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Round up of legislation, case law, guidance and news: December 2021
Posted on 31/12/21 in Housing Matters
The monthly round up from Housing Matters
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Domestic Abuse Commissioner launches survey for survivors
A 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.
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.
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.
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