18th May 2016
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Lime Legal’s

Homelessness Conference 2016
Law & Best Practice
Wednesday 22nd June 2016, London
Venue: Copthorne Tara Hotel, Kensington, London W8 5SY

The major annual Conference addressing key changes in Homelessness work
“Always the best Homelessness Conference of the year”
(Housing Options Adviser past delegate)

Click here for details


Housing and Planning Act 2016
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 received Royal Assent on 12 May 2016. For the announcement by the DCLG, click here For coverage  by the Residential Landlords Association, click here For comment by John Healey, shadow housing minister, to the CIEH’s housing and health conference, click here

Immigration Act 2016
The Immigration Act 2016 received Royal Assent on 12 May 2016. For a pdf of the statute, click here For the announcement by the Home Office, click here

Housing revenue account
The Housing Revenue Account (Accounting Practices) Directions 2016 provide details of items required to be included in the local housing authorities’ housing revenue accounts. They have effect in relation to the Housing Revenue Accounts of local housing authorities in England for financial years beginning on or after 1 April 2016. For the directions, click here

Possession claims
On 12 May 2016 the Office for National Statistics released the latest figures for landlord and mortgage possession cases. In January to March 2016, 38,053 landlord possession claims in county courts were recorded, down 10% from the same quarter in 2015. During that period the majority of landlord possession claims (63%) were social landlord claims although this proportion has fallen from 83% in 1999 – in contrast, a quarter of claims made (23%) were accelerated claims and this proportion has risen 11 percentage points since January to March 2009. There were 29,049 orders for possession, 19,728 warrants of possession and 10,968 repossessions by county court bailiffs, down 8%, 5% and 3% respectively, on the same quarter last year. During the same period 4,738 mortgage possession claims were recorded in county courts, down 16% compared to the number issued in the same quarter last year. There were 3,208 orders for possession, 4,836 warrants of possession and 1,355 repossessions by county court bailiffs; down 28%, 24% and 18% respectively compared to the same quarter last year, following the long-term downward trend seen since 2009. To access the full statistics, click here

Mortgage possession claims – Northern Ireland
The Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service has published the latest figures for cases received, cases disposed and final orders made in respect of mortgages in the Chancery Division of the Northern Ireland High Court for the period January to March 2016 There were 371 mortgage cases received (writs and originating summonses issued), a 6% increase from the same period in 2015 (349). This is the second lowest volume of cases received during the January to March quarter since the time series began in 2007, the lowest being in 2015. To access the statistics, click here

Housing possession court duty schemes
On 13 May 2016 the Legal Aid Agency published an updated alphabetical list of all LAA funded housing possession court duty schemes with the current organisation providing the service. To read the list, click here

Homelessness – Queen’s Speech
On 17 December 2015, the Communities Minister, Marcus Jones, confirmed that he would work with homelessness organisations and government departments to explore options, including legislation, to prevent more people from facing a homelessness crisis in the first place. It is expected that a duty to prevent homelessness (akin to that in Wales) will be announced in the Queen’s Speech on 18 May 2016 .

Homelessness – England
On 10 May 2016 the House of Commons Library published a tool from which one can view collected homelessness statistics for individual local authorities in England. To access the tool, click here

Private rents
On 13 May 2016 The Chartered Institute of Housing published research focused on Local Housing Allowance rates since 2012 which found that in some areas of the UK, people are only able to afford to rent in the bottom five or 10% of the private rented sector market. The CIH notes that the LHA rates were originally intended to ensure that people could access 30% of the market. It says that the situation is set to worsen as LHA rates freeze for four years from April 2016. For the research, click here

Estate regeneration

On 12 May 2016 the Joseph Rowntree Foundation published a briefing which examines the policy context, lessons from previous estate regeneration initiatives and evidence on the relationship between housing and poverty. To read the briefing, click here

Right to Buy
The Government’s extension of the Right to Buy scheme to include housing association tenants is set to cost east London councils an average of £45 million each, according to Shelter. For details of this assertion, click here

Social housing – London
On 12 May 2016 The Guardian published a letter, signed by 28 housing activists and representatives of housing organisations, calling on the new London mayor to build ‘tens of thousands of council homes, particularly on public land … , halt the demolition of estates in the name of “regeneration”, actively oppose the social cleansing of our city and protect private renters.’ To read the letter, click here

Start Spreading The News
If your organisation has a success story such as the effective use of legislation or a new policy or practice initiative that may be of interest to other Housing Professionals then please send details to info@housinglawweek.co.uk so that we can consider including it in a future issue of HLW and bring it to the attention of fellow practitioners.

