15th June 2016
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Homelessness Conference 2016
Law & Best Practice
Wednesday 22 June 2016, London

Join delegates from London and all over the country at this year’s conference.

Additional session added to this year’s programme:

Temporary Accommodation Update to be presented by Jonathan Manning, barrister, Arden Chambers.

Look at the other sessions on the agenda:
*Policy Developments *The latest on Prevention *Threshold update *Homelessness Reviews and Appeals *Allocations update.

Book your place now before it’s too late.

Click here for details.

On 13 June the Communities and Local Government Committee questioned the Minister for Local Government about the actions taken by the government to address homelessness. The session also heard from Ministers from the Department of Health and the Department for Work and Pensions, to discuss how effective cross-departmental working is and what other departments are doing to support efforts to reduce homelessness. For details of the session and to watch it on Parliament TV, click here

Supported housing
On 8 June the Local Government Association urged the government to exempt supported housing needs from the housing benefit cap in order to protect the elderly, ex-homeless, people fleeing domestic violence, ex-offenders, and people with learning disabilities or mental health problems. The LGA warned that some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in society most in need of this type of housing would not have enough money to cover the higher rental costs needed to run supported accommodation. For the LGA’s statement, click here

Housing market
According to the new UK House Price Index, on a seasonally adjusted basis, house prices were broadly flat between March 2016 and April 2016. Prices were 8.2% higher in April 2016 compared with a year ago. Mortgage approvals in April 2016 were down by 5.8% on the previous month and 2.2% on a year ago. Approvals remain well down on pre-recession levels, but rose during 2015. For the Index, click here

Affordable homes – London
On 14 June Members of Parliament debated affordable housing in London. Ruth Cadbury opened the debate. A House of Commons Library briefing provides some background to the debate and parliamentary and media coverage of the issues. For the briefing, click here For the debate, click here

Affordable homes – Scotland
On 14 June the Scottish Government announced that it has exceeded its 30,000 affordable homes target by more than 10 %, according to official statistics. Over the last Parliamentary term, 33,490 affordable homes were delivered: 22,523 were for social rent (2,523 more than the five year target, including 5,992 council house completions: almost 20 % more than the five year target); 3,473 were for other affordable rent; and 7,494 were for affordable home ownership. For the statistics, click here For the governmental press release, click here

Affordable homes – Labour Party Housing Commission
On 8 June the National Federation of ALMOs published its submission to the Labour Party Housing Commission: How we can increase the number of affordable homes to rent and buy. To download the submission, click here

Domestic violence
On 8 June the Bureau of Investigative Journalism published a report concerning claims of failures by a housing association to provide adequate tax-payer funded support for domestic violence victims and other vulnerable tenants. For the report, click here For the Guardian’s coverage of the matter, click here

Right to buy
On 13 June Civitas, the think-tank, published a report which argues that the right to buy at a discount should be extended to the tenants of private landlords in order to reverse declining levels of home ownership. To read the report, click here

Rogue landlords
On 14 June the Residential Landlords Association revealed that in a survey of its members the vast majority backed Sadiq Khan’s plans to create a rogue landlord database which would publicly name those landlords  bringing the private rented sector into disrepute. For more details of the survey, click here

Accommodation – Wales
On 8 June the Welsh Government published the findings of its National Survey for Wales that showed, amongst other matters, that 94% of people were satisfied with their accommodation. Satisfaction varied by tenure. 97% of owner-occupiers were satisfied with their accommodation, compared with 90% of those in private rented accommodation and 83% of those who were in social housing. 74% of those who rented their accommodation were satisfied with the way their landlord repairs and maintains their homes. To access the survey, click here

Just Published:

Commons and Greens - The Modern Law (2nd edn)
Angela Sydenham, Solicitor
Everyone advising on the acquisition, sale, development or management of rural land will need to know about the implemented and prospective changes to the law relating to common land, and town and village greens. Written by one of the leading experts in the field, this new edition has been substantially expanded so that in addition to offering a detailed commentary of the legislation, it explains all subsequent developments, providing a comprehensive text on the subject.

