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.

Costs of proceedings

Changes made 05 September 2019

In Rotenberg & Ors v Point West GR Limited [2019] UKUT 68 (LC), the Upper Tribunal held that where the long leaseholders’ solicitors had complied with the requirements of section 14(3)(b) of the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Property Chamber) Rules 2013 SI 2013/1169, the landlord’s representative had been wrong to focus on the alleged lack of clarity over the identity of the represented parties. The long leaseholders of 277 flats in a mixed residential and commercial development applied to the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) for an order under section 20C of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, seeking to limit their liability for the cost of proceedings relating to service charges. The landlord’s representative repeatedly questioned the accuracy of the list of represented parties submitted by the leaseholders’ solicitors and, when making the section 20C order, the FTT decided the alleged uncertainty was a ‘fundamental issue’. The Upper Tribunal described the conduct of the landlord’s representative as a ‘disturbing example of wasteful satellite litigation’ (para 58). It was held that the leaseholders’ representative had complied with the relevant procedural requirements and that any remaining uncertainties had been either resolved or had no effect on the proceedings. As a result, the original order was set aside and the section 20C application was determined again. More information about section 20C orders is available on this page. [PREVIOUS WHAT'S NEW 30 August 2019]: In Plantation Wharf Management Ltd v Fairman & Ors [2019] UKUT 236 (LC), the Upper Tribunal held that an order under section 20C of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 reducing the amount of cost incurred by the landlord in the course of proceedings that could be recovered by way of service charge could not benefit long leaseholders who were not party to the proceedings and had not given their consent or authority to be represented. A long leaseholder of a flat in a block applied for a section 20C order and listed ‘all leaseholders at the Plantation Wharf’ on his application. None of the other leaseholders gave him the authority to represent them and some expressly specified they did not wish him to act on their behalf. The Tribunal decided that since a section 20C order in favour of all leaseholders amounted to a ‘significant interference with the landlord’s contractual rights’, it could only have been made where either all leaseholders had applied for it or had given their consent to be represented as ‘specified’ persons. However, the fact that the other leaseholders were not party to the section 20C proceedings at the time would not prevent them from making their own applications in the future.

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How to calculate universal credit

Changes made 03 September 2019

Universal Credit is assessed and paid monthly. For claimants who are in work, the amount they receive is based on their earnings with reference to a fixed monthly period – the assessment period. In R (on the application of Johnson and others) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2019] EWHC 23 (Admin), the High Court ruled that DWP had wrongly interpreted the regulations on how earned income should be calculated and held that the amount of earned income in respect of an assessment period is based on, but not necessarily the same as, income actually received in that period. Therefore, DWP would have to make adjustments where the actual amounts received in an assessment period do not in fact reflect earnings payable in respect of that period. On 13 August 2019, the House of Commons Library Briefing Paper number 8501 ‘The Universal Credit assessment period and earned income’ reported that while DWP is seeking permission to appeal this decision, it ‘has said that it is relying on powers in social security law which allow it to continue to apply the law as it stood before the High Court gave its ruling on 11 January, until the case is finally concluded.’

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Eligibility for universal credit

Changes made 30 August 2019

The Department for Work and Pensions has published Memo ADM 15/19 with guidance for decision makers on the Universal Credit (Managed Migration Pilot and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/1152), outlining the rules around transitional payments for claimants previously entitled to the severe disability premium who are being migrated onto universal credit as part of the managed migration pilot. A link to the Memo and more information about entitlement to universal credit can be found on this page. [PREVIOUS WHAT'S NEW 9 August 2019]: The Department for Work and Pensions has updated its guidance on the entitlement to benefits and pensions for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens if the UK leaves the EU without a deal to improve the explanations of different rights and add a link to sign up for email updates. A link to the ‘Benefits and pensions for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens in the UK if there's a no-deal Brexit’ can be found under ‘Essential links’ on this page. [PREVIOUS WHAT'S NEW 18 July 2019]: In MW v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (UC) [2019] UKUT 184 (AAC), the Upper Tribunal held that where the claimant had acquired a permanent right to reside under EU law as an extended family member of an EEA national, she was to be treated as satisfying the basic condition for entitlement to universal credit under section 4(1)(c) of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 (presence in Great Britain) and was not prevented from being treated as habitually resident under regulation 9(2) of the Universal Credit Regulations 2013 SI 2013/376. The claimant was therefore eligible to claim universal credit, despite the fact that the type of permanent right to reside she had acquired was not specifically listed in regulation 9(4) of the Regulations.

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The landlord's demand

Changes made 28 August 2019

In Westlake Estates Ltd v Yinusa [2019] UKUT 241 (LC), the Upper Tribunal found that where the landlord’s service charge demand letter contained only one name and address, it did not have to specify that those were the details of the landlord in order to comply with section 47 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987.

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Making a claim for universal credit

Changes made 16 August 2019

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has published a new guide for staff supporting prisoners and prison leavers with making and managing claims for Universal Credit (UC). The ‘Supporting prison leavers: a guide to Universal Credit’ offers information on how to prepare for making a claim for UC, how to submit it, what help with housing cost is available when in prison and how to access support from DWP and other organisations. The guide is part of a collection of resources available on the DWP’s ‘Universal credit and prison leavers’ web site, a link to which can be found under ‘Essential links’ on this page.

