Round up of housing law and news: June 2022
Housing and homelessness assistance for people fleeing Ukraine
From 10 June 2022, these regulations amend the Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations 2006/1294. They add a new Class of people eligible for homelessness assistance and for an allocation of social housing.
People who have been granted limited leave to remain under Appendix Ukraine Scheme of the Immigration Rules following an application for leave made from within the UK are eligible for homelessness assistance as Class O and for an allocation of social housing as Class N.
Renting homes in Wales
The Welsh Government has published draft regulations with details of further implementation of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016. The new provisions will include amendments to provide that certain tenancies and licences of accommodation related to bail or probation, or to immigration and asylum, are not occupation contracts.
The regulations will also add to the provisions setting out arrangements for existing tenancies and licences to convert into occupation contracts when the 2016 Act comes into force, and include provisions that the current arrangements and protections relating to the variation of rent in housing association tenancies will continue to apply.
Regulator of Social Housing to crack down on unsafe housing
The Social Housing Regulation Bill will give new powers to the Regulator of Social Housing to issue unlimited fines, enter properties with only 48 hours’ notice, and make emergency repairs where there is a serious risk to tenants.
Alongside the introduction of the Bill, the government is seeking views on electrical safety standards for social housing. The consultation closes on 31 August 2022.
Leasehold Reform and ban on ground rent
These regulations commence sections 1 to 19 and the Schedule of the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act 2022. The Act prohibits freeholders from charging ground rent on new long residential leases, and requires enforcement authorities to take action against those who do not comply. The restrictions come into force for most new leases on 30 June 2022 and for retirement home leases on 1 April 2023.
The government has published accompanying statutory guidance.
New Bill of Rights to repeal and replace Human Rights Act
The legislation to repeal and replace the Human Rights Act 1998 has been introduced to Parliament and received its first reading in the House of Commons on 22 June 2022. Introducing the Bill, the Lord Chancellor Dominic Raab said that the new law will:
affirm the supremacy of the Supreme Court and make it explicit that UK courts are under no obligation to follow European Court of Human Rights case law
reverse the tendency for human rights to be over-expanded through judicial interpretation by ensuring that any expansion of human rights law, as opposed to its interpretation, is subject to democratic oversight by Parliament
introduce a permission stage in UK courts to assert greater checks over 'frivolous' human rights claims at an earlier stage
provide that the behaviour of anyone claiming a breach of their human rights is taken into account when UK courts consider compensation
provide for greater weight to be given to Parliament’s determination of the public interest when considering the interpretation of rights so as to reinforce, for example, the government's ability to deport foreign national offenders
In a letter to the Ministry of Justice, more than 150 civil and human rights organisations, law centres, religious groups and trade unions have called on the government to provide pre-legislative scrutiny of the proposed Bill of Rights.
Home Office policy on no recourse to public fund unlawful
The High Court has declared the Home Office policy on migrants’ access to public funds unlawful for failing to take account of the best interests of children.
Intentional homelessness and reasonable living expenses
The Court of Appeal held that when upholding a local housing authority's decision that a homeless applicant was intentionally homeless, the reviewing officer had not erred in relying on the Association of Housing Advice Services document ‘Evidence base for cost of living and guidance for caseworkers’ when calculating reasonable living expenses as part of an affordability assessment.
Section 21 notices and gas safety records
Luton county court set aside a possession order and allowed the tenant’s appeal on the factual issue as to whether a valid gas safety certificate was in place at the start of the tenancy. The court remitted the case to be heard by a different judge.
Tenant’s liability for sub-tenant eviction
The High Court held that a tenant who stood by while their sub-tenant was evicted from their home by the landlord was not liable in damages to the sub-tenant for breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment.
News and guidance
New guide for people arriving from Ukraine
This new government’s guide includes specific information about welcome points for Ukrainians just arrived in the UK, how to apply for a biometric residence permit, claim interim payments, set up a bank account and claim benefits.
White paper ‘A fairer private rented sector’ published
The government has published plans to reform the private rented sector, and its responses to various consultations and calls for evidence. The key proposals are:
abolishing fixed term assured tenancies, making all assured tenancies periodic. Tenants can terminate on 2 months’ notice
probationary, fixed term and demoted social tenancies to be abolished
abolishing section 21 possession claims
updating the grounds for possession to include mandatory grounds for landlord selling the property or wanting to move in. Rent arears caused by the timing of benefit payments are not to be included when looking at the mandatory threshold
a ban on landlords marketing a rental for 3 months after using the selling and moving in grounds
provision for landlords to increase rent once a year on 2 months’ notice, which the tenant can challenge at tribunal with less risk of eviction
private rented homes will need to meet the Decent Homes Standard
no new Housing Court, but a new Ombudsman will be created to resolve disputes between private landlords and tenants, with power to award up to £25,000 compensation and require remedial works
creation of a ‘Property Portal’ similar to a compulsory landlord register
commitment to look at strengthening council’s enforcement powers
outlawing blanket bans on ‘No DSS’ and ‘no children’ policies, and working to remove barriers to landlords letting to these groups
increase rights to request permission to have a pet
monitor and review issues with tenancy deposits
Policy paper – A fairer private rented sector
Consultation outcome – A new deal for renting: resetting the balance of rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants
Consultation outcome – Tenancy deposit reform: a call for evidence
Consultation outcome – Considering the case for a Housing Court: call for evidence
Landlord duty to make reasonable adjustments to common parts
Section 36 of the Equality Act 2010 will soon place a new duty on landlords to make reasonable adjustments to the common parts of let residential premises when requested by a disabled person. To help inform the regulations and guidance, the government is seeking views on the practical operation of this requirement from anyone with an interest.
In particular, the government is keen to hear from disabled people, landlords from all housing sectors, managing and letting agents, and local authorities. The consultation closes on 18 August 2022.
Improving disabled people’s access to let residential premises: reasonable adjustments to common parts, a new duty
Digital only right to rent checks
Since 6 April 2022, holders of biometric residence cards and permits can only prove their right to rent to landlords using the Home Office online checking service, rather than a physical check. On 22 June 2022, the government published an equality impact assessment.
Support for UK Veterans
This House of Commons Library briefing details the support available to armed forces veterans in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Social Housing Reform
This House of Commons Library briefing outlines the measures set out in the Government’s social housing white paper, stakeholder reaction and the next steps for social housing reform.
Right to Buy for housing association tenants
This House of Commons Library briefing covers the commitment to extend the Right to Buy to housing association tenants. There is no implementation date. The Government intends to work with associations to develop the scheme.
Data and trends
The monthly round up of legislation, cases, news and data from Housing Matters