Lime Legal's
Housing Law Week

General Editor: Jan Luba QC

26 November 2014 Update


Policy Issues in Housing Law

Social housing allocation
Very little data or research has been published on the use being made by local housing authorities of the powers to set “qualifying classes” of applicants for social housing allocation schemes that have been available since June 2012. A new report from East 7 considers the position in detail in seven local authority areas in East Anglia. For a copy of the report, click here  

Local authorities and housing services
The National Audit Office has reported that the UK Government will reduce its funding to local authorities by an estimated 28% in real terms between 2010-11 and 2014-15. Further planned cuts will bring the total reduction to 37% by 2015-16, excluding the Better Care Fund and public health grant. Its report, The Impact of Funding Reductions on Local Authorities, records that the change in budgeted spend on housing services between 2010-11 and 2014-15  was a reduction of 34% in single tier authorities and 17% by district councils (Figure 10). For the report, click here   

Homelessness (1)
In 2015, a new statutory regime for homelessness in Wales will be brought into effect by the commencement of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014. The emphasis of the new statute is on homelessness prevention. Based on work with all 22 councils in Wales, the Welsh Local Government Association has produced a new report Preparing to Prevent – How prepared are local authorities for the homelessness changes? For a copy, click here  

Homelessness (2)
The organisation Homeless Link has published its third annual Young & Homeless report. It explores the reasons young people become homeless, the support available to them, and areas that need to be improved. For the full report, click here  For an executive summary, click here  

Empty homes
New council tax data indicate that in 2014 the total number of empty dwellings fell by 19,000 or 4% to 461,000. For the statistical report, click here  Based on these figures,  the UK Government claims that there has been a fall in the number of empty homes in England by 160,000 since the end of 2009 – meaning the number is now at a 10-year low. For the press release, click here  

Private renting

The Home Office has now published its Codes of Guidance relating to the provisions of the Immigration Act 2014 concerning landlords letting to migrants, which start coming into force for landlords in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton on 1 December 2014. For the Code of practice on illegal immigrants and private rented accommodation click here  For the Code of practice for landlords: avoiding unlawful discrimination when conducting ‘right to rent’ checks in the private rented residential sector click here The House of Commons Library has published a useful Briefing Note on the content of the new legal obligation on landlords. For a copy, click here  The Chartered Institute of Housing and BME National have received grant funding to establish a new website on migrants’ access to the private rented sector. To access information about the new website, click here  

Mutual exchange

The House of Commons Library has produced an updated briefing note on Housing Mobility Schemes. For a copy, click here  

Right to buy
The latest statistics indicate that right to buy sales in England have been running at almost 1000 sales a month over the past two years. For the latest official data, click here 

Intervention with another private registered provider of social housing
On 20 November 2014 the regulator of social housing in England (the Homes & Communities Agency’s Regulatory Committee) issued a Regulatory Judgment on Aldwyck Housing Group Ltd in respect of the Governance and Financial Viability Standard. For the Regulatory Judgment, click here 

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  

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 more details, click here  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 

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 resumed its House of Lords Report Stage on 24 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 has completed its House of Lords Committee Stage and a date for report has yet to be fixed. For more details about the bill and its progress, 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 was scheduled for 21 November 2014 but on that date objections to the Bill were raised and its Second Reading was postponed to 9 January 2015. For further details, click here  For the latest UK Government statement of its position on bedrooms for carers, click here  



O’Connor v Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government
20 November 2014
The claimant was the co-owner of a plot of land in the green belt. He sought planning permission to establish two gypsy caravan pitches on it. The local council refused permission and issued an enforcement notice. On an appeal, a planning inspector recommended temporary planning permission for four and a half years. The defendant rejected the recommendation and dismissed the appeal on the basis that the ‘flood risk’ at the site was too great. The High Court allowed a further appeal. The defendant had erred in deciding that the inspector’s factual conclusions and recommendations had been flawed. For the judgment, click here  

R(GE) v Bedford BC
20 November 2014
The claimant was an asylum seeker. She was detained on entry to the UK in 2011. She said that she was a child and applied to the council for assistance as a “child in need”. The High Court ordered her release into NASS accommodation where she remained beyond what she asserted was her 18th birthday. She sought judicial review of the council’s age assessment which found that she was not a child. The High Court dismissed that claim. The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal. It was at least possible that the claimant had been a child and that (if she had been) she ought to have been accommodated under Children Act 1989 section 20 with the consequence that the council would have owed her duties beyond her 18th birthday. The issue of an age assessment was remitted to the High Court. For the judgment, click here  

R(Cawsand Fort Management Co Ltd ) v First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber)
18 November 2014
The claimant sought judicial review of a decision of the tribunal to renew the appointment of a manager in respect of the management of leasehold premises, constructed on the site of an old defensive fortification, on the basis that it had exceeded its powers. The Upper Tribunal had refused permission to appeal. The High Court accepted that it had jurisdiction but dismissed the claim. The tribunal had acted within its powers in renewing the appointment of the manager. For the judgment, click here  

