Housing Law Week
General Editor: Jan
2nd September 2015 Update
POLICY ISSUES IN HOUSING LAW
On 28 August 2015, the UK Government published updated guidance to help local authorities and local agencies evaluate the extent of rough sleeping in their areas. For the updated materials, click here
On 26 August 2015, the organisation Homeless Link published its monthly review of the latest developments affecting youth homelessness. To access that material click here
Housing Rights (NI) has initiated a Beyond the Gate project aiming to prevent homelessness among people leaving prison by ensuring that they have all the necessary support to aid their transition back into independent living. For details of the project, click here
On 26 August 2015, the House of Commons Library published its latest briefing note on “Housing Benefit: withdrawing entitlement from 18-21 year olds”. For a copy, click here
Right to buy
On 24 August 2015, the House of Commons Library published its latest briefing note on proposals to extend RTB in England. For a copy, click here
HOUSING LAWS IN THE PIPELINE
NB. The UK Parliament is now in Summer Recess. Both Houses return on 7 September 2015. For the rest of the recess dates for this Parliament, click here
Welfare Reform and Work Bill
This UK Government Bill was published on 9 July 2015 to make provision about: (1) the benefit cap; (2) social security and tax credits; (3) loans for mortgage interest; and (4) social housing rents. It had its Second Reading in the House of Commons on 20 July 2015 and will now be considered in detail by a public bill committee. For the Bill, click here For the explanatory notes, click here To follow the progress of the Bill, click here. For the briefing prepared by the House of Commons Library, click here For the Second Reading debate itself, click here Several briefings were prepared for the Second Reading debate by a range of organisations. For the CRISIS briefing click here, for the CAB briefing click here, for the Z2K briefing click here To see the amendments already put down for debate in committee, click here A programme motion has scheduled the Committee stage to conclude by 15 October 2015. The Committee which will review the Bill has issued a call for written evidence. For the details, click here Those intending to submit evidence may wish to address the UK Government’s own detailed impact assessments on the Bill. To see those, click here and scroll down.
This UK Government Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech on 28 May 2015 but has yet to be published. For the official outline of its content, click here The official briefing about the Queen’s Speech contains the details at pages 27-29. For that, click here For a commentary on the likely content of the Bill, click here On 4 July 2015 the Chancellor and the Prime Minister released a joint statement indicating that their plans, “which will form part of the Housing Bill to be introduced this autumn, include steps to build discounted homes for first time buyers on all reasonable sized developments, unlock public land for hundreds of thousands of new homes and back small builders with planning changes” (emphasis added). For the statement, click here
Renting Homes (Wales) Bill
This is a Welsh Government Bill introduced in the Welsh Assembly. For a copy of the Bill, click here For the Explanatory Memorandum, click here To monitor the progress of the Bill, click here The Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee has recently completed its examination of the Bill and has made 37 recommendations. For a copy of its report and for a summary of its conclusions and recommendations, click here and scroll to the foot of the webpage where it is listed under ‘Documents’. The Assembly debated the general provisions of the Bill on 7 July. For the record of the debate, click here For the amendments tabled for discussion at Stage 2, click here and scroll to the ‘Document’ section at the foot of the page. For the latest amendments up those published on 16 July 2015, and a statement of the purpose and effects of those published on 8 July, click here and scroll to the ‘Documents’ section at the foot of the webpage.
Housing (Amendment) Bill
This is a Bill introduced in the Assembly on 30 June 2015 by the Northern Ireland Executive. It would make provision for the better sharing of information relating to empty homes or to anti-social behaviour and provide for the registration of certain loans as statutory charges. For a copy of the Bill, click here For the explanatory memorandum (listed under ‘All associated documents and links’), click here For a letter of 2 July 2015 inviting submissions about the Bill by 4 September 2015, click here For a commentary on the Bill, click here To follow the progress of the Bill, click here
Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill
This is a Private Members Bill introduced by Karen Buck MP. It would amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to require that residential rented accommodation is provided and maintained in a state of fitness for human habitation. It had a First Reading on 24 June 2015 and its Second Reading is scheduled for 16 October 2015. For details on the progress of the Bill, click here For a commentary on its content, click here
Local Government Finance (Tenure Information) Bill
This is a Private Members Bill introduced by Dame Angela Watkinson MP. It would amend the Local Government Finance Act 1992 to make provision for collecting information about tenure and the details of private landlords. It had a First Reading on 24 June 2015 and its Second Reading is scheduled for 30 October 2015. For details on the progress of the Bill, click here
Crown Tenancies Bill
This is a Private Members Bill introduced by Mark Pawsey MP. It would provide that Crown tenancies may be assured tenancies for the purposes of the Housing Act 1988, subject to certain exceptions, and modify the assured tenancies regime in relation to certain Crown tenancies. It had a First Reading on 24 June 2015 and its Second Reading is scheduled for 11 September 2015. For details on the progress of the Bill, click here For a consultation on its proposals, see below.
