hackney LBC
7 November 2014
The claimants were two young children living with their mother in her overcrowded one bedroom housing association flat. The boy was autistic and the girl had severe behavioural problems. The mother applied for a transfer but the association had closed its housing register to new transfer applicants. A Children Act 1989 assessment indicated that the children needed suitable accommodation. The council’s children’s services department wrote to the council’s housing department requesting such housing. The children then sought judicial review, contending that the housing department had unlawfully failed to respond to the request, contrary to the duty in Children Act 1989 section 27. The High Court rejected the claim. Section 27 did not apply to requests made by one department to another within a unitary authority. For the judgment, click here 

R (Jakimaviciute) v Hammersmith & Fulham LBC

6 November 2014
In April 2013, in exercise of new powers given by the Localism Act 2011, the council adopted an allocation scheme which contained non-qualifying classes. One such class removed from qualification "Homeless applicants placed in long term suitable temporary accommodation under the main homelessness duty, unless the property does not meet the needs of the household or is about to be ended through no fault of the applicant.”  The claimant was in that class but was also within one of the reasonable preference categories because she was owed the homelessness duty. The Court of Appeal allowed her claim for judicial review. The non-qualifying class was unlawful because it prevented the scheme from giving a reasonable preference to those owed the homelessness duty. For the judgment, click here 

Telchadder v Wickland Holdings Limited
5 November 2014
Mr Telchadder was an owner-occupier on a mobile home park site. He suffered some mental ill-health, had a mild learning difficulty and exhibited autistic traits. He caused anti-social behaviour and in 2006 the site owners served him with notice under paragraph 4 of Schedule 1 to the Mobile Homes Act 1983. There was no further anti-social behaviour until three years later. The owners sought possession. The Supreme Court allowed an appeal from a possession order. The notice had been complied-with for a reasonable time and could no longer be relied upon. For the judgment, click here   For a fuller summary, click here 

Complaint against Tai Ceredigion Cyf

November 2014
The complainant was a disabled tenant of the housing association. She applied for an adaptation to provide a walk-in shower. The association initially declined as it considered she was under-occupying the property and that her long term needs would best be served by a move to alternative accommodation. By the time the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales had completed an investigation, the association had changed its position and agreed to make the adaptation. The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and recommended an apology, £500 compensation and a review of the association’s adaptations policy. A similar complaint against a different housing association, Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd, had produced a similar result. For that report, click here.  

Oxford CC v Hans Raj

3 November 2014
The defendant was a private landlord. The council’s inspection found that he was operating an HMO without a licence. The house had no fire door separating kitchen from hallway and there was inadequate fire separation between the kitchen and underside of stairs. The windows were in a poor state of repair and a leaking shower caused damp and plaster damage to the stairway.

At Oxford Magistrates’ Court, the defendant pleaded guilty. For failing to licence the HMO, he was fined £5,000. A further fine of £8,000 was imposed for breaches of the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006. Costs of £750 were added. For more details of the prosecution, click here 

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Local welfare provision in 2015 to 2016
Parts of the discretionary Social Fund were abolished by the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and the new local welfare schemes adopted by local authorities replaced Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans. On 10 October 2014 DCLG and the DWP opened a consultation seeking views on how local welfare provision should be funded in 2015 to 2016. Closing date: 21 November 2014. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here 

The DCLG is consulting on new planning restrictions which will affect gypsies and travellers without authorised sites. In addition to the formal consultation paper, there is an easy read version and an equality assessment. Closing date: 23 November 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



A return to common sense (commentary on the recent Court of Appeal decision on leaseholder service charges)  Christine Land [2014] 5 November Inside Housing. To read the article, click here 

Private Members Bills: will they be worth it?
Caroline Hunter [2014] 17 Journal of Housing Law 109

Deprivation of liberty
Christopher Handy [2014] 17 Journal of Housing Law 112

When are the best interests and welfare of the child relevant and how can they be used in housing-related claims? Part 1: principles Joseph Markus [2014] 17 Journal of Housing Law 118

Re-calculating repayments of rent David Smith [2014] 17 Journal of Housing Law 124


12 November 2014
The Supreme Court hands down its judgment in Sims v Dacorum BC on whether one of two joint tenants can give a unilateral notice to quit. For the judgment, click here. For a fuller summary, click here.

12 November 2014
The Supreme Court hands down its judgment in CN v Lewisham, ZH v Newham on whether a local housing authority needs a possession order to recover temporary accommodation provided on licence to a homeless person. For the judgment, click here. For a fuller summary, click here.

21 November 2014
Scheduled Second Reading of the Carers Bedroom Entitlement (Social Housing Sector) Bill (see above)

21 November 2014
Close of consultation on local welfare provision (see above)

23 November 2014
Close of consultation on planning and Travellers (see above)

28 November 2014
Scheduled Second Reading of the Tenancies (Reform) Bill (see above)

5 December 2014
Lime Legal's Housing Management Conference 2014: Law & Practice. For more details click here



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