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.

User testers required

Changes made 04 December 2018

We are reviewing the content of Shelter Legal and are looking for professionals that use it as a resource in their day-to-day work to test ideas for a new design and improved user experience. The test exercises take between 30 to 45 minutes and involve an online activity that can be completed in own time or a scheduled telephone conversation with our researcher. If you'd like to participate, please send us a reply using this form.

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Right to reside

Changes made 17 May 2019

Since 30 March 2019 (and earlier for people who took part in the trial phases of the scheme from 28 August 2018 to 29 March 2019), EEA/Swiss nationals and their family members wishing to continue to live in the UK after Brexit (ie 'EU exit day') have been able to apply for settlement in the UK under Appendix EU to the Immigration Rules and obtain either settled status or pre-settled status. On 14 May 2019 the Home Office published a list of organisations funded to provide help and support to vulnerable and ‘at risk’ applicants, including those with a disability or a mental health condition, victims of human trafficking or domestic abuse, the elderly and those without a permanent address. [PREVIOUS WHAT'S NEW: 7 May 2019] With effect from 7 May 2019, the Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 SI 2019/861 amend the Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1294 to correct an unintended consequence of the coming into force of the EU Settlement Scheme for EEA nationals and their family members. Until 6 May, people whose 'only right to reside' in the UK was the initial right for three months or as a jobseeker, who also obtained pre-settlement status under the scheme, were eligible for housing and homelessness assistance due to the strict wording in the 2006 Regulations. With effect from 7 May 2019, the Regulations have been amended to clarify that pre-settled status in these circumstances no longer confers them eligibility. [PREVIOUS WHAT'S NEW: 26 April 2019] Non-EEA primary carers of British children or dependent British adults have a derivative right to reside in the UK under EU law, if being required to leave the UK would mean that the British person dependent on them would be compelled to leave the territory of the EEA. In MS (Malaysia) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWCA Civ 580, the Court of Appeal held that where social services’ residential care was not an adequate alternative to the care provided by a non-EEA daughter to her British mother (who had multiple care needs), the objective threshold of ‘being compelled to leave’ was met and the daughter had a derivative right to reside under EU law as a primary carer of her dependent British mother.

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Workers

Changes made 17 May 2019

Economically active EEA nationals exercising EU Treaty rights in another EU Member State are eligible for social assistance, including homelessness assistance, social housing and welfare benefits. In certain circumstances, the status of an EEA worker can be retained – meaning the EEA national continues to be treated as eligible for assistance, even though s/he is not economically active at the time of her/his application. In JS v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (IS) [2019] UKUT 135 (AAC), the Upper Tribunal held that an EEA national who gave up work to look after his children (one of whom was severely disabled) to prevent them from being taken into social services’ care did not retain his worker status, because despite the existence of a ‘good reason’ for giving up employment, the circumstances were not recognised in EU law. [PREVIOUS WHAT'S NEW: 9 May 2019] Economically active EEA nationals exercising EU Treaty rights in another EU Member State are eligible for social assistance, including homelessness assistance, social housing and welfare benefits. In certain circumstances, the status of an EEA worker/self-employed person can be retained – meaning the EEA national continues to be treated as eligible for assistance, even though s/he is not economically active at the time of her/his application. In Tarola v Minister for Social Protection [2019] CJEU C-483/17, the Court of Justice for the European Union ruled that a two-week period of economic activity in the host EU Member State entitled an EEA national to retain his worker status for up to six months on the grounds of ‘involuntary unemployment’, provided that he was registered with the relevant employment office.

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Eligibility for universal credit

Changes made 15 May 2019

With effect from 15 May 2019, article 5 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 (Commencement No. 31 and Savings and Transitional Provisions and Commencement No. 21 and 23 and Transitional and Transitory Provisions (Amendment)) Order 2019 SI 2019/37 removes the entitlement to housing benefit of 'mixed age couples', one of whom is over and the other under the qualifying age for pension credit. From that date, such couples will no longer have the option of claiming pension credit and housing benefit and will have to claim universal credit. The Department for Work and Pensions have written to all current housing benefit and pension credit claimants to advise them of the effects of this should their circumstances change.

