Lime Legal's
Housing Law Week

General Editor: Jan Luba QC

25 March 2015 Update


Policy Issues in Housing Law

Anti-social behaviour and housing (1)
On Monday 23 March 2015, the new injunction provisions in Part 1 of the Anti-social Behaviour etc Act 2014 came into force. The intention had been that such cases would routinely be heard by district judges in the county courts. But the list of the types of injunction application which district judges have jurisdiction to hear has not been updated in time (CPR PD 2B para 8.1(d)). To check the latest version of that list, click here Until it is updated, the county courts will need to consider how best to allocate such applications.

Anti-social behaviour and housing (2)
A new Order, which came into force on 18 March 2015, makes provision for a local authority to authorise a housing provider, to issue community protection notices under section 43 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing 2014 Act and fixed penalty notices (section 52). For a copy of the Order, click here

Private renting (1)
On 13 March 2015, the UK Government published Renting a safe home: A guide for tenants. For a copy click here

Private renting (2)
On 20 March 2015, a Commons Select Committee published a new report on banning letting agents from charging fees to tenants. The Committee found that evidence from the existing ban in Scotland was not strong enough to reach a view on the likely effect of any ban in England. The Committee called for the next Government to ensure they base their policy towards banning agents' fees on evidence of its net impact on tenants' costs and the private rented market. For the report, click here

Private renting (3)
On 19 March 2015, the Minister for Housing announced the allocation of funding to fire and rescue authorities to offer free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. The £3m will be used to fund around 445,000 smoke and 40,000 carbon monoxide alarms, which will be free to private sector landlords whose properties currently do not have alarms. For more details, click here Fitting such alarms in rented accommodation becomes compulsory in October 2015 under new regulations. For the draft of those regulations, click here For the memorandum explaining them, click here
Private renting (4)
On 18 March 2015, the Budget Statement 2015 was released. It includes these provisions relating to the private rented sector:

"2.233 Model tenancy agreement - The government will amend its model agreement for an assured shorthold tenancy by summer 2015, to provide that tenants in private rented accommodation can request their landlord's permission to sub-let or otherwise share space, on a short-term basis.

2.234 Responsibilities of landlords in dealing with requests to sub-let and share space - The government will look to clarify and strengthen private residential landlords' legal responsibilities when considering requests from tenants to sub-let, and will look to extend these responsibilities to requests from tenants on the sharing of space more generally.

2.235 Sub-letting and sharing space in private fixed-term and periodic tenancies - The government intends to legislate on preventing the use of clauses in private fixed-term residential tenancy agreements that expressly rule out sub-letting or otherwise sharing space on a short-term basis, and will consider extending this to statutory periodic tenancies. This will ensure that landlords always have to consider tenants' requests reasonably."

Homelessness (1)
In a statement issued on 19 March 2015 Local Government Ombudsman reported that it is needing to investigate fewer complaints about families living in unsuitable bed and breakfast accommodation, but that the issue has not disappeared. For a copy of the statement, click here

Homelessness (2)
Each year, 12,000 young homeless people aged 16 or 17 apply to local housing authorities for assistance. A new report from The Children's Society finds that many are failed. For a copy of the report, click here

Homelessness (3)
The London homelessness social impact bond project was launched in November 2012. It was designed to bring in additional finance to support innovative services aimed at improving outcomes for a cohort of 830 persistent rough sleepers. For the second interim report from the qualitative evaluation of the project, click here

Housing benefit
On 17 March 2015, the DWP released its latest Housing Benefit Bulletin (G3/2015). For a copy, click here

National housing policy
In a statement to the House of Commons on 20 March 2015, the Minister for Housing reported on progress with the UK coalition Government's various housing initiatives. For the statement, click here The House of Commons Library has produced a useful Briefing Note that collates public commitments made on housing policy by the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP and the Green Party ahead of the publication of the parties' 2015 election manifestos. For a copy,click here

