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Round up of housing law and news: April 2024

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New powers for Regulator of Social Housing 

The Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 (Commencement No.2 and Saving Provisions) Regulations 2024 brought provisions from the Social Housing Regulation Act 2023 into force on 1 April 2024. The Act introduced new enforcement powers for the Regulator of Social Housing. The regulator can carry out inspections and surveys, require registered providers to produce performance improvement plans and carry out emergency remedial action where required. 

The Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 (Commencement No. 2 and Saving Provisions) Regulations 2024 ( 

Domestic abuse protection orders in possession proceedings

The Domestic Abuse Protection Orders (County Court: Relevant Proceedings) Regulations 2024 SI 2024/253 came into force on 8 April 2024. Under regulation 2, a domestic abuse protection order can be made in the County Court during possession proceedings. The court must have evidence of domestic abuse and both the perpetrator and the victim must be parties to the proceedings.  

The Domestic Abuse Protection Orders (County Court: Relevant Proceedings) Regulations 2024 ( 

Increase in court and tribunal fees

From 1 May 2024 court and tribunal fees will increase following a Ministry of Justice consultation. The Court and Tribunal Fees (Misc. Amendments) Order 2024 increases the fee to vary an order to £15, and the fee for an application on notice (including an application to set aside an order) to £303. There are no changes to fee remissions, which are still available for people who qualify.

The Court and Tribunal Fees (Miscellaneous Amendments) Order 2024 (

Case law

Allocations policy discriminated against women who need to move to flee violence 

A local authority allocations policy was found to be unlawful when it treated transfer applicants from the borough more favourably than reciprocal transfer applicants who lived outside the borough. The policy indirectly discriminated against women who needed to move area to flee violence. Although the policy was unlawful, it was not quashed as the court found that the policy could be amended to become lawful. 

AK, R (On the Application Of) v Westminster City Council [2024] EWHC 769 (Admin) (05 April 2024) ( 

Reasonable steps and heightened sensitivity to noise and smell  

A tenant complained about noises and smells in their flat. The tenant had paranoid schizophrenia which caused a heightened sensitivity to noise and smell. The High Court held that although the noise was within the range of normal tolerance, the tenant was at a disadvantage compared to someone without their condition. The court found the landlord had taken reasonable steps and was not in breach of a duty to make reasonable adjustments by failing to decant the tenant to another property. The tenant was still able to apply for a transfer to another property. 

FG, R (On the Application Of) v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea [2024] EWHC 780 (Admin) (09 April 2024) ( 

No deficiency in homelessness decision where authority unaware of report

The Court of Appeal found that there was no deficiency in an authority's decision when the authority did not send a ‘minded to’ letter under reg. 7(2) of the Homelessness (Review Procedure etc.) Regulations 2018/223 where the authority was unaware of a Cafcass report at the time of the original decision. There were no exceptional circumstances that meant the authority might be unable to find the applicant’s children could safely reside with the other parent following a relationship breakdown.

Querino v Cambridge City Council (Rev1) [2024] EWCA Civ 314 (27 March 2024) (

Accommodation suitable despite distance from religious school

A homeless applicant challenged the suitability of accommodation which was 20 miles away from the fee-paying Islamic school their children attended. The homeless applicant argued that the decision that the accommodation was suitable breached their right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court of Appeal held that the reviewing officer was entitled to conclude that the accommodation was suitable despite the distance from the applicant's preferred school. A local authority decision-maker must identify and weigh up any relevant factors, but they are not required to conduct a structured human rights analysis.

Ghaoui v London Borough of Waltham Forest [2024] EWCA Civ 405 (24 April 2024) (

Tenancy remained secure when absent tenant intended to return after right to buy

A local authority had denied a secure tenant the right to buy on the grounds the tenant did not occupy the property as their only or principal home. The tenant intended to carry out adaptations after exercising the right to buy and then return to the property. The High Court held that the tenant condition was met as the tenant had an intention to return. As a result, the tenant retained a secure tenancy and their right to buy.

Weintraub v London Borough of Hackney [2024] EWHC 845 (Ch) (16 April 2024) (

News and guidance

Renters (Reform) Bill receives third reading in Commons 

The Renters (Reform) Bill received its third reading in the House of Commons on 24 April. 

