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.

Cost of buying a home

Changes made 31 October 2018

In the Autumn 2018 Budget (para 4.9), the Chancellor announced that with effect from 29 October 2018, the first £300,000 of an initial share purchased by a first-time buyer of a shared ownership property is not liable to stamp duty. The remainder of the initial share is chargeable at 5 per cent on amounts over £300,000. This first-time buyer’s relief is also backdated for relevant purchases made from 22 November 2017. The relief does not apply to purchases of properties valued over £500,000.

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Payment condition

Changes made 30 October 2018

The Department of Work and Pensions has updated its guidance for private and social landlords on universal credit. It includes advice to help landlords understand what they can do to help their tenants prepare for their move to the single benefit payment under universal credit. A link to the guidance can be found under 'Essential links' on this page.

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Succession: Secure and flexible tenancies

Changes made 29 October 2018

In Haringey LBC v Simawi [2018] EWHC 2733 (QB), a challenge against the 'one succession rule' set out in sections 87 and 88 of the Housing Act 1985, the High Court held that the difference in treatment between people who cannot succeed a tenant who already succeeded to a secure tenancy on the death of a joint tenant, and people who can succeed a tenant who became the sole tenant of a secure tenancy as a result of judicial assignment by way of a property adjustment order in divorce or other matrimonial proceedings is not without foundation and is compatible with Article 14 ECHR read in conjunction with Article 8 ECHR. This was because the differential treatment was objectively justified by the need to address different policy objectives: on one hand, the fair distribution of limited social housing, and on the other, the need to adjust property rights following divorce or other matrimonial proceedings. Additionally, the Court found that being the child of a divorced couple, rather than the child of a deceased successor was not a relevant status or characteristic for the purposes of Article 14 ECHR.

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Persons eligible for assistance: non EEA/EU

Changes made 22 October 2018

With effect from 1 November 2018, the Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/1056 adds to the classes of person listed in regulation 5(1) of the Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1294 (persons who are subject to immigration control and eligible). New class I comprises people who are habitually resident in the Common Travel Area and have 'Calais leave' to remain in the United Kingdom under paragraph 352J of the Immigration Rules. Calais leave can be applied for by people who were brought to the UK as children as part of the Calais migrant camp clearance in 2016 to reunite with family members, and have not been given humanitarian protection or refugee status.

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Consultation: major works and long term agreements

Changes made 22 October 2018

With effect from 1 November 2018, the Tenants' Associations (Provisions Relating to Recognition and Provision of Information) (England) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/1043: (1) sets out the factors which must be taken into account by the First-tier Tribunal in deciding whether to issue a certificate recognising a tenants' association. These include the association's rules regarding decision making and voting, and the extent to which the association takes account of the interests of all of its members. The Tribunal must not give a certificate unless the association comprises at least 50 per cent of 'qualifying' leaseholders (ie those who are required to contribute to the same service charge costs); (2) requires the landlord to provide details of qualifying leaseholders (with their consent) on the request of the secretary of a recognised tenants' association for the purpose of asking them if they want to join the association; (3) empowers the First-tier Tribunal to order the landlord to comply with such a request if they have no good reason for failing to do so.

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Property guardians

Changes made 22 October 2018

In Camelot Guardian Management Ltd v Khoo [2018] EWHC 2296 (QB), the High Court found that the occupation agreement granted by a property management company to a 'property guardian' did not confer any right to exclusive occupation of the property, but rather a personal permission to share accommodation. It was therefore a licence, rather than a tenancy. On a proper interpretation of the agreement, it was clear from the textual and contextual background, and from the absence of any dishonesty pointing to a 'sham', that both the management company and the guardian had entered into it for the purpose of providing short-term protection of temporarily-vacant commercial premises.

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Repossession of leasehold property

Changes made 17 October 2018

Under section 166 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002 a long leaseholder must be given notice of payment of ground rent in the prescribed form. In Cheerupmate2 Ltd v de Luca Calce [2018] EWCA Civ 2230, the Court of Appeal held that a minor discrepancy between the notice served by the landlord and the prescribed form was not of sufficient importance to invalidate the notice that ground rent was due. However, the landlord's appeal was dismissed because the Court also held that once the period of notice relating to the payment given in the notice has expired, a period of grace must elapse before the right to forfeit could be exercised by the landlord. The length of the grace period can only be determined by reference to the terms of the lease (as the legislation does not provide for a period).

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