06/06/2016

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Ten years. Ten whole years. That is how long this site has been in existence. Yet still we stagger on, despite bits falling off and the east wing giving way.

Variously heralded as ‘irreverent, comprehensive and up to date’ by the Judicial Training Manual and, in court before a judge as ‘an unreliable blog’ (by a Lamb Chambers barrister, 2012 call – we know who you are and don’t think that we’ll forget it), NL has carved out a bit of a corner for housing law on this part of the internet. Here are some figures from 2007 on…

site stats

We are averaging 1,797 per day page views in 2016 (including weekends, when most of you are doing something else much more enjoyable and when we get to write most of the posts). For a specialist housing law blog, that is quite impressive.

While we generally write – and unapologetically so – for a specialist audience of housing lawyers and professionals, we have a rapidly growing lay audience of landlords, agents and tenants. This is a good thing, and something we will have in mind in the future, but to be honest, we will continue to be writing with a specialist audience in mind.

Various ideas for developing NL have come and gone – I toyed with video updates, for instance, but, well, meh – but we have kept the updates going, added the PDF archives of key categories, and branched out into flowcharts. The archive of bedroom tax cases is unique, and we have county court and even high court cases not reported elsewhere (though of course our reports are ‘unreliable’ – Lamb Chambers, 2012 call).  We have been quoted and referenced in quite a few House of Commons Library briefing notes now, which I think means we are a sort of (apparently unreliable) authority.

What is more, I haven’t received a wholly misguided defamation pre-action protocol letter from a disgruntled litigant in person or struck off solicitor in all of the last year, which is on the whole a good thing, given that I was getting a collection of them.

It has to be said that the last year was something special – through the excellent efforts of Karen Buck MP, there was in effect an NL bill in Parliament – the Homes (Fitness for Habitation) Bill –  on which a couple of us collaborated. And that was fascinating, albeit a rollercoaster, as the bill, then the identical amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill, waxed and waned in Parliamentary fortunes. I learnt a lot. A bit painfully.

And for the future? I really don’t know. It feels as if we have reached a point where things need to be formalised a bit. We continue to work on the basis of free, volunteered efforts, but that is increasingly hard as we are all increasingly busy. We can keep on, albeit falteringly, on that basis. But we are, like it or not, something of an institution now, at least amongst housing lawyers, and, pompous though it does sound, I’m increasingly thinking about succession planning and a longer term plan for the site.

Still, in the mysteriously ongoing absence of anyone offering us large sums of money for NL, this is entirely hypothetical…

That all said, we remain committed to not turning NL into a paying thing by other means, whether by subscription, advertising or members limited material. Our costs are only a few hundred quid a year for domains and email update services, thanks to the extremely generous support of Tessa Shepperson of Landlord Law in providing our web hosting for free.

I think the next year will be an interesting one for the site. We shall see. Of course, it looks like being a disastrous year for housing and for housing law, in so many ways, but that in itself will keep us busy.

10 years. 10 years. And just for me alone, some 1410 posts. I think that explains where my life went.

Happy anniversary to us. On we unreliably go.

 

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.

17 Comments

  1. Lee Georgiou

    Oh my… 10 years! Massive congratulations and a huge “thank you” to Giles and the rest of the NL team. This blog has really assisted me over the years both as a Housing Professional and a Law Student. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  2. Douglas Johnson

    It’s a fantastic blog, resource and entertaining read. You’ve done a brilliant job of consistently high quality comment and information. Good on you and long may it continue!

    (an unreliable occasional commenter)

    Reply
  3. Ben Reeve-Lewis

    Well done Giles and crew. I always recommend it as a ‘Reliable’ source of updating and archives to my training delegates. Makes me laugh too

    Reply
  4. Meghan Jones (Barbara Gordon)

    It’s been a pleasure reading – I may no longer be a law librarian but your “unreliable” unreported cases were often very useful when I was. And as a layman/tenant, the blog continues to be rather useful.

    Reply
  5. Emma

    Congratulations and many thanks to Giles and the NL crew for a wholly reliable, useful and entertaining blog. I’m sure I am not the only hit on the Lamb Chambers website this morning…

    Reply
  6. Sarah Moore

    Congratulations Giles and your NL team. It’s a pleasure to read your posts, which are always entertaining and informative and recommended to my team. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  7. Giles Peaker

    Thanks all. I gather there has been a bit of a spike in traffic to Lamb Chambers website this morning…

    Reply
  8. Paul Ives

    We’d like to add our congratulations to Giles and the NL team. The NL posts are a massively useful source of information to the industry, and the occasional witty asides provides an oasis of humour in what can be quite a dry subject. Please keep your site open and accessible – please don’t go the way of HLPA who have the strange belief that only those representing tenants and the homeless should have access to quality debate and discussion of housing law topics. Well done – Here’s to the next ten years.

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      Paul – I also happened to be the chair of HLPA for 4.5 years till this March ;-)

      Reply
    • simplywondered

      bit harsh on HLPA – everyone can join you know!

      Reply
  9. MM

    Well done NL. The Blog is a triumph and a valuable resource.

    Reply
  10. Sara @ Debt Camel

    Congratulations on 10 years, I am awestruck by the sustained effort of 1410 posts. I’m a mere beginner (2 and a half years, 340 posts, so about the same rate). I too have thought about video and “meh” is spot on.

    Keep up the good work, every time I think debt is a tough problem these days, I think of my clients at CAB (just down the road from you) who by and large have a lot more problems with housing!

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      Thank you – though the 1410 are just mine, 2142 overall… Though the 1410 is scary enough. One post every 2.5 days. For 10 years. In retrospect, I’m completely knackered ;-)

      Reply
  11. Cait

    I left housing law in 2012 (perfect timing) but could never leave nearly legal – its still a cracking read!

    Cait

    Reply
  12. MarkR

    Many thanks for the past 10 years to all at NL. This blog is my only regular housing law read as it is so unmissable. Started reading about 8 years ago whilst advising at Shelter and still use it in the day job now. I hadn’t realised it was officially unreliable until now, hope you sort that one out over the next 10.

    Reply

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