Lime Legal's
Housing Law Week

General Editor: Jan Luba QC

5th August 2015 Update


Enforcing Housing Standards in the Private Rented Sector
Councils have the powers to eliminate bad private rented housing, but do they use them? Newham LBC leads the way in London but other boroughs take hardly any landlord prosecutions. For the statistics about council action in the prosecution of landlords in the capital, click here

Private Sector Rents
On 31 July 2015, the Office for National Statistics published the Index of Private Housing Rental Prices, April to June 2015. The figures indicate that rental prices increased in all the English regions over the year to June 2015, with rental prices increasing the most in London (3.8%). For the full report, click here

Finding a Housing Lawyer
Advisers and clients looking for a legal aid Housing lawyer can now find the holders of Housing legal aid contracts listed in the Legal Aid Agency’s Directory of Suppliers. Updated monthly. For a copy, click here

New Housing Lawyers
The Justice First Fellowship aims to help train a new generation of lawyers (and potential future leaders of the advice sector) working with vulnerable people in areas such as housing. On Monday 3 August 2015 applications opened for their seven new training contracts in social welfare law. For the details, click here

Newly published research indicates that work in tackling single homelessness early is cost-effective. For more details, click here For the research report itself, click here

Homeless Children
The Children’s Society has published Cut Off from Justice The impact of excluding separated migrant children from legal aid. For the full report, click here  For a summary, click here

Letting Agents
Allen & Crane Estates, a sales and lettings agent based in Burnham near Slough, has been expelled from membership of The Property Ombudsman Service (TPOS) for a minimum of two years. It had failed to comply with numerous elements of the TPO’s Code of Practice for Residential Letting Agents and had failed to pay an Ombudsman's award of £1,600. For more details, click here  

Homelessness in Northern Ireland
The latest Northern Ireland Housing Bulletin shows that there has been an increase of 16% (687) in the number of households presenting as homeless to the Housing Executive, compared to the previous quarter. The Bulletin also shows a 17% increase in the number of homeless applicants being accepted as owed the main homelessness duty. For a copy of the Bulletin, click here

Housing Associations
A House of Commons Select Committee has launched an inquiry into housing associations to determine whether they are viable and/or sustainable in the current political climate. Submissions of evidence should be made by 28 August 2015. For more details, click here The Chair of the Homes & Communities Agency has written to both large and small social housing providers indicating the steps they are expected to take following the Budget and requiring assurance that they are adapting to the changed operating environment. For copies of the letters, click here

Tenants of Social Housing
Dr Julie Rugg has co-authored a new report Lives in work: social housing tenants’ experiences of employment and unemployment. For a copy, click here

Unfair Terms
On 31 July 2015 the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued new guidance on the use of unfair contract terms in consumer contracts (including tenancy agreements) ahead of the commencement of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 on 1 October 2015. This new guidance replaces the Office of Fair Trading’s ‘Unfair contract terms guidance: OFT311’ and there are three forms of the guidance – short (2 pages), expanded (28 pages) and long (144 pages). For the full suite of guidance materials, click here



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

Housing Bill
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.



Wandsworth LBC v Tompkins
31 July 2015
The council had been inquiring into a homelessness application made by the defendants. During that process, it moved them from a hostel to a council property as interim accommodation (under Housing Act 1996 section 188). In error, they were given an introductory tenancy agreement to sign instead of a non-secure tenancy agreement. Faced with a possession claim, they said that they had become secure tenants. The judge made a possession order. The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal. For the judgment, click here

Director of Public Prosecutions v Bulmer
31 July 2015
The defendant was an alcoholic with a history of offending and causing significant disturbance to members of the public in York. Between October 1995 and February 2015, she had been sentenced on 320 occasions for 457 offences. She had been made subject to an on-conviction ASBO but had been guilty of 39 breaches over a period of less than three years. On a further conviction, the prosecution sought a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) – the form of order that has replaced the on-conviction ASBO. A District Judge declined to make the order and the prosecution appealed. The Divisional Court’s judgment contains considerable guidance on the new CBO, the criteria to be applied and the correct approach for courts to take. For the judgment, click here