Shared ownership
On 19 March 2015, as part of a package of measures associated with the Budget, the Secretary of State for Communities announced that the UK Government plans to simplify and speed up the process for the resale of shared ownership properties, by removing the right of first refusal for housing providers - known as the pre-emption right - where someone has managed to purchase the full 100% share to buy their property outright. For the full announcement, click here

Social housing
The UK Government has published a new report on tenant involvement with social landlords: Tenants Leading Change - An investment not a cost: The business benefits of tenant involvement. For a summary, click here For the full report, click here

Mobile homes
The UK Government has published new advice for council officers on handling applications for the grant or transfer of a licence to operate a mobile home site. For a copy, click here

Selling council housing
On 20 March 2015, the UK Government published a summary of responses and the government's response to its consultation on proposed amendments to the Local Authorities (Capital Finance and Accounting) (England) Regulations 2003 in relation to the use of capital receipts from sales and/or stock transfer of council housing. For a copy click here

Housing Laws in the Pipeline  

Housing Ombudsman (Power to Settle Disputes between Neighbours and Tenants) Bill
This new Private Members Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 3 March 2015. It would provide a discretionary power to enable the Housing Ombudsman to attempt to resolve disputes between occupants of neighbouring properties in cases where nuisance is caused by tenants. For the initial debate on the Bill, click here A second reading has been scheduled for 27 March 2015. To follow the Bill's progress, click here Since the Commons is not sitting on 27 March 2015, the Bill will not progress further.

Household Safety (Carbon Monoxide Detectors) Bill
This Private Members Bill would introduce a requirement that a functioning carbon monoxide detector be installed in all newly built and all rented residential properties. A second reading has been put back to 27 March 2015. For a copy of the Bill, click here For details of the progress of the Bill, click here Since the Commons is not sitting on 27 March 2015, the Bill will not progress further.

Private Rented Sector (Decent Homes Standard) Bill
This Private Members Bill would require private landlords to ensure that any property they let meets the requirements of the Decent Homes Standard. It is moved by Conservative MP Laura Sandys. For her description of the Bill's proposals, click here For the debate on its introduction, click here For more details of the Bill itself, click here The Second Reading had been scheduled for Friday 6 March 2015 but the Bill was not moved and will progress no further.

Carers Bedroom Entitlement (Social Housing Sector) Bill
This Private Members Bill is now scheduled to have its second reading debate on 27 March 2015. It would provide that people in receipt of Universal Credit and Housing Benefit and accommodated in the social housing sector should be entitled to an additional bedroom related to caring responsibilities or overnight care. For a copy of the Bill, click here For more details of the progress of the Bill, click here Because the Commons is not sitting on 27 March 2015, the Bill will not progress further.

Consumer Rights Bill
This is a government bill that relates to housing by: (1) repealing and replacing laws dealing with unfair terms in tenancy agreements and other contracts; and (2) requiring letting agents to publish their fees. For more details about the bill and its progress, click here The bill has completed its House of Lords stages and the final consideration of Lords Amendments by the House of Commons took place on 9 March 2015. Royal Assent is expected shortly. The Act is then expected to come into force in October 2015. The UK Government is consulting on the draft guidance it proposes to issue on the new unfair terms provisions. For the consultation papers, click here 

Deregulation Bill
This is a UK Government bill that relates to housing by: (1) reducing the qualifying period for right to buy; (2) removing the power to require preparation of housing strategies; and (3) amending the law on tenancy deposits. It was scheduled for further and final consideration in the Lords on 16 March 2015. For more details about the bill and its progress, click here For the Government amendments passed on 11 February 2015 inserting provisions relating to retaliatory eviction into the Bill (and to achieve the other changes described above), click here For the Bill as it appears with the amendments included, 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 There is a consultation exercise associated with the content of the Bill, see below.


