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Round up of legislation, case law, guidance and news: December 2021

Posted on 31/12/21 in Housing Matters

Round up of legislation, case law, guidance and news: December 2021

The monthly round up from Housing Matters


Legislation


Broad rental market area determinations and local housing allowances in 2022 

From 31 January 2022, this Order amends relevant legislation to make changes to when broad rental market area determinations take effect, and to make provision for the determination of local housing allowances. 

Rent Officers (Housing Benefit and Universal Credit Functions) (Amendment and Modification) Order 2021/1380 


Cases


Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) breach could not be remedied retrospectively at the trial

The Court of Appeal has upheld a tenant’s appeal against their housing association landlord who breached its PSED when it issued a possession claim. The tenant had a serious psychiatric illness when the proceedings were brought. It was not sufficient that the decision maker said they would have made a different decision about bringing the proceedings at the time of the trial.   

Metropolitan Housing Trust v TM (A Protected Party) [2021] EWCA Civ 1890 

Duty to pay for accommodation and aftercare services under the Mental Health Act remains with the original local authority  

The Court of Appeal held that the duty under section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983 to provide and pay for aftercare services and accommodation for a person released from hospital detention to another local authority area, remains with the original local authority until the need for aftercare services ceases. 

Worcestershire County Council, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care [2021] EWCA Civ 1957 

Court of Appeal considers threshold for deciding when to allocate a possession case to a track 

The threshold for deciding whether a possession claim is ‘genuinely disputed’ under CPR 55.8 is the same as the test for granting a summary judgment under CPR 24.2. In this case, the occupier had a genuine licence agreement as a property guardian and had no real prospect of defending a possession claim based on an argument they were a tenant.  

Global 100 Ltd v Laleva [2021] EWCA Civ 1835 

Eligibility for universal credit for EEA nationals

The Supreme Court has held that EEA nationals with pre-settled status cannot rely on Article 18 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union that prohibits discrimination on the grounds of nationality as a way of challenging the rules restricting their access to public funds. This ruling overturns the Court of Appeal decision that the eligibility rules amounted to unlawful discrimination. 

Fratila and Tanase v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2021] UKSC 53 

Defence of reasonable excuse for unlicensed HMO rejected

The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by a landlord who managed an unlicensed house in multiple occupation (HMO) without a reasonable excuse. The fact the landlord believed there was no prospect of obtaining a licence did not amount to a defence of reasonable excuse under s.72. Housing Act 2004. 

Palm View Estates Ltd v Thurrock Council [2021] EWCA Civ 1871 

Ombudsman finds Legal Aid Agency unreasonably denied funding to Law Centre  

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman found maladministration causing injustice against the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) for failure to provide legal aid funding in a fair and timely way to a Law Centre acting for three vulnerable EU citizens facing deportation for sleeping rough.     

Legal Aid Agency processes had unfair outcomes for vulnerable people 


Guidance and news


Support for rough sleepers during Covid-19 pandemic 

DLUHC has announced new Protect and Vaccinate scheme to increase vaccination amongst people sleeping rough, and to provide emergency accommodation. The Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing Eddie Hughes MP has written to local authorities on 20 December to inform them they should make offers of accommodation to people sleeping rough.  

Press release - Push to protect and vaccinate rough sleepers 

Bill of rights consultation 

The Ministry of Justice has launched a consultation into replacing the Human Rights Act 1998 with a new Bill of Rights, inviting legal practitioners and human rights advocates to respond. 

Human rights reform consultation – Ministry of Justice 

Legal Aid consultation on Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme  

The Ministry of Justice is consulting on a new delivery model for housing possession legal aid. The consultation closes on 20 January 2022. The key proposals are: 

  • Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme (HPCDS) to become a new Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service (HLPAS), incorporating the existing service of advice and representation at court with early legal advice before court 
  • HLPAS providers can offer advice on welfare benefits to people facing procession proceedings 
  • contracts to cover individual courts rather than larger geographical areas 
  • providers to claim for the court duty fee and a Legal Help fee for follow on work 
  • set attendance fee for all schemes, replacing the existing nil session payment 

Open consultation - Housing Legal Aid: the way forward 

Homelessness Prevention Grant 2022/2023 to support homeless households 

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has announced additional government funding for local authorities in England to help people find a new home, get help with evictions, or move into temporary accommodation. 
 
Press release - £316 million government funding boost to tackle homelessness 

Benefit and pension uprating 2022/2023 

The DWP has issued new guidance in relation to pension and welfare benefit rates for 2022/2023. 

Proposed benefit and pension rates 2022 to 2023 

A11/2021: Housing Benefit uprating for the financial year ending March 2023 

Afghan citizens resettlement scheme  

The Minister for Afghan Resettlement, Victoria Atkins MP, has confirmed that the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme (ACRS) will open in January, providing up to 20,000 Afghan women, children, and others most at risk with a safe and legal route to resettle in the UK. 

Press release - Afghan citizens resettlement scheme to open in January 

Citizens Advice report on the No Recourse to Public Funds condition  

A new research report shows the impact of living with no recourse to public funds on migrants building their life in the UK. It recommends the removal of the condition for all those who are habitually resident in the UK. 

Report - How do I survive now? The impact of living with No Recourse to Public Funds

Domestic Abuse Commissioner launches survey for survivors 

survey for survivors of domestic abuse is being conducted by Nicole Jacobs, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales as part of a plan to end the ‘postcode lottery’ of domestic abuse services. The survey is available in 14 languages online and closes on 31 January 2021. 

Press release - Domestic Abuse Commissioner pledges to end the ‘postcode lottery’ of domestic abuse services 

Abolition of section 21 evictions

The House of Commons Library has published a new research brief on the background and up-to-reactions to the proposed reform of the private rented sector and abolition of ‘no-fault” evictions. A White Paper is expected in 2022. 

HoC brief - The end of ‘no fault’ section 21 evictions 

Voluntary moratorium on mortgage possession proceedings 

UK Finance have announced that their members and Building Societies Association members have agreed that they will not seek or enforce a warrant for possession for residential and buy-to-let properties. The voluntary moratorium is from Monday 13 December until Tuesday 4 January 2022. 

Press release - Lenders announce moratorium on possessions over Christmas