Lime Legal's
Housing Law Week

General Editor: Jan Luba QC

13th May 2015 Update


Policy Issues in Housing Law

Possession claims: tenants without security of tenure and trespassers
Social landlords may well be overlooking the new provisions of the pre-action protocol about bringing possession claims against: tenants who lack security of tenure; failed successors; ex-joint tenants; and squatters. The new provisions took effect on 6 April 2015 and require additional steps to be taken before issuing the claim and in pleading the claim. For the new provisions see para 3.1 on p112 of the New Protocols document, available here

Homelessness: new laws in Wales
The Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (Wales) Order 2015 is in three parts. Part 1 specifies matters which authorities must take into account in determining the suitability of accommodation. Part 2 specifies when B&B and shared accommodation are not suitable to be used for temporary accommodation. Part 3 specifies when private rented sector accommodation is not suitable for discharging the duties under section 75 of the 2014 Act. The Order came into force on 27 April 2015. For a copy, click here  On the same date, the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 (Commencement No. 3 and Transitory, Transitional and Saving Provisions) Order 2015 brought the new statutory homelessness regime into effect in Wales, with the necessary consequential provisions. For a copy of that order, click here

Homelessness: new funding
On 30 April 2015 the UK Government published supplementary information on its prospectus giving background information and guidance for those making bids for the Homelessness Change and Platform for Life Funds. For a copy, click here  Bids, and supporting statements, will need to be submitted by midday on 12 June 2015.

Anti-social behaviour: the new injunctions
The Standing Committee for Youth Justice has published a free guide to the new arrangements for ASB injunctions which came into force in March 2015. For a copy, click here The Crown Prosecution Service has published its detailed approach to the new Criminal Behaviour Orders which replaced on-conviction ASBOs. For that guidance, click here

Anti-social behaviour: punishment for breach of an injunction
Failure to comply with an injunction is a contempt of court. Earlier this year, the Lord Chief Justice issued a new practice direction about the hearing and reporting of contempt applications. For a copy, click here  Among other requirements, all judgments on contempt applications are now transcribed and reported. This will give housing practitioners an opportunity to monitor the sentences being handed-down for breach of anti-social behaviour injunctions. For the cases reported since the practice direction was issued, click here
Housing cases in the Supreme Court
When the Supreme Court hears a case, the proceedings are broadcast live. When it later gives judgment, it does so publicly and reads out a short summary of the case. That too is broadcast live and later available on YouTube. From this month, the Court has made available the recordings of past hearings. This means that the arguments made in recent housing cases can be watched again. For example, to see the argument in the recent Nzolameso appeal, click here For more details of this new, free service, click here

Legal aid in Housing Cases
The Legal Aid Agency plans to introduce mandatory on-line applications for legal aid, in all civil cases (including housing), from October 2015. From the same date, all claims for payment in such cases will have to be made on-line. The Association of Costs Lawyers has produced a new report suggesting that the computer system being rolled-out by the LAA to handle applications and claims is not fit for these purposes. For a copy of the report, click here

Housing & Human Rights
Protecting the Right to Housing in England – A Context of Crisis is a new report from the organisation JustFairUK. It particularly considers UN human rights relating to housing. For a copy, click here

Children, housing and human rights
The organisation Children’s Rights Alliance for England has produced a new free briefing – Children’s human rights and housing. For a copy, click here

Gas safety in social housing
On 5 May 2015 the social housing regulator for England issued a regulatory notice to St Mungo Community Housing Association in respect of its failure to obtain a gas safety certificate for an 83 bed hostel. Although it was a gas safety check of a single property which was overdue, the property had a large number of bed spaces and housed vulnerable residents. The failure was not rectified for a significant period. For a copy of the notice, click here


Housing Laws in the Pipeline  

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 began its deliberations on the Bill on 22 April 2015. It heard evidence from Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, Simon White, the Bill manager in the Welsh Government and Neil Buffin, senior lawyer in the Legal Services section of the Welsh Government. For the transcript of the evidence session, click here The Minister subsequently wrote to the Committee to provide additional information. To read the letter of the 7th May 2015, please click here and scroll to the foot of the page where it is listed under ‘Documents’. On 30 April 2015, the Committee heard evidence from the Law Society and the National Union of Students. For their evidence, click here


