Lime Legal's
Housing Law Week

General Editor: Jan Luba QC

5 November 2014 Update


Policy Issues in Housing Law

Housing & anti-social behaviour (1) 

The House of Commons Library has published a new free Briefing Note setting out the substantial changes to the law on anti-social behaviour which came into force last month as a result of the Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014. For a copy, click here   

Housing & anti-social behaviour (2)
The UK Government reports that its Troubled Families programme, of funded intervention in the lives of 100,000 households associated with anti-social behaviour, is working to reduce incidents of such behaviour. For the announcement made on 29 October 2014, click here  For the statistical data relating to results claimed by local authorities for families turned around within the Troubled Families programme by the end of August 2014, click here

Private Renting (1)

The House of Commons Library has published a new free Briefing Note setting out the evidence on why private landlords might refuse to let to Housing Benefit claimants and the extent of the problem. For a copy, click here

Private Renting (2)

On 1 December 2014, the provisions of the Immigration Act 2014 relating to landlord lets to migrants start coming into force (initially in the West Midlands).  The Immigration (Residential Accommodation) (Prescribed Requirements and Codes of Practice) Order 2014 sets out the requirements for the prescribed identity checks which must be complied-with by landlords when entering into a residential tenancy agreement. For a copy of the Order, click here  For the Explanatory Memorandum about the Order, click here   The Order also brings the statutory Codes of Practice into force. The Home Office has been consulting about the content of the Codes. The Immigration (Residential Accommodation) (Prescribed Cases) Order 2014 sets out circumstances – in addition to those in section 20 of the 2014 Act – in which a residential tenancy agreement will and will not be treated as being entered into for the purposes of the civil penalty scheme. For the Order, click here. For the Explanatory Memorandum, click here   

Private Renting (3)
The organisation Ombudsman Services has just published a new free guide for students renting in the private sector. For a copy of Know Your Rights, click here 

Migrants and housing
In October 2014, a new report – Migrants and Housing in the UK: Experiences and Impacts – was published by the Migration Observatory at University of Oxford. It found that UK-born individuals and foreign-born individuals have similar levels of participation in social housing. For the report, click here 

Researchers at Northumbria University have considered the life histories and causes of homelessness of over 80 people in Newcastle. They found evidence of anti-social behaviour on the part of homeless people, with high incidences of drug and alcohol abuse, mental health problems, violent behaviour, familial breakdown, negative social networks, unemployment and dependency on benefits, begging, sex work and crime. However, the research indicated that these problems were often caused by homelessness itself. For more details of the research, click here 

The Law on Trespass
The House of Commons Library has published a new free Briefing Note setting out the broad rules relating to trespass on land in criminal and civil law. For a copy, click here 

Social housing tenants and debt
In October 2014 new research was published about how households in social housing are responding to Welfare Reform and whether the reforms are achieving their ambition of getting people into work and reducing public spending. It shows that almost three quarters of all households are in debt and average debts are at the highest recorded levels, as is debt uncertainty. For the full report, click here   

Gypsies and Travellers
The House of Commons Library has published a new free Briefing Note setting out the specific planning policies in relation to gypsy and traveller site provision, recent changes made by Government to give stronger protection to green belt and future proposed changes in this area. For a copy, click here  

Discretionary housing payments
The journal Inside Housing commissioned the New Policy Institute to analyse how London Boroughs spent their allocation of funds for DHPs in 2013/14. For the results, click here

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 is currently in its House of Lords Committee Stage which resumed on 3 November 2014. For more details about the bill and its progress, 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 4 November 2014. For more details about the bill and its progress, click here 

Tenancies (Reform) Bill 2014-15
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 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 


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Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government v Ioannou
31 October 2014
Without planning permission, a house owner converted his house into five flats. The local council served an enforcement notice. The owner appealed to an inspector. In the course of the appeal, the council said that it would prefer a three flat conversion, rather than restoration to a single house, if the owner’s intention would be to rent out a single house as an HMO. The inspector dismissed the appeal, holding that he had no power to grant permission for three flats but extending time for compliance with the notice so that a three-flat planning application could be made. The High Court decided that he could have granted planning consent to three flats. The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal. The inspector had no such power. For the judgment, click here 

Francis v Phillips
31 October 2014
This appeal raised two major issues about service charges. First, did the threshold for statutory consultation about ‘qualifying works’ trigger when aggregated costs across all items of work hit the £250pa threshold or only when specific sets or types of work did? Second, could a landlord charge both a fixed percentage for management services and the actual costs of the staff of its management company? The Court of Appeal rejected the aggregating approach to the first issue and, on the second, it held that the particular leases did not allow for double-recovery. For the judgment, click here 

Eze (Ezeugo) & Anor v Health and Safety Executive
31 October 2014
Mr Eze’s wife became the owner of an office block in Harwich. The couple obtained planning permission to convert it into flats. In 2013, as a result of complaints from residents during the conversion works, the HSE sent in inspectors who considered the works were being carried out in a dangerous fashion. Prohibition notices were served but work continued. In June 2014 at Chelmsford Crown Court, Mr Eze was convicted of five offences under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. He was sentenced to a total of 30 months imprisonment. He appealed to an Employment Tribunal against the notices. It dismissed his appeal. He brought a further appeal to the High Court. It dismissed his appeal but allowed an appeal by his wife. For the judgment, click here 

