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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Eligibility for universal credit

Changes made 16 January 2019

From 16 January 2019, regulation 2 of the Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) (SDP Gateway) Amendment Regulations 2019 SI 2019/10 introduces a gateway condition to prevent claimants who are entitled to a severe disability premium in connection with an existing 'legacy benefit' from claiming universal credit. [PREVIOUS WHAT'S NEW 27 DECEMBER 2018] With effect from 31 December 2018, regulation 4 of the Universal Credit and Jobseeker's Allowance (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/1129 revokes the Universal Credit (Housing Costs Element for claimants aged 18 to 21) regulations 2017 SI 2017/252 to restore eligibility for the housing costs element of universal credit to 18 to 21 year olds.

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Help for ineligible adult migrants in England

Changes made 14 January 2019

In R (on the application of AR) v Hammersmith and Fulham LBC [2018] EWHC 3453 (Admin), the Court held that the local authority's failure to provide accommodation under either the Care Act 2014 or the Localism Act 2011 to a destitute EEA national who had no right to reside in the UK was lawful. In the absence of any argued need for care and support, the Care Act was not engaged. Casting doubt on the case of R (on the application of GS) v Camden LBC [2016] EWHC 1762, the Court held that a local authority was prohibited from providing accommodation under section 1 of the Localism Act (which gives an authority a 'general power of competence' to do ‘anything’ for the benefit of those present in its area) because section 2 of that Act expressly prohibits an authority from doing anything which is it is prevented from doing by any other legislation. In this case, section 185 of the Housing Act 1996 prohibits an authority from providing housing to a person who is not eligible for housing assistance.

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Council tax support

Changes made 14 January 2019

With effect from 14 January 2019, the Council Tax Reduction Schemes (Prescribed Requirements) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/1346 amend the Council Tax Reduction Schemes (Prescribed Requirements) (England) Regulations 2012 SI 2012/2885 to uprate figures relating to non-dependant deductions, the applicable amount, and the calculation of a person’s alternative maximum council tax reduction on or after 1 April 2019.

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Basic protection/excluded occupiers

Changes made 09 January 2019

This section has been restructured in response to user feedback.

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Benefit rates 2019/20

Changes made 09 January 2019

Pages with the rates to be used to calculate housing benefit in 2019/20 have been added to Shelter Legal. These figures are due to come into effect on 1 April 2019 for all cases. A link has been added to HB Circular A10/2017 which contains related guidance. NB, the orders or regulations bringing the rates for in 2019/20 into effect are still subject to approval through the Parliamentary process.

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Treated as not liable for rent

Changes made 09 January 2019

Under regulation 9(1)(d) of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006, a claimant is to be treated as not liable for rent where the landlord is a parent of the claimant’s child. In South Lanarkshire Council v DG (HB) [2018] UKUT 417 (AAC), the Upper Tribunal held that the regulation applied whether the parent was a sole landlord or one of joint landlords.

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Support for mortgage interest

Changes made 27 December 2018

With effect from 1 January 2019, the rate of interest charged by the DWP on a support for mortgage interest loan decreases to 1.5 per cent from 1.7 per cent. Under regulation 15(5) of the Loans for Mortgage Interest Regulations 2017 SI 2017/725, the interest rate is linked to the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecast of gilt rate. The rates may change on 1 January and 1 July each year. The current rate can be found on Gov.uk.

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Reasonable to continue to occupy

Changes made 24 December 2018

In Safi v Sandwell BC [2018] EWCA Civ 2876, the Court of Appeal (following R (on the application of Ali) v Birmingham CC [2009] UKHL 36) held that a local authority had not applied the required test when considering if the applicant's accommodation was reasonable to continue to occupy. Reasonableness must be looked at over time, so, knowing that the applicant was pregnant with her second child, the authority should have asked itself whether it was reasonable for the family to continue to live in their one-bedroom flat both for the present and the foreseeable future. If the answer was no, it should have asked itself how long it was reasonable to expect the family to remain in the accommodation and whether they would be able to obtain suitable accommodation within that time through the allocations scheme.

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Rent assessment

Changes made 20 December 2018

Section 13 of the Housing Act 1988 allows a landlord to raise the rent on a periodic assured tenancy by means of a notice of increase. Prior to the expiry of the notice period, the tenant can refer the notice of increase to a tribunal. In Chehab v Cadogan Estates Ltd [2018] UKUT 282 (LC), the Upper Tribunal when determining the market rent applicable to a four-bedroom assured tenancy, refused to disallow two-bedroom properties in the area as appropriate comparables. The Tribunal assessed all of the properties offered as comparables and accepted, rejected or made adjustments depending on the nature of the property before making its final determination of the market rent.

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