What's new on Shelter Legal

The pages on Shelter Legal are updated regularly to reflect changes in the law.

This page lists the most recent updates to Shelter Legal.

  • Homeless applicant assessment of needs

    1 March 2024

    In SK, R (On the Application Of) v Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead [2024] EWHC 158 (Admin), a homeless applicant challenged a local authority over an unlawful housing needs assessment. The authority had not included three of the applicant’s children in the housing needs assessment, who were subject to interim care orders at the time. The authority argued they could assess who could be reasonably expected to reside with the applicant. The court found that the authority should have considered whether the applicant’s children might return to live with her.

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  • Circumstances of homeless applicant and household

    1 March 2024

    In AB & Anor, R (On the Application Of) v Westminster City Council [2024] EWHC 266 (Admin) the High Court considered whether a local authority policy requiring homeless applicants to provide medical evidence of a need to be housed with an animal discriminated against disabled people. The court also considered whether the policy was inconsistent with paragraph 17.67 (now para 17.69) of the Homelessness Code of Guidance. The court held that the claimants had not shown that they had been disadvantaged in breach of the Equality Act 2010, and even if they had, the policy would be a proportionate means to achieve a legitimate aim of targeting suitable properties for those with a medical need. The court also held that the policy was not inconsistent with the Code of Guidance.

    View amended article
  • Disability discrimination defences in possession proceedings

    27 February 2024

    In Nightingale vs Bromford Housing Association Limited [2024] EWHC 136 (KB), the High Court held that the proportionality of the landlord’s actions under section 15(1)(b) of the Equality Act 2010 should have been assessed at the time of trial, and that the County Court should have considered the fact that the landlord had not presented any evidence for the two years immediately before the possession hearing. In this case, possession proceedings were delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The landlord applied to court in 2019 and the hearing took place in January 2022. The landlord did not provide any evidence of antisocial behaviour for the period between January 2020 and the date of the hearing. The High Court found that the decision to serve a notice was influenced by the behaviour of the tenants’ son, caused by his disability, and that there was no evidence to prove eviction was still proportionate at the time of trial.

    View amended article
  • Challenges to accommodation suitability

    22 February 2024

    In AB & Anor, R (On the Application Of) v Westminster City Council [2024] EWHC 266 (Admin), the High Court considered a judicial review of the suitability of accommodation provided under section 193 of the Housing Act 1996. The court stated that judicial review is an inappropriate route of challenge of the suitability of temporary or permanent accommodation in most cases, as homeless applicants have the right to request an internal review and can then appeal to the County Court. The court also found that the claimants needed to specifically plead why the accommodation was unsuitable, which they had not done.

    View amended article
  • Housing rights of domestic abuse survivors

    21 February 2024

    This page has been updated with information about the migrant victims of domestic abuse concession. This was previously known as the destitution domestic violence (DDV) concession. The rules on who can qualify have been amended to include a partner of a person with permission to enter or stay on a work and economic route or as a student or graduate.

    View amended article
  • Support for mortgage interest

    7 February 2024

    The interest rate for the repayment of a Support for Mortgage (SMI) loan has increased to 4.5 percent on 1 January 2024. The rate is linked to the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecast of gilt rate and is subject to change in January and July each year. The interest accrues monthly and is calculated as compound interest. This means interest is charged on the unpaid loan and on the interest. An SMI loan continues to accrue interest until it is paid off.

    View amended article
  • Support for unaccompanied children claiming asylum

    16 January 2024

    The Immigration (Age Assessments) Regulations 2024/19 specify scientific methods that can be used when assessing the age of asylum-seeking people who claim to be children but do not have enough evidence to prove it. From 10 January 2024, decision makers will be able to rely on dental x-rays, hand and wrist radiographs, and MRI of the of the femur, tibia and clavicle to settle age disputes.

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  • Assured tenancy mandatory grounds for possession

    29 December 2023

    The court usually orders outright possession of an assured tenancy if it is satisfied that the conditions for a mandatory ground are met. This page has been improved and updated with information about what a mandatory ground is, when a landlord can use each ground, and more details about possession using ground 8.

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  • Renting rights of property guardians

    21 December 2023

    In Global 100 Ltd v Jimenez [2023] EWCA Civ 1243, the Court of Appeal rejected the argument that premises occupied by a property guardian should not be licensed as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) because the guardian's purpose was not primarily occupation. The court held that the actual use of the property was occupation, whatever the purpose was, and so the property should be licensed as an HMO.

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  • Banning orders against landlords and letting agents

    21 December 2023

    In Hussain v Newham LBC [2023] UKUT 287 (LC), the Upper Tribunal refused a landlord's appeal against a banning order. It rejected the landlord's argument that the banning order could not be made on the basis of spent convictions. Non-statutory guidance says that spent convictions should not be taken into account, but the Upper Tribunal held that this guidance was not binding and the banning order could still be made.

    View amended article