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.

Selective licensing

Changes made 23 July 2020

In Berg v Burnley BC [2020] UKUT 91 (LC), the Upper Tribunal found that the local authority had been entitled to require a landlord of a house in multiple occupation (HMO) to attend a training course in tenancy management as one of the selective licensing conditions under section 90 of the Housing Act 2004.

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Definition of HMO

Changes made 23 July 2020

In Hastings BC v Turner [2020] UKUT 184 (LC), the Upper Tribunal held that a terraced house converted into self-contained flats, where the conversion did not meet the appropriate building standards and where less than two-thirds of the flats were owner-occupied was a house in multiple occupation (HMO) under section 257 of the Housing Act 2004. As such, the property fell under the additional licensing scheme under section 56 of the 2004 Act introduced by the authority in the area.

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Civil/criminal courts and tribunals

Changes made 21 July 2020

In Point West Gr Ltd v Bassi and Ors [2020] EWCA Civ 795, the Court of Appeal held that the primary purpose of the First-tier Tribunal’s power to review its own decisions under section 9 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 was to avoid unnecessary appeals to the Upper Tribunal where an obvious error of law occurred, for example a factual conclusion was reached in the absence of any supporting evidence. The Court held that the power was limited to reviewing decisions 'on the matter' which, if set aside, had to be either decided again or referred to the Upper Tribunal.

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Electrical safety

Changes made 17 July 2020

This page has been updated to clarify that the definition of a ‘specified tenancy’ in regulation 2 of The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/312 includes a licence to occupy, as provided for in section 122(6) of the Housing and Planning Act 2016.

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Benefit cap

Changes made 15 July 2020

In force from 13 July 2020, the Universal Credit (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/611 amend regulation 82 of the Universal Credit Regulations 2013 SI 2013/376 to clarify that the earnings threshold necessary to qualify for the benefit cap grace period is to be calculated based on the national living wage as in force at the beginning of the assessment period or month for which the amount is calculated. Regulation 3 of the 2020/611 Regulations allows the Department for Work and Pensions to use the Landlord Portal to request and receive evidence from the landlord in relation to the claimant’s housing cost following a change of circumstances.

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How capital is treated when housing benefit is calculated

Changes made 15 July 2020

In force from 15 July 2020, the Social Security (Income and Capital) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/618 make provisions for certain payments, including those awarded under the Grenfell Tower Payment and the National Emergencies Trust, to be disregarded when assessing the claimant’s capital and income for the purposes of calculating their entitlement to universal credit and housing benefit.

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Community remedies

Changes made 07 July 2020

On 7 July 2020, the Home Office published new guidance outlining the purpose and the process of the Community Trigger, a mechanism for requesting a multi-agency case review that can be used by victims of persistent anti-social behaviour. A link to the ‘Anti-social behaviour (ASB) case review (also known as the Community Trigger)’ is available under ‘Essential links’ on this page.

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Licence conditions

Changes made 03 July 2020

On 1 June 2020, regulation 13 of The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/312 inserted the requirements to ensure that every electrical installation in the house is in proper working order and safe for continued use, and to supply the local authority with a declaration confirming the safety of the electrical installation if the authority requests one, into the mandatory licence requirements in Schedule 4 to the Housing Act 2004. The 2020 Regulations apply from 1 July 2020 to properties in the private rented sector, including houses in multiple occupation.

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Rules for leasehold service charge demands

Changes made 02 July 2020

In 38/41 CHG Residents Company Limited v Hyslop (LANDLORD AND TENANT – SERVICE CHARGES) (2020) UKUT 21 (LC), the Upper Tribunal clarified that when reaching a decision as to whether a demand for service charges has been lawfully served in accordance with section 196 of the Law of Property Act 1925, the question for the court is not whether the leaseholder has received the demand, but whether the landlord can show that on the balance of probabilities the demand was delivered.

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Schemes and priorities

Changes made 02 July 2020

In Flores, R (on the application of) v London Borough of Southwark [2020] EWHC 1279 (Admin), the High Court held that it was lawful for a local authority to give less preference on its allocation scheme to an applicant whose overcrowding was the result of choosing to move into accommodation that would inevitably become too small as the existing children of the household got older. This was contrasted with overcrowding that would come about from a 'natural increase' in household size resulting from the birth or adoption of another child.

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