Just £65 + £4.50 p&p.

Order your copy here

Renters’ Rights Bill

This is a Private Members’ Bill introduced in the House of Lords by Baroness Grender which seeks to provide tenants and prospective tenants with certain rights, including affording access to a local housing authority’s database of rogue landlords, ending certain letting fees and providing for certain mandatory electrical safety checks. The Bill had its Second Reading on 10 June 2016 and will enter the Committee stage on a date to be announced. For the Bill as introduced, click here To read debates at all stages of the Bill’s passage, click here For progress of the Bill, click here

McDonald (by her litigation friend Duncan J McDonald) (Appellant) v McDonald and others (Respondents) UKSC 2014/0234
On appeal from the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) (England and Wales)
The appellant who has had psychiatric and behavioural problems, had not been able to work for 17 years and had lost two public sector tenancies owing to her behaviour. Her parents purchased a property for her to occupy with a loan secured against the property. Under the terms of the loan the parents were to pay interest on the loan in monthly payments with the loan to be repayable in full on 12 May 2013.  Whilst the parents initially made the monthly payments but because of financial difficulties they subsequently were unable to maintain them.  The lenders appointed a receiver under s.109 of the Law of Property Act 1925 who was entitled to take action in relation to the property in the name of the parents.

The parents had granted their daughter, (the appellant) a series of assured shorthold tenancies of the property, the last of which was granted in July 2008 for a term of 1 year from July 2008. The appellant continued to reside at the property

Given that the rent was being regularly paid, and the arrears of interest were not substantial, the Receivers took no immediate steps to end the appellant’s assured shorthold tenancy nor did they take steps to sell the property. On 13 January 2012 the Receivers served a notice on the appellant (in the name of the respondents) under s. 21 of the Housing Act 1988 indicating that they would be seeking possession of the property. That notice expired on 14 March 2012. Following expiry of that notice, the Receivers then issued the possession proceedings, in the names of the respondents, seeking possession of the property.

The application was head in the Oxford County Court on 4 December 2012 and 7 March 2013.  Medical evidence at the trial indicated that should the order be granted, the appellant would have great difficulties securing alternative accommodation and given her health problems there was a significant possibility she would become homeless.  Trying to find and moving to alternative accommodation would be very likely to “……..significantly detrimental effect on her mental health with the possibility of harm to herself or suicide, or the possibility of violence towards others…..”

The judge made a possession order and concluded that the appellant’s reliance on Article 8 (proportionality of an order against a residential occupier) was not applicable because the party seeking the possession order was not a public authority.
The appellant’s appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed. The appellant appealed to the Supreme Court which had to consider the following issues:

  1. Whether a court, when entertaining a claim for possession by a private sector owner against a residential occupier, should be required to consider the proportionality of evicting the occupier, in the light of s. 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

  2. If so, whether, the relevant legislation, in particular s.21(4) of the Housing Act 1988, can be read so as to comply with that conclusion and

  3. Whether, if the answer to the first and second questions is yes, the trial judge would have been entitled to dismiss the claim for possession in this case, as the judge at first instance said he would have done.

The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the appeal concluding that:

  1. The appeal would be dismissed on the first issue. There was no authority for the proposition that a judge could be required to consider the proportionality of the order which he would have made under legislation such as the Housing Act 1980 and Housing Act 1989 Acts [see paras 49-59 of the judgment].

  2. It was not possible to read s.21(4) Housing Act 1988 in the way contended on behalf of the appellant. Had the court found in favour of the appellant on the first issue then the only remedy would have been a declaration of incompatibility under s.4 of the Human Rights Act 1998 [see para 70 of the judgment]

  3. In the rare cases where a court is required to assess the proportionality of making a possession order the court’s powers to suspend or postpone the effect of the order are severely limited by s.89(1) of the Housing Act 1980. Cases in which a judge would be justified in refusing (as opposed to postponing) a possession order would be very few and far between. On the evidence in this case it seems likely that the most the appellant could hope for would be an order for possession in 6 weeks’ time.

