20 September 2017
Quick Links


Lime Legal’s Homelessness Conference 2017
Law & Best Practice

The major annual Conference addressing key changes in Homelessness work
Wednesday 11 October 2017, London.

The Comprehensive Programme Includes:

  • Preparing in a hurry for the Homelessness Reduction Act in April 2018?
  • Homelessness Policy Update
  • Part 7 Case Law update including Initial steps on application, Priority Need since Hotak and Intentional homelessness since Haile
  • Suitability of accommodation to meet or end a homeless duty case law update
  • Temporary Accommodation
  • Part 7 Duties post the Homelessness Reduction Act changes – “a new dawn or a rush to the courts for clarification?”
  • The challenge of making the private rented sector work to meet and end the new duties under the HRA
  • Suitability of accommodation to meet or end a homeless duty case law update

All this plus two Ask the Experts panel Q&A sessions

For the full programme and speaker details click here

Book your place now – click here


Regulation of Social Housing (Influence of Local Authorities) (England) Regulations 2017
On 15 September 2017, the DCLG published a draft of the long-awaited ‘golden share regulations’ which are intended to reduce the amount of local authority influence over private registered providers (PRPs). The regulations apply notwithstanding any provision in a PRP’s constitution or any contractual arrangement a PRP may have in relation to its constitutional arrangements. The regulations do not apply to a body which is both a wholly-controlled subsidiary of a local authority and is a non-profit organisation within the meaning of section 115 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008. Regulation 3 requires that the percentage of a PRP’s total board membership which is comprised of officers appointed by a local authority must be no more than 24%. A local authority must nominate before the appointed day (expected to be around the end of March 2018) which of its officers is to be removed. In the event that it does not, a PRP itself may, after that date, select which of those officers to remove.  Regulation 4 provides that any provision of a constitution of a PRP requiring local authority officers to be present for a quorum to be reached shall have no effect on and after the appointed day. Regulation 5 is concerned with the voting rights a local authority may have as part of its membership of a PRP. It provides for the re-assignment of voting rights of a local authority which are held before these regulations come into force. If a PRP’s constitution is not amended accordingly by the appointed day, local authority membership voting rights are thereafter reassigned to the remaining members, in a pro-rata proportion to their existing share of votes. Where a constitution of a PRP (whose board contains local authority officers) provides for a resolution to be approved other than by a majority, regulation 6 provides that, on and after the appointed day, that provision has effect to require a majority of no more than 75% of the eligible votes cast. It also makes provision to ensure amendment of the constitution of a PRP to reflect this requirement. For the draft regulations, click here For an article about the regulations by Sarah Greenhalgh of Anthony Collins, click here

Homelessness – National Audit Office

On 13 September 2017 the National Audit Office published a report about homelessness. It finds that that the DCLG does not have a published cross government strategy to prevent and tackle homelessness. The Department has, however, acknowledged the scale of the challenge and plans to improve the data the government holds on homelessness. Nor has the government evaluated the impact of its welfare reforms on homelessness, or the impact of the mitigations that it has put in place. The ending of private sector tenancies has overtaken all other causes to become the biggest single driver of statutory homelessness in England. The ability of local authorities to respond to increased homelessness is constrained by the limited options they have to house homeless families. As the NAO sets out in its assessment of the housing market in Housing in England: overview, there has been a significant reduction in social housing over the past few decades. While spending by local authorities on homelessness services such as temporary accommodation has steadily increased since 2010, spending on overall housing services has fallen by 21% in real terms over the same period. The proportion of homeless households in temporary accommodation outside their home borough increased from 13% in March 2011 to 28% in March 2017. Almost 90% of these households are from London boroughs. To read the report, click here To read a summary, click here For the NAO’s press release, click here For a response to the report from Homeless Link, click here

Lettings agency ‘administration fees’ – Camden Council wins test case
On 14 September 2017 Camden Council announced that it had successfully appealed against Foxtons Ltd’s use of the term ‘administration fees’ in their lettings agency work, leading to a penalty charge totalling £18,000. A partially successful appeal from Foxtons in October 2016, which followed over a year of activity by the Council’s Trading Standards and Legal teams, led to the Council’s decision to appeal to the Upper Tier Tribunal in June 2017 as it considered that the original decision did not provide clarity to those using letting agents. The Upper Tribunal stated that the First Tier Tribunal had failed to consider what services the administration fee might not cover and revised the penalty charge notices to £4,500 for each breach, totalling £18,000. For Camden’s press release, click here

