Lime Legal's
Housing Law Week

General Editor: Jan Luba QC

19 November 2014 Update


Policy Issues in Housing Law

Possession Claims: Landlords
On 13 November 2014, the Ministry of Justice released the latest statistics for possession claims brought by landlords in the courts of England & Wales. They show that the number of landlord possession claims has been increasing since 2010. In the three months July to September 2014, 11,100 bailiff evictions were carried out for landlords who had obtained possession orders. For the full statistics, click here  

Possession Claims: Mortgage Lenders
The same statistics cover possession claims brought by mortgage lenders in the courts of England & Wales. They show that there has been a continuing fall in the number of lender possession claims since 2008. For the full statistics, click here The Department for Communities & Local Government has published an updated forecast on future UK mortgage arrears and possessions. For a copy of that, click here  

Legal Aid for Housing Cases
The Justice Select Committee has published the oral and written evidence it received on the impact of the legal aid cuts on assistance for those with Housing problems. For the details, click here  

On 11 November 2014 the Scottish Government announced allocation of a further £150,000 to Housing Options Hubs for 2015/16 in support of its view that the development of housing options approaches is vital to preventing homelessness. For the announcement, click here    The announcement was triggered by a review of the 2012 Homelessness Commitment made following the abolition of the ‘priority need’ requirement in Scotland. For the review, 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 landlords prepare for the changes, the Chartered Institute of Housing has produced a guidance note on the practical implications of immigration checks on new lettings. For a copy, click here  

Private Renting (2)

From 1 October 2014 all letting agents in England have been required to subscribe to one of three UK Government-approved redress schemes. In Newham in East London there are 193 residential letting agents. In September 2014, the council wrote to 66 agents who were not already signed up to a scheme. This was followed up with a visit by trading standards officers who reminded agents that they had 28 days to comply. Half did so. Council officers later visited 11 agents and issued six penalty charge notices of £5,000 to agents that were non-compliant. The remaining 17 businesses are also to be checked. For the details of the council’s initiative, click here  

Discretionary Housing Payments
The Scottish Government has laid a ministerial Order abolishing the cap on the amount local councils can spend on DHPs. For the Order, click here   For the Policy Note explaining the Order, click here  

Social landlords and Universal Credit
The UK Government has published a new "support pack" for social landlords on how to deal with tenants who are likely to be getting Universal Credit. For a copy, click here   For the ministerial announcement, accompanying the support pack, click here 

Social landlords and market rents
The Chartered Institute of Housing has published a new “How to…” guide for social landlords interested in diversifying into the provision of housing at market rents. For a copy, click here    The Policy Exchange has published a paper raising broader issues about the future financing of housing associations. For a copy of Freeing Housing Associations, click here  

Housing & Poverty
A new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation examines the relationship between poverty and housing through the circumstances of 5,000 people over an 18-year period. It also projects how this relationship will change by 2040. For a copy of the report, click here  

Intervention in a Private Registered Provider of Social Housing
On 12 November 2014 the regulator of social housing in England (the Homes & Communities Agency’s Regulatory Committee) issued a Regulatory Notice to Quadrant-Brownswood Tenant Co-operative Limited. It decided that the co-op had failed to meet the Governance and Financial Viability Standard and that the appointment of four officers to its management committee was necessary. 

Lime Legal’s Housing Management Conference 2014

London , Friday 5 December

It’s not too late to secure your place – so book now.

Programme includes:

  • Rent arrears management after a year of ‘welfare reform’
  • Rental capacity problems among tenants: law and practice 
  • The Housing Manager’s In-Tray 2014: the hot issues
    • Joint Tenancies – the Supreme Court speaks
    • When can we use licences? The Supreme Court speaks again
    • Tenancy fraud: detection, eviction, prosecution and repayment
    • Transfers: ‘non-priority cases’ and  ‘management transfers’
    • Mutual exchange: the real ‘right to move’?
    • Death and succession
  • ASB update: case law round up and the new legislation explained
  • Getting possession: a Case law and legislation update
  • Questions & Answers – your chance to ask the experts

 Click here for details

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  For the latest exchange on the UK Government’s estimate that the enactment of the Bill would cost £1 billion, 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 18 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 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  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 the response submitted by the Race Equality Foundation, click here   Parliament has been told that there is no central recording of data on retaliatory evictions. For that statement, click here  

Carers Bedroom Entitlement (Social Housing Sector) Bill

This is a Private Members 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   For the latest UK Government statement of its position on bedrooms for carers, click here 



Sims v Dacorum BC
12 November 2014
Mr Sims and his wife had been joint tenants of a council house. She gave a notice to quit to end the tenancy. The council claimed possession. Mr Sims contended that, even if the correct rule in English law was that one tenant could unilaterally give notice to quit to end a joint tenancy, the consequent grant of possession would infringe his rights under Article 8 and Protocol 1 Article 1. The Supreme Court unanimously rejected his case. The tenancy had from its inception been expressly prone to termination by such notice. Mr Sims’ Article 8 rights were vindicated by his ability to contend in any possession claim that, in his particular case, making a possession order would be disproportionate. For the judgment, click here    For an authorised summary, click here  For a fuller commentary, click here  