Booking now

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Homlessness Conference 2015: Law & Best Practice  
London, 19 June 2015
"Always the best Homelessness Conference of the Year"
(Housing Options Advisor past delegate)

Click here for details


Birmingham City Council v Vincent Caines
8 May 2015
Following complaints of noise nuisance, on 25 November 2014 the council served the defendant with a noise abatement notice for playing loud music on a number of occasions.  Officers executed a warrant on 18 December 2014 and seized audio equipment. Following further nuisance, a second seizure of equipment was made on 9 February 2015. The defendant was found guilty in his absence of two offences of breach of a notice under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. At Birmingham Magistrates’ Court he was fined £1,400 with costs of £1,492. For details of the prosecution, click here

London Fire Brigade v Surinder Rana
1 May 2015
The defendant was the landlord of an HMO. In 2011 there was a serious fire in which one tenant died and many others were rescued. On the day of the fire, brigade inspectors found no fire detectors or smoke alarms, no firefighting equipment and that no proper fire risk assessment was in place for the property. They immediately issued a prohibition notice, preventing use of the property as residential accommodation until fitted with suitable fire separation, adequate fire detection and emergency lighting. At Kingston Crown Court the defendant was sentenced after having been found guilty of four offences as follows: (1) failure to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of risk, £40,000 fine; 200 hours unpaid work (concurrent); (2) failure to appropriately equip premises with fire detection,£40,000 fine; 200 hours unpaid work (concurrent); (3) failure to appropriately equip premises with fire fighting equipment, £40,000 fine; 200 hours unpaid work (concurrent); and (4) failure to ensure that persons can evacuate premises as quickly and safely as possible, £40,000 fine; 200 hours unpaid work (concurrent). In addition to the total fines of £160,000, she was ordered to pay £40,000 prosecution costs. For details of the prosecution, click here

R (Rotherham Action Group Ltd) v Rotherham MBC
30 April 2015
The council proposed that selective licensing should be considered in its area and a formal statutory consultation was undertaken. In July 2014, an Improving Places Commission recommended a landlord-led voluntary scheme as an alternative. A council report in December 2014 considered both the landlord-led voluntary scheme and selective licensing, and recommended the latter. The council then designated four areas for selective licensing with boundaries significantly different from those consulted on and the number of properties covered substantially reduced. The High Court rejected an application for judicial review of that decision. There had been sufficient consultation and proper consideration of alternatives. For the judgment, click here

Manchester CC v Charles Andrew Wenner
30 April 2015
The defendant landlord successfully applied for a licence for his HMO in 2007. When the licence expired in 2012, he claimed the property was no longer licensable as there were fewer than five occupants. When council officers found eight people living at the property, the defendant agreed to submit an application for a licence. The application was incomplete and ineffective. At Manchester Magistrates’ Court, the defendant was fined £15,000 and ordered to pay £1,823.75 costs, with a £120 victim surcharge. For details of the prosecution, click here

HSE v Shepherd’s Bush Housing Association
29 April 2015
The defendant housing association undertook unsafe gas work at a rented property where a pregnant mother lived with her two children. A handyman, who was not registered with Gas Safe Register, was dispatched to cut a gas pipe which was still connected to the supply. At Westminster Magistrates’ Court, on a guilty plea to breaching its responsibilities as an employer under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, the association received a £2,500 fine with £1,000 costs. For details of the prosecution, click here

Boston BC v Raymond Singleton-McGuire
29 April 2015
The defendant was a private landlord of an HMO and a former councillor. The council prosecuted for a total of 25 housing-related offences.  He pleaded guilty to 10 charges relating to his role as a landlord. Lincoln Magistrates’ Court sentenced him to £2,925 in fines, £10,000 in costs and a £90 victim surcharge. For details of the prosecution, click here

