Round up of housing law and news: August 2022

Shelter Professional Resources Learning pathways trainers in office

Legislation

New regulations relating to the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 

The Renting Homes (Wales) Act is due to come into force on 1 December 2022. The Welsh Government has made regulations that provide for: 

  • a landlord’s duty to safeguard property when premises are abandoned 

  • the review process for terminating or extending an introductory contract 

  • prescribed forms of notices 

The Renting Homes (Safeguarding Property in Abandoned Dwellings) (Wales) Regulations 2022   

The Renting Homes (Review of Decisions) (Wales) Regulations 2022  

The Renting Homes (Prescribed Forms) (Wales) Regulations 2022  

Case law

Mesne tenant not liable for illegal eviction of subtenant 

The High Court held that a mesne tenant was not liable for failing to stop the head landlord carrying out an illegal eviction. The tenant had sublet his tenancy to an employee. When the subtenant instructed solicitors regarding disrepair and sent a letter of claim to both the mesne tenant and head landlord, the head landlord reacted by illegally evicting the subtenant. The mesne landlord protested but did not prevent the eviction going ahead. The Court held only the head landlord was liable for the special damages awarded to the subtenant. 

Brem v Murray & Marchant (2022) EWHC 1479 (QB) 

Breach of the duty to secure accommodation under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act within a reasonable time 

The High Court found that the Secretary of State had breached its duty to secure accommodation for a person under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. The Court referred to an earlier case, R (DMA, AHK, BK and ELN) v SSHD [2020] EWHC 3416 (Admin), and held that there was a duty to secure accommodation within a reasonable period where it was necessary to avoid a breach of the person's rights under Article 3 of the ECHR. 

Parul, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] 

Housing Ombudsman finds severe maladministration in Thames Valley’s response to a silverfish infestation 

A tenant complained to the Housing Ombudsman about how Thames Valley Housing Association dealt with leaks and damp in her flat, leading to a silverfish infestation. The Ombudsman found that the housing association failed to properly investigate the issue or carry out repairs within a reasonable time. The compensation it offered was also inadequate.  

Severe maladministration finding – Thames Valley Housing Association

News and guidance

Housing Ombudsman Service complaints process to be made easier from 1 October 2022 

From 1 October 2022, social housing tenants will no longer have to contact a 'designated person' or wait eight weeks for a response before escalating their complaint to the Housing Ombudsman.  

Improved access to Ombudsman from October – Housing Ombudsman Service 

Night Shelter transformation fund 

The government has launched the Night Shelter transformation fund, which has been allocated £10 million in funding and is due to run until 2025. Under this scheme, night shelters can bid for funding to improve the quality of the accommodation and services that they provide to people sleeping rough. The first round closed on 26 August 2022 and there will be further opportunities to bid on a bi-annual basis.  

Night Shelter Transformation Fund 2022-25: funding prospectus 

House of Commons Library Briefing: Social rented housing (England) - past trends and prospects 

This House of Commons Library briefing looks at social rented housing, barriers to development and prospects for a ‘step change’ in supply, including data on need and supply. 

Social rented housing (England): past trends and prospects 

House of Commons Library Briefing: Rent setting 

This House of Common Library briefing explains policy developments in relation to setting social housing rent levels in England since 2002. For five years from April 2020 rent increases are based on the Consumer Price Index +1%. 

Rent setting: social housing (England) 

Consultation on capping social housing rents 

The government is seeking views on the proposed introduction of a regulatory standard for social housing rents. This could see social housing rents from 2023 limited to lower increases than the existing formula of CPI +1% would allow. The consultation is open until 12 October 2022. 

Social housing rents consultation 

Right to Buy-back sees 1,500 homes return to council ownership 

The Mayor of London’s Right to Buy-back scheme, launched in July 2021, has so far allocated funds to allow over 1,500 homes to be brought back into council ownership. The properties will either be used as council homes or accommodation for homeless households. 

Mayor's Right to Buy-back sees 1,500 homes return to council ownership 

Data and trends

Mortgage and Landlord Possession statistics: April to June 2022 

The Ministry of Justice has published quarterly statistics covering April to June 2022 on possession claims in the County Court by mortgage lenders and social and private landlords. The statistics show significant increases in possession claims made by both lenders and landlords compared to the same period in 2021. 

Mortgage and landlord possession statistics: April to June 2022 

Shelter England – Bailiff evictions rise by 39% in just three months as private renters run out of options

Homelessness management information – Ukrainian nationals 

The government has published information on the homelessness duties owed to Ukrainian nationals by each local authority region. This is currently covers the period from 24 February to 29 July 2022. 

Homelessness management information – Ukrainian nationals 

House of Commons Library Briefing: Leasehold and commonhold reform 

This House of Commons Library briefing considers trends in leasehold ownership, ongoing problems associated with the sector, and Government plans for legislation in the 2023-24 parliamentary session. 

Leasehold and commonhold reform 

New report from Crisis on shortfall between rents and local housing allowance 

A new joint report from Crisis and Zoopla, Falling short: Housing benefit and the rising cost of renting in England, sets out research by Crisis on the gap between private rents and local housing allowance levels.  

Crisis – Falling short: Housing benefit and the rising cost of renting in England 

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