Round up of housing law and news: December 2022
Eligibility for homelessness help of victims of human trafficking and modern slavery
New regulations, in force from 30 January 2023, provide that confirmed victims of human trafficking or modern slavery granted limited leave to remain are eligible for homelessness assistance or an allocation of social housing. Their leave must have been granted in line with Appendix Temporary Permission to Stay for Victims of Human Trafficking or Slavery of the Immigration Rules.
This reflects a change in the Immigration Rules allowing for temporary leave for victims of human trafficking or modern slavery. It replaces the existing system of discretionary leave.
Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) and Persons Subject to Immigration Control (Housing Authority Accommodation and Homelessness) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2022 SI 2022/1371
Consultation on planned changes to housing law
The government has launched a consultation on the anticipated effect of the changes due to be introduced by the Renters Reform Bill, including the removal of Section 21 notices.
The consultation aims to identify the impact these changes will have on homelessness and is open until 25 January 2023.
Second reading for Short-term and Holiday-let Accommodation (Licensing) Bill
The Short-term and Holiday-let Accommodation (Licensing) Bill received its second reading in December. This Private Members Bill aims to introduce a licensing system for short-term and holiday-let accommodation.
Notice to quit which named wrong tenant held to be invalid
The Court of Appeal held that a notice to quit that named the wrong tenant was invalid. The landlord was unaware the tenancy had been assigned and gave notice to quit in the name of the former tenant.
The Court held that while there was no common law requirement for the notice to name the tenant, a notice given to one person using their correct name and address could not be treated as a notice given to someone else. The notice to quit had not been given to the tenant, which in this case was the company.
The creditor applied to cancel a mental health crisis moratorium. The High Court refused the application as it made outside the time limit set by the regulations. The Court found it had no power to allow an out of time application.
As an alternative, the creditor also applied for permission to enforce an existing order for possession and sale. In a previous case, the creditor had enforced the order despite it relating to a moratorium debt. The High Court declared the enforcement void and reinstated the debtor in the property. The Court now refused permission to enforce the order. Permission to enforce could only be granted if it would not be detrimental to the debtor. Being evicted from the property would 'as a matter of ordinary language' be detrimental to the debtor.
News and guidance
Better Social Housing Review published
The Better Social Housing Review was set up by the National Housing Federation and Chartered Institute of Housing to examine issues relating to the quality of social housing in England. The Review recommends housing associations conduct and publish an audit of all properties in the sector.
Training to enable social housing tenants to challenge landlords
A new scheme offers training for social housing tenants to enable residents to engage with and challenge their landlords. Training might include sessions on how to set up a residents panel, or how to challenge a landlord over failure to meet standards.
£200 million fund for housing and support for rough sleepers
The Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme is a new government scheme which aims to deliver up to 2400 homes and support services for people sleeping rough or at risk of sleeping rough. The scheme will provide supported housing, Housing First or housing-led accommodation. Applications for funding open from 4 January 2023.
Housing Ombudsman Annual Complaints Review 2021-22
The Housing Ombudsman has published its annual complaints review for 2021-22. The review found that property condition was the biggest reason for referrals to the Ombudsman and raised concerns about how social landlords handle complaints about services.
New funding aims to end homelessness of armed forces veterans
£8.5 million of new funding has been allocated to provide more than 900 housing units in England, including specialist help for veterans. The funding will lead to a new referral scheme to help veterans at risk of homelessness access supported housing and specialist support in health, housing and education.
Right to Shared Ownership Scheme guidance for tenants
The Right to Shared Ownership Scheme allows tenants to purchase an equity stake in their rented homes, worth between 10 – 75% of its full market value. The scheme is open to certain housing association tenants in England who meet specific criteria and will become available to more tenants in future.
Data and trends
1 in every 100 children in England will be homeless this Christmas
Research by Shelter has found that 1 in every 100 children in England will be homeless this Christmas. 800 families with 1600 children were surveyed about the impact of living in temporary accommodation. More than a third of parents surveyed said in temporary accommodation, their children do not have a bed of their own and are forced to share with another family member.
Social Housing Residents Survey 2022
The government has published a report with findings from the 2022 Residents Survey of social housing residents in England. The survey collects information on the experiences of social housing residents.
Statistics on statutory homelessness
This House of Commons research briefing provides statistics on statutory homelessness in England and explains how local authorities carry out the duties owed to homeless households.
Research into young women’s experiences of homelessness
Centrepoint has published research into the experiences of young women who have been homeless. The research found that there is a lack of women-specific homelessness services and that young women regularly experience sexual assault while homeless.
Cost of living tracker finds households are going without essentials
Research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found that low-income households are struggling with the cost of living, with 7.2 million going without the basics, and 4.7 million behind on their bills.
The monthly round up of legislation, cases, news and data from Housing Matters