Local housing need
On 14 September 2017 the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, made a statement to Parliament on the latest stage of the government's work ‘to fix this country’s broken housing market’. In order to assess local need objectively, the Secretary of State proposes a three-stage approach: (1) using household growth projections published by the Office of National Statistics to establish how many new homes will be needed to meet rising need; (2) increasing the number of homes that are needed in the less affordable areas; and (3) setting a cap on the level of increase that local authorities should plan for. The government has launched a consultation on this approach. For details of the consultation, see Housing Law Consultations. For the Secretary of State’s statement, click here

Housing Infrastructure Fund
On 13 September 2017 the government published updated information about the Housing Infrastructure Fund. In particular, it added guidance about the ranking process. For that document, click here

Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety
On 13 September 2017 the DCLG and Home Office issued a call for evidence for the Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety being led by Dame Judith Hackitt. Its purpose is to make recommendations that will ensure that there is a sufficiently robust regulatory system for the future and to provide further assurance to residents that the complete system is working to ensure the buildings they live in are safe and remain so. It will examine building and fire safety regulations and related compliance and enforcement. The focus will be on multi-occupancy high rise residential buildings. For the call for evidence, click here

Housing benefit debt recoveries
On 13 September 2017 the Department for Work and Pensions published Housing Benefit debt recoveries statistics for April 2016 to March 2017. The statistics show that total value of outstanding Housing Benefit overpayments continues to follow an increasing trend. At January 2017 the total value of outstanding debt was around £2.02 billion, an increase of £145 million (8 per cent) on this point the previous year. At January 2017, the largest average amount of HB overpayment outstanding per claimant was in London (£809 per claimant), while the lowest was in Wales (£227 per claimant). For detailed information, click here

Universal Credit and social landlords
On 15 September 2017 the Department for Work and Pensions published research concerning the role that social landlords can play as ‘trusted partners’ in supporting their tenants who claim Universal Credit. The Trusted Partner Pilot was developed as a result of concerns from social landlords in the initial stages of Universal Credit development and a desire to be fully involved in making improvements. The findings from this report will be used to improve the delivery and design of Universal Credit. To access the report, click here

Universal credit and rent arrears
On 17 September 2017 The Observer reported that ‘ministers are coming under intense pressure to put the brakes on the government’s flagship welfare reform programme, following damning new evidence that it is leaving thousands of low-paid workers unable to pay their rent and at risk of homelessness.’ The article also states that figures obtained by the newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act show that half of all council tenants across 105 local authorities who receive the housing element of universal credit are at least a month behind on their rent, and 30 per cent are two months behind. To read the article, click here

Housing for older people
On 15 September 2017 the newly appointed House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee announced that it will continue the work of the previous Committee in its inquiry on housing for older people in England. For details of the inquiry, click here

Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 (Commencement No. 2 and Saving Provision) Regulations 2017
These Regulations, made on 12 September 2017, bring into force particular sections of the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016. Regulation 2(1) and the schedule bring into force on 1 December 2017, sections 1 to 6, 9 and 10, 13 to 16, 18 to 21, 23, 25 to 33, 34(1), 35 to 42, 44 to 60, 63 to 75. Sections 7, 17, 22, 24, 43, 61 and 62 are commenced insofar as not already in force. Schedules 1, 3 and 5 are commenced. Schedule 4 is commenced under exception of paragraph 5. Paragraph 5 is not being commenced as it is a consequential amendment to section 130B of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 (which ceased to have effect on 1st April 2013) which is not required. Regulation 3 is a saving provision in relation to short assured tenancies which have been entered into prior to 1 December 2017 and, in certain circumstances, entered into on or after 1 December 2017. For the new regulations, click here For the 2016 Act, click here

Private Residential Tenancies (Prescribed Notices and Forms) (Scotland) Regulations 2017
These Regulations, which come into force on 1 December 2017, are made under the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016. They prescribe certain notices and forms to be used in connection with a private residential tenancy. For the Regulations, click here For the Act, click here