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Responsibilities of landlords, tenants and occupiers

Changes made 13 May 2019

In the case of New Crane Wharf Freehold Ltd v Dovener [2019] UKUT 98 (LC), the Upper Tribunal held that where an express term in the agreement required a long leaseholder to ‘permit’ the landlord access for inspection on notice, the fact that the leaseholder failed to confirm access would be granted in advance did not amount to a breach of contract. The landlord (New Crane Wharf Freehold Ltd) wrote to the leaseholder to notify them of the inspection date but did not seek to enter the premises on the day. The leaseholder was not contractually obliged to respond to the landlord’s notice and did not do so. The Upper Tribunal ruled that as the landlord did not actually attempt to gain access to the property on the specified date, there was no evidence that the leaseholder withheld their permission.

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Temporary absences from home

Changes made 10 May 2019

A housing benefit claimant (or a household member) may be treated as occupying the home, and therefore as eligible for housing benefit, even if s/he is temporarily absent from it. With effect from 28 July 2016, the period of temporary absence outside Great Britain (GB) is restricted to 4 weeks, with limited exceptions. In Slough Borough Council v PK [2019] UKUT 128 (AAC), the Upper Tribunal held that when calculating the 4 weeks' absence period, the day of departure from GB is to be taken into account and the day of return is to be disregarded.

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Agency charges

Changes made 09 May 2019

From 1 April 2019, property agents operating in the private rented sector must comply with the requirement to belong to a government-approved client money protection (CMP) scheme or face a financial penalty of up to £30,000. Sanctions for non-compliance are enforced by local authorities. On 9 May 2019 the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government published statutory guidance for enforcement authorities ‘Mandatory client money protection for property agents. Enforcement guidance for local authorities’ that expands on the legal provisions for enforcement activities. [PREVIOUS WHAT'S NEW 1 APRIL 2019]: The Housing and Planning Act 2016 extended the government’s powers in relation to regulating property agents. With effect from 1 April 2019, the Client Money Protection Schemes for Property Agents (Requirement to Belong to a Scheme etc.) Regulations 2019 SI 2019/386 requires that letting and managing agents that receive and hold clients’ money (other than tenancy deposits) to register with one the of the government-approved client money protection (CMP) schemes. The new regime has been set up to safeguard clients’ money in the event of loss or misappropriation. Failure to register with a CMP scheme may result in a financial penalty of up to £30,000.

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Buying a home

Changes made 09 May 2019

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) has published two guides for prospective homeowners as part of an updated series of ‘How to’ housing guides. The ‘How to buy a home’ guide offers practical advice on the process of buying a home. The 'How to sell a home' guide may assist those who wish to sell their existing property before moving.

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Habitual residence test

Changes made 09 May 2019

The Department of Work and Pensions has issued HB Circular A7/2019, DMG Memo 06/19 and DMG Memo 09/19 to provide guidance on the Social Security (Income-related Benefits) (Updating and Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 SI 2019/872 which, with effect from 7 May 2019, have amended several Regulations governing eligibility to means-tested benefits, including the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213, the Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/214 and the Universal Credit 2013 SI 2013/376. The Circular and the Memos confirm that people who have been granted 'settled status' under the EU Settlement Scheme for EEA nationals and their family members will satisfy the right to reside element of the habitual residence test, whereas pre-settlement status alone is not a relevant right to reside for that purpose and people who have been granted 'pre-settled status' will need to satisfy the test in the usual ways, according to all the circumstances in their case.

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After eviction

Changes made 30 April 2019

A secure tenant with a possession order for rent arrears and a warrant suspended on terms became an assured tenant following a stock transfer from a local authority to a housing association. He accrued fresh arrears. He also never fully paid off the arrears accrued prior to transfer, and the possession order was not discharged. The housing association applied for and obtained a fresh possession order and warrant, and the tenant was evicted. The tenant successfully applied to set aside the warrant on the grounds that the matter had been already decided in the course of the original possession proceedings and the fresh proceedings could not be brought (the doctrine of ‘res judicata’). The housing association appealed. In Salix Homes v Mantato [2019] EWCA Civ 445, the Court of Appeal held that the new landlord was entitled to start fresh possession proceedings on grounds 10 and 11 of the Housing Act 1988 for arrears accrued after the original order was granted. The facts were not the same (or substantially the same) as in the original proceedings and therefore the fresh claim was not an abuse of process.

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