Don’t miss out on Lime Legal’s
Tenancy Agreements Conference 2015
(London 9 October 2015)
Brand new programme includes:
- Oh no you don’t: What to include on tenant behaviour
- It’s as easy as ABC: The right A-Z for your Agreement
- If you’re gonna do it, do it right: Changing the terms for current tenants
- It’s not just a piece of paper: Enforcing a Tenancy Agreement
- It’s time to say goodbye: Getting Possession for Tenancy Breach
- Q&A session: ask the experts
Further details here
Book now to be sure of your place here
NEW HOUSING CASES
Gopee & Ors v London Mercantile Court
28 August 2015
The Court of Appeal has refused Mr Gopee, and various companies associated with him, permission to appeal against orders relating to numerous claims for possession that had been brought against defaulting borrowers in respect of loans secured on their homes. For the judgment, click here For commentary on it, click here
Newport City Council v Kaneeza Abid
28 August 2015
The defendant was a private landlady. A council inspection of her property found that it was an HMO, it had no licence, and the fire escapes were not clear of obstructions and had poor lighting. The defendant pleaded guilty by letter to failing to license the HMO and was fined £10,000. She also admitted 10 offences of failing to comply with the HMO Management Regulations 2006 and was fined a further £1,000 for each offence. In addition to total fines of £20,000, she was ordered to pay costs of £1,229 and a victim surcharge of £120. For details of the prosecution, click here
Conwy County Council v Mark Thorogood
26 August 2015
The defendant was a private landlord. The council brought a prosecution alleging that he had failed to obtain an HMO licence for three properties in its area. Despite pleading not guilty, he was convicted at Llandudno Magistrates Court. He was fined £5,000, with legal costs of £1,500, investigative costs of £234 and a victim surcharge of £125. For more details of the prosecution, click here
Health & Safety Executive v Lee Butterworth and Scott Butterworth
21 August 2015
Lee Butterworth, trading as English Riviera Building Company Ltd, was carrying out extensive works on a house which included installing a new gas boiler. He contracted-out the gas-related work to his brother Scott Butterworth despite him not being a member of Gas Safe Register. A gas engineer later found a leak on the pipework that Scott Butterworth had installed and classed what he found as ‘Immediately Dangerous’ as there was a real risk of a gas explosion. At Torquay Magistrates Court, Lee Butterworth pleaded guilty to a single breach of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was sentenced to 10 weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years and also ordered to undertake 150 hours unpaid community work with costs of £496.60. Scott Butterworth pleaded guilty to two breaches of Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. He was sentenced to 10 weeks imprisonment, suspended for two years for each offence, to run concurrently, and also ordered to undertake 150 hours unpaid community work with costs of £496.60. For details of the prosecution, click here
Health & Safety Executive v James Gotts
21 August 2015
The defendant worked as a chef at a public house. As an unregistered gas installer, he carried out gas work at five premises in the Norwich area between July 2013 and January 2014. Work he did at three of the premises was later considered “at risk” or “immediately dangerous” by Gas Safe Register. At Norwich Crown Court, he was sentenced to six months imprisonment after pleading guilty to an offence under section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. He was sentenced to a further six months in prison after pleading guilty to an offence under regulation 3(3) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. Both terms were suspended for 18 months. He was given 180 hours community service with costs of £1092. For details of the prosecution, click here
JM v London Borough of Tower Hamlets
18 August 2015
The claimant lived with his wife and their children and received welfare benefits. He went abroad for a period exceeding 13 weeks. The council decided that he had not been entitled to housing benefit (HB) during his absence and sought to recover the overpayment. The first-tier tribunal upheld that decision. The Upper Tribunal allowed a further appeal. Both the council and the tribunal had erred in not directing an off-set of the amount of the overpayment by whatever the wife would have been entitled to receive by way of HB had she claimed during the husband’s absence. For the judgment, click here
Michael Legg v South Somerset District Council
6 August 2015
The appellant was the owner of a bungalow. The interior, front and back gardens were crammed with sundry materials some relating to former retail activity. For photographs of the property, click here Mr Legg appealed against a planning enforcement notice issued by the council which required him to clear and remove ‘doors, windows, garden sundries, fencing, other non-domestic items, debris and rubbish (including in such removal all structures and non-domestic paraphernalia connected with such use)’. The Inspector found that “Mr Legg has obviously become a hoarder, and storage is the predominant component in the current use. The extent of storage is such that parts of the site are inaccessible, and it is difficult to move around inside the bungalow”. He allowed the appeal because the enforcement notice should have targeted change of use of the site. He said “I am also concerned from a humanitarian, welfare and medical viewpoint about the poor and possibly unsafe living conditions which Mr Legg has created for himself, but I can only deal with planning matters. For the decision, click here
Ghazaani v Rowshan
13 July 2015
The parties reached an oral agreement that, in reciprocation for the transfer of an apartment in Iran to one party, there would be transferred to the other party a property in the UK. The transfer in Iran took place but the owner in the UK would not undertake the transfer here. The High Court held that the oral agreement could be enforced through a finding of constructive trust and/or proprietary estoppel. A transfer of the UK property between the parties was ordered. For the judgment, click here
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Accommodation & Support for Failed Asylum Seekers
On 4 August 2015, the UK Government issued a consultation paper about proposed changes to arrangements for providing accommodation and support to failed asylum seekers and illegal entrants. For the consultation paper, click here For the impact assessment, click here Responses should be made by noon on 9 September 2015.