Private Residential Tenancies (Information for Determining Rents and Fees for Copies of Information) (Scotland) Regulations 2017
These Regulations, which come into force on 1 December 2017, are made under the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 (the Act). Under section 24 of the Act, a tenant under a private residential tenancy can apply to a Rent Officer for a determination of the amount of rent payable in respect of a let property. Such an application may be made only if the tenant has received a rent-increase notice from the landlord under section 22(1) of the Act. Under section 28 of the Act, a tenant or landlord can apply to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland to appeal an order made by the Rent Officer under section 25(1) of the Act. Under section 34 of the Act, Rent Officers and the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland, collectively, must make available information about the rents they have determined in accordance with section 32 of the Act and the rents they have taken into account. Regulation 2 specifies the information that is to be made publicly available. Regulation 3 specifies the manner in which the information is to be made available. Regulation 4 provides for a fee for paper copies. The information on the website may be searched free of charge. For the Regulations, click here For the Act, click here

Index of private housing rental prices in Great Britain: Aug 2017
On 12 September 2017 the Office for National Statistics published an index of private housing rental prices in Great Britain for August 2017. It shows that private rental prices paid by tenants in Great Britain rose by 1.6 per cent in the 12 months to August 2017; this is down from 1.8 per cent in July 2017. In England, private rental prices grew by 1.7 per cent, Wales saw growth of 1.3 per cent while Scotland saw rental prices increase by 0.3 per cent in the 12 months to August 2017. London private rental prices grew by 1.2 per cent in the 12 months to August 2017, that is, 0.4 percentage points below the Great Britain 12-month growth rate. For the index, click here

Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry
On 14 September 2017 the chair of the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, opened proceedings. The inquiry will comprise two phases that will run simultaneously. Phase one will examine how the fire started and spread, the responses of the emergency services and the evacuation of residents. Phase two will consider the design and refurbishment of the building and relevant decision-making processes. It will also include the efforts to provide food and shelter to survivors. For an account  in The Guardian of the first day’s proceedings, click here

Homelessness prevention scheme launched in Brent
On 18 September 2017 Brent Council announced that a homelessness prevention service known as SHPS Brent has been launched, involving Crisis and Thames Reach, together with the social investor, Bridges, and the Council itself, with the help of government funding. The scheme is also hoping to work with Brent-based voluntary organisations such as St Mungo's, Brent CAB, Advice 4 Renters and the foodbank, Sufra NW London. The service is being set up as a Social Impact Bond: a new type of agreement designed to improve performance by freeing up the voluntary sector to innovate and provide better value for money. Brent Council will pay only if the service achieves successful outcomes for single homeless people, with Bridges taking the financial risk of success rather than council tax payers. For more details, click here

Affordable housing
On 14 September 2017 CIH produced new analysis that, it says, shows that government investment in the private market dwarfs support for affordable housing. CIH notes that government is due to spend £32 billion (79 per cent of its housing-related budget) on programmes such as help to buy up to 2020/21, and just £8 billion (21 per cent of the budget) on programmes such as shared ownership and affordable homes. It adds that the number of affordable homes funded by the government has plummeted by 50 per cent between 2010/11 and 2016/17 from 56,000 to 28,000, according to figures from the DCLG analysed in CIH’s UK Housing Review briefing. At the same time, the number of homes for the cheapest social rents built using government finance has collapsed, from 36,000 to just over 1,000. For more details, click here

Homelessness: public attitudes
On 14 September 2017 Crisis published a study – Finding a Better Frame: How to Create More Effective Messages on Homelessness in the United Kingdom – that shows that the public hold a specific view about who is ‘really’ homeless and how they came to be there, and that both the homelessness sector and the media play a role in supporting these perceptions. As a consequence, Crisis says that the housing and homelessness sector needs to change the way it talks about homelessness if it is to convince the public that it can be ended. To read the report, click here

