Round up of housing law and news: September 2023

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Legislation

Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 (Commencement No.1 and Saving Provision) Regulations 2023 

These regulations bring into force various provisions in the Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 from 20 September 2023. These include new powers for the Regulator of Social Housing to set standards and an implied term in tenancy agreements requiring social landlords to remedy hazards. 

The Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 (Commencement No. 1 and Saving Provision) Regulations 2023 (legislation.gov.uk) 

Home Loss Payments (Prescribed Amounts) (England) Regulations 2023 

These regulations increase the compensation a person can receive for losing their home through compulsory displacement in England. From 1 October 2023, the new maximum amount is £81,000, the minimum amount is £8,100 and the prescribed flat rate is £8,100. There is no change to the amounts of compensation for compulsory displacement in Wales. 

The Home Loss Payments (Prescribed Amounts) (England) Regulations 2023 (legislation.gov.uk) 

Case law

Assessment of medical priority and the housing register 

The High Court found that a local authority assessing medical priority for the housing register was not wrong to refer to the opinion of a medical advisor who had not examined the applicant. The authority's decision not to place the applicant in Band A for medical priority based on this assessment was lawful. 

Islam & Anor, R (On the Application Of) v London Borough of Haringey [2022] EWHC 3933 (Admin) (18 August 2023) (bailii.org) 

News and updates

Review of Housing Health and Safety Rating System 

The government has published a review of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System which assesses hazards in rented homes. Following the review, the government plans to issue new regulations to simplify the assessment process. 

Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS): review outcomes and next steps - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 

Government publishes damp and mould guidance for landlords 

The government has published guidance for landlords on damp and mould. The guidance reminds landlords of the health risks of damp and mould and the process landlords should follow when responding to reports of damp and mould. The Secretary of State has also written to social landlords, reminding them that damp and mould should not be treated as a ‘lifestyle’ issue. 

Understanding and addressing the health risks of damp and mould in the home - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 

Letter from the Secretary of State to social landlords on damp and mould guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 

Regulator writes to social housing providers about RAAC 

The Regulator of Social Housing has written to housing providers about Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete following safety concerns in school buildings. The Regulator advised it does not believe that RAAC is widespread in social housing, but social landlords must ensure they understand the extent of it in their properties and take mitigation and remediation measures. 

Letter to registered providers about RAAC - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 

Government will not meet goal to end rough sleeping by 2024 

The Kerslake Commission has released a report concluding that the government will not meet its goal to end rough sleeping by 2024. The report calls on the government to focus on prevention and systemic change, including increasing Local Housing Allowance. 

Government won’t meet its target to end rough sleeping by 2024 says panel of experts – The Kerslake Commission (commissiononroughsleeping.org) 

Supported exempt accommodation research briefing 

This House of Commons Library research briefing provides an overview of the regulation of supported exempt accommodation and the steps being taken to improve standards in the sector. 

Supported exempt accommodation (England) - House of Commons Library (parliament.uk) 

Mortgage arrears and repossession research briefing 

This House of Commons Library research briefing provides an overview of current and past approaches to helping homeowners with mortgage debt, including information on trends in arrears and repossessions 

Mortgage arrears and repossessions in England - House of Commons Library (parliament.uk) 

Online Safety Bill to target ‘Sex for Rent’ adverts 

The Online Safety Bill plans to target ‘Sex for Rent’ adverts by ensuring that these adverts are removed. A website which does not block or remove adverts could be fined. 

Predatory adverts to be clamped down on in new law after Generation Rent campaign - Generation Rent 

Shelter launches general election campaign 

Shelter has launched a new campaign ahead of the upcoming general election in 2024. The campaign asks leaders of all parties to commit to building social housing, address the affordability of renting, and increase standards in rented homes. 

Our general election campaign - Shelter England 

Data and trends

More than one in 30 private rented homes have unsafe damp and mould 

The government has published findings from data provided by local authorities on damp and mould hazards in private rented accommodation. The findings show: 

  • on average, 3.6% of private rented properties were estimated to have category 1 damp and mould hazards 

  • in 2021-2022, 1593 improvement notices were issued due to damp and mould 

  • in the same period, 27 prosecutions were pursued 

Gov.uk: Damp and mould in the private rented sector - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 

Over 1 in 3 private renters have used credit to pay rent 

Polling from the debt advice charity StepChange and YouGov has found that many private rented tenants are struggling to pay their rent. The figures show: 

  • 38% of private renters have used credit to pay their rent 

  • 27% of private renters have used their savings to pay rent in the last 12 months 

  • 23% private renters have rationed heating, electricity or water use to afford rent in the last 12 months 

StepChange: 1 In 3 Private Renters Use Credit To Pay Rent. StepChange 

Cost of rent rises at fastest rate for nine years 

Figures from the estate agency Hamptons have shown that rental costs have risen at the fastest rate since Hamptons began to track these figures in 2014. The figures show: 

  • the cost of renting has risen by 12% in the year up to August 2023 

  • the average monthly rent of a newly let property is £1304 

  • the rise in the last 12 months was more than the 4 years between 2015 and 2019 

Hamptons figures via the BBC: Rental prices rise at fastest rate for nine years, figures show - BBC News 

1.7 million more forecast to be living in unaffordable homes by 2030 

A report by the National Housing Federation on how the housing crisis will progress over the rest of the decade has forecast that, by 2030: 

  • an extra 1.7 million households will be living in unaffordable homes 

  • 1.5 million families will be on social housing waiting lists 

  • 150,000 children will be homeless and living in emergency accommodation 

National Housing Federation: National Housing Federation - Nearly five million households will live in unaffordable homes by 2030 

Nearly a third of private renters over 55 fear eviction 

Research by Shelter has found that older renters are concerned about the risk of their landlord evicting them using a section 21 notice. The research found: 

  • 28% of private renters over 55 fear being evicted by their landlord 

  • 25% over 55 said worrying about eviction is negatively impacting their physical or mental health 

  • a private renter over 55 receives a section 21 notice every 16 minutes 

Shelter: Tenants over-55 hit with a no-fault eviction notice every 16 minutes - Shelter England 

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