Fadumo Mohamed and Georgina Agyepong v Camden LBC
14 November 2014
The prosecutors were two council tenants who complained of damp and mould in their homes. They brought proceedings under Environmental Protection Act 1990 Part 3 on the basis that the council was responsible for allowing their homes to become prejudicial to health and thus a ‘statutory nuisance’. The Highbury Magistrates’ Court was told that works orders had been placed on the eve of the hearing. The court ordered the works to be completed in 28 days and fixed a further hearing in December 2014 to review completion. For details of the prosecution, click here  

Medway Council v Rattan Singh and Balbir Kaur
6 November 2014
The defendants were the private landlords of two properties in the same street. Both houses were in poor condition and the council served notices under Housing Act 2004 requiring remedial works. The defendants made no attempt to carry out the works. At Maidstone Magistrates’ Court they pleaded guilty to 19 offences, including failing to comply with the notices. They were fined £20,000 with £600 costs and a £150 victim surcharge. For details of the prosecution, click here.  

Albion Properties Ltd & others v Couper
4 November 2014
The Coupers, a couple and their child, made their home on five converted barges on the River Thames. In October 2013, the High Court decided that they had no right to moor at the location where they had attached the barges to the bank and the river bed. Mrs Couper claimed that being required to move would infringe her right to respect for her home. The High Court rejected that claim.  The home was a mobile one and the Port of London Authority was prepared to grant a licence for the barges to be relocated on the river. Article 8 was not engaged. The Court of Appeal rejected an application for an extension of time in which to make a renewed application for permission to appeal. Article 8 did not give a right to remain indefinitely in a place a person had no legal right to occupy. A requirement to move was proportionate because the family had had more than a year to relocate since the High Court order and they had a licence to moor elsewhere. The judgment has the neutral citation [2014] EWCA Civ 1503.

Preferred Mortgages Ltd v McCombe
3 November 2014
The lender sought possession for arrears of mortgage instalments of some £2,500. A possession order was made. The relevant time limit for an appeal in Northern Ireland is five days. The borrower lodged an appeal six days out of time. He applied to extend time. The High Court held that in deciding whether to extend time it should have regard to Article 8. The judge said it “seems to me a proper case in which to take into account, albeit with appropriate care, the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and in particular Article 8, the right to family life. This has been the home of this couple for some 17 years and they did meet their mortgage requirements for a period of some 7 years in connection with it and it would be most unfortunate if they were to lose the home over this relatively modest sum of money”. The application was allowed. For the full judgment, click here  

Redbridge LBC v Abu Taher, Ayub Patel, and Broach Ltd
3 November 2014
The defendants were a private landlord, his agent and the agent’s company. They rented out an unlicensed house in multiple occupation (HMO). Council officers found the end of terrace house was being occupied by 16 adults and one child. The property had mould, dampness, fire safety issues and a dangerous electrical installation. At Romford Magistrates’ Court, the three defendants were each found guilty of nine offences – one offence of operating a licensable HMO without a licence and eight housing management offences. They were each fined £5,000 and court costs of £1,695: a total of £20,085. For details of the prosecution, click here  

Redbridge LBC v Mohammed Hafeez Kayani

31 October 2014
The defendant was the owner of a house. Part of the roof collapsed during works to create a loft conversion. Council officers found that it was a three storey property run as an unlicensed house in multiple occupation and containing six lettings. An Emergency Prohibition Order was served to prohibit occupation of the property as the tenants were at imminent risk of harm. The defendant ignored the Order and continued to rent out the property. At Romford Magistrates’ Court he pleaded guilty to 10 housing offences: three breaches of an Emergency Prohibition Order, one offence of operating a licensable HMO without a licence, and six housing management offences. He was fined a total of £16,000 and ordered to pay £3,251.20 costs. For details of the prosecution, click here

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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 

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 



Revenge evictions: ‘An electrician said our shower was unsafe. The landlord’s response was to evict us’ Tracy McVeigh [2014] The Observer, 23 November. To read the article, click here 

Relief for local authorities
(commentary on the recent Supreme Court decision on possession orders to evict homeless households) Jennifer Oscroft [2014] 19 November Inside Housing. 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) 

The Monk was right
(commentary on the recent Supreme Court decision on notices to quit by joint tenants) Paul Hayes [2014] 12 November. To read the article, click here  

Dwelling on the benefits of bad law
(comments on the recent Supreme Court decision in R(ZH & CN) v Newham LBC and Lewisham LBC) Andrew Arden QC [2014] LAG Housing Blog, 21 November. 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)  

The changing face of section 21
(considering notices to be served on assured shorthold tenants) Tessa Shepperson [2014] Solicitors Journal, 18 November Issue. To read the article, click here (subscription only)  

Service charge consultation back on track Ranjit Bhose QC [2014] 13 November Local Government Lawyer. To read the article, click here  

How can you slow the unstoppable rise of evictions?
Hannah Fearn [2014] The Guardian 19 November. To read the article, click here 


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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