Lime Legal's
Housing Law Week

General Editor: Jan Luba QC

24th June 2015 Update

You can still book for tomorrow’s
Social Housing Law & Practice Conference 2015
(London, Thursday 25 June 2015)

The Programme

  • The Housing Manager in Court – invaluable guidance on court procedure, rights of audience, evidence, costs, appeals and much more.
  • Tenancy Fraud: including sub-letting and right to buy fraud
  • Thorny Problems and Solutions: succession, joint tenancy problems, safety inspection difficulties and possession cases
  • ASB Update: the new cases, powers, procedures and legislation
  • What’s on the Horizon? – important changes you need to plan for now
  • Ask the Experts: Two Q&A panel sessions to raise questions with the experts

The Speakers:

  • Jan Luba QC (Garden Court Chambers),
  • Peter Marcus (Zenith Chambers),
  • Katrina Robinson (Viridian Housing) and
  • Michael Owen (Capsticks)

Don’t miss out - book today
For further details click here
Downloadable brochure and order form click here
To book online click here


Pets in Rented Housing
Beyond the provisions of the Allotments Act 1950 section 12 (hens and rabbits), there are few legal provisions dealing with tenants keeping pets. Mid Devon Council has published a full Pets and Animals policy for its tenanted stock that is particularly detailed e.g. “Larger fish, (for example sting rays) in tanks will require permission from us”. For a copy of the policy, click here

Tenancy deposits
The Deregulation Act 2015 was passed on 23 March 2015. Section 32 gave private landlords a further 90 days to protect certain deposits held in relation to tenancies starting before April 2007. The 90 days expired yesterday. For a copy of the notice issued by the Association of Residential Letting Agents in the lead-up to the deadline, click here

Housing and anti-social behaviour
On 16 June 2015, the Legal Aid Agency published guidance on the legal aid funding of civil contempt cases – most commonly those in which social landlords apply to commit for breach of injunctions related to anti-social behaviour. To access the guidance, click here

Right to Buy
On 9 June 2015, the House of Commons Library published a new briefing explaining the Government's proposal to extend the Right to Buy to assured tenants of housing associations. For a copy, click here  On 12 June 2015, it produced a briefing providing a comparison of Right to Buy policies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. For a copy of that, click here

Regulating social housing
On 19 June 2015, the regulator of social housing in England (the Homes & Communities Agency) published Regulating the Standards which sets out “the approach the social housing regulator takes to regulation, what providers can expect of us and how we ensure standards are being met”. For a copy, click here

Council relationships with housing associations
A new report from the Smith Institute explores the actuality of working relationships between local authorities and housing associations. For a copy of Working together – thinking alike: what do councils and local enterprise partnerships expect from housing associations? click here

Growing the private rented sector
On 12 June 2015, the House of Commons library published a new briefing paper setting out measures taken by the Government, and policy proposals from those within the private rented sector, to increase the supply of privately rented properties in England. For a copy, click here

Housing problems
Citizens Advice has published the results of eight local studies of housing market failures around England and Wales: Dispatches from the front lines of the housing crisis.  Last year, Citizens Advice helped 80,000 people with housing issues, and debt issues due to private rental arrears increased by 8%. For a copy of the new report on the local studies, click here

Housing in Parliament
Housing was selected as the topic for an Opposition Day debate in the House of Commons on 10 June 2015. For the record of the debate, click here On the same day, Mr Philip Hollobone MP (Kettering) (Con) initiated a Westminster Hall debate about the “difficulties being caused to my constituents by Gypsies and Travellers, whether they are travelling or have decided to set up permanent pitches in the countryside”. For the record of that debate, click here

Supply of Social Housing in England
The latest statistics on the supply of social housing in England have been published by the regulator of social housing (the Homes & Communities Agency). They show that in 2014-15 construction started on 1,264 homes for Social Rent, a decrease of 57 per cent on 2013-14. In the same year, 3,139 homes for Social Rent were completed, a decrease of 30 per cent on 2013-14. For the full figures, click here  For the numbers of ‘affordable’ housing units delivered in each local authority district between 2010 to 2011 and 2014 to 2015, click here

Social Housing & Welfare Reform
The National Housing Federation has published the latest issue of its Welfare Reform Newsletter describing the impacts of upcoming changes on social landlords and their tenants. For a copy, click here  The latest DWP statistics show that 110,890 people had made a claim for Universal Credit by 28 May 2015. For a copy of those statistics, click here

Councils acting as private landlords
To prevent council funds being spent on providing accommodation for the homeless in bed & breakfast and private rented accommodation, Bournemouth Borough Council has decided to acquire a portfolio of some 60 properties at a cost of approximately £10 million over a period of three years. Under the arrangements, the properties would not become part of the council’s housing stock but would be held through a council-owned landlord company. For more details, click here.



