Homelessness Appeals and Welfare Reform: The link between affordability and changes to housing benefit

Thursday 5 May 2016, 6:30pm - 8:00pm

Garden Court Chambers

Date: Thursday 5 May 2016
Time: 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Venue: Garden Court Chambers, 57-60 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3LJ  
Areas of Law: Housing Law , Welfare Benefits Law

Share This Page

Email This Page

This seminar will consider the interrelationship between housing benefit and housing law in the context of welfare reform and the reduction in public funding post-LASPO.

The seminar will consider the scope for raising housing benefit issues in possession proceedings by way of (a) a defence based on reasonableness; and (b) a public law challenge against the decision to refuse to pay housing benefit.

The seminar will outline a series of measures that have been introduced under the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 reducing the amount of housing benefit paid to tenants in both the private and the social sector and consider how affordability issues can arise in homeless appeals in light of these recent changes.

This seminar will cover

  • The scope for raising housing benefit issues in possession proceedings
  • The potential to use public law arguments to challenge unlawful housing benefit decisions
  • An update on welfare reform and housing benefit, including recent changes to:
    - Local housing allowance
    - The benefit cap
    - The bedroom tax
    - Discretionary housing payments
  • The impact of LASPO Act 2012
  • The link between the changes to housing benefit and intentionality, affordability and suitability issues in homelessness appeals and developments in recent case law

Who should attend

This seminar is aimed at housing practitioners defending possession proceedings and bringing homelessness appeals based on an adverse finding of intentionality.


Kevin Gannon specialises in housing law. His practice covers all the main areas of housing law including possession, disrepair, illegal eviction and nuisance. He has a particular interest in housing cases which involve public law issues such as homelessness and allocation challenges. He also has experience in possession cases involving human rights arguments and was junior counsel for Rebecca Powell in the Supreme Court case of Hounslow LBC v Powell [2011] 2 WLR 287. He has dealt with cases involving all the issues which usually arise in homelessness appeals including eligibility, priority need, intentionality and suitability. Kevin also has experience in housing cases with community care, immigration or social security law aspects. Kevin sits as a part-time social security tribunal judge.

Desmond Rutledge specialises in welfare benefits. His practice covers cases that cross over with public law housing and immigration. He is a contributor to the welfare benefits sections in Macdonald’s Immigration Law and Practice (9th ed.) and co-author of annual Housing Benefit Update published in the Legal Action Group magazine. His reported cases include: Burnip v Birmingham City Council & Anor [2012] HRLR 20, (discriminatory effect of housing benefit rules on the disabled) and Sanneh v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Others [2015] HLR 27 (Zambrano carers’ entitlement to social assistance under EU law).

Justine Compton (Chair) specialises in housing and Gypsy and Traveller law. She has particular experience in homelessness appeals and defending possession cases. Justine is also experienced in judicial review claims in respect of homelessness, allocations and community care issues.

Book online


We are top ranked by independent legal directories and consistently win awards.

+ View more awards