Housing and Planning Act 2016
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 received Royal Assent on 12 May 2016. For the passage of the Bill, click here. For further news in respect of this Act, see Housing Law News and Policy Issues.

Immigration Act 2016
The Immigration Act 2016 received Royal Assent on 12 May 2016. For a pdf of the statute, click here

Housing (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2016
The Housing (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 received Royal Assent on 9 May 2016. For the statute, click here

Houses in Multiple Occupation Bill
This is a Bill introduced in the Assembly by the Northern Ireland Executive.  It would make provision for and in connection with the licensing of houses in multiple occupation in Northern Ireland. The Bill completed the Further Consideration Stage on 7 March 2016 and Final Stage on 15 March 2016 and is awaiting Royal Assent. For an official report of the proceedings, click here For a copy of the Bill as amended at Further Consideration Stage, click here For an Explanatory and Financial memorandum at that stage, click here  

Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill
This is a Private Members’ Bill introduced by Karen Buck MP. It would amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to require that residential rented accommodation is provided and maintained in a state of fitness for human habitation. For a copy of the Bill, click here   The 2015-16 session of Parliament has ended and this Bill will make no further progress.

Local Government Finance (Tenure Information) Bill
This is a Private Members’ Bill introduced by Dame Angela Watkinson MP. It would amend the Local Government Finance Act 1992 to make provision for collecting information about tenure and the details of private landlords. For a copy of the Bill, click here  The 2015-16 session of Parliament has ended and this Bill will make no further progress.

Crown Tenancies Bill
This is a Private Members’ Bill introduced by Mark Pawsey MP but which received UK Government support. It would provide that Crown tenancies (mainly of properties owned by Government Departments) may be assured tenancies for the purposes of the Housing Act 1988, subject to certain exceptions, and would modify the assured tenancies regime in relation to certain Crown tenancies (including by provision of a new ground for possession).  For a copy of the Bill, click here The 2015-16 session of Parliament has ended and this Bill will make no further progress.


Valliammai v Morgensen & Ors [2016] UKUT 218 (LC)
This was an appeal from a decision of the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) (“the FTT”), which decided that the service charges demanded on 12 August 2013 under s 19 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 by the appellant from her tenants, the respondents, were not payable. The appellant holds a lease of part of the property in question. The property comprises a number of flats, which the appellant has sub-let. The respondents are her tenants; each holds a sub-lease of one of the flats. Each sub-lease requires the tenant to pay the “Service Charge”. The “Service Charge” is defined as: “the proportion of the Service Charge payable to the landlord in respect of the demised premises and referred to in clause (h) of the Particulars”. Clause (h) of the particulars specifies a proportion – for example, the tenant of flat 6 has to pay 7.8%. But “Service Charge” itself is not defined. The freeholder of the property demanded an interim maintenance charge from the appellant, as tenant under the head-lease, in each of four consecutive years. The sums demanded from the appellant related to insurance, a management fee, and repairs. The appellant withheld payment of these sums, because she did not consider that they were all due to the freeholder. It was subsequently agreed that the sum of £12,463.19 was payable. That sum was later paid by the appellant. The appellant issued to each of her tenants a demand for service charges, requiring each tenant to make a payment, being the appropriate proportion (stated in each lease) of the sum paid to the freeholder. The respondents refused to pay. The FTT held that sums demanded by the appellant were not recoverable because they were payments on account, and there is no provision in the sub-leases for payments on account. On appeal to the Upper Tribunal, it was held that the payments were service charges and that the case should be remitted to the FTT to consider other factual issues raised by the respondents. For a pdf of the judgment, click here

Secretary of State for CLG v West Berkshire District Council and Reading Borough Council [2016] EWCA Civ 441
In a Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) the Secretary of State promulgated a planning policy as follows: "(i) Developments of 10 units or 1000 sq m or less (including annexes and extensions) would be excluded from affordable housing levies and tariff based contributions; (ii) A lower threshold would apply in designated rural areas, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (as defined in section 157 of the Housing Act 1985), with developments of 5 units or less to be excluded from affordable housing levies and tariff based contributions. Development of between 6 and 10 units would be subject to a commuted sum payable on or after completion; and (iii) Where a vacant building is brought back into use or demolished for redevelopment, local authorities will provide a 'credit', equivalent to the floorspace of the vacant building, to be set against affordable housing contributions."