R v Bolarinwa Odulate
31 July 2015
The defendant was a former social housing officer. She applied for social housing to Richmond Council and was allocated a flat. Her application failed to disclose that she was the owner of a property in Southwark. She had bought the Southwark property under the right to buy and was letting it to tenants. At Kingston Crown Court she pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud and will return to court for sentencing on 14 August 2015. HHJ Hunter told the defendant to expect a custodial sentence of at least three years. For more details, click here

Freifeld v West Kensington Court Ltd
30 July 2015
In deliberate breach of a lease, a property was sublet to tenants without the consent of the landlord. The sub-tenants caused nuisance. The landlord forfeited the lease and sought possession. The tenant applied for relief from forfeiture. A judge dismissed that application. The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal. Even in the case of a deliberate breach there is a discretion to grant relief from forfeiture. In the present case, it would be granted on strict terms. For the judgment, click here

Zammit and Attard Cassar v Malta
30 July 2015
This is the latest in a series of applications made to the European Court of Human Rights by private landlords in Malta complaining of the impact of the rent control regime. The Court found that the regime prevented landlords from making a reasonable return from letting, in breach of Article 1 of the First Protocol. Compensation was awarded. For the judgment, click here

R(Barrett) v Westminster CC
28 July 2015
The claimant applied to the council as homeless. It decided that she was not vulnerable. She applied for a review, submitting additional medical evidence in support. She also applied for accommodation pending the outcome of the review. The council refused to accommodate her. The High Court allowed a claim for judicial review. The council had paid lip service to the Mohammed criteria and had not engaged with the updated medical evidence. The case is only noted on LAWTEL.

Salix Homes v Aaron Marshall
24 July 2015
Salix Homes, a social landlord, sought an injunction against the defendant, one of its tenants, on the grounds of his aggressive and threatening behaviour towards members of staff. At Manchester Civil Justice Centre the defendant agreed to a six month Civil Injunction Order, with power of arrest, which was granted by the judge. For more details, click here

Spielplatz ltd v Pearson
28 July 2015
Tenants leased a plot in a leisure resort with rent payable on an annual basis. They built a chalet on the plot which could not be moved without being totally dismantled. Both the landlord and the tenants believed that the chalet belonged to the tenants. On a claim for possession, the tenants claimed that they had an assured tenancy of a dwelling house. The landlords denied that the tenancy was assured because it was a tenancy of the plot rather than the chalet. Alternatively, the tenancy was a holiday let. The Court of Appeal held that the chalet had become part of the land. The tenancy was assured and was not a holiday let. For the judgment, click here

Complaint against Havering LBC
15 April 2015 (published 22 July 2015)
This complaint was upheld by the Local Government Ombudsman. The council had failed to consider properly if one room in a hostel provided suitable accommodation for several months for a family with an autistic child. The council agreed to apologise to the complainant and pay her £1,000. It also agreed to tell homeless applicants about their review rights. For the investigation report, click here

Complaint against Croydon LBC
7 April 2015 (published 8 July 2015)
The complainant was a vulnerable single adult who had applied to the council as homeless in March 2010. It placed him in temporary accommodation. It did not put him on its housing register but simply closed his case. In October 2013, the council gave different explanations for what had happened, which added to confusion. In response to the Ombudsman’s investigation, the council said that when the application was reopened in 2013, it exercised discretion and awarded an effective date of March 2010 under its social housing allocation scheme as it was not immediately clear why the application was closed. The council agreed to pay £500 for the time and trouble he had been put to in an attempt to clarify the misinformation that was provided to him. The Ombudsman considered that a sufficient remedy. For the report, click here

Birmingham City Council v Bishton
30 June 2015
The council had obtained an anti-social behaviour injunction against the defendant. It prohibited misconduct and excluded him from an area of the city. He broke the injunction four times within a few weeks, twice entering the exclusion zone and twice threatening violence. He was sentenced to six weeks immediate imprisonment for contempt. For the judgment, click here

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Crown Tenancies
In July 2013, the then UK coalition government announced that it would amend the law to ensure that crown tenants are provided with the same statutory rights as the majority of tenants in the private rented sector. This is being taken forward in the Crown Tenancies Bill (see above) which will amend provisions of the Housing Act 1988 to bring crown tenants within the assured tenancy regime. A new onsultation invites comments on the detail of proposed changes. For the consultation paper, click here   Responses should be made by 10 August 2015.