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Tenant fees: overview

Changes made 14 August 2019

HM Courts & Tribunal Service has published ‘Guidance on applications and appeals under the Tenant Fees Act 2019 (TFA3)’. The guidance offers advice on the processes (e.g. where a tenant wishes to recover a prohibited payment from a landlord/agent), the forms and the associated fees, including applications under the ‘Help with Fees’ scheme. A link to the guidance can be found under ‘Essential links’ on this page. [PREVIOUS WHAT'S NEW 5 August 2019]: In response to users’ feedback, the information relating to the Tenant Fees Act 2019 has been amended to clarify what happens where a tenancy/licence is renewed on/after 1 June 2019 and the parties agree for the landlord/agent to re-use a deposit the occupier paid in respect of a pre-June 2019 agreement. Where a tenancy/licence is renewed for another fixed-term, this is treated as a new applicable agreement. If the deposit already held by the landlord/agent (i.e. paid in respect of a pre-June 2019 agreement) exceeds the five or six weeks’ rent cap and is to be ‘transferred’ to cover the new fixed-term started, the landlord/agent is under an obligation to repay any amount above the cap. [PREVIOUS WHAT'S NEW 19 June 2019]: The Tenant Fees Act 2019 bans landlords and letting agents from requiring a tenant, licensee or other 'relevant person' to pay fees, other than 'permitted payments', in connection with specified private rented sector tenancies/licences. In response to users' feedback, this page of Shelter Legal has been amended to clarify that local housing authorities, the Greater London Authority or organisations acting on their behalf are excluded from the definition of relevant person under the Act and can make any payments in connection with any tenancy/licence when acting on behalf of tenants/licensees or guaranteeing their rent.

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A8 nationals

Changes made 12 August 2019

In AM v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (ESA) [2019] UKUT 215 (AAC), the Upper Tribunal confirmed that, following the outcome of SSWP v Gubeladze [2019] UKSC 31, a Lithuanian national who had worked in the UK between January 2009 and February 2010, before becoming unable to work due to temporary incapacity, had retained worker status for the purpose of claiming employment and support allowance (ESA) in March 2015. The Upper Tribunal expressed concern that the claim’s history provided by the Department for Work and Pensions to the First-tier Tribunal lacked accuracy. [PREVIOUS WHAT'S NEW: 7 August 2019] The Department for Work and Pensions has issued Memo ADM 14/19 - Right to reside: UC, and Memo DMG 11/19 - Right to reside: IS, JSA, ESA & SPC to provide guidance to local authorities' decision makers on the effects of the Supreme Court decision in Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Gubeladze [2019] UKSC 31. It advises that decision makers should no longer refuse A8 EEA workers the right to reside on the grounds of not having complied with the Worker Registration Scheme between 1 May 2009 and 30 April 2011. [PREVIOUS WHAT'S NEW: 19 June 2019] The restrictions to the right to reside in the UK imposed on A8 nationals by the Worker Registration Scheme were originally due to expire on 30 April 2009, but were extended until 30 April 2011 under the Accession (Immigration and Worker Registration) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 SI 2009/892. In Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Gubeladze [2019] UKSC 31, the Supreme Court has confirmed that the extension of the Scheme was unlawful under EU law and that the 2009 Regulations should be disapplied. Therefore, periods of unregistered employment of A8 nationals in the period from 1 May 2009 to 30 April 2011 can be taken into consideration when determining, for example, whether they have retained worker status and/or acquired a permanent right to reside in the UK. From 1 May 2009, A8 nationals have the same rights of residence as other EEA nationals.

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Complaints about social care

Changes made 08 August 2019

The British Institute of Human Rights has published an on-line tool for members of the public who are experiencing challenges relating to the provision of care and treatment, their advocates, families and carers. The tool provides information on what the human rights are and how they can help resolve care-related problems, including difficulties around the provision of community care. The tool is for information purposes only and should not be used as legal advice or guidance. A link to the ‘Know your human rights’ on-line tool can be found under ‘Essential links’ on this page.

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When can an appeal be used?

Changes made 07 August 2019

In Adesotu v Lewisham LBC [2019] EWCA Civ 1405, the Court of Appeal held that where a homeless applicant appealed a homelessness review decision in the county court under section 204(1) of the Housing Act 1996 on the grounds of alleged unlawful discrimination pursuant to sections 15,19 and 149 Equality Act 2010, the grounds were outside of the county court’s jurisdiction. It was held that the scope of section 204 was limited to the points of law arising from the review decision and that, despite similarities between section 204 of the 1996 Act and a claim for judicial review, section 113(3)(a) of the Equality Act 2010 did not apply to homelessness appeals in the county court. The Court also noted that where the applicant had notified the authority that she was ‘a patient of depression’ and had informed them of a previous suicide attempt, this could not have been said to put the authority on notice that the applicant was disabled within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010. Whether the applicant was disabled depended on the findings of fact, therefore it was held to be out of scope for homelessness appeals under section 204(1) of the Housing Act 1996 and a discrimination claim would have to be brought as a civil case.

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Right to rent immigration checks

Changes made 05 August 2019

On 2 August 2019, the Home Office updated its guidance 'A short guide on right to rent' to include information on how to conduct checks on visitor nationals from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the United States (the B5JSSK nationals) who are visiting the UK for up to six months and have entered the UK via an eGate.

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