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.

Rough sleeping

Changes made 31 March 2020

People who are rough sleeping or living in temporary accommodation are bound to be disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It is important that measures taken locally and nationally in response to it is effectively communicated to people who use homelessness support services. The charity Groundswell have developed resources to support people experiencing homelessness during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which will be updated as the situation evolves and in line with national guidance, feedback from partners and ongoing consultation with people who are experiencing homelessness. They include templates and flyers on coronavirus that can be handed out to people who are rough sleeping or living in hostels or other temporary accommodation (with the key points translated into various languages). A link to 'Coronavirus advice and planning for people experiencing homelessness' can be found on this page of Shelter Legal.

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Agency charges

Changes made 31 March 2020

Regulation 2 of the Client Money Protection Schemes for Property Agents (Approval and Designation of Schemes) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/331 has amended regulation 5(2A) of the Client Money Protection Schemes for Property Agents (Approval and Designation of Schemes) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/751 and extended the ‘grace period’ of deemed compliance with the requirement to hold clients’ money with a bank or building society authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to 1 April 2021. The 2020/331 Regulations came into force on 24 March 2020.

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Notices: Assured tenancies

Changes made 26 March 2020

From 26 March 2020, paragraph 6 Schedule 29 Coronavirus Act 2020 amends section 8 of the Housing Act 1988, so that the minimum notice period for any notice seeking possession served on an assured tenancy during the relevant period between 26 March 2020 and 30 September 2020 is 3 months and the landlord will not be able to commence possession proceedings until 3 months have passed. The relevant period may be subject to further extensions. [PREVIOUS WHAT'S NEW 19 February 2020: In Pease v Carter & Anor [2020] EWCA Civ 175, the Court of Appeal held that the ‘reasonable recipient’ test applied to notices of proceedings for possession served under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 (‘section 8’ notices for assured and assured shorthold tenants). The Court examined previous case law and outlined the following approach to assessing the validity of statutory notices, including 'section 8' notices: (1) Would the notice be understood by a ‘reasonable recipient’ reading it in context?Consideration may be given to any covering letters accompanying the notice. (2) If the ‘reasonable recipient’ would be able to spot the error and establish the notice’s intended meaning, this is how the notice should be interpreted. (3) Does the notice comply with the statutory requirements specific to the legal regime under which it is served? This would involve considering the purpose of those requirements, for example, whether the date that is required by statute and has been recorded wrong is of particular contractual significance. (4) If the notice, properly interpreted, does not comply with the statutory requirements, does the relevant statutory regime permit the notice to be ‘substantially to the same effect’ as the prescribed form? In this case, the tenants had a statutory periodic AST. On 7 November 2018 the landlord served notices on the grounds of rent arrears under section 8 of the 1988 Act and erroneously recorded the date after which court proceedings would begin as 26 November 2017, instead of 26 November 2018. The landlord’s covering letter listed the correct date. The Court of Appeal held that the ‘reasonable recipient’ test was satisfied and that sections 8(3)(b) and 8(4B) of the 1988 Act did not require the notice to specify dates of particular contractual significance – the purpose of the two weeks’ requirement was to give the tenant time to react to the threat of possession, for example by paying off the arrears, seeking advice or finding alternative accommodation.]

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Notices: Secure tenancies

Changes made 26 March 2020

From 26 March 2020, paragraph 4 Schedule 29 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 amends sections 83 and 83ZA of the Housing Act 1985, so that the minimum notice period for any notice seeking possession served on a secure tenant during the relevant period between 26 March 2020 and 30 September 2020 is 3 months and the landlord will not be able to commence possession proceedings until 3 months have passed. The relevant period may be subject to further extensions.

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Notices: Demoted tenancies

Changes made 26 March 2020

From 26 March 2020, paragraph 9 Schedule 29 Coronavirus Act 2020 amends section 143E of the Housing Act 1996, so that the minimum notice period for any notice served on a demoted tenancy during the relevant period between 26 March 2020 and 30 September 2020 is 3 months and the landlord will not be able to commence possession proceedings until 3 months have passed. The relevant period may be subject to further extensions.

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Notices: Introductory tenancies

Changes made 26 March 2020

From 26 March 2020, paragraph 8 Schedule 29 Coronavirus Act 2020 amends section 128 of the Housing Act 1996, so that the minimum notice period for any section 128 notice served on an introductory tenancy during the relevant period between 26 March 2020 and 30 September 2020 is 3 months and the landlord will not be able to commence possession proceedings until 3 months have passed. The relevant period may be subject to further extensions.

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Notices: Regulated tenancies

Changes made 26 March 2020

From 26 March 2020, paragraph 2 Schedule 29 Coronavirus Act 2020 amends the legal provisions applicable to notices for regulated (protected) tenants. Paragraph 2 Schedule 29 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 amends section 5 of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, so that the minimum notice period for any notice to quit served on a contractual protected tenant during the relevant period between 26 March 2020 and 30 September 2020 is 3 months, and inserts sections 4A-4F into the Rent Act 1977, requiring landlords of statutory regulated tenants to serve at least 3 months’ notice of intention to start possession proceedings. The relevant period may be subject to further extensions.

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Section 21 notices

Changes made 26 March 2020

From 26 March 2020, paragraph 7 Schedule 29 Coronavirus Act 2020 amends section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, so that the minimum notice period for any section 21 notice served on an assured shorthold tenancy during the relevant period between 26 March 2020 and 30 September 2020 is 3 months and the landlord will not be able to commence possession proceedings until 3 months have passed. The relevant period may be subject to further extensions.

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Notices: Flexible tenancies

Changes made 26 March 2020

From 26 March 2020, paragraph 5 Schedule 29 Coronavirus Act 2020 amends section 107D of the Housing Act 1985, so that the minimum notice period for a notice seeking possession served on a flexible tenancy during the relevant period between 26 March 2020 and 30 September 2020 is 3 months and the landlord will not be able to commence possession proceedings until 3 months have passed. The relevant period may be subject to further extensions.

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Fitness for human habitation

Changes made 20 March 2020

From 20 March 2020, the provisions of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 apply to flexible tenancies and to periodic tenancies in the social and private rented sectors that were in existence on 20 March 2019 and have not been renewed since. The page has been amended to reflect this change.

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