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.

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.

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


Recent Developments in Housing Law Jan Luba QC & Nic Madge [2015] July issue Legal Action magazine. Available in print and on-line for Legal Action subscribers. To read the article, click here

Rising rents Hannah Gousy [2015] The CRISIS Blog 31 July 2015. To read the article, click here

The Hidden Truths Behind Shared Ownership Keith Cooper [2015] The Londonist 31 July 2015 To read the article, click here

Another increase in London rough sleeping underpins need for urgent response to support people off the streets Stephen Holland
[2015] Homeless Link 31 July To read the article, click here

Manchester should be honouring its homeless protesters, not evicting them Ally Fogg [2015] The Guardian 31 July To read the article, click here

I help homeless parents traumatised by losing contact with their children Jennifer Cirone [2015] The Guardian 31 July To read the article, click here

Supreme Court redefines vulnerability in homelessness cases Stuart Hearne [2015] July issue Legal Action magazine. Available in print and on-line for Legal Action subscribers. To read the article, click here

Housing benefit update 2015 Bethan Harris, Desmond Rutledge and Kevin Gannon [2015] July issue Legal Action magazine. Available in print and on-line for Legal Action subscribers. To read the article, click here


10 August 2015
Consultation closes on the Crown Tenancies Bill (see above)

9 October 2015
Lime Legal’s Social Housing Tenancy Agreements Conference 2015 in London. For details click here

16 October 2015
Lime Legal’s Allocations Conference 2015 in London
For details click here


Three Rivers District Council

Housing Allocations Officer

(2 year fixed term contract to end on 18 August 2017)

£21,077 to £23,036 pro rata

16 Hours per week.

Three Rivers District Council in South West Hertfordshire wants to recruit an enthusiastic professional to provide housing advice to customers approaching our Housing Needs service, including customers at risk of homelessness.

Following the Council’s Housing Allocation Policy, the successful candidate would be expected to maintain the Housing Needs Register of applicants. This would include banding applicants on the register, creating and checking advertisements to be advertised on the Herts Choice Homes website and liaising with Registered Providers regarding potential nominees. 

Closing Date: - 12 August 2015 at 5.00pm

Interview Date: - Friday 21 August 2015

To apply go to to download an application pack

For an informal discussion please contact Alan Marsden on 01923 776611

(Applicants selected for an interview will normally be notified within one month of the closing date, and invited for an interview. Unfortunately, due to the administrative costs involved, it will not be possible to notify those not selected for interview.)


Community Care/Housing Solicitor Vacancy

TV Edwards Solicitors LLP are recruiting someone of 0-3 years’ PQE. This vacancy is in our Whitechapel office, we have 3 other offices across London.  Experience in advising clients on all areas of community care, court of protection and homelessness advantageous.

Hours - 9.30 - 5.30 Mon – Fri. 

Salary according to experience.  

Download an application pack at:

Closing date - 17th August 2015

Completed applications together with equality monitoring data must be sent by email to:


Vacancy – Paralegal/Trainee Solicitor

Hopkin Murray Beskine, a long established North London firm of solicitors is looking for two paralegals to assist in our busy housing, public law and/or family teams.

We are looking for candidates with an interest in and enthusiasm for public law and housing work and/or family law work. We provide a collaborative workplace where you will be well supported and supervised by experienced lawyers and have the opportunity to work on a variety of different cases.