The respondents' successfully challenged the WMS on four grounds: (i) It was inconsistent with the statutory planning regime; (ii) The Secretary of State had failed to take into account necessary material considerations; (iii) The Secretary of State's consultation upon the proposals was legally inadequate; (iv) The Secretary of State had failed properly to assess the impact of the proposal upon persons with protected characteristics: Equality Act 2010 s.149.

The Secretary of State appealed, seeking to overturn the judge’s conclusions on all four grounds. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal on all four grounds.

For the judgment, click here For the DCLG press release, click here

R (Eastwood) v Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead [2016] EWCA Civ 437
The respondent local planning authority (the Council) used its powers under s 178 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to clear agricultural land located in the Green Belt near Waltham St Lawrence of caravans occupied by the appellant and family members which have been stationed there in breach of planning controls since 2009. The appellant and other occupants of the caravans are Romany Gypsies. The appellant claimed, correctly, that the Council failed to make sufficient and appropriate provision in its area for traveller sites which could accommodate the caravans in issue. The Administrative Court dismissed the claim brought by the appellant and another seeking judicial review of the Council’s decision. The appellant appealed on the grounds that the decision was irrational or perverse. The Court, dismissing the appeal, held that the judge was correct to regard the decision for the Council as one turning essentially on matters of planning judgment and that as local planning authority it should be afforded significant latitude in application of the rationality standard. For the judgment, click here

Dozen landlords fined for failing to register for borough’s rental property licensing scheme
A dozen Waltham Forest landlords have been prosecuted and fined a total of £60,000 for failing to sign up to the borough’s rental property licensing scheme. The council launched its Private Rented Property Licensing scheme in March 2015, in an effort to improve housing standards and reduce anti-social behaviour. All landlords operating in the borough must hold a separate licence for each property they rent out in the private sector. For a report, click here

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Recovery of capital grant
The principles governing grant recovery and recycling of social housing assistance (capital grant) are set out in the Recovery of Capital Grants and Recycled Capital Grant Fund General Determination 2015. The changes proposed through this consultation are subject to the passing of deregulatory measures in the Housing and Planning Bill. Should there be any material change during the passage of the Bill through Parliament, the HCA reserves the right to further consult on any such material change. For the consultation document, click here The consultation closes on 27 May 2016.

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.

McKenzie Friends in the courts
The Judicial Executive Board (JEB) has issued a consultation paper proposing reforms to the existing guidance for 'McKenzie Friends', ie non-lawyers who offer assistance and in some cases seek to appear as advocates on behalf of litigants-in-person (LiPs) in civil cases. The JEB has invited comments from court users to be submitted by the extended date of 9 June 2016. For the consultation paper, click here

Affordable homes
The Communities Policy Commission, which leads the Labour Party’s policy development on local government, has launched a consultation entitled Housing: How can we increase the number of affordable homes to rent and buy? The Commission seeks the views of Labour members and affiliates, businesses and other organisations, and the wider public on this issue. The consultation ends on 8 June 2016. For the consultation document, click here


Recent Developments in Housing Law Jan Luba QC & Nic Madge [2016] May 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

PCOL and Introductory Tenancies
Giles Peaker [2016] Nearly Legal 10 May. To read this article, click here

Forced council sales – hampering local authorities’ fight against homelessness Sara Mahmoud [2016] Shelter Blog 11 May. To read this article, click here

Why council waiting lists are shrinking, despite more people in need of homes Dawn Foster [2016] Guardian 12 May. To read this article, click here

The problems for the Housing and Planning Bill are really just beginning… Steve Akehurst [2016] Shelter Blog 12 May. To read this article, click here