R (SG) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
18 March 2015
The Supreme Court has decided (by a 3:2 majority) that the regulations introducing the total household benefit cap, primarily implemented by restrictions on housing benefit, were not unlawfully made. For a summary of the reasons, click here For the full judgment, click here

Nzolameso v City of Westminster
17 March 2015
Ms Nzolameso was homeless. The council owed her the main housing duty (Housing Act 1996 section 193). She had lived in the council's area for several years and her five children attended schools and colleges in Westminster. The council offered her temporary accommodation near Milton Keynes. When she refused it, the council said it had discharged its duty. The Supreme Court has quashed that decision and announced that it will give its reasons later. For an official summary, click here For comment, click here

Medway Council v Linda Noyes
10 March 2015
The defendant was a private landlord, owning several properties within a portfolio of over 270 managed by her partner's letting agency (HRH Estates). The council found one property was riddled with damp, with dangerous electrics and a mice infestation. The conservatory roof was liable to collapse due to its poor condition. Another property had severe damp and mould, defective locks, structural cracks and an insecure and unsafe first floor window. The council served two improvement notices but they were not complied with. At Medway Magistrates' Court, the defendant was found guilty in her absence of 13 offences of failing to address hazards. For the first property she was fined £35,000, with costs of £1,694 and a £120 victim surcharge. For the second property she was fined £30,000, with costs of £1,945 and another £120 victim surcharge. For details of the prosecution, click here

Medway Council v Nitin King
10 March 2015
The defendant was a private landlord. He owned and managed more than 250 properties in the council's area. At one of those properties, council officers found the basement so damp they had to impose a prohibition order to prevent anyone from living there. An improvement notice was served in respect of the same house as a result of hazardous stairs and steps, an unguarded light well and inadequate fire precautions. At Medway Magistrates' Court the defendant pleaded guilty to five offences of failing to comply with an Improvement Notice. He was fined £11,000, with costs of £3,050 and £120 victim surcharge. For details of the prosecution, click here

Rotherham Borough Council v Mohammed Tariq
25 February 2015
The defendant was a private landlord. At one of his properties council officers found numerous contraventions of the Housing Act 2004 and the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006. It had been poorly converted and was substandard, allowing fire and smoke to spread quickly. There was no working fire detection and firefighting equipment had not been maintained. The entire property was suffering from severe damp and black mould. The landlord had failed to maintain the gas and electrical systems and could not provide the necessary gas and electrical test certificates. All tenants had to be decanted. At Rotherham Magistrates' Court, on guilty pleas, the defendant was fined £13,500 with costs of £950 and a £120 victim surcharge. For details of the prosecution, click here

Complaint against Harrow London Borough Council
11 February 2015
The council placed a homeless family in B&B accommodation for nearly 13 weeks - double the legal limit. This was not an isolated case. The Council has since addressed the procurement of self-contained emergency and settled accommodation in the borough, and although there are still families in B&B accommodation for longer than six weeks, it has made progress in reducing the number of families left in this situation. The Local Government Ombudsman recommended that the council pay the complainant £400 in recognition of the distress it caused his family when it left him in unsuitable accommodation for double the time allowed by law and consider making similar payments to other people who have suffered an injustice as a result of living in B&B accommodation for more than six weeks. For the investigation report, click here

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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.

The Welsh Government has initiated a consultation on the future of the Right to Buy in Wales. The consultation runs until 16 April 2015. For the consultation arrangements, click here
For the consultation paper itself, click here
The Competition and Markets Authority is seeking views on draft guidance relating to the new unfair terms provisions of the Consumer Rights Bill (see above) currently being debated in Parliament. For the consultation documents, click here Responses should be made by 5 pm on 30 March 2015.

The Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee of the Welsh Assembly is consulting on the contents of the Welsh Government’s Renting Homes (Wales) Bill. For the consultation documents and details, click here Any submissions should arrive by 27 March 2015.