You will be expected to work hard, be flexible, produce excellent written work and establish relationships with a range of clients, from privately paying clients to vulnerable homeless people. We expect applicants to have a law degree or to have completed the CPE/GDL. Previous relevant experience is desirable but not essential.

The appointments will be for a fixed term of one year. For candidates who have completed the Legal Practice Course, this will be with a view to a training contract commencing after a year if performance meets expectations.

Closing date: Tuesday 1st September

We expect to interview shortlisted applicants on Tuesday 22nd September.

To apply to join our enthusiastic and successful team, download our application pack at


Housing Solicitors/Caseworkers

Edwards Duthie is a large, well respected firm with a number of offices in East London and Essex.  Named in the Legal 500, we have a diverse range of both privately and publicly funded work

Our Community Law Team has expertise in all areas of social welfare law, including housing & debt, welfare benefits, community care and mental health.  The team has a particularly strong reputation for housing law and has brought a number of significant cases in recent years.  The team is proud to hold Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme contracts with the Legal Aid Agency at Bow, Edmonton and Romford County Courts.

We now wish to recruit experienced housing caseworkers or solicitors to join our Community Law Team.  Successful applicants will have a sound knowledge of housing law and litigation and ideally will have experience of acting as a duty advisor under the LAA’s Housing Possession Court Duty Schemes.

We have dedicated Human Resources, IT and Facilities Teams to develop and support all our legal teams. 

Salary according to experience. 

Applications by CV and covering letter to:

Coral Joyce, Human Resources Manager, at Bank House, 269-275 Cranbrook Road, Ilford IG1 4TG

or by email to

No Agencies please


Housing Team Leader vacancy

Avon and Bristol Law Centre
are looking for an experienced Solicitor / Caseworker with a proven track record in income generation under an LSC/LAA contract to lead the Housing Team as part of our dedicated and friendly staff in our thriving city centre office.

35 hours per week

Salary £32,000

30 days’ leave per year and 7% employer pension contribution

For an application pack go to or telephone 0117 924 8662


Deadline for receipt of applications: 12 noon Monday 24 August 2015

Interviews: Wednesday 2 September 2015


Housing/Community Care Solicitor/Caseworker

Avon and Bristol Law Centre is looking to appoint a Housing/Community Care Solicitor/Caseworker

35 hours per week

We will also consider applications for part-time working in either the housing or community care team.

We are looking for an experienced Solicitor / Caseworker with a proven track record in income generation under an LSC/LAA contract to be part of our dedicated and friendly team in our thriving city centre office.

Salary £30,011 pro-rata

30 days’ leave per year pro-rata and 7% employer pension contribution

For an application pack go to or telephone 0117 924 8662


Deadline for receipt of applications: 12 noon Monday 24 August 2015

Interviews: Wednesday 2 September 2015


South West London Law Centres

Housing Caseworker / Solicitor Vacancy

South West London Law Centres (SWLLC), one of the largest and most progressive Law Centres in the country, is seeking a Housing Solicitor/Caseworker to be based in our Kingston Branch.

There is considerable demand for housing work. There are currently 12 solicitors in the housing team and one trainee. We run a wide range of housing cases covered by Legal Aid including a significant amount of representation work as part of the housing court duty schemes. We are considering looking further at a range of fixed fees and conditional fee agreements for areas that have now gone out of scope of Legal Aid. We are also interested in candidates that can combine their housing experience with any of community care, public law or welfare rights.

We are looking to recruit to cover an existing post for a solicitor is who is retiring and are willing to consider applicants at the start of their career as well as those with significant experience. 

Salary: Up to £33,510 p.a. according to experience (NJC Scale 35)
Reports to: Team Leader
Term: Permanent
Based at: One of our offices in Morden, Kingston, Wandsworth or East Croydon but will be initially based in our Kingston office.

Closing date: noon on 10 August 2015 at 12pm with interviews soon after that.

The post is available for an immediate start. If you would like to discuss the post further, please email

Applications should be made at


Housing Project Worker (part time) YMCA EAST SURREY

Job Purpose:
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.

To apply for this position click here

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