22nd June 2016
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Jo Cox MP
David Mackintosh MP and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ending Homelessness has responded to the death of Jo Cox MP who was the vice-chair of that group. To read his tribute, reproduced on the Crisis website, click here

On 17 June 2016 the House of Commons Library produced a short briefing paper considering the practice of English local authorities requiring assured shorthold tenants, who have been served with a notice of the landlord’s intention to seek possession under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, to remain in situ until a court order/bailiff’s warrant has been obtained before accepting a statutory duty under the homelessness provisions of Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended). To read the briefing, click here

Homelessness (2)
A report to Cambridge City Council’s Housing Scrutiny Committee, outlining the extent of homelessness in Cambridge and the council’s strategy for addressing it, reveals that the Council and its partners have prevented or relieved homelessness for 787 households in the financial year 2015-16 (up from 470 in the previous year). Measures taken include improving the time it takes to make decisions, introducing direct lets to homeless people, minimising the use of temporary accommodation and improving the range of housing options for single people. For more details, click here For the report itself (at item 9), click here

Housing supply
The Government’s initiatives to stimulate housing supply in England since 2010 have been summarised in a House of Commons Library Briefing Paper published on 15 June 2016. To read the briefing, click here

Right to rent (1)
On 14 June 2016 the Home Office published its latest, revised version of its short guide to right to rent. The guidance is intended to help landlords, letting agents and tenants understand right to rent checks. For the guide, click here

Right to rent (2)
The Association of Residential Letting Agents reports that at a recent meeting the Immigration Minister James Brokenshire MP indicated that new offences relating to right to rent, designed to work in combination with those created by the Housing and Planning Act, look likely to be in place by the end of the year. For more information, click here

Housing benefit (1)
On 17 June the DWP published HB Bulletin G6/2016. The latest bulletin contains information about: a reminder to appeals writing teams; HB fraud and error good practice workshops; more changes to DWP postal addresses; HB communication products; cases with the Upper Tribunal; and statutory instruments. To read the bulletin, click here

Housing benefit (2)
On 18 June 2016 the DWP published various circulars relating to housing benefit. To access adjudication circulars which provide updates to the housing benefit guidance manual for local authority staff, click here To access subsidy circulars, which are about the money the government pays local authorities to administer housing benefit and other financial matters, click here

On 15 June 2016 Shelter published analysis of statistics from the Ministry of Justice which, it says, shows that ‘more than 148,000 renting households in England were put at risk of losing their home in the past year – equivalent to 350,000 renters’. Shelter identified 'home threat hotspots' across the country where renters face the greatest risk of losing their home, which ‘comes as a result of the chronic shortage of affordable homes combined with crippling welfare cuts’. To read the press release, with appended table, click here

Private renting
On 17 June 2016 the National Landlords Association reported that, according to a poll of private renters, the number of people living in private rented accommodation in retirement has increased by 220,000 (ie 13%) in the last four years. For further information, click here

Private renting – Scotland
Living Rent, which has campaigned in Scotland to strengthen tenants’ rights, has launched as a national membership organisation to represent the interests of people living in the private rented sector. For more information, click 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

R (on the application of R Plant) v Somerset County Council (1) and Taunton Deane Borough Council (2) [2016] EWHC 1245 Admin
Mr Plant, the claimant (“C”), brought a claim for judicial review against the first Defendants, Somerset County Council (“SCC”) and Taunton Deane Borough Council (“TDBC”). C is a 72 year old man who is registered disabled and suffers from a variety of medical problems including tinnitus, hyperacusis (sensitivity to sound), heightened sensitivity to smells, chronic fatigue syndrome and glaucoma.  He has Asperger’s syndrome resulting in impairment of social function, social interaction and flexibility of thought.  C contended that he needed a quiet, undisturbed home environment. His medical problems are becoming progressively severe.

In December 2012, without permission, he moved onto land owned by SCC. In the past he had been offered a property by South Somerset District Council but he considered that property to be unsuitable.

On 16 January 2013 SCC issued a notice to vacate the land by 21 January 2013.  C applied to TDBC to join the Housing waiting list in which he described his medical condition and his needs. On 7 July 2013 SCC issued proceedings for trespass (this claim was adjourned on a number of occasions by agreement and remained stayed pending the conclusion of C’s claim for judicial review).

In August 2013 C went to TDBC’s Housing Options department and explained he was about to become homeless because of SCC’s claim for possession. He was offered interim accommodation pursuant to s.188(1) Housing Act 1996 but C preferred to stay where he was. In October 2013 TDBC accepted C was unintentionally homeless, eligible for housing assistance and in priority need.

On 1 January 2014 C issued a judicial review claim against SCC and TDBC. He sought an order quashing SCC’s decision to seek possession of the land on which he was living, a declaration that it would not be lawful for SCC to seek or enforce a possession order until TDBC provided him with suitable alternative accommodation pursuant to its duty under Part VII Housing Act 1996 and a mandatory order requiring TDBC to provide him with suitable alternative accommodation.

Mrs Justice Cheema Grubb concluded that judicial review should be a last resort and that “alternative remedies must be considered and normally exhausted if they would be adequate to resolve the complaint.” It was undesirable to have “parallel proceedings” but the High Court’s jurisdiction is not ousted by the existence of an alternative remedy.  She found that in the particular circumstances of this case it would be “unnecessarily duplicative of court time and resources” to remit the case to the County Court but emphasised that her decision should not encourage anyone in a similar position to follow the same approach that C had taken.