Amendments to the bill mean that section 21 notices will only be abolished after a review of the County Court possession system. The bill has now lost the support of the Renters Reform Coalition, a group including organisations such as Shelter, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Generation Rent. Renters (Reform) Bill - UK Parliament

Generation Rent: UK must stop criminalising rough sleepers  

Generation Rent have called for the government to stop plans to criminalise people who sleep rough in England and Wales. The new Criminal Justice Bill intends to introduce fines and potential prison terms for people who are considered to be causing a nuisance when sleeping rough.   

Generation Rent: The UK must stop criminalising people who sleep rough

Continued gaps in availability of legal assistance

The Legal Services Board has published a report with the Law Society on how many people receive legal assistance. Of people who had a legal problem in the last four years, only 52% received professional help and 38% received no help at all.

The amount of people who received no help has increased from 31% in 2020.

Legal Services Board: Legal Needs of Individuals in England and Wales

Housing Ombudsman report on noise complaints 

The Housing Ombudsman has published a report covering noise complaints, as a follow up to its Spotlight in October 2022.

The report covers the changes and improvements landlords have made or are planning to make to deal with noise complaints from tenants.

Housing Ombudsman: Follow up report: Spotlight on noise complaints – Time to be Heard

Housing Ombudsman launches consultation on good practice

The Housing Ombudsman has launched a consultation on its proposed approach for issuing guidance on good practice for social housing landlords. The consultation closes on 21 May 2024.

Housing Ombudsman: Consultation launched on Housing Ombudsman’s proposed approach to Good Practice

Data and trends

Record number of homeless children in England

Government statutory homelessness figures for the period from October to December 2023 have been released. The figures show record figures for homelessness, including:

  • 145,800 children were homeless and living in temporary accommodation, 15% higher than last year

  • in total, 112,600 households were homeless and living in temporary accommodation

  • 317,430 households were homeless or threatened with homelessness, 9% higher than last year Tables on homelessness - GOV.UK

Refugee homelessness increases by 239% in two years

A report from the Refugee Council highlights the problems with move-on for people granted refugee status and calls on the government and the Mayor of London to take steps to resolve these issues.

The report found: 

  • people granted refugee status have just 28 days to find alternative housing before they are evicted 

  • a 239% increase in refugees who need homeless support from local councils in the two years up to September 2023 

  • 40% of refugees assisted by the Refugee Council’s Private Rented Scheme were street homeless, and altogether 97% were homeless  

Refugee Council: Next London Mayor urged to address dysfunctional “move-on” system as refugee homelessness increases by 239% in two years

Over 80,000 households threatened with homelessness since government committed to abolishing section 21 notices

Analysis of government homelessness data by Homeless Link found that since the government first announced it would abolish section 21 notices five years ago, 84,650 households have been recorded as threatened with homelessness due to a section 21 notice.  This is the equivalent of 52 section 21 notices per day.

Homeless Link: Households threatened with homelessness over 80,000 times due to Section 21 evictions since Government promised to scrap them

Unwanted moves cost renters over half a billion pounds a year 

Research by Shelter looked at renters who are forced to move not through their own choice, and the costs incurred each time someone moves.

The research found: 

  • an estimated 830,000 rental moves per year are forced and not through choice 

  • 245,000 moves were because a fixed term tenancy ended, 190,000 were due to an eviction notice 

  • the cost to renters in total is £550 million a year and £669 on average 

Shelter: Unwanted moves cost renters more than half a billion pounds a year

Research shows major funding gap for youth homelessness 

Research by Centrepoint and WPI Economics has found that for local authorities to meet statutory homeless duties to young people, significant additional funding is needed.

The research shows:

  • local authorities need at least £260 million to meet their statutory duties

  • up to £424 million needed in the worst case scenario 

  • six individual local authorities need more than £10 million  

Centrepoint: £332 million funding gap for youth homelessness in England

Young homeless people feel dismissed by local authorities  

A study conducted by the London School of Economics for the New Horizon Youth Centre looked at the experiences of young people when approaching a local authority as homeless.

The study found in 2022/23: 

  • an estimated 135,800 people between 16-24 approached local authorities as homeless 

  • of these, 20,000 were in London 

  • young people felt dismissed and disillusioned by the homelessness application process 

LSE: Young homeless feel ignored by local authorities

The monthly round up of legislation, cases, news and data from Housing Matters