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.

Local connection

Changes made 05 August 2019

In response to users’ feedback, the information relating to the local connection provision in section 199(6) of the Housing Act 1996 has been clarified to specify that a local connection acquired by a former asylum seeker as a result of being accommodated under section 95 of the of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (asylum support) by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) lasts indefinitely and that it does not prevent the applicant from establishing a local connection elsewhere, for example as a result of securing employment in a different area.

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Wales: eligibility for help

Changes made 02 August 2019

With effect from 19 July 2019, the Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (Wales) (Amendment) (No 2) Regulations 2019 SI 2019/1149 amend the Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (Wales) Regulations 2014 SI 2014/2603 to add two further classes of persons subject to immigration control who are eligible for homelessness assistance under Welsh legislation. These are: Class H - unaccompanied refugee children who have been relocated to the UK and granted limited leave to remain under para 352ZH of the immigration rules, and Class I - persons granted Calais leave to remain under para 352J of the immigration rules. In addition, the 2014 Regulations are amended to clarify that having been granted pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (i.e. limited leave to enter or remain under Appendix EU to the immigration rules) does not in itself confer eligibility for housing assistance to EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who are otherwise ineligible. From the same date, the Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 SI 2019/1041 make the same amendments in respect of eligibility for an allocation of social housing.

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Obligation to pay for services

Changes made 02 August 2019

In Southwark LBC v Baharier [2019] UKUT 73 (LC), the Upper Tribunal held that where the lease required the landlord (Southwark LBC) to provide and maintain services (heating and hot water), the cost of fitting a new central heating and hot water system was recoverable from the leaseholder. It was held that the distinction between repair and improvement was irrelevant in relation to the covenant to provide services and that where repair works were insufficient for the landlord to fulfil its obligation of maintaining the service at a reasonable level, the landlord was obliged to take additional steps. The Upper Tribunal held that it would be unrealistic to suggest that the parties intended for the building to remain unchanged for the duration of the lease.

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Public sector equality duty

Changes made 01 August 2019

In Forward v Aldwyck Housing Group Ltd [2019] EWCA Civ 1334, the Court of Appeal confirmed that even if a social landlord had failed to have due regard to the public sector equality duty under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 before seeking a possession order against a disabled tenant, the order should not be set aside if consideration of the tenant's disability would have made no difference to the landlord's decision to seek possession. There was no general rule that a decision to seek possession made without having considered the public sector equality duty should be quashed if, on the facts of the case, it was highly likely that the landlord's decision would not have been substantially different. [PREVIOUS WHAT'S NEW: 19 July 2019] In R (Atherton) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2019] EWHC 395 (Admin), the High Court held that where the DWP had devised a system of converting postal mail into emails in order to facilitate the exchange of confidential information with a claimant who was unable to communicate by post due to a combination of factors, including a disability, the authority had fulfilled its public sector equality duty under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. The ‘workaround’ involved changing the claimant’s address into the Alternative Formats (AF) team’s address, converting postal mail into emails and sending them to the claimant, who was in the process of potential transition from Incapacity Benefit (IB) to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). The Court held that in this case the ‘workaround’ amounted to a reasonable adjustment under section 20 of the Act.

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Support from UK Visas and Immigration

Changes made 29 July 2019

The Home Office has published guidance for asylum seekers staying in temporary accommodation pending a decision on their asylum application. The ‘Living in asylum accommodation’ guide provides information on a range of issues, including the range of services available, the organisations that deliver these services, and where to report problems, concerns and changes in circumstances. The guide covers accommodation provided by the Home Office under the new contracts that come into place between July and September 2019 and is currently available in the following languages: Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, English, Farsi, Kurdish, Pashto, Punjabi, Tigrinya and Urdu. A link to the guide can be found under ‘Essential links’ on this page.

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Discretionary grounds plus suitable accommodation: Secure tenancies

Changes made 25 July 2019

In Yildiz v London Borough of Hackney [2019] EWCA Civ 1331, the Court of Appeal held that where the local authority had issued possession proceedings against the successor to a secure tenancy on ground 15A Sch. 2 of the Housing Act 1985 (under-occupation following succession), possession proceedings had to be issued either while the notice of proceedings served under section 83 of the Act remained current or, where either the court had dispensed with the requirement to serve such a notice or the currency of the notice had expired, within 12 months of the ‘relevant date’. The ‘relevant date’ is the date of the previous tenant's death or the date on which, in the opinion of the court, the landlord became aware of the previous tenant's death. It was held that the landlord could not rely on ground 15A where the date specified in the notice of proceedings had expired and possession proceedings had commenced more than 12 months of the ‘relevant date’.

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Migration and transitional protection

Changes made 24 July 2019

In force from 24 July 2019, regulations 2 and 3 of the Universal Credit (Managed Migration Pilot and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019 SI 2019/1152 create the universal credit (UC) managed migration ‘pilot’ and amend the Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2014/1230 to introduce the managed migration process for moving 'legacy' benefits claimants to UC. The number of ‘notices to claim’ issued under the UC ‘pilot’ scheme is restricted to 10,000. The 2019 Regulations specify the rules around the managed migration process and transitional protection, including the transitional element and transitional capital disregards, as well as circumstances in which transitional protection will cease. [PREVIOUS WHAT'S NEW 30 May 2019]: As part of the planned transfer of existing benefit claimants to universal credit (UC), claimants who are moved from ‘legacy benefits’ to UC as part of 'managed migration' may be entitled to transitional protection, so that they are not financially worse off than when in receipt of ‘legacy benefits’. This is different to ‘natural migration’ to UC, for example as a result of making a new claim or a change in circumstances, for which no transitional protection is available. In (1) TD, (2) AD (A child, by her litigation friend TD) & (3) Patricia Reynolds v SSWP [2019] EWHC 462 (Admin), the High Court held that that a lack of transitional protection for UC claimants who were financially worse off as a result of the ‘lobster pot effect’ that forced them to continue to claim UC, even after it was confirmed that the decision to terminate their legacy benefits had been made in error, was not ‘manifestly without reasonable foundation’, and therefore not unlawful. The claimants were affected by a reduction in certain disability-related payments, that were either not available or reduced under the UC regime. As the High Court refused permission to appeal, the Child Poverty Action Group, that acted for the claimants, has confirmed it will be applying for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

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Changing the terms of the lease

Changes made 23 July 2019

In Camden LBC v Morath & Others [2019] UKUT 193 (LC), the Upper Tribunal dismissed an appeal by the head-leaseholder who sought to vary the terms of the sub-lease under section 35 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987.The head-leaseholder sought to vary the sub- lease, so that it could recover all, rather than some, of the costs payable to the freeholder from the sub-leaseholders. It was held that while it would be a question of fact in each case for the Tribunal to decide whether the lease failed to make satisfactory provisions, in this case the terms of the lease were clear and workable, and the lease should not be deemed unsatisfactory simply because it put one party at a financial disadvantage. [PREVIOUS WHAT'S NEW 2 July 2019]: In Triplerose Ltd v Stride [2019] UKUT 99 (LC), the Upper Tribunal held that the mere fact that one leaseholder was not required to contribute towards the cost of repair or renewal of the main structure of the building and to the cost of employing staff or agents did not make their lease unsatisfactory within the meaning of section 35 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987. The Tribunal noted that the situation might have been different if the building required major repairs or structural works beyond the means of the lessee-owned company that managed the freehold, however in this case the building was in reasonable state of repair and any shortfall in the service charges was covered by the members of the freehold company.

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