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Round up of housing law and news: May 2024

A Shelter legal adviser, holding a folder, with a serious look on her face


Extension to reduced suitability rules for new arrivals to the UK

Reduced requirements for the suitability of homeless accommodation apply to people who make a homeless application within two years of their arrival in the UK. Local authorities are not automatically required to consider the effect of the accommodation's location on these applicants, with the exception of some caring needs. This Order extends this rule to 1 June 2025.

The use of bed and breakfast accommodation for people with people who have arrived in the UK within the last two years and who have family commitments will be limited to six weeks from 1 June 2024. Between 1 June 2022 and 31 May 2024, the usual six week limitation did not apply to people who had arrived in the UK within the last two years.

The Homeless (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) (Amendment) Order 2024

Eligibility for homelessness assistance

New regulations introduce two new classes of person eligible for housing and homelessness assistance. From 7 June 2024, certain people who can enter the UK under immigration rules as a victims of transnational marriage abandonment, and people who have their no recourse to public funds condition lifted by the Home Office, can now be eligible.

The Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) and Persons Subject to Immigration Control (Housing Authority Accommodation and Homelessness) (Amendment) Regulations 2024

Universal credit migration protection for mixed-age couples

This amendment order preserves existing protections for some mixed-age couples when they are required to migrate to universal credit. A couple is mixed-age where one member has reached the qualifying age for state pension credit.

The Welfare Reform Act 2012 (Commencement No.31 and Savings and Transitional Provisions) (Amendment) Order 2024

Compulsory mediation for small claims

Court claims for less than £10,000 will automatically be referred for mediation when they are not issued through Civil Money Claims online, and there is no personal injury or road traffic element. Small claims mediation is a one hour session arranged by HM Courts and Tribunals Service.

Practice Direction 51ZE - Small claims track automatic referral to mediation pilot scheme

Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act becomes law

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act became law prior to the dissolution of parliament for the general election.

The Act received royal assent on 24 May and pending further secondary legislation, will make it easier for leaseholders to buy their freehold, increase standard lease extension terms and ban the sale of new leasehold houses in most circumstances.

Leasehold reforms become law - GOV.UK (

Case law

Local authority cannot change the terms of an abatement notice

The Court of Appeal held that a local authority has no power to vary the terms of an abatement notice once it has been satisfied a statutory nuisance exists or is likely to occur.

R (Ball) v Hinckley & Bosworth BC [2024] EWCA 443

Homelessness assistance can justify the ending of Care Act duties

The Court of Appeal held that a local authority did not act unlawfully when it ended accommodation provided under the Care Act 2014 because the person could seek homelessness assistance under the Housing Act 1996.

Campbell, R (On the Application Of) v London Borough of Ealing [2024] EWCA Civ 540

New homeless application does not cancel an existing appeal

The High Court held that a fresh homeless application did not cancel or 'overtake' a County Court appeal on an existing decision of the local authority to refuse homeless assistance.

Fertre v Vale of White Horse District Council [2024] EWHC 1234 (KB)

News and guidance

Renters (Reform) Bill stalled due to general election

After the announcement that a general election will take place on 4 July, the Renters (Reform) Bill was not among the legislation passed prior the dissolution of parliament. The sector will now have to wait until after the general election for any further progress on the key commitments in the bill, including the abolition of section 21 notices.

Kerslake Commission report into UK armed forces accommodation

The Kerslake Commission has published a report report into housing for the armed forces. The report highlights many issues with the standard of accommodation, including damp, mould, and pest infestations.

Landmark report reveals dire state of UK armed forces accommodation - King's College London

Homelessness code of guidance: care leavers

The Homelessness Code of Guidance has been updated with the process local authorities should follow when deciding that a care leaver is intentionally homeless. Authorities should develop a sign-off procedure which involves both housing and children's services.

Homelessness code of guidance for local authorities -

Research briefing on fire safety in houses and flats

This House of Commons research briefing discusses new fire safety requirements for blocks of flats, introduced in October 2023 as part of the government’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire.

Fire safety in houses and flats - House of Commons Library (

MPs say government must invest in building social homes

The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee has published a report on the financial pressures facing social housing providers. The report calls for the government to invest in the social housing sector.

Government must invest in building new social homes to tackle chronic housing shortage, say MPs: UK Parliament

Ombudsman investigation into local authority gatekeeping

An investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman investigation found that Tower Hamlets did not do enough to help a family facing homelessness, and the authority relied on gatekeeping, failing to act until the family’s situation was desperate.

Tower Hamlets did not do enough to help family facing homelessness in the borough - Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

Consultation on access to information for social tenants

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has launched a consultation on proposed rights for social tenants to request information about the management of their homes. The consultation closes on 15 July 2024.

Social Tenant Access to Information Requirements: consultation

Welsh government rent and service charge standard extended

The Welsh government has extended its Rent and Service Charge Standard until the end of March 2026. The standard governs how social landlords calculate rent and service charge increases in Wales.

Written Statement: Affordability at the centre of social rent policy -

Data and trends

92,114 households have received section 21 notices since government committed to its abolition

New analysis of government statistics by Crisis found that, since the government first committed to abolishing section 21 in April 2019:

  • 92,114 households have been served with a section 21 notice

  • 28,993 households have been evicted by bailiffs

  • 7,863 households in England received a section 21 notice between January and March 2024, 15% more than in the same period in 2023

Crisis: Over 90,000 households in England threatened with eviction since ban on Section 21 promised | Crisis | Together we will end homelessness

Section 21 evictions at six year high

New analysis of Ministry of Justice figures by Shelter found that between January and March 2024:

  • 2,682 households were evicted by bailiffs following a section 21 notice, 19% more than in the same period in 2023

  • nearly 29,000 households have been evicted by bailiffs since the government first committed to abolishing section 21

Shelter: No-fault bailiff evictions soar to six year high - Shelter England

Social renting 64% more affordable than private renting

Shelter's analysis of the latest government statistics on rent levels and a survey by Yougov found that:

  • social rents are 64% more affordable than private rents

  • on average, private renters in London would be £1400 per month better off if they were able to move into social housing

  • 70% of social tenants said they could not afford to live in their area if they had to rent privately

Shelter: Living in a social home is over 60% more affordable than private renting - Shelter England - Shelter England

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