What’s new

The pages on Shelter Legal are updated regularly to reflect changes in the law. This page lists the most recent updates to Shelter Legal with a brief description of the amendment.

Persons ineligible for assistance

Changes made 16 November 2017

In R (on the application of HC) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Ors [[2017] UKSC 73, the Supreme Court has upheld an earlier Court of Appeal decision that the regulations excluding Zambrano carers from homelessness assistance and from welfare benefits are lawful. In a separate judgment, Lady Hale stressed that, whilst support provided to Zambrano carers under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 is required only to be sufficient to ensure that a British child is not deprived on her/his rights as a British and European citizen, local authorities should bear in mind their duty under section 11 of the Children Act 2004 to discharge their functions having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

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Restrictions on eligible rents: Social rented sector tenants

Changes made 16 November 2017

The number of bedrooms allowed under social sector size criteria is laid out in regulation B13 of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006. A bedroom is allowed for a foster child or child awaiting a foster placement. In Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v PE and Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council (HB) [2017] UKUT 393 (AAC), the Upper Tribunal ruled that it is discriminatory not to similarly allow a bedroom for an adult on or awaiting placement under an adult placement scheme. This might be respite care or a longer term arrangement. Other pages in the benefits section have been changed to reflect this decision.

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A8 nationals

Changes made 09 November 2017

In Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Gubeladze [2017] EWCA Civ 1751, the Court of Appeal held that the extension of the Worker Registration Scheme (WRS) for A8 nationals from 1 May 2009 to 30 April 2011 by the Accession (Immigration and Worker Registration) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 SI 2009/892 was unlawful. However, the Court also held that the Upper Tribunal had been wrong to hold that, for the purpose of the period of residence required by an EEA national to acquire a permanent right to reside following retirement or becoming permanently incapacitated for work, ‘actual residence’ as opposed to ‘legal residence' was sufficient. As this point did not affect the outcome of the appeal it is unclear to what extent it is binding, but it is at least highly persuasive.

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Statutory control of service charges

Changes made 08 November 2017

Under section 19 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, leaseholders are only required to pay service charges relating to costs that have been 'reasonably incurred' by the landlord. In Cos Services Ltd v Nicholson and Willans [2017] UKUT 382 (LC), where insurance premiums claimed as service charge by the landlord were around four times higher than premiums identified by leaseholders that would achieve like-for-like cover, this was evidence that the charges were not reasonably incurred. There were no significant advantages in the policies obtained by the landlord, and he was unable to explain the reason for the discrepancy.

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What is a secure tenancy?

Changes made 08 November 2017

In Southwark LBC v Ibidun [2017] EWHC 2775 (QB), the High Court dismissed the local authority’s appeal against the county court judge’s dismissal of its claim for possession. Despite finding the tenant had lied about certain matters, the judge assessed all the evidence as a whole and was entitled to find that the tenant had not sublet her studio flat and had retained occupation (and her secure tenancy status) throughout.

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Joint tenancies

Changes made 07 November 2017

In response to user feedback, this page has been revised to expand and clarify issues such as liability for rent and service of notice to quit where a tenancy is granted to more than four joint tenants.

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Orders for sale and charging orders

Changes made 26 October 2017

In Pickard & Anor v Constable [2017] EWHC 2475 (Ch), the High Court was asked to postpone an order for sale on the property of a bankrupt homeowner and her seriously ill spouse until the latter’s death, on the basis that there were no realistic alternative housing options open to him. The Court postponed the order for 12 months, but indicated that the spouse may have a chance of achieving a further postponement if he could provide 'cogent evidence' of his ill health and its impact on his housing options. Please note that this new page replaces the previous page 'Charging orders' and contains additional information on where a trustee in bankruptcy applies for an order for sale.

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Repossession of leasehold property

Changes made 25 October 2017

Where a leaseholder breaches a term of their lease, the landlord can, where the lease allows, apply to end the lease using 'forfeiture' proceedings. The landlord must first serve a notice under s.166 Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 where the breach is non-payment of ground rent. In Cheerupmate2 Ltd v de Luca Calce [2017] UKUT 377 (TCC), the Upper Tribunal held that the landlord's forfeiture of the lease failed because the s.166 notice used out-of-date prescribed wording making it invalid. In addition, the Tribunal held that under s.167 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002, forfeiture cannot be used where rent has been outstanding for less than three years from the due date given in the s.166 notice, not from the date the rent fell due under the terms of the lease.

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Causation

Changes made 25 October 2017

In Doka v Southwark LBC [2017] EWCA 1532 (Civ), the Court of Appeal confirmed that what may be classed as ‘settled accommodation’ for the purpose of breaking the chain of causation between an intentionally homeless decision and a fresh homeless application is a question of fact and degree. Accommodation that is ‘precarious’ in terms of its security of tenure does not become ‘settled’ simply because a person remains in it for an extended period. In this case, the applicant had lived as a licensee (paying rent) in his employer’s home for two years. At all times it was understood that he would move out when the employer’s son returned from university and that he would vacate the room for the times when the son came home during the holidays. Despite the duration of the applicant’s occupation the accommodation remained ‘precarious’ throughout.

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Home loss payments

Changes made 25 October 2017

With effect from 1 October 2017, the Home Loss Payments (Prescribed Amounts) (England) Regulations 2017 SI 2016/769 increase the amount of home loss payments payable in England under section 30 of the Land Compensation Act 1973 (1) to £6,100 for a displaced tenant, and (2) for a displaced owner-occupier the maximum and minimum threshold is increased to £61,000 and £6,100 respectively. With effect from 5 December 2017, Home Loss Payments (Prescribed Amounts) (Wales) Regulations 2017 SI 2016/996 increase the amount of home loss payments payable in Wales under section 30 of the Land Compensation Act 1973 (1) to £5,750 for a displaced tenant, and (2) for a displaced owner-occupier the maximum and minimum threshold is increased to £57,500 and £5,750 respectively.

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