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.

Covid-19: Protection for tenants

Changes made 02 December 2020

On 2 December 2020, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/1374 introduced the local restriction tiers system to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. Government resources, including the guidance for hotel and holiday accommodation owners and the DWP guidance for job centres, have been revised in line with the new rules. This and related pages on Shelter Legal have been updated to reflect these changes. [PREVIOUS WHAT'S NEW 17 November 2020: In force from 17 November 2020, the Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/1290 impose a stay on executing eviction writs/warrants and serving eviction notices. The stay will last until 11 January 2021 and is subject to a number of exceptions, including enforcing possession orders on the grounds of anti-social behaviour and serious rent arrears. This and related pages on Shelter Legal have been updated to reflect the new rules.]

View page red arrow

Help for adult migrants who are ineligible for homelessness assistance

Changes made 02 December 2020

In force from 1 December 2020, paragraphs 9.21.1-2 of the Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules HC 813 give the Home Office the power to refuse permission to stay in the UK or cancel permission already given if a non-British national is sleeping rough. The new rules are likely to affect only certain categories of migrants, including rough sleepers who are in the UK on work, student, visitor or UK ancestry visa, some victims of human trafficking and slavery, EU/EEA nationals who do not apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before 30 June 2021 and EU/EEA nationals who arrive in the UK after 31 December 2020. This and related pages on Shelter Legal have been updated to reflect these changes.

View page red arrow

Covid-19: Homelessness

Changes made 02 December 2020

In Bankole-Jones v Watford Borough Council [2020] EWHC 3100 (Admin), the High Court rejected the argument that the local authority had acted unlawfully in assessing the homeless applicant’s vulnerability because of ‘other special reason’ under section 189(1)(c) of the Housing Act 1996 on the grounds of being at a particular risk of Covid-19 as a rough sleeper. In this case, the applicant was not assessed as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ or ‘clinically vulnerable’ under the statutory Covid-19 guidance. The High Court accepted the local authority’s argument that to consider all those sleeping rough during the Covid-19 pandemic as meeting the statutory test of vulnerability would lead to distinguishing between different categories of homeless persons, an approach that was not supported by the legislation and contradicted the Supreme Court’s view expressed in Hotak and others v Southwark LBC and another [2015] UKSC 30. The High Court held that the risk of contracting Covid-19 would vary between individuals, including those sleeping rough, depending on their circumstances, including any underlying health conditions.

View page red arrow

Covid-19: Reactivation of possession proceedings

Changes made 24 November 2020

This and related pages on Shelter Legal have been updated with a link to the ‘Property possession: information for claimants and defendants’ – a collection of forms to reactivate possession proceedings. The HM Courts & Tribunals Service publication includes a copy of the reactivation notice and accompanying guidance.

View page red arrow

Covid-19: Mortgage payment problems

Changes made 20 November 2020

In force from 20 November 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority’s finalised guidance on payment deferrals and tailored support confirms that homeowners have until 31 March 2021 to apply for a payment break and that those who are not eligible, for example because they have already exhausted the six-month time limit for deferred payments, should be supported by measures tailored to their individual circumstances, which may include further payment breaks. A link to the ‘Finalised Guidance: Mortgages and coronavirus: updated guidance for firms ’ can be found under ‘Essential links’ on this page.

View page red arrow

Requirements for tenant's notice to end a periodic tenancy or licence

Changes made 13 November 2020

In response to users’ feedback this page has been revised to further clarify when a tenant who has ended their periodic tenancy with a valid notice to quit can be lawfully evicted without a court order.

View page red arrow

Right to rent landlord checks

Changes made 02 November 2020

With effect from 2 November 2020, the Immigration (Residential Accommodation) (Prescribed Requirements and Codes of Practice) (Amendment) Order 2020 SI 2020/1047 amends the Immigration (Residential Accommodation) (Prescribed Requirements and Codes of Practice) Order 2014 SI 2014/2874 to prepare the Right to Rent scheme for changes due to come into force later this year. The main changes include: • the introduction of a new Home Office online checking service from 25 November 2020 to allow landlords to undertake a right to rent check in real time for (1) non-EEA nationals with a current biometric resident permit or card; (2) EEA nationals and their family members with status granted under the EU Settlement Scheme; (3) those with status granted under the new points-based immigration system • the use of the combination of a passport, plus proof of travel within the preceding six months (for example a physical or electronic plane/boat/train ticket or boarding pass) for nationals visiting the UK from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA to demonstrate a right to rent. The lists of acceptable documents set out in the Schedule to the 2014 Order, the landlords’ code of practice and related guidance have all been amended and re-issued accordingly. Full details of the changes can be found in the new Home Office 'Landlord's guide to right to rent checks' which replaces the guidance previously contained in ‘A Short Guide on Right to Rent’.

View page red arrow

What the payment of rent covers

Changes made 29 October 2020

A tenancy agreement may set out that the tenant pays water charges to the landlord as part of the rent. Many local authority and private registered providers of social housing landlords enter into an agreement with a water company to collect the water and sewage charges from their tenants (who don't have water meters). However, under the water resale rules, the amount that a landlord water re-seller can pass on to its tenants is capped. In The Mayor & Burgesses of the Royal Borough of Kingston-Upon-Thames v Moss [2020] EWCA Civ 1381, the Court of Appeal confirmed that the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames is a re-seller of water under the Water Resale Orders 2001 and 2006, and that the amounts that it had charged its tenants for the supply of water exceeded the maximum charge permissible. Therefore, those tenants are entitled to a refund.

View page red arrow

Social services duties to children leaving care

Changes made 28 October 2020

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Education have produced 'Joint housing protocols for care leavers: good practice advice' to support the development of joint protocols that can help local authorities to meet the accommodation needs of care leavers. A joint housing protocol should help children’s services and housing authorities deliver the local accommodation offered to care leavers and prevent homelessness. It should set out commitments as corporate parents, and how these will be delivered in practice.

View page red arrow

Orders for landlords to repay rent

Changes made 27 October 2020

In Chan v Bilkhu & Anor (HOUSING - RENT REPAYMENT ORDER - amount awarded) [2020] UKUT 289 (LC), the Upper Tribunal confirmed that when determining the amount for a rent repayment order against a landlord who failed to licence a house in multiple occupation, the starting point should be the whole of the rent for the relevant period, and the amount ordered should not generally be restricted to the landlord’s profit. Following the Upper Tribunal decision in Vadamalayan v Stewart and others [2020] UKUT 0183 (LC), the First-tier Tribunal's practice of routinely deducting amounts that the landlord is paying in order to preserve his own property, such as mortgage payments, or that the landlord is obliged to make in any event under the terms of the lease, is no longer appropriate.

View page red arrow

Previous / 1 2 / Next

Back to top