Lime Legal's
Housing Law Week

General Editor: Jan Luba QC

20th May 2015 Update


Homelessness Conference Programme will include "the Big Three"
Lime Legal's Homelessness Conference 2015 (London, 19 June 2015) will cover the implications of all three of the much anticipated Supreme Court judgments: Nzolameso (out of borough placements), Johnson/Kanu/Hotak (vulnerability) AND Haile (intentional homelessness) - and much more.

You REALLY don't want to miss this year's conference.

Book Your Place Now!

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Policy Issues in Housing Law

New ministerial team
Following the general election, the new Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government is Greg Clark MP. For his details, click here The UK Housing Minister remains Brandon Lewis MP. For his details, click here  The relevant minister in the House of Lords is Baroness Williams of Trafford. For her details, click here  

Possession claims by landlords
The latest quarterly statistics on possession claims brought by landlords in the county courts in England and Wales show that there were 11,307 repossessions by county court bailiffs in January to March 2015 in landlord-initiated claims. During the three month period, that amounts to almost 1,000 evictions a week. The total is up 8% compared to the same quarter last year. For the full figures, click here

Homelessness: new laws in Wales
Although the law relating to homelessness in Wales changed on 27 April 2015, the relevant regulations have only belatedly been published. For the Homelessness (Intentionality) (Specified Categories) (Wales) Regulations 2015, click here  For the Homelessness (Review Procedure) (Wales) Regulations 2015, click here

Regulating social landlords
The regulator for social landlords in England (the Homes & Communities Agency) has published a new guide giving an overview of its role and objectives. For a copy, click here

Security of tenure in social housing
A new House of Commons Library briefing paper gives a useful update on the facts and policy issues relating to the use of fixed term tenancies in social housing.  For a copy, click here

Anti-social behaviour: the new injunctions
The registered provider Salix Homes has reported several recent applications it has made for civil injunctions using the new Part 1 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014. Applications were successfully made against three tenants who had acted in a threatening manner towards their neighbours and to Salix Homes’ employees. For more details, click here

Rents in social housing
A helpful analysis of the so-called ‘affordable' rents in social housing, and all the facts relating to them, are reviewed in a new House of Commons Library briefing paper. For a copy, click here

Anti-social behaviour: punishment for breaches of injunctions
Another crop of reports of the outcomes of applications to commit for contempt of housing-related injunctions has been added to the Judiciary website pages. To view them, click here

Legal aid in housing/community care cases
In April 2015, the Care Act 2014 Part 1 came into effect – making new community care provision for adults. Legal advisers with Housing contracts from the Legal Aid Agency can assist clients with issues under Part 1 if the client is homeless or threatened with homelessness. That is the result of LASPO Act 2012 Schedule 1 paras 6 and 28. Para 6 was amended by para 96 of the Schedule to the Care Act 2014 and Children and Families Act 2014 (Consequential Amendments) Order 2015. For a copy of that Order, click here

Tenants who work from home
Section 35 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 is intended to remove the incentive for landlords to include an absolute covenant against business use in residential tenancies – and thereby facilitate the operation of home businesses. It does so by establishing a new concept of the “home business”, which may be carried on without the home coming within the ambit of the security of tenure provisions of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954 Part 2. Section 35 will be brought into force separately in each of England and Wales. For a copy of the 2015 Act, click here

Fire safety in blocks of flats
What advice should social landlords give tenants about what to do if a fire breaks out in their block of flats? The London Fire Brigade has published excellent guidance (for tenants and landlords). For a copy, click here  For a recent incident providing an illustration of how the guidance can help save lives, click here

Right to Buy
A new House of Commons Library briefing paper reviews the four different approaches to the right to buy social housing being taken in the four UK countries. For a copy, click here

Housing Benefit
The DWP has released the latest statistics showing the number of Housing Benefit claimants and the average weekly spare room subsidy amount (‘bedroom tax’) withdrawal by region and local authority. For the figures, click here

Welfare reform and social housing
A new report – Easing the burden: The impact of welfare reform on local government and the social housing sector – considers how local welfare reform has developed over the past two years from the local authority and social housing point of view. It is concerned with: (1) the impact of reform on the strategy, finances and administration of local authorities and their partners, including housing associations; and (2) the impact on welfare recipients to the extent that this has direct consequences for local authorities and housing associations. For copy of the report, 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 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 7 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  For the evidence submitted by the Housing Law Practitioners Association, click here