Her Ladyship concluded that SCC’s action in seeking possession of the land occupied by C as a trespasser was proportionate and not in breach of its public law duties or C’s Convention rights under Article 8.  The effect of TDBC accepting and discharging its housing duty towards C made a fundamental difference to the proportionality arguments. She also determined that C’s subsidiary submissions relying on Equality Act 2010 did not persuade her, given the discharge of TDBC’s housing duty and the proposed use of the land to provide temporary accommodation for travellers.  Accordingly, C’s claim for judicial review was dismissed. For the full judgment click here.

Unregistered Gas Engineer Convicted
The Health & Safety Executive report that Chelmsford Magistrates imposed a sentence of 120 hours community service on a Chelmsford man who had been contracted to do work on gas warm air units. Investigations revealed that in fact he was not competent to do the work nor was he Gas Safe-registered.  An installation had been left in an “immediately dangerous” condition and he had left a gas leak following a repair on a tenanted property.  He then failed to service the warm air unit correctly, leaving the tenants exposed to carbon monoxide.  The tenants were alerted to the presence of the gas by their carbon monoxide alarm.  In addition to the community service order the Defendant was ordered to pay costs of £2,527 and a victim surcharge of £60. For the full report click here

Suspended Sentence for Unregistered Gas Fitter
A gas fitter who was not registered with Gas Safe undertook work on a gas hob at a house in Tamworth. The matter came to the attention of the Health & Safety Executive when a Gas Safe registered fitter carried out subsequent repairs on the hob. Having failed to appear at court on two occasions, the unregistered fitter was arrested. He pleaded guilty at Stafford Crown Court and was given a nine month prison sentence suspended for two years, ordered to complete 100 hours of community service and to pay £100 towards HSE’s costs. For the full report 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.


Implementing ‘Right to Rent’ immigration checks in Scotland: a recipe for confusion, complexity and discrimination? James Battye [2016] Scottish Housing News 14 June. To read this article, click here

When is a deposit returned? Once more with confusion Giles Peaker [2016] Nearly Legal 15 June. To read this article, click here

What would Brexit mean for housing, regeneration and central government?
Dawn Foster and Jane Dudman [2016] The Guardian 15 June. To read this article, click here

Tenants charged £6.3bn more than inflation in rent Joe Spey [2016] Welfare Writes 15 June. To read this article, click here

'I'm at the mercy of my landlord': life as a young renter [2016] The Guardian 16 June. To read this article, click here

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

Housing benefit and the PRS Dr Stephen Battersby [2016] UK Housing Professionals Forum Blog 16 June. To read this article, click here

What’s in the tea leaves for housing? Joe Dart [2016] Inside Housing 17 June (subscription required). To read this article, click here

How EU poll has ignited debate over migration's impact on housing need John Geoghegan [2016] Planning Resource 17 June (subscription required). To read this article, click here

It's not just London that has a housing crisis Dawn Foster [2016] The Guardian Housing Network 17 June. To read this article, click here

Yes but No – Article 8 and the private sector
(McDonald v McDonald & Others) Giles Peaker [2016] Nearly Legal 19 June. To read this article, click here


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


Henry Hyams

Housing Lawyer - Full or Part-Time

We are seeking a Housing Lawyer with at least 3 years’ relevant experience (preferably to meet legal aid supervisor requirements) to work with a small but dedicated team on predominantly publicly funded cases.

We have contracts with the LAA to provide Legal Help matter starts in housing from both our main and branch offices in Leeds City Centre. We are one of three organisations providing representation under the Housing Duty Solicitor Scheme at a very busy Leeds County Court.

Much of our work is court based and the successful candidate will be a confident advocate able to deal with a mixed housing law caseload including possession claims, homelessness, disrepair, anti-social behaviour, unlawful eviction and judicial review. The position would suit either a solicitor or experienced caseworker preferably with knowledge of legal aid funding and CCMS.

In return we offer a competitive salary and benefits package commensurate with qualifications and experience. We are committed to publicly funded work and foster a caring and compassionate ethos in which to work. Please apply with your CV and covering letter to Caroline Clarke c.clarke@henryhyams.com stating your salary expectations


Housing Solicitor/Caseworker
Ealing Law Centre

Salary: According to experience

Working hours: 35 per week

Benefits include 22 days’ annual leave, the possibility of flexible working and significant opportunities for learning and development.

We require a solicitor/caseworker for our Housing team. At least 2 years’ experience of Housing law is required.

Ealing Law Centre has recently secured grant funding to allow us to expand our range of work to include out of scope housing work and welfare benefits advice. We are looking for an enthusiastic housing caseworker/solicitor who can help us grow and expand the services to local residents and assist our current housing supervisor with housing work which is still within scope for Legal Aid. The Law Centre also has a Legal Aid contract for Immigration Work and grant funding for Welfare Benefits advice.

This is an exciting time for the Law Centre. We have got new grant funding secured and we are looking for someone who is keen to develop their housing work in Law Centre environment. The post holder will be expected to be proactive in developing community links and training first tier advice agencies in the area.

The successful candidate will conduct out of scope housing work and assist with the housing and debt matter starts we have been allocated and be proactive in commencing and conducting certificated cases for clients.

Ealing Law Centre is an equal opportunities employer and encourages applications from all candidates who meet the person specification regardless of age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or race.

For an application pack email: info@ealinglaw.org.uk

Closing date: 5 pm 8 July 2016
Interviews: TBC

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