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

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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Housing Health and Safety Rating System (Fire safety)

Changes made 03 December 2018

On 29 November 2018, MHCLG published an ‘Addendum for the profile for the hazard of fire and in relation to cladding systems on high rise residential buildings’. The document has been issued to provide guidance for local authorities on the assessment of high-rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding. It should be read and used in conjunction with the hazard profile for fire as set out in Annex D of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System Operating Guidance.

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Public law and human rights defences

Changes made 30 November 2018

In FJM v United Kingdom, App No 76202/16 (29 November 2018), the European Court of Human Rights confirmed that a residential occupier defending possession proceedings against a private landlord is not entitled to raise defence under Article 8 ECHR to prevent or delay the possession claim. Even where the circumstances are very exceptional and the tenant is vulnerable, the court does not have power to consider the proportionality of making a possession order where a private landlord's contractual rights entitle her/him to mandatory possession.

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Overview of universal credit

Changes made 27 November 2018

On 27 November 2018, DWP published 'Guide to Universal Credit for organisations supporting the homeless, those at risk of homelessness and rough sleepers'. This guide gathers together information which may be useful to those assisting homeless people such as how to claim without the necessary identification, easements allowing work seeking conditions to be suspended to assist homeless people find accommodation and help getting online.

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Family of workers and self-employed

Changes made 27 November 2018

Under UK law, extended family members (which include unmarried partners in a durable relationship) of British nationals returning to the UK after exercising their Treaty rights in another EU Member State, do not have a right to reside in the UK under the Surinder Singh route. However, in Secretary of State for the Home Department v Banger (Citizenship of European Union - Rights of Union citizens to move and reside freely within the territory of the European Union - Judgment) [2018] EUECJ C-89/17, the Fourth Chamber of the European Court of Justice established that they have a ‘derived right of facilitation’ if they applied for a residence card. In Secretary of State for the Home Department v Christy [2018] EWCA Civ 2378, the Court of Appeal held that the derived right of facilitation of non-EU nationals in a durable relationship with British nationals returning to the UK after exercising their right of free movement under Article 21(1) TFEU is not dependent on the non-EU national obtaining a residence document under Article 3(2) of the Citizenship Directive in the Member State where the durable relationship with the British national was formed or strengthened - any decision of that Member State's immigration authorities, for example a VISA under domestic immigration law, will suffice.

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Persons eligible for assistance

Changes made 23 November 2018

With effect from 24 July 2018, the Immigration (European Economic Area) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/801 amended the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/1052 to give effect to the European Court of Justice decisions in Gusa [2017] EUECJ C-442/16, O and B [2014] EUECJ C-456/12, Lounes [2017] EUECJ C-165/16, Chavez-Vilchez [2017] EUECJ C-133/15, and Vomero [2018] EUECJ C-316/16. The Department for Work and Pensions has now issued DMG Memo 15/18 to provide guidance about those changes.

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Older people: care homes

Changes made 20 November 2018

On 16 November 2018 the Competition and Markets Authority published 'Care homes: consumer law advice for providers’. The guidance explains consumer law obligations such as ensuring that information provided about the care home is not misleading so as to allow informed decisions about moving in to the home, avoiding unfair contract terms (including those around terminating the contract), and having an effective complaints procedure that is easy to use. A link to the guidance has been added to the page.

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Making a homelessness application

Changes made 19 November 2018

In its report on a complaint against Hounslow LBC (ref n. 17 018 631), the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) found that the council was at fault and caused injustice by not taking a homelessness application and providing interim accommodation to a seven months pregnant woman who was then forced to sofa surf while pregnant and after her baby was born. The council has now accepted all the LGSCO recommendations and offered her permanent accommodation in social housing.

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Homeless 16- and 17-year-olds

Changes made 19 November 2018

In its report on a complaint against Cornwall Council (ref. n. 17 005 652), the LGSCO found that the council was at fault and caused injustice by accommodating a vulnerable 17-year-old homeless applicant, assessed as a child in need, in a tent and in a static caravan for several weeks over a summer. Like bed and breakfast accommodation, a tent and/or static caravan can never be suitable accommodation for a homeless young person.

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Discrimination in relation to premises

Changes made 14 November 2018

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published a toolkit for local authorities on housing and disabled people. It includes information, checklists, questionnaires and best practice examples. There are five downloadable guides: (1) providing and managing housing adaptations; (2) allocation of housing; (3) planning for accessible homes; (4) strategic planning; and (5) supporting tenants. A link to the toolkit can be found under 'Essential links' on this page.

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