Even hipsters and artists should be afraid of gentrification
Dawn Foster [2016] Guardian 13 May. To read this article, click here

Council housing’s brief Spring
Steve Hilditch [2016] Red Brick Blog 14 May. To read this article, click here

18 May 2016        
Queen's Speech

27 May 2016        
Closure of Recover of Capital Grant consultation

9 June 2016        
Closure of consultation on McKenzie Friends in the courts

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




Location: Hemel Hempstead

£28,173 pa plus ongoing training, generous holiday allowance, occupational pension and life assurance

35 hours per week

Due to the nature of the role you must have a driving licence and access to a vehicle.
Hightown is a charitable housing association, providing affordable housing to families and single people across Herts, Beds and Bucks. 

We are looking for a Housing Officer to be part of a team providing a highly professional customer focused housing management service to Hightown’s residents in rented accommodation and to applicants. In addition, they will take the lead on initiatives to promote and encourage tenancy sustainment.  

Duties will include the housing management of properties in a defined area, carrying out tenancy reviews, taking appropriate action in regard to breaches of tenancies and working in conjunction with the Income Recovery team to ensure appropriate action is taken to deal with arrears of rent and charges. They will seek to improve the level of service in response to changing resident’s demands, regulatory requirements and best practice. Hightown aims to enable its residents to sustain their tenancy and to encourage and facilitate independence, quality of life and health and wellbeing. The post-holder will be responsible for taking the lead on tenancy sustainment.

Pay and rewards

We offer a range of benefits which include:

  • Generous annual leave allowance of 25 days per year, rising with service, plus statutory bank holidays
  • Workplace pension scheme
  • Employee Assistance scheme to support your health and wellbeing
  • Life assurance of three times your annual salary
  • On site parking
  • Access to on site gym

Closing date: 23rd May 2016

Interview Date: 31st May 2016.

For further details and the link to the online application form click here
Please be advised that this recruitment process will be carried out online and would ask that you check your emails regularly. Please also quote the reference number of the job (Ref: HO) when applying.

We are an Equal Opportunities Employer.


Housing Homelessness & Resource Officer

Temporary Post Per Week Ending on 31.3.2017

Salary Scale:  £21,530 to £23,698   Grade E

Housing Services provide a range of solutions for people who are seeking suitable affordable housing or who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

We are seeking to appoint  applicants who are enthusiastic and versatile,  have worked in a social housing or related environment ,have  a detailed working knowledge of the Housing Act 1996 as amended (Allocations and Homelessness) and other related legislation.

You will need to have excellent communication skills both oral and written, ability to work on own initiative and as part of a customer focused front line team.
Informal enquiries for this post to Ashley Bayliss on 01452 396737

For a job description and person specification click here

For the links for the Job Advertisement and Job Application form click here (and scroll down to this vacancy click here

Closing date: 25th May 2016

Interview date: w/c 30th May 2016

Community Care & Housing Solicitor / Caseworker

South West London Law Centres

South West London Law Centres (SWLLC), one of the largest and most progressive Law Centres in the country, is seeking a Community Care and Housing Solicitor/Caseworker to be based in our Wandsworth Branch with some outreach in our other offices. 

We are looking to expand our capacity to undertake community care casework and there is considerable demand for housing work. There are currently 11 solicitors in the housing team and one trainee. One of the solicitors also undertakes community care casework.  We run a wide range of housing and community care cases covered by Legal Aid including a significant amount of representation work as part of the housing court duty schemes. We are considering looking further at a range of fixed fees and conditional fee agreements for areas that have now gone out of the scope of Legal Aid.

We want to expand our team and are willing to consider applicants at the start of their career as well as those with significant experience. 

Salary:            Up to £33,510 p.a. (NJC Scale 35 including Inner London) depending on experience

Reports to:    Team Leader

Term:              Permanent

Based at:        Wandsworth with duty at courts in Kingston, Wandsworth and Croydon

Closing date: 12pm, Tuesday 24th May 2016 with interviews soon after.

The post is available for an immediate start. If you would like to discuss the post further, please email recruitment@swllc.org. Applications should be made on our application form available hereYou can download the application pack here and the application form 

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