For the Supreme Court press summary click here

For the judgment click here

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Land registration

The Law Commission is reviewing the legal framework that governs the registration of land in England and Wales. It has launched a consultation which asks how the Land Registration Act 2002 is working in practice and whether there are opportunities for the system to be clarified and updated. For the consultation and related documents, click here The consultation closes on 30 June 2016.


Recent Developments in Housing Law Jan Luba QC & Nic Madge [2016] June issue of Legal Action. Available in print and on-line for Legal Action subscribers. For the latest issue, click here For back-issues, click here

Disclosing domestic abuse – no wrong door
Katherine Vaughan [2016] Citizens Advice Blog 14 June. To read this article, click here

What would Brexit mean for UK housing associations? Geeta Nanda [2016] Property Week 13 June. To read this article, click here

Housing associations should not fear Charity Commission red tape Sarah Atkinson [2016] Guardian Housing Network 13 June. To read this article, click here

The unscrupulous firms profiting from homelessness and domestic abuse
Dawn Foster [2016] Guardian Housing Network 10 June. To read this article, click here

Housing: rent lawfully due Ian Loveland [2016] Legal Action 9 June. Available in print and on-line for Legal Action subscribers. To read the article, click here

Charity Commission red tape may strangle our housing associations
Nick Atkin [2016] Guardian Housing Network 7 June. To read this article, click here

Gatekeeping special Giles Peaker [2016] Nearly Legal 5 June. To read this article, click here

Stepchildren and succession after divorce Annette Cafferkey and Alice Richardson [2016] Legal Action 4 June. To read this article, click here

A review of landlord and tenant case law
Elizabeth Haggerty [2016] Solicitors Journal 2 June. To read this article, click here

22 June 2016        
Lime Legal’s Homelessness Conference 2016: Law & Best Practice (click here for details)

30 June 2016        
Closure of consultation on the Law Commission’s review of land registration (see Housing Law Consultations)

Tower Hamlets Law Centre

Housing Solicitor/Caseworker vacancy

Salary: Up to £30,000 p.a. + generous terms and conditions.

Tower Hamlets Law Centre helps some of the most vulnerable people in London’s East End. Since our foundation in 1975, we have earned a fine reputation amongst our clients and supporters as skilled and determined legal advisers to the local community.

We are currently seeking a housing solicitor/caseworker to help work on our Legal Aid Agency contract covering legal help, certificated cases and representation at court as part of the duty solicitor scheme. You’ll need to have at least one year’s experience of advising and assisting in housing law (if you are a solicitor, not all of this experience needs to be post qualification), together with a talent for explaining complex legal ideas in simple language and the ability to manage a demanding workload.

Please email recruitment@thlc.co.uk to request an application pack. 

Closing date for applications: Sunday 19 June 2016.

Oliver Fisher Solicitors

Property Solicitor - Permanent - Full-time - 0 - 2 PQE

Oliver Fisher’s highly regarded social housing & private residential property team is seeking an enthusiastic solicitor to deal with property transactions and general Landlord Tenant Litigation. 

The successful candidate, will have experience of residential conveyancing and Landlord & Tenant work for legal aid & private clients. 

Knowledge of residential landlord and tenant work is essential.  Excellent organisational and communication skills will be required, as well as the ability to manage your own caseload with little supervision but within a supportive team environment.

Applications are by personal covering letter and CV to be sent by e-mail to Russell Conway: recruitment@oliverfisher.co.uk.

Lime Legal Limited, Greengate House, 87 Pickwick Road, Corsham, Wiltshire, SN13 9B