Rogue letting agent faces confiscation order for £1 million
On 15 September 2017 the Northamptonshire Telegraph reported that a letting agent from Kettering had received a confiscation order for just over £1 million, made under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, after he was convicted of fraudulently generating significant profits at the expense of tenants and landlords by dishonestly increasing the cost of maintenance and safety work. He was also convicted of money laundering, VAT fraud and insurance fraud. To read the full report in the Northamptonshire Telegraph, click here


Local Housing Authority Debt Bill
This Bill, which had its first reading in the House of Lords on 4 July 2017, seeks to replace the current regime of limits on local housing authorities’ debt with limits determined by the existing prudential regime for local authority borrowing for non-housing-related purposes. The second reading is yet to be scheduled. For the Bill as introduced, click here To follow progress of the Bill, click here

Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights (Wales) Bill
This Bill seeks to abolish the right of eligible secure tenants to buy their home at a discount under Part 5 of the Housing Act 1985 (Right to Buy); abolish the preserved right of eligible former secure tenants to buy their home at a discount under section 171A of the Housing Act 1985 (Preserved Right to Buy); abolish the right of eligible assured or secure tenants of a registered social landlord or private registered provider to acquire their home at a discount under section 16 of the Housing Act 1996 (Right to Acquire); and encourage social landlords to build or acquire new homes for rent, the Right to Buy, Preserved Right to Buy and Right to Acquire will not be exercisable by tenants who move into new social housing stock more than two months after the Bill receives Royal Assent, subject to certain exceptions. The Bill is currently at Stage 2 in the Welsh Assembly; Stage 2 began on 19 July 2017 and Stage 2 consideration will take place in Committee on 5 October 2017. The Finance Committee laid its report in respect of the Bill on 28 June 2017. The Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee has undertaken an inquiry into the general principles of the Bill and laid its report on 7 July 2017. The Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee laid its report in respect of the Bill also on 7 July 2017. Notice of amendments and a table of the purpose and effect of the government’s amendments were published on 15 September 2017.For progress of the Bill (including the committees’ scrutiny), the text of the Bill itself and explanatory memorandum, together with proceedings and reports of the various committees, click here and scroll down.

Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill
This is a Private Members’ Bill introduced in the House of Commons by Karen Buck. The Bill aims to 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; to amend the Building Act 1984 to make provision about the liability for works on residential accommodation that do not comply with Building Regulations; and for connected purposes. The Bill is being prepared for publication. The second reading is due to take place on 19 January 2018. To follow progress of the Bill, click here

Homeless People (Current Accounts) Bill
This is a Private Members’ Bill introduced in the House of Commons by Peter Bone. The Bill is intended to require banks to provide current accounts for homeless people seeking work; and for connected purposes. The Bill is being prepared for publication. The Bill received its first reading on 5 September 2017. The second reading is due to take place on 1 February 2019. To follow progress of the Bill, click here

Housing (Amendment) Scotland Bill
This Scottish government Bill aims to amend the law on the regulation of social landlords and to reduce the influence of local authorities over registered social landlords. It was introduced on 4 September 2017.For the Bill as introduced, click here To follow progress of the Bill, click here

Make Sure you Keep Up to Date with Housing Law Week

Don’t miss out on your weekly updates!
Sign up here now to ensure you receive your own free copy of Housing Law Week straight to your desktop each week.


Fees charged to tenants in the private rented sector – Wales
This consultation seeks views on what action the Welsh Government should take to end unfair fees charged to tenants. Examples given in the consultation document of activities for which fees are charged are: accompanied viewings; pre-tenancy negotiation; producing the tenancy agreement; producing guarantor forms, if applicable; completing reference reports; obtaining / verifying all safety certificates; protecting the deposit and issuing documentation; processing move in monies and signing documentation; issuing the inventory and schedule of property; amending tenancy agreements; renewing tenancy agreements; early termination; and moving out. The consultation seeks views on the nature and level of fees being charged to tenants. It seeks to determine which fees, if any, are justifiably being charged to tenants. It also seeks information on fees paid by landlords to agents, and also on the possible consequences of banning fees. The consultation closes on 27 September 2017. For the consultation document, click here