Brown v Haringey LBC
14 May 2015
Mr Brown lived with a woman who was a secure council tenant. A possession order was made for arrears of rent and anti-social behaviour. An injunction was also granted, with a power of arrest, prohibiting them both from committing various acts of nuisance and anti-social behaviour. Mr Brown was arrested for alleged breaches. The judge gave directions for a committal hearing some four weeks later (after the eviction had been carried out). Mr Brown attended but was unrepresented, having tried but failed to obtain legal aid. The case ran over to a second day when he failed to appear. The judge found a large number of breaches proven. Mr Brown was sentenced to 18 months immediate imprisonment in his absence. His appeal was allowed. The judge had not adequately considered whether he wanted representation and why he had not got legal aid and should have adjourned either the hearing or the sentencing. The Court of Appeal directed an immediate release and set out the inadequate and tortuous arrangements for legal aid funding for committal applications in the county court. For the judgment, click here For a commentary, click here

Johnson v Solihull MBC, Hotak v Southwark LBC and Kanu v Southwark LBC
13 May 2015
Mr Johnson was a single homeless man with a history of drug abuse and incarceration. Mr Hotak and Mr Kanu were homeless disabled men dependent on the help of other members of their households. Applying the Pereira test, the councils decided none was ‘vulnerable’. The Supreme Court decided that the Pereira test did not correctly state the law on vulnerability. It had led to statistical comparisons between applicants and street homeless people. The correct question was whether an applicant was at greater risk of harm than an ordinary person who might become homeless. If the applicant was disabled or had another protected characteristic, the council also had to take into account the public sector equality duty under the Equality Act 2010 in making that assessment. A council was, however, entitled to have regard to the availability of help on which the applicant could call (whether from his family or otherwise). For the judgments, click here For a commentary, click here

RCT Homes v Lewis
8 May 2015
Mr Lewis was subject to an injunction prohibiting him from causing anti-social behaviour. In breach of the order, and while intoxicated, he used foul and abuse language and caused a female to believe that he would sexually assault her. On the landlord’s application to commit for contempt, he failed to attend and was sentenced in his absence to six months’ imprisonment. The judge directed that he be produced on arrest. On his production, the defendant apologised for his failure to attend and for his breach of the order. His sentence was reduced to four months. He was unrepresented because he had had difficulties obtaining legal aid. For the judgment, click here

R v Seun Alliu and Dora Vasas
6 May 2015
The first defendant worked in an estate agency. At Kingston Crown Court, he pleaded guilty to eight offences, including: retaining a £900 tenancy deposit instead of paying it into a protection scheme, retaining £1,425 from renting out the same property, and five offences of making false tenancy applications by forging tenants' annual turnovers and profits (in the name of senior accountants) to obtain references. The second defendant was his girlfriend. She pleaded guilty to seven counts of forging tenants' financial details to obtain references. The alleged purpose of the false tenancy applications was to secure properties that were to be turned into cannabis factories and brothels. The prosecution will now decide whether to press for trial on further charges which were denied. For details of the prosecution, click here

SSWP v Glasgow CC
6 May 2015
A tenant was entitled to housing benefit. The council decided that she had a spare bedroom for the purposes of applying the ‘bedroom tax’ regulation. She appealed. A tribunal allowed the appeal on the basis that what had been a bedroom had become a living room due the tenant’s needs relating to her disability. The Secretary of State appealed. The Upper Tribunal dismissed the appeal. The tribunal had made no error of law. For the judgment, click here   For a commentary on it, click here

Enfield Council v Yasmine Maya

29 April 2015
The defendant was a tenant of a social landlord, London & Quadrant. She claimed housing benefit from the council. The landlord became suspicious that she was not living at her flat and a joint investigation was undertaken with the council. It found that the property had been unlawfully sublet by the defendant who had represented herself to her subtenants as the owner. It also uncovered a benefit fraud to the value of £42,000 from failure to declare income from employment as well as savings held in undeclared bank accounts. The defendant pleaded guilty to subletting her flat and to benefit fraud charges. At Wood Green Crown Court, she received a sentence of 16 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and was ordered to undertake 250 hours of unpaid work. Possession of the flat was recovered. For details of the prosecution, click here

Patel v Mussa
29 April 2015
The parties agreed to compromise a dispute. Mr Patel applied to enforce the agreement. His application was dismissed by a district judge. He applied for permission to appeal. That application was dismissed by a circuit judge. He tried to appeal to the Court of Appeal. It held that there was no inherent jurisdiction to entertain an appeal from the county court against the refusal of permission to appeal by that court, whatever the circumstances. The only recourse would (exceptionally) be an application for judicial review. For the judgment, click here