A consultation paper from the Welsh Government seek views on establishing a National Pathway for Homelessness Services for Children, Young People and Adults who are in care or custody and will otherwise become homeless. The closing date for comments is 24 September 2015. For the consultation arrangements and the consultation paper, click here
New measures on Local Courts for Housing Cases
The Ministry of Justice is consulting on the closure of 91 courts and tribunals across England and Wales, and the integration or merger of 31 more. This represents a reduction in capacity by
139 county court rooms (17% of all county court rooms) and 63 tribunal rooms (13% of all tribunal rooms). For the consultation documents, click here The consultation closes on 8 October 2015. The Law Society has produced a series of campaigner packs to help respondents raise the issue with MPs and AMs. For details, click here
Taxation of Private Renting
On 17 July 2015, the UK Government launched a consultation on the reform of the ‘Wear and Tear Allowance’ applicable to property businesses. The reform is designed to improve the consistency and fairness in the taxation of residential property businesses. For the consultation paper, click here Responses are due by 9 October 2015.
ARTICLES & PUBLICATIONS
Recent Developments in Housing Law Jan Luba QC & Nic Madge  September issue of Legal Action magazine. Available in print and on-line for Legal Action subscribers. To read the article, click here
Secure tenancies and the 'no succession' rule Professor Ian Loveland  Local Government Lawyer, 20 August. To read the article, click here
Regaining entry after eviction Stefan Liberadzki  Local Government Lawyer, 20 August. To read the article, click here
Retaliatory Evictions: a reassuring change in the law for tenants Edward Veale, solicitor  HJA Blog 27 August. To read the article, click here
'Vast social cleansing' pushes tens of thousands of families out of London Matthew Taylor  The Guardian 28 August 2015. To read the article, click here
Report reveals significant rise in homeless and low income families 'socially cleansed' out of London Jon Stone  The Independent 28 August 2015. To read the article, click here
We shouldn't treat the homeless like criminals Stephanie Thomson  The Guardian 25 August 2015.To read the article, click here
Can I withhold my rent if my landlord won’t carry out repairs? Helen Jackson  Anthony Gold Blog 19 August. To read the article, click here
Rogue landlords have little to fear from cash-strapped councils Ben Reeve-Lewis  The Guardian Housing Network 26 August 2015. To read the article, click here
The PRS: high rents and poor conditions symptoms of a bigger problem Dr Stephen Battersby  UK Housing Professionals Forum Blog 25 August. To read the article, click here
Block by block (commentary on Ninety Broomfield Road RTM Co Ltd v Triplerose) William Bethune and Gillian Palmer  Property Law Journal No.322 pp 6-8
Redressing the balance? (the law on tenancy deposits) Rebecca Francis  Property Law Journal No.322 pp 11-13
Look before you leap (legal costs and service charges) Douglas Rhodes  Property Law Journal No.322 pp 18-21
How not to lose a landlord's rights (service charges) Alexandra Anderson and Sarah Hennessy  Property Law Journal No.322 pp 26-28
THE HOUSING LAW
9 September 2015
Deadline for responses to UK Government consultation on accommodation for failed asylum seekers (see Housing Law Consultations, above)
24 September 2015
Deadline for responses to Welsh Government consultation on homelessness (see Housing Law Consultations, above)
8 October 2015
Deadline for responses to UK Government consultation on court closures in England & Wales (see Housing Law Consultations, above)
9 October 2015
Lime Legal’s Social Housing Tenancy Agreements Conference 2015 in London. For details click here
9 October 2015
Deadline for responsesto UK Government consultation on taxation of income from residential property (see Housing Law Consultations, above)
16 October 2015
Lime Legal’s Allocations Conference 2015 in London. For details click here
Tenancy at Garden Court North Chambers
Garden Court North Chambers in Manchester invite applications from experienced housing and immigration law practitioners (five years' post qualification experience).