London Housing Strategy
The Mayor of London has published his draft Housing Strategy for London. It seeks to provide ‘a comprehensive plan to address the housing crisis over the next few years. This includes: starting to build 90,000 new affordable homes by 2021; ensuring a better deal for private renters; increasing the building of more genuinely affordable homes; supporting new housing providers including community builders; and helping tackle homelessness, with a way off the street for every rough sleeper.’ The three-month consultation ends on 7 December 2017. The strategy will be revised following the consultation period. For the consultation document, click here In order to respond on behalf of an organisation, click here

Planning for the right homes in the right places: consultation proposals
This consultation sets out a number of proposals to reform the planning system to increase the supply of new homes and increase local authority capacity to manage growth. Proposals include: a standard method for calculating local authorities’ housing need; how neighbourhood planning groups can have greater certainty on the level of housing need to plan for; a statement of common ground to improve how local authorities work together to meet housing and other needs across boundaries; making the use of viability assessments simpler, quicker and more transparent; and increased planning application fees in those areas where local planning authorities are delivering the homes their communities need. The attached ‘Housing need consultation data table’ sets out the housing need for each local planning authority using a proposed method, how many homes every place in the country is currently planning for, and, where available, how many homes they believe they need. The consultation closes on 9 November 2017. For more details, click here


Government auditors say housing benefit freeze is a driver of homelessness Deborah Garvie [2017] Shelter Blog 13 September. To read this article, click here

The Guardian view on homelessness: do ministers care? Editorial [2017] Guardian 13 September. To read this report, click here

No shortcuts available: the Conservatives and a housing offer for young people Steve Akehurst [2017] Shelter Blog 14 September. To read this article, click here

Look at Grenfell and recall when social housing was beloved Deborah Orr [2017] Guardian 15 September. To read this article, click here

The Grenfell inquiry opens but no one expects justice to be easily won Dawn Foster [2017] Guardian 15 September. To read this article, click here

We had dealt with homelessness. Why has it now returned? Lynsey Hanley [2017] Guardian 17 September. To read this article, click here

An uncaring indifference to wrong and right [2017] Nearly Legal 18 September. To read this article, click here

Planning for the homes we need Alex McCallum [2017] Shelter Blog 18 September. To read this article, click here

Recent Developments in Housing Law Jan Luba QC & Nic Madge [2017] September issue of Legal Action. Available in print and on-line for Legal Action subscribers. For the latest issue, click here


27 September 2017                  
Consultation closes on fees charged to tenants in the private rented sector – Wales (see Housing Law Consultations)

1 October 2017                        
Various changes to the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 come into force, including those relating to eviction because of immigration status

11 October 2017                       
Lime Legal’s Homelessness Conference 2017: Law & Best Practice
Click here for details

Advertise your vacancy to Housing Law Week Readers

Send details of the vacancy and a link to the vacancy on your website to info@limelegal.co.uk

Featured Job of the Week

Lawyer (Housing)
Hackney Council

Service: Legal & Democratic Services

Salary range: £43,530 - £45,438

Full time

Closing date: 1st October 2017

Click here for details

Head of Prevention & Assessment
London Borough of Waltham Forest
Job Ref: F&H/17/42114
Click here for details
Housing Officer
Bristol City Council
Job Ref: 1835
Click here for details
Regulatory Lawyer
Bristol City Council
Job Ref:1824
Click here for details
Housing Options and Homeless Prevention Manager
Hillingdon Council
Job Ref: LBH3588
Click here for details
In-House Advocate – Housing
Hillingdon Council
Job Ref: LBH3726
Click here for details
Compliance and Maintenance Manager
Merton Council
Job Ref: 5006
Click here for details
Homeless Intervention Officers x 2
Bromley Council
Job Ref: 0000018970
Click here for details
Temporary Accommodation Supply & Contracts Manager
Homes for Haringey
Job Ref: HFH-800
Click here for details
Housing Options Team Leader
Breckland Council
Click here for details
Housing Support Officer (Maternity Cover)
Breckland Council
Click here for details
Housing Management Apprentice
Southwark Council
Job Ref: SC02298
Click here for details
Private Tenancy Relations Officer
Southwark Council
Job Ref: SC02068
Click here and scroll down page for details
Lime Legal Limited, Greengate House, 87 Pickwick Road, Corsham, Wiltshire, SN13 9B