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.

Please contact publications@shelter.org.uk to receive What's New updates in a fortnightly email.

Making a claim for universal credit

Changes made 11 April 2018

With effect from 11 April 2018, reg 6(7) Universal Credit (Miscellaneous Amendments, Saving and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/65 amends the Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2014/1230 so that housing benefit (HB) claimants who successfully claim universal credit (UC) will continue receiving HB until two weeks after they become entitled. Claimants in specified and temporary accommodation will not be affected as they will continue to receive HB for their rent.

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Payment condition

Changes made 11 April 2018

With effect from 11 April 2018, regulation 3(12)(a) Universal Credit (Miscellaneous Amendments, Savings and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/65 amend the Universal Credit Regulations 2013 SI 2013/276 so that universal credit will not cover the costs of temporary accommodation. Universal credit claimants who are already in temporary accommodation will have transitional protection until their rent goes up or they no longer meet the criteria for the housing element. UC claimants in temporary accommodation will instead be eligible for housing benefit.

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Discretionary housing payments

Changes made 11 April 2018

On 21 March 2018, the Department for Work and Pensions issued a new guidance manual to local authorities around the payment of discretionary housing payments . The manual replaces the previous version (as revised in November 2017), and gives recommendations on how local authorities run their schemes.

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Gas Safety Regulations 1998

Changes made 06 April 2018

From 6 April 2018, regulation 36(3) Gas Safety Regulations 1998 which requires landlords to check all gas appliances and flues for safety at last once every 12 months has been amended. New regulation 36A, inserted by The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/139 allows an extra two months so that a landlord can bring the date of the check on that appliance into alignment with checks on other appliances or flues. Only one such delay is allowed per appliance. The requirement for landlords to keep records is amended accordingly so that records of each check must be kept until there have been two further checks, rather than for two years.

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Banning orders

Changes made 06 April 2018

A new page has been added to Shelter Legal providing information about banning orders. A banning order can be made against a landlord or agent who has been convicted of a banning order offence. In force from 6 April 2018, Housing and Planning Act 2016 (Banning Order Offences) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/216 sets out the 41 separate offences that are banning order offences. A banning order prohibits a landlord or agent from letting or managing residential properties.

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Rogue landlord database

Changes made 06 April 2018

A new page has been added to Shelter Legal providing information about the ‘Database of Rogue Landlords and Property Agents’. The Housing and Planning Act 2016 (Database of Rogue Landlords and Property Agents) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/258 brings the database into force on 6 April 2018. The database will record details of landlords and agents that are subject to a banning order or have committed a banning order offence. The new page also provides information about the Mayor of London’s rogue landlord and agent checker.

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Support for mortgage interest

Changes made 05 April 2018

With effect from 6 April 2018, under the Loans for Mortgage Interest Regulations 2017 SI 2017/725 as amended by the Loans for Mortgage Interest and Social Fund Maternity Grant (Amendment) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/307, support for mortgage interest (SMI) is offered as a loan to recipients of qualifying benefits.

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Overview of homelessness law and guidance

Changes made 03 April 2018

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 (HRA) came into force on 3 April 2018, making significant changes to Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996. In addition, the MHCLG has published a new Homelessness Code of Guidance for local authorities, which also came into force on 3 April 2018. The new code supersedes the 2006 code and the supplementary codes of guidance. It should be noted that the changes introduced under the HRA will not apply to an applicant who applied as homeless before 3 April 2018. The pages in the Homelessness applications section of Shelter Legal have been updated accordingly.

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Threatened homelessness

Changes made 03 April 2018

With effect from 3 April 2018, section 1(2) Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 amends section 175(4) Housing Act 1996 so that a person is threatened with homelessness when s/he is likely to become homeless within 56 days. In addition, section 1(3) Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 inserts section 175(5) into the Housing Act 1996 so that a person is also threatened with homelessness when s/he has been given a valid section 21 notice which is due to expire within 56 days.

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Assessments of need

Changes made 03 April 2018

With effect from 3 April 2018, local authorities are under a duty to assess needs and make a personalised housing plan for all applicants who are eligible and either homeless or threatened with homelessness. Section 189A Housing Act 1996 as inserted by section 2(1) Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 outlines the criteria for assessment and states that a plan must be devised based on the assessment.

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