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Assured Shorthold tenancy
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JanusTo begin by looking backwards, the numbers for Nearly Legal in 2010 were:

  • Posts: 281 (a post every 1.3 days on average)
  • Average page views per day*: 613
  • Busiest day for page views: 1,737 (3 November)
  • Average page views per month*: 19,995
  • Highest page views per month: 28,638 (This was November –  Pinnock, I think)
  • Subscribers by email and RSS: 987
  • Real Comments: 1,154 (thanks to all who commented)
  • Most commented post: 82 comments – ‘On the Naughty Step – drop the dead donkey redux

( * these would both have been higher, but I messed up a detail during the change of servers in January which meant we were completely invisible to Google, Bing etc. until June when I finally worked out what I had broken. Well done me.  After June, the average page views were: per day 833 and per month 23,066).

In short, more people visited Nearly Legal more often than in 2009 and commented more frequently, despite my inadvertent efforts to wipe us off the face of the internet. This makes us happy. For a thoroughly niche and specialist law blog, we are astonished by these figures.

What makes us even more happy is that people have been good enough to send us news and transcripts of their cases as judgments were handed down and have kept us up to date on on-going appeals. And then over the course of the year, quite a few people have said very complimentary things to me in person about NL, for which thanks. It is always good to know that our efforts are of use to others – any praise is of course for the whole team.

While on thanks, a particular debt of gratitude is owed to Tessa Shepperson of landlordlaw, whose help and support in providing new server space has been invaluable for the last year and for the future. We do this for the love of it, but Tessa stepped in with material assistance when it was needed and that support has been hugely helpful.

Looking forward…

In the short term, I’ve made a couple of tweaks.

Over the last year or two, the information in the sidebars has grown. The list of links had increased, I had introduced a new larger category list and the feeds of Supreme Court judgments were added to the Admin Court and Court of Appeal. This meant that the sidebars were getting rather overloaded and unwieldy. So I’ve moved all the links to housing law sites and resources, and the other law sites, to a dedicated links page – available via the top menu. This does mean they are a click away from the main page, but something had to give…

I’ve updated some of the links. I’ve also updated and re-jigged the news feeds page, sadly dropping some sources that were moribund and others that I simply couldn’t keep successfully page-scraping for updates. (The culprits here being Garden Court Chambers housing bulletins and Arden Chambers eflashes. Everyone else can ignore the following slightly geeky rant. If anyone responsible for those pages is reading,  I had to set up scripts to parse the code of your  webpages, pull out the relevant entries, turn that into an RSS feed and then keep scanning for updates. Then the scripts broke because the coding of the pages changed or was inconstant. I set up new scripts. After a while they broke, because the page coding wasn’t constant and/or the page address changed. I just haven’t got the time to keep doing this. Can it really be so tricky to set up an RSS feed? That way we can actually send traffic to your sites as well as spreading your attributed material. Rant over)

Looking further forward, all the numbers are thoroughly depressing. At various points during 2011/12 we are promised:

  • Maximum housing benefit level: £400 pw for a three bed house
  • LHA set at bottom 30% of market rent range.
  • Age at which HB will pay for more than a room in a shared house: 35
  • ‘Affordable’ tenancies at ‘up to’ 80% of market rent and for 2 years term.
  • projected loss of legal aid income to not for profits: 92%
  • projected loss of legal aid income to Law Centres: 50%
  • across the board reduction in fee income: 10%
  • reduction in matter starts: 500,000

Still, while the future may be murky, having been a First Capital Connect commuter on the Thameslink line over the last 6 weeks, I have looked fear, doubt and uncertainty in the face far too often to be worried by a mere threat to the existence of our practice.

And for NL? Well, as long as there are still all or some of us left to do this, we’ll carry on in our own peculiar fashion. I’ve been toying with ideas with a large scale redesign and re-organisation of the blog, which may or may not happen, but otherwise, there are no plans for major changes. And thanks to Tessa, no need for paid ads, sponsorship or indeed begging. We intend to remain independent and unabashedly selfish – we will do what interests us.

Hopefully, that will continue to interest you too and you’ll all be with us into 2011 and beyond. As ever, we welcome any news on cases, including in the County Court -particularly on interesting points of law and always on assessment of quantum. And there are some cracking and important cases in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court coming up.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.


  1. simplywondered

    you may indeed be ‘a thoroughly niche and specialist law blog’; you also cover your niche in great detail and write as a team with a combination of understanding and the ability to communicate. i am grateful for your bringing little-known and unreported cases to my attention as well as debating the implications of higher profile cases.
    and most importantly (imho) you also don’t have your heads up your arses and are tolerant of my (and others’)ignorance.

    so thanks for all of that and happy new year. this is the blog i would miss most if it went.

  2. FT

    Your blog is completely invaluable. It is the only one I read as soon as you post. Thanks so much for all your work. Happy new year for 2011.

  3. CJ

    Well done to NL for another excellent bloggy year providing a marvellous service. Congratulations from one of the surviving housing lawyers holed up in the legal aid mountains waiting for the next MoJ rocket attack. A reminder to folks to get in your response to the MoJ consultation paper by the deadline of February 14th – yes,Valentine’s Day.Maybe someone in the MoJ has a sense of humour?



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