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

Picking over the bones commentary on R(ZH & CN) v Newham LBC and Lewisham LBC) Justin Bates [2015] 18 Journal of Housing Law 24

Succession to secure joint tenancy: the dawn or dusk of an era? commentary on Solihull MBC v Hickin) Peter Orji [2015] 18 Journal of Housing Law 29

Policy influences in the Supreme Court Michael Paget [2015] 18 Journal of Housing Law 34

Relevant facts and s. 191(2) Housing Act 1996 (commentary on London Borough of Enfield v Najim) David Lintott [2015] Local Government Lawyer 20 March. To read the article, click here

Licensing regime shake-up announced Tom Wall [2015] Environmental Health News 18 March. To read the article,click here

Drop in B&B investigations (by the Local Government Ombudsman) Daniel Douglas [2015] Inside Housing 19 March. To read the article, click here

Sudden rush of proposals proposals Dr Stephen Battersby [2015] The UK Housing Professionals Forum Blog 19 March. To read the article, click here

Britain's housing crisis is a human disaster. Here are 10 ways to solve it Rowan Moore [2015] The Observer 14 March. To read the article, click here

Half a million more people claiming housing benefit under coalition Daniel Boffey [2015] The Observer 14 March. To read the article, click here

Cold homes 'causing more respiratory illness in England than Sweden' Sweden' Denis Campbell [2015] The Guardian 19 March. To read the article, click here

Tackling right to buy fraud David Pipe [2015] CIH News 16 March. To read the article, click here

Tenants hit by bedroom tax suffer range of health problems, study shows Patrick Butler [2015] The Guardian 16 March. To read the article, click here


27 March 2015
Consultation closes on the contents of the Welsh Government's Renting Homes (Wales) Bill (see above)

30 March 2015
Consultation closes on draft guidance relating to the new unfair terms provisions of the Consumer Rights Bill (see above)

6 April 2015
The new forms to be served on assured tenants come into force under the Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) (England) Regulations 2015. For a copy, click here



Solicitor Vacancy with Anthony Collins Solicitors

Anthony Collins Solicitors, a leading player in the housing sector, require a solicitor to join their team supporting primarily housing associations, advising on tenancies, rents & service charges increases, management & service level agreements and project support.

Ideally applicants should have some tenancy and leasehold experience or work in property law and want to move to a more specialist, non-transactional role. Most importantly you will have an interest in housing and a desire to learn.

To find out more about the role, please visit before 17th April.

Hopkin Murray Beskine: Paralegal/Trainee Solicitor Vacancy

Hopkin Murray Beskine are looking for a paralegal to assist in their busy housing, public law and family teams. The appointments will be for a fixed term of 1 year, with a view to a training contract commencing after a year if performance meets expectations.

Candidates should have an interest in and enthusiasm for public law and housing work. The firm provides 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: from high profile strategic litigation to complicated land law disputes; from assisting with the county court duty possession scheme to prosecuting landlords in the Magistrates Court.

Applicants are expected to have completed, or commenced, the Legal Practice Course. Previous relevant experience is desirable but not essential.

Closing date for applications: 10 April 2015

To apply, download the application pack at

Housing Solicitor

Minimum 1 year post qualification) required to join busy housing team.

An excellent and broad knowledge of housing law is essential as well as being a team player with client care skills and able to work under pressure.

Please send CVs to Mrs Omur Izzet at

Closing date for applications: 2 April 2015

Housing Solicitor Vacancy (locum maternity cover)

Greenwich Housing Rights seeks a 3+ years PQE Housing Solicitor to join its specialist casework team to provide locum maternity cover. 

Fixed-term 9 month contract which will ideally start before 17 April 2015 (possibility of extension)
Experience of running a busy publicly-funded caseload is essential.  Experience of community care and public law will be an advantage.
Salary: £31,000 p.a. + 5% pension contribution
Closing date for applications: 27 March 2015

Apply by email to  or call 020 8854 8848 to request an application pack. 
For full details click here

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