R v Helen Gregory
29 April 2015
The defendant operated a number of lettings and estate agencies. An investigation by trading standards found that she received a total of 1,126 tenancy deposits during five years of offending of which some 796 had not been paid into a deposit protection scheme. These deposits totalled £548,747. Of those, deposits to the value of £67,000 had not been repaid. In August 2014 the defendant pleaded guilty to three charges of engaging in unfair commercial practices under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. Sentencing was deferred to enable her to repay the £67,000. She had not done so by the adjourned hearing. At Derby Crown Court she was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment and banned from working as a company director for six years. A proceeds of crime hearing for a confiscation order has been fixed for 10 September 2015. For more details of the prosecution, click here

R (Whapples) v Birmingham Crosscity Clinical Commissioning Group
29 April 2015
The claimant was a housing association tenant with disabilities. She argued that section 3 of the National Health Service Act 2006 and the National Framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare and NHS-Funded Nursing Care 2012 required the CCG to provide or pay for suitable alternative private accommodation into which she could move. The High Court rejected the claim. The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal. The duty claimed did not exist. For the judgment, click here

Guinness Partnership v Gardner
24 April 2015
The defendant was made subject to an injunction ordering her not to cause nuisance, or annoyance or threat or engage in conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance, or to cause noise nuisance so that it could be heard outside the property by banging, shouting, singing and playing loud music and slamming doors. Five days later, she created so much noise that, when a neighbour dialled 999, the noise was clearly heard by the police. The defendant was arrested and produced in court. She explained that she had not realised she was shouting and causing a nuisance because she had drunk eight cans of alcohol. She was sentenced to 28 days immediate imprisonment. For the judgment, click here

Redbridge LBC v Roshan Adam
17 April 2015
The defendant was a secure tenant of the council and received housing benefit. She moved to Lancashire and sublet the property on two occasions to two different sets of tenants. She also continued to claim housing benefit and did not notify the council that she had moved away. She was found guilty of failing to notify a change of circumstances and for sub-letting her home. At Barkingside Magistrates’ Court she was fined £110, with a £20 victim surcharge and £370 costs. The court also made a £1,089 unlawful profit order for the first sublet and £2,944 for the second sublet. For details of the prosecution, click here

Circle Housing Old Ford v Robinson and Murphy
16 April 2015
Mr Murphy was subject to an injunction forbidding him from: using violence against, or threatening
to use violence against, any resident of or visitor to Barley Court; causing any noise that is likely to cause a disturbance to any resident of, or visitor to, Barley Court, being abusive or threatening to any resident of, or visitor to, Barley Court. He later banged on the front door of a neighbour’s flat in Barley Court saying, ‘I am coming for you. Your time is coming.’ When the door was opened he said, ‘My mates are going to get you. I am going to get you. Watch your back.’ On an admission and apology and having spent three days in custody, he was sentenced to 28 days imprisonment suspended for 12 months. Ms Robinson was found to be in contempt of an injunction expressed in the same terms. She had initially denied breach. The first incident involved her punching a neighbour in the face, digging her nails into his neck and scratching him. She had committed the second breach while facing committal for the first. Following five nights in custody, she was sentenced to 14 days further immediate imprisonment. For the judgment, click here

KR v City and County of Swansea
16 April 2015
The claimant had been overpaid housing benefit. Initially, this was because of official error. A tribunal found that the whole overpayment was recoverable because the claimant could reasonably have known of the error. The Upper Tribunal allowed an appeal in respect of the period from the start of the award down to receipt of the council’s decision notice on the award.  The judge said, ‘If in an “official error” case, as here, the sole basis for the claimant being reasonably expected to realise he is being overpaid is the decision notice, axiomatically that expectation cannot arise before he or she has received the notice and read it. Here it is conceded that that date was 30 January 2014, and accordingly the overpayment is only recoverable from then.’ The judge pointed out that this ‘is a not infrequent error made by local authorities and the First-tier Tribunal’. For the judgment, click here

Hudorovič v Slovenia
8 April 2015
The applicants live in an informal Roma settlement together with some 80 people. The land – on which the Roma community settled 30 years ago – is owned by the local council. The applicants live in a caravan and have no access to basic infrastructure such as water, sewage, sanitation and electricity. They collect water from the cemetery or the nearby polluted water stream or else they acquire it from other houses. Moreover, due to the lack of sanitation services, the applicants have to use the area around the caravan for defecation; hence, they cannot maintain their privacy, dignity or an appropriate level of hygiene, all of which contributes to frequent health problems. The European Court of Human Rights has invited the parties to consider whether there is a violation of Article 3 and/or Article 8 of the Convention on account of the applicants’ living conditions. For the Court’s statement of facts, click here

