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Round up of housing law and news: December 2023

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Call for evidence: Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill

The Public Bill Committee has launched a call for evidence on the Leasehold and Freehold Bill. The Bill received its second reading on 11 December 2023 and the first sitting of the Public Bill Committee will take place on 16 January 2024.

The Committee is calling for submissions as soon as possible.

Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill: call for evidence | UK Parliament

Case law

Banning orders and spent convictions

The Upper Tribunal refused a landlord's appeal against a banning order, rejecting 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 be made.

Hussain v Newham LBC [2023] UKUT 287 (LC) (

News and guidance

London councils report growing number of homeless refugees

London councils report a growing number of homeless refugees and asylum seekers as they are asked to leave Home Office accommodation.

Boroughs warn of rising refugee homelessness amid ‘dangerous winter conditions’ | London Councils

Home Office U-turn on notice period for refugees

Earlier in the year, the Home Office changed the point at which people granted refugee status were given notice to leave asylum accommodation. This was brought forward from 28 days after receiving their Biometric Residence Permit to 28 days after being notified. The Home Office has announced it is returning to the previous timescale.

Homeless Link welcomes Home Office U-turn | Homeless Link

Ombudsman special investigations into three London landlords

The Housing Ombudsman has launched special investigations into Camden Council, Hackney Council and Hyde Group. Casework showed all three landlords struggle with damp and mould, repairs, and complaint handling.

Special investigation for 3 London landlords | Housing Ombudsman

London Mayor announces Rough Sleeping Charter

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched London’s first Rough Sleeping Charter. The Charter sets out six key principles for signatories to uphold, including accepting that whilst people sleeping rough might have problems, they aren’t problem people.

Mayor launches London’s first Rough Sleeping Charter alongside more than 100 businesses, charities, faith and community groups | London City Hall

New Trading Standards guidance for letting property

National Trading Standards published guidance for estate and letting agents on the key information to be included on property listings.

Material Information | National Trading Standards

Data protection law and the housing sector

The Information Commissioner’s Office published a blog on how housing associations process the personal data of their tenants, and common data protection issues in the sector.

How data protection law can prevent harm in the housing sector | ICO

Call to stop Criminal Justice Bill from criminalising homelessness

Crisis are calling for the government to stop the Criminal Justice Bill from criminalising homelessness. Parliament voted to repeal the Vagrancy Act in 2022, but it remains in force. The Criminal Justice Bill might replicate some of the provisions which criminalise rough sleeping.

10,000 people say: don’t criminalise homelessness | Crisis UK

Criminal Justice Bill - Parliamentary Bills | UK Parliament

Local Housing Allowance

This House of Commons Library briefing covers Local Housing Allowance (LHA), including its history and the current issues and debates around LHA levels.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA): Help with rent for private tenants | House of Commons Library

Housing Ombudsman report on service charges

The Housing Ombudsman released its latest Insight report, providing updated guidance and jurisdiction around service charges.

Ombudsman uses new report to set out key learning and guidance on service charges | Housing Ombudsman

Data and trends

At least 309,000 people homeless in England today

Shelter published its analysis of homelessness figures and responses to Freedom of Information Requests. The analysis shows:

  • 1 in 182 people in England are homeless today

  • 3,000 people are sleeping rough on any given night, a 26% increase in 12 months

  • 279,000 people are living in temporary accommodation, a 14% increase in 12 months

Shelter: At least 309,000 people homeless in England today

One in five private rentals fail to meet Decent Homes Standard

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities published the headline report for the English Housing Survey 2022 to 2023. Key findings include:

  • 3.7 million properties failed to meet the Decent Homes Standard in 2022

  • 2.1 million properties had a Housing Health and Safety Rating System Category 1 hazard

  • 21% of private rented properties failed to meet the Decent Homes Standard in 2022

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities: Chapters for English Housing Survey 2022 to 2023 Headline Report

Two fifths of older private renters struggle to cover their living costs

The National Housing Federation published research on the experiences of people aged 55 and over living in private rented accommodation in England. The research found:

  • 42% of older private renters regularly struggle to cover their basic living costs, such as buying food or heating their homes

  • Half of older private renters worry about getting into debt due to their housing and living costs

  • Half of retired older private renters say their quality of life is severely impacted by their housing costs

National Housing Federation: Two in five older private renters struggle to afford food, heating or clothes

Warm homes

The Office for National Statistics published an article exploring which groups of people are more likely to live in homes with lower energy efficiency and how this might affect them. The article draws on data from the 2021 Census and energy performance certificates to show:

  • Homes with people aged 65 years and above more likely to have lower energy efficiency

  • Older people most likely to report cutting energy usage amid cost-of-living pressures

  • People living in flats and socially rented accommodation are less likely to have hard-to-heat homes

Office for National Statistics: Who is most likely to live in homes that are harder to keep warm?

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