Oldham MBC v Tricia O’Connor and Jason Wakeford
30 October 2014
Using new powers contained in the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2014 Part 4 Chapter 3, the council and Greater Manchester Police worked together to deal with premises let by the social landlord First Choice Homes Oldham which were a source of drug-related anti-social behaviour. Tameside Magistrates’ Court made a three-month premises closure order after Community Safety Officers and police received numerous complaints from residents over anti-social behaviour and criminality. For further details, click here  

R(Moseley) v Haringey LBC
29 October 2014
Following the abolition of council tax benefit, the council consulted residents about the introduction of a local council tax reduction scheme. The consultation document was premised on the assumption that the council could not absorb the costs of granting a 100% rebate to all the poorest households in its area. The Supreme Court declared that the consultation had been unlawful. A fair and open consultation would have set out the range of options, including the possibility of the council absorbing the costs and making savings elsewhere. The judgments set out the latest modern guidance of what the law requires in a lawful consultation exercise. For the judgment, click here  For a longer summary, click here 

R(Mensah and Bello) v Salford CC
28 October 2014
Because of their immigration status, the claimants – who were single parents – were not eligible for homelessness assistance, social housing or welfare benefits. The council agreed to accommodate them with their children under Children Act 1989 section 17. It covered utility bills and council tax and then provided the cash equivalent of what the Home Office paid to destitute asylum seekers. The High Court dismissed a claim for judicial review which had suggested that it was unlawful for the council to set the payment level that low. For the judgment, click here 

Cambridge CC v Coppola
24 October 2014
The defendant was a private landlord. The council carried out inspections of an HMO he ran. It found that the property was unsafe due to the risk of fire and the danger of smoke spreading at the property. The kitchen and bathroom were also inadequate for the number of people living there. The council served an improvement notice but works were not carried out. At Cambridge Crown Court, the defendant pleaded guilty to four offences under Housing Act 2004 and a further offence under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976. He was fined £10,000 with costs of £2,500. For more details of the prosecution, click here  

Salford CC v Ismail Wan
16 October 2014
The defendant was a private landlord. He was prosecuted by the council after failing to respond to a series of improvement notices and leaving a vulnerable tenant living in ‘dangerous, unhygienic, cold and unpleasant conditions’ for over a year. At Manchester Magistrates Court, he was fined £510 and ordered to pay costs of £1,500 and a £20 victim surcharge. For more details of the prosecution, click here  

Bondarenco v Moldova
16 October 2014
A council tenant lived in block of flats which was under threat of collapse. In 2000, the council moved the tenants out and demolished the block. The tenant sought a replacement council flat. In a judgment in 2003, she obtained a court order requiring the council to provide her with a flat. By 2014 it had not been enforced. The government said that there were a number of such unenforced judgments with which local councils did not have the funds to comply. The European Court of Human Rights held that the failure of the state to comply with the court’s order amounted to a breach of Article 6 and Protocol 1, Article 1.  For a copy of the judgment, click here  

Campbell v Secretary of State for Communities
6 October 2014
The claimant was a Traveller. She bought land, placed her caravan on it and sought planning permission to live in it. The local council refused permission and she appealed. An inspector refused to grant temporary, conditional or full permission. The High Court rejected an appeal. The inspector had made a lawful decision.  The neutral citation is [2014] EWHC 3375 (admin).

Hillingdon LBC v Shalini Largey
3 October 2014
The defendant was the principal director of McKane Holdings, a property company. She appeared for sentencing at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court having pleaded guilty, on behalf of the company at an earlier hearing, to failing to comply with enforcement notices requiring it to cease the illegal use of an outbuilding and to demolish it. A couple with a young baby had been living there as tenants. McKane Holdings was fined £14,666, ordered to pay costs of £1,655 and a victim surcharge of £120. For more details of the prosecution, click here  

Ealing LBC v Antonio Ioviera
3 October 2014
The defendant was a private landlord.  He owned a three storey house divided into seven bedsits. It was an unregistered HMO. A council inspection found a catalogue of safety hazards. The only smoke alarm in the building, which was home to up to 12 people at a time, had been dismantled and water was leaking from the first floor bathroom into light fittings and the rooms underneath, making the ceiling unsafe and the electrics dangerous. There were many other defects. At Ealing Magistrates’ Court, the defendant was found guilty of 13 offences including being responsible for an unlicensed HMO. He was fined £18,150 with £5,510.01 costs and a £120 victim charge, making a total of £23,780.01. He was given one month to pay. 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.



Inside hoarding Dawn Foster [2014] 31 October Inside Housing. To read the article, click here 

The Housing (Wales) Act 2014: key points
Vicky Kells [2014] 30 October Local Government Lawyer. To read the article, click here  

Renters are being evicted for complaining about their poor conditions
Maya Oppenheim [2014] 29 October New Statesman. To read the article, click here   

Eight key findings from the Audit Commission’s report on fighting fraud
Laurna Robertson  [2014] 31 October Inside Housing. To read the article, click here   

Great council house sell-off scandal: Right-to-buy council houses leave nowhere for poor to live
[2014] 31 October The Independent. To read the article, click here  


1 November 2014
Dr Mike Biles retires from his post as Housing Ombudsman.

5 November 2014
The Supreme Court hands down its judgment in Telchadder v Wickland Holdings Limited concerning a notice, terminating a right to occupy a mobile home site, given on account of anti-social behaviour.  

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 Confernce 2014: Best Law and Practice. For more details click here



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