Adur & Worthing Council v Frank Scanlon
27 March 2015
The defendant was a private landlord operating an HMO in the council’s district. He was interviewed under caution and made aware of the mandatory licensing scheme. He was then given an opportunity to apply for the correct property licence but chose not to do so. Worthing Magistrates’ Court imposed a fine of £7000. For details of the prosecution, click here

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Leaseholder redress
On 26 March 2015, the UK Government launched a consultation exercise on including information about the right for residential leaseholders to seek redress against their property manager (from the government approved redress scheme to which their manager belongs), as part of the existing prescribed Summaries of Rights and Obligations sent to leaseholders with demands for service charges and administration charges. For the consultation paper, click here  Responses should be made by 22 May 2015.

Recognising Tenants’ Associations
On 23 March 2015, the UK Government launched a consultation exercise to consider what more can be done through guidelines to assist the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal when considering an application for recognition of a tenants’ association.  For the consultation paper, click here   Responses should be made by 22 May 2015.

Stock increases and LSVT landlords
On 13 March 2015, the UK Government launched a consultation seeking proposals and ideas on how it can help stock transfer housing associations borrow more to build additional homes. For the consultation paper, click here Responses should be made by 31 May 2015.

A new Ombudsman?
On 25 March 2015, the UK Government launched a consultation exercise about proposals to absorb the roles of the Housing Ombudsman and the Local Government Ombudsman into the jurisdiction of a new Public Service Ombudsman for England. For the consultation paper, click here. For the Gordon report, on which the proposals are based, click here  Responses should be made by 16 June 2015. For initial responses to the consultation from the housing sector, click here


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

London council (Wandsworth) in 'social cleansing' row over bid to move tenants to Birmingham Nadia Khomami[2015] Guardian 6 May. To read the article, click here

Joint liability and lease guarantors Mark Pawlowski[2015] Property Law Journal Issue No.331 p19. To read the article, click here

Losing your home: one day at Coventry County Court  Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi[2015] 5 May. To read the article, click here

Politicians and campaigners call to stem the 'shameful' exodus of the poor from LondonDaniel Douglas [2015] The Independent 30 April. To read the article, click here



13 May 2015
Supreme Court hands down judgment in three appeals concerned with “vulnerability” and homelessness. For the judgments, click here

22 May 2015
Closing date for consultations on Leaseholder redress and on Recognising Tenant’s Associations (see above)

31 May 2015
Closing date for consultation on Enhancing stock for LSVT social landlords (see above)

1 June 2015
The law relating to gang injunctions will be changed by the commencement of the Serious Crimes Act 2015 section 51.

19 June 2015
Homelessness Conference 2015: Law & Best Practice (Lime Legal) in London – for further details click here

25 June 2015
Social Housing Law & Practice Conference 2015 (Lime Legal) in London – for further details click here



Housing Law Solicitor (full time) – Tower Hamlets Law Centre
Tower Hamlets Law Centre is seeking to appoint a full time Housing Law Solicitor. The post is for an initial 6 months with a view to it becoming permanent subject to funding.

We have a Legal Aid Agency Contract that covers legal help and certificated cases and representation at court as part of the duty solicitor scheme.  The post holder will cover an existing case load and must have three years experience of advising and assisting in all areas of housing law as stated above (not all of this experience need be post qualification). 

If you are interested in the post, please request an application pack at: 

Recruitment contact is Vicente Ciórraga, please email:

Tower Hamlets Law Centre is committed to equal opportunities; we welcome applications from all sections of the community.

The closing date for applications is Sunday 17th May 2015 and interviews are scheduled for Thursday 21st May 2015.

Salary: up to £29,542.60 (negotiable)

Location: Tower Hamlets

Address: St Anne’s Unit 2, 789-791 Commercial Road, London E14 7HG.

Take advantage of the opportunity to advertise your job vacancies here FREE
Call us on 01249 701555 or email details of the vacancy to

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