R(ZH & CN) v Newham LBC and Lewisham LBC
12 November 2014
The claimants had applied to the councils as homeless. They were provided with interim accommodation, pending enquiries. The councils made the accommodation available on licences, in housing owned by private landlords. Neither claimant was owed the main housing duty. The council terminated their licences. The claimants contended that the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 meant they could only be evicted by proceedings for possession orders. By a majority, the Supreme Court decided that no possession orders were required because the interim accommodation was not provided “as a dwelling” and was therefore not protected by the 1977 Act. For the judgment, click here   For an authorised summary, click here  For a fuller commentary, click here  

Dano v Jobcenter Leipzig
11 November 2014
Ms Dano is a Romanian woman in her early twenties. She has a young son who was born in Germany but who is a Romanian national. She moved-in with her sister in her sister’s flat in Germany. She had never worked in Germany or Romania. She claimed German non-contributory means tested subsistence benefits, including amounts for accommodation and heating costs. The European Court of Justice held that EU law gave her no entitlement to such benefits. Economically inactive EU nationals have a right to reside in other member states, beyond an initial three months, only if they are self-sufficient. For the judgment, click here  

Leicester City Council v Munir Nathanie
6 November 2014
The defendant was a private landlord. One of his properties suffered from failings including a faulty fire alarm system, unsafe electrical wiring and a fire escape which was poorly maintained.  On guilty pleas, Leicester Magistrates’ Court imposed fines of £2,000 for each of eight offences under the Management of HMO (England) Regulations 2006 with £2,037 in costs and a £120 victim surcharge. For details of the prosecution, click here  

Swan Housing Association v Gill
30 October 2014
The Supreme Court has refused Mr Gill’s application for permission to appeal from the making of an anti-social behaviour injunction against him. He is an assured tenant of the association with a disabling condition. For the circumstances in which that injunction was granted, see the Court of Appeal judgment by clicking here   The Appeal Panel refused permission because “the application does not raise an arguable point of law which ought to be considered by the Supreme Court at this time. We consider that Coleridge J [in the Court of Appeal] was right. The Appellant’s own evidence was that his condition had no effect on his conduct.”

Viackiene v Tower Hamlets LBC
30 October 2014
The council decided that Ms Viackiene had become homeless intentionally. Her co-tenant had failed to pay his rent and Ms Viackiene had declined the landlord’s offer to help her find a co-tenant who would pay. For the Court of Appeal’s judgment dismissing her appeal, click here  The Appeal Panel refused permission because “The decision turned ultimately on the facts as found by the officers and raises no arguable point of law.”

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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 

Housing & Anti-social Behaviour

The Ministry of Justice is consulting on the arrangements under which it should fund legal services providers to assist defendants to claims for injunctions in ASB cases. The provisions of Part 1 of the Anti-social Behaviour etc Act 2014 make new arrangements for such court orders, following the scheduled abolition of the ASBO, and will come into force in 2015.  Closing date: 1 December 2014. For a copy of the consultation paper, click here   For the impact assessment, click here   For the equalities statement, 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



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) 

Out of town, out of mind
(commentary on the recent Court of Appeal decision on placing homeless households out of district) Jayesh Kunwardia [2014] 12 November Inside Housing. To read the article, click here  

Recent developments in housing law
Jan Luba QC and Nic Madge [2014] Legal Action November Issue 37. To read the article, click here (subscription only)  

Council allocation policies challenged by court ruling
(commentary on the recent Court of Appeal decision on allocation schemes) Heather Spurr [2014] 14 November Inside Housing. To read the article, click here  

Housing benefit claims by disabled tenants with parent landlords
Desmond Rutledge [2014] Legal Action November Issue. To read the article, click here (subscription only)  

Tenant evictions reach an all-time high Kate Youde [2014] 14 November Inside Housing. To read the article, click here  

No exit: Britain’s social housing trap
Polly Toynbee [2014] The Guardian 11 November. To read the article, click here  

The short slope that takes women all the way down to living on the streets
Neasa MacErlean [2014] The Independent 14 November. To read the article, click here.  

Number of tenants evicted hits record levels as benefit cuts bite
Hilary Osborne [2014] The Guardian 13 November. To read the article, click here 


19 November 2014
The Supreme Court has postponed judgment – due today – in R (SG) previously R(JS) v The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on whether the ‘benefit cap’ (achieved by reducing housing benefit) is lawful. For case details, 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)

1 December 2014
Close of consultation on Legal Aid for anti-social behaviour injunctions (see above)

1 December 2014
New laws on private landlords letting to migrants come into force in the West Midlands (see above)

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



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