We recently moved premises to Blackfriars House in the heart of Manchester. Our new home has a custom-built layout with fantastic conference and meeting facilities, enabling superior service to clients and supporting co-operative working practices amongst our barristers.
Applications should be submitted with CV and at least two references to:
The Tenancy Committee
Garden Court North Chambers
3rd Floor, Blackfriars House
Closing date: 2nd October 2015
Senior Solicitor (Housing)
Lambeth Law Centre is committed to providing high quality legal advice and representation. It is now recruiting for a full-time Senior Solicitor (Housing).
You will need to have experience of managing a client caseload, providing housing advice and conducting litigation, and a track record of billing legal aid certificated and legal help work, provide overall direction to the legal work of the Law Centre; and to develop, with the Director, new strategies for raising the profile of the Law Centre and its role in the community; take a leading role in developing the community work of the Law Centre; provide line management to the Law Centre’s Caseworkers directly and through a system of team leaders and provide advice and casework in housing and/or community care, with the possibility of combining this work with one of the other areas of Law conducted by the Law Centre, and represent clients in courts and tribunals.
Salary offered: £40,807 full-time.
For queries or to request an application form, email Tara Malcolm at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once completed, send your application to the same email address or by post to:
Tara Malcolm, Lambeth Law Centre, Unit 4 The Co op Centre, 11 Mowll Street, London SW9 6BG.
If you wish to discuss this vacancy, please email the director Michael Tarnoky at email@example.com with your name and telephone number to request a call.
Alternatively, the website link is here
Closing date for applications: 5pm on Monday 7th September 2015.
Lambeth Law Centre is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from all sections of the community.
Trainee Solicitor post at Greenwich Housing Rights
Justice First Fellowship - Legal Education Foundation
Greenwich Housing Rights is recruiting a Trainee Solicitor as part of the Legal Education Foundation's Justice First Fellowship programme.
For more information or to submit an application please visit: http://jff.thelegaleducationfoundation.org/how-to-apply/
Application Deadline: 15 September 2015
Starting Salary: £21,000
Location: Greenwich, London
We are an independent housing advice charity based in Woolwich, South East London. We have a team of 3 solicitors, 8 caseworkers, 30+ dedicated and wonderful volunteers and a small team of support staff.
Apart from direct legal advice services we provide a second-tier support service for other local groups, policy work, campaigning, public legal education and training.
We work closely with local and regional partners to ensure clients have access to a wide range of advice and support services. One of our key partners, Plumstead Community Law Centre, will be helping to deliver the training contract. This opens up the opportunity for our Trainee to develop expertise in welfare benefits, immigration and employment law, all crucial to meeting our clients’ complex needs.
The Trainee will work under the close supervision of our Senior Solicitor and will be expected to play an active part in all of our legal advice and associated services. The trainee will receive additional support from senior staff and category supervisors to develop legal practice skills, subject specialisms and policy work and to ensure the successful delivery of their project. There will be an emphasis on contentious work but the Trainee will be expected to develop the skills necessary to support clients using alternative dispute resolution and will undertake non-contentious work.
Please visit the Legal Education Foundation's website for more information about the Fellowship. For more information about GHR visit www.grhr.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Housing Solicitor Vacancy
Cambridge House Law Centre is seeking an experienced Housing Solicitor to join an experienced, highly regarded, supportive and fun housing team in a dynamic Law Centre serving the Camberwell area of South London.
The Law Centre has LAA contracts in Housing, Public Law and Community Care.
Salary: £33,000 - £40,000 depending upon experience
30 days annual leave plus pension contribution.
Closing date: 4.00pm on Friday 11th September 2015
For an application pack please email Beryl Peckham at email@example.com
For an informal discussion please contact Stuart Hearne on 0207 358 7025 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Housing Project Worker (part time) YMCA EAST SURREY
To apply for this position click here
To assist in the day to day running of the NextStep project for those in housing need, providing support, advice, and long-term solutions through private rented sector and resettlement.
Hours of Work:
We are looking for someone to work part time, either 16 or 20 hours per week which is the equivalent of 2 or 2.5 days per week. (Occasional evening and weekend work may be necessary to fulfil the needs of the role but time off in lieu will be given.) Preferred hours of work will be discussed at interview with shortlisted candidates.
Salary: £23,156.28 per annum (pro rata)
Benefits: The post holder will be entitled to free use of the YMCA fitness centre and half price
childcare for dependents. There is free parking available at Hillbrook House.
Closing Date for returned application forms is Monday 14th September 2015 at 9am.
Interviews are planned for Friday 18th September 2015.
Take advantage of the opportunity to advertise your job vacancies here FREE.
Call us on 01249 701555 or email details of the vacancy to email@example.com
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