Westminster CC v Ziad Nassif
21 April 2015
The defendant was a letting agent operating two companies as sole director – London Room Let Ltd and Landlord Direct Investments Ltd. Their websites and literature falsely displayed logos indicating membership of six trade associations of which they were not in fact members (including National Association of Estate Agents, National Approved Letting Scheme, SAFEagent and the Ombudsman Service). At Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the defendant pleaded guilty to breaching the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008. Fines and costs totalling £1,860 were awarded against the companies and their director. For further details of the prosecution, click here

Hastings BC v Braear Developments Ltd
21 April 2015
Where work is required to the common parts of a block of flats, to remedy a category 1 hazard, should the improvement notice be served by the council on the owner, the landlord, the tenants, or their management company? The Upper Tribunal quashed an improvement notice and gave guidance on the correct legal position. For the judgment, click here

Gošović v Croatia
17 April 2015
The applicant is the landlord of a flat. A court refused to order the protected tenant living in the flat to vacate it and ordered that the tenant only had to pay a protected rent much lower than the market rent. The European Court of Human Rights has asked the government to consider whether this amounts to a violation of the applicant’s right to peaceful enjoyment of his possessions guaranteed by Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention. For the statement of facts, click here

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Lime Legal's
Social Housing Law & Practice Conference 2015 
London, 25 June 2015
"I've worked in housing for many years and I've learned a lot today"
(Housing Manager past delegate)

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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

A guide for housing associations to your new safeguarding obligations Imogen Parry [2015] NHF blog 12 May. To read the article, click here

Temporary accommodation fears after homelessness ruling Heather Spurr [2015] Inside Housing 13 May. To read the article, click here

Without a U-turn the homeless will be the biggest victims of the Conservative victory Heather Spurr [2015] New Statesman 13 May. To read the article, click here

The High Court on selective licensing Jonathan Manning and Justin Bates [2015] Local Government Lawyer 7 May. To read the article, click here

Social landlords expect cuts to trigger new wave of homelessness Patrick Butler [2015] Guardian 17 May. To read the article, click here

Out of borough placements: the Supreme Court view Trevor Watt [2015] Local Government Lawyer 30 April. To read the article, click here

No second bite at the cherry (commentary on Werrett v Evesham & Pershore Housing Association) Dean Underwood [2015] Local Government Lawyer 23 April. To read the article, click here

Hoarding brakes Victoria Power [2015] Inside Housing 11 May. To read the article, click here

Deep-rooted vested interests are to blame for our housing crisis Christian Hilber [2015] LSE politics blog 5 May. To read the article, click here

How will a Conservative government affect housing in London? Richard Brown [2015] Guardian Housing Network 15 May. To read the article, click here

DCLG bars release of Right to Buy analysis Peter Apps [2015] Inside Housing 14 May. To read the article, click here

£800m shortfall on social housing in London since 2011 revealed George Arnett [2015] Guardian Housing Network 12 May. To read the article, click here

Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013: 18 months on Trevor Watt [2015] Local Government Lawyer 23 April. To read the article, click here



20 May 2015
Supreme Court hands down judgment in an appeal concerned with intentional homelessness: Haile v Waltham Forest LBC. For the judgment, click here

22 May 2015
Closing date for consultations on Leaseholder redress and on Recognising Tenants' 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 Crime 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



Assistant Solicitor Vacancy with Lester Morrill Solicitors
Assistant Solicitor, 2-4 PQE, with expertise in Housing Law to conduct a mixed caseload of Legal Aid and privately funded work within the firm’s Social Welfare Law department. Caseload includes work on the Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme. Experience of Public Law and Community Care Law desirable.  Apply with CV and salary expectations to Helen Butterworth, Lester Morrill, 27 Park Square West, Leeds, by email to (direct applications only: strictly no canvassers). Lester Morrill Solicitors is committed to equal opportunities.
Closing date: 4 June 2015.

Southwark Law Centre Vacancy for a Director
Salary: £40,896 to £47,283, NJC Spinal Point 43 – 50
Post requires an in depth understanding of the role of Law Centres in the provision of legal services and access to justice. Knowledge of the legal/advice sector and the problems facing the community served by the Law Centre is essential. With the support of the Trustee Board and management team, applicants will need to have the ability to lead the organisation, plan and deliver for the future.  Role includes responsibility for securing funding, delivering contracts and projects and developing existing strong partnerships.

For further details, Terms and conditions and an application pack click here

Closing Date: 1 June 2015 (5 pm)

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