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

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 when 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 that evidence session, click here The Minister subsequently wrote to the Committee to provide additional information. To read the letter of the 7 May 2015, 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  On 6 May 2015 evidence was given by the Chartered Institute of Housing, Community Housing Cymru, Welsh Local Government Association, Cymorth Cymru, Tai Pawb and the Residential Property Tribunal (Wales). For that evidence, click here On 14 May 2015 the Committee heard from the Country Land and Business Association, Guild of Residential Landlords, National Landlords Association, Residential Landlords Association, Association of Residential Letting Agents, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Citizens Advice Cymru and Shelter Cymru. For that evidence, click here On the same date, the Minister wrote to the Committee addressing a number of issues raised by the Bill, including its compatibility with Articles 6 and 8 of Human Rights Act 1998 Sch 1. For that letter, click here and scroll to the foot of the page where it is listed under ‘Documents’. For the evidence submitted by the Housing Law Practitioners Association, click here To watch Justin Bates presenting HLPA’s evidence on 20 May 2015, click here and to read the transcript of his evidence, click here    On 20 May 2015, at the final evidence session, the Committee heard again from the Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty. For that evidence session, click here  On 9 June 2015, the Minister wrote to the Committee about the cost of training lawyers to become familiar with the Bill’s provisions. For a copy of that letter, click here and scroll to the foot of the page where it is listed under ‘Documents’.



R(Alemi) v Westminster City Council
22 June 2015
The council operated a choice-based letting scheme. The only applicants on its housing register were those in the groups entitled to a ‘reasonable preference’ under Housing Act 1996 Part 6. The council decided to amend its allocation scheme so that those applicants to whom it owed the statutory homelessness duties could not bid for 12 months after joining the register. The High Court quashed the amendment because it amounted to depriving those applicants of any chance of getting social housing for that period. It meant they had no preference when they should have had a reasonable preference. For the judgment, click here For a commentary, click here

R(Faizi) v Brent LBC

17 June 2015
Ms Faizi was homeless. The council owed her the main housing duty. In performance of that, it offered her temporary accommodation. She refused the offer. The council decided that the refusal ended its duty and that decision was upheld on review. Ms Faizi lodged an appeal and asked the council to accommodate her pending the appeal. It declined. Ms Faizi applied for a judicial review, contending that the main housing duty continued until a court of law finally resolved the dispute between her and the council as to whether it had lawfully ended. The High Court refused permission to claim judicial review. The Housing Act expressly ended the main housing duty on refusal of an offer and gave councils a power to accommodate pending reviews and appeals. It was nor arguable that the main duty automatically continued until the outcome of an appeal. The judgment is noted on LAWTEL and WESTLAW. For a commentary on it, click here

Ealing Council v Ijaz Qayum
15 June 2015
The defendant applied to the council for assistance as a homeless person and was provided with council housing. He claimed housing benefit to pay his rent. In fact, he had throughout owned a property elsewhere and let it to tenants. He pleaded guilty to making a false representation, failing to promptly declare a change in circumstances, and failing to disclose information. There were six offences of housing and benefit fraud in all. At Isleworth Crown Court he was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment. Possession of the council home has been recovered and an application to confiscate assets is set for hearing in October 2015. For details of the prosecution, click here

Birmingham Council v Ultrabarn Plc
11 June 2015
The defendant company had failed to apply for licences for three HMO properties in the council’s area. At Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, the company was fined £1,500 for each of the three offences, plus £500 each for seven breaches of HMO management regulations. It was also ordered to pay costs of £2,631 and a victim surcharge of £120. For details of the prosecution, click here

Greenwich Council v Siteworth Ltd and Mr Timothy Knight
9 June 2015
The first defendant owned a property in the council’s area which it let to tenants. Mr Knight was its director. Council officers found that the property was occupied by single people and had been split into eight individual bedsit units. Its condition amounted to serious breaches of housing management regulations. At Bexleyheath Magistrates’ Court, the company pleaded guilty to nine consolidated offences and Mr Knight accepted a caution. Penalties imposed amounted to £19,720. For details of the prosecution, click here

Southward Housing Co-op Ltd v Walker & Hay
8 June 2015
The defendants were tenants of a fully mutual housing co-op. The tenants fell into arrears. The Co-op issued notice to quit and sought possession. The High Court granted the order. The tenancy was neither secure nor assured. The absence of statutory protection did not amount to a breach of the tenants’ Article 8 rights. There was no available defence to the possession claim. For the judgment, click here

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

Housing benefit and the PRS Dr Stephen Battersby [2015] UK Housing Professionals Forum Blog 16 June. To read the article, click here

The election has finally opened Tory eyes to the disaster of the bedroom tax Hannah Fearn [2015] The Guardian 19 June. To read the article, click here

Section 204A Homelessness Appeals – No Right of Appeal At All William Flack [2015] Blog. To read the article, click here

Experts encourage more social housing investment as a way to lower welfare bill John Perry [2015] Guardian Housing Network 19 June. To read the article, click here

'I escaped domestic abuse – only to find my sanctuary was more like a prison' Tamsin Rutter [2015] Guardian Housing Network 17 June. To read the article, click here

Reduced benefit cap would make many areas off-limits for larger families [2015] CIH Blog 22 June. To read the article, click here


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

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