Impossible Preference: Excluding the homeless from housing lists

R (Jakimaviciute) v LB Hammersmith and Fulham [2013] EWHC 4372 (Admin) [Not generally available yet. I've seen a transcript]

This judicial review permission hearing raises very significant issues for post Localism Act Council allocation policies. The central issue is the Council’s ability under the Act to set an allocation policy that includes ‘qualifying classes’ and excludes other classes. Housing Act 1996 (as amended by Localism Act) s.160ZA states:

(7) Subject to subsections (2) and (4) and any regulations under subsection (8), a local housing authority may decide what classes of persons are, or are not, qualifying persons.

Meanwhile s.166A(3) provides:

As regards priorities, the scheme shall, subject to

Read the full post

End times.


I have been told that there must be an end of year round up for the blog. But, before I get to the figures, here is a soundtrack.

NL, it has to be said, seems to be prospering in bad times (not that we make any money from it, not at all. The reverse in fact.)

We saw 421,563 visits in 2013, up nearly some 90,000 from 334,831 in 2012, and that was an average of 1,156 visits per day. Total visits since the blog began are just over 2 million. We posted 182 entries over the year (not including this one), being pretty much a post every … Read the full post

Allocations and legitimate expectation

In R(Alansi) v Newham LBC, Stuart-Smith J held that, although Ms Alansi had a legitimate expectation that she would remain a priority homeseeker on Newham’s housing register, Newham had not acted unreasonably and in abuse of its power by withdrawing its representation.  It is a case which demonstrates (again) just how hard it is to shoehorn a genuine grievance into a successful JR challenge, doubly so in the context of a local authority allocation scheme.

Ms Alansi had decided to accept an offer of PRS accommodation made by Newham under s 193, Housing Act 1996, in circumstances in which Newham had clearly and unambiguously (as Stuart-Smith J found) represented … Read the full post

Allocations Code: Draft Amendments

Although there appears to be a ministerial vacancy for housing policy (–11 h/t to Martin Partington and Jules Birch), quite a lot is happening. There are some interesting goings on about the allocation of social housing.  In a consultation paper (responses by 22nd November 2013 to, Providing social housing for local people, DCLG are suggesting upping the ante by altering the Code of Guidance.  It proposes:

  • the new guidance should “strongly encourage” local authorities to include a two year residency qualification;
  • other criteria for people who are “strongly associated” with the area (eg family association and employment);
  • the need for appropriate exceptions (eg domestic violence);
  • and more
Read the full post

Tories to regulate private rented sector? Don’t get excited…

The detail of this may have passed you by at the time, it certainly did me, but amongst the wind and posturing of David Cameron’s ‘big speech’ in March on stopping immigrants from getting things from healthcare to driving licences was quite a significant snippet on the private rental sector.

You have probably already registered the proposals for what Cameron calls ‘state sector’ housing – presumably meaning social housing – which is to introduce statutory allocation guidance:

New migrants should not expect to be given a home on arrival.  And yet at present almost one in ten new social lettings go to foreign nationals.  So, I am going to introduce

Read the full post

‘Homeless Legislation – a thing of the past?’

[Update at the end of the post 15/11/2012]

Now that the Guardian has the story, I feel able to quote a briefing paper by Andy Gale of the DCLG that had found its way to me. This is the briefing that Andy Gale has been giving to Council officers (not councillors, as far as I know) on what he gives as the DCLG view of the post-Localism Act world, how Councils should implement it, and how officers should sell this to Councillors.

And it makes very interesting reading. Please note that there may be a more considered post on the issues and policy views to come on this blog … Read the full post

Let’s all move to … Wales

This is another one of our irregular posts on our theme of happenings in Wales; this time with an apology because it’s all rather later than I had hoped and SO much is going on in Cardiff that they must be in a state of permanent combustion.  Following on from the Welsh Government’s magnificent White Paper in May, they published Proposals for a Better Private Rented Sector in Wales and then a new code of guidance on homelessness and allocations (all 257 pages worth), a Housing Bill is in preparation (2013) and there are all sorts of rumours afoot that they are preparing a subsequent Renting Homes Bill (to implement … Read the full post

Barnet’s brave new dawn

And, like a sudden, startling and slightly embarrassing squeak from a vinyl sofa, flexible tenancies are here!

London Borough of Barnet have announced, in a manner which suggests absolutely no political motivation behind the decision at all, the ‘end of the council tenancy for life‘, as of 9 July 2012.

While no Council can offer flexible tenancies until it has published its ‘Tenancy Strategy’ (which must be by January 2013), Barnet took a considered approach and published its Strategy in April 2012. A basic overview is here.

The Tenancy Strategy itself is worth a read, not least for the number of errors it contains. For example, Barnet … Read the full post