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.

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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Express terms: disrepair

Changes made 13 November 2018

In Baillie v Savage [2018] EWHC 3035 (Ch), the High Court held that under the terms of a rent suspension clause the tenant was not required to pay rent when the risk of a further collapse of a wall rendered the property unfit for habitation.

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Allocations: legislation and guidance

Changes made 12 November 2018

On 10 November 2018, MHCLG published new statutory guidance, ‘Improving access to social housing for victims of domestic abuse in refuges or other types of temporary accommodation'. When allocating social housing a local authority is ‘strongly encouraged’ to exempt victims of domestic abuse from residency or local connection criteria as a qualifying or prioritising criterion under their allocation policy where the applicant has fled their home area to temporary accommodation (such as a refuge) in another local authority’s area.

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18 to 21 year olds condition - now revoked

Changes made 06 November 2018

With effect from 31 December 2018, the Universal Credit and Jobseeker's Allowance (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/1129 will revoke the Universal Credit (Housing Costs Element for claimants aged 18 to 21) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 SI 2017/252 to restore eligibility for the housing costs element of universal credit for single claimants in a full (digital) service area who are aged at least 18 but under 22.

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Suitability of accommodation

Changes made 01 November 2018

Accommodation secured by a local authority in discharge of its homelessness duties must be suitable. From 1 November 2018 new paragraph 17.10 has been inserted into the Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities, and states that, where a local authority is aware that a homeless applicant's needs are likely to change (for example because they are terminally ill and in need of palliative care), the authority should keep the suitability of accommodation under regular review. Please note that as a consequence of the insertion of a new paragraph, all the paragraphs subsequent to 17.10 in chapter 17 are renumbered.

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Position when mesne tenancy ends

Changes made 01 November 2018

A notice to end an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 must come from the landlord (or an agent acting on their behalf) at the date the notice was given. In (1) Barrow & (2) Amey v Kazim & Ors [2018] EWCA Civ 2414, the Court of Appeal held that a notice served by the head landlord on a subtenant (who was an assured shorthold tenant (AST)) before the mesne tenancy had ended was invalid because they were not the landlord of the AST at the date the section 21 notice was served.

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