Round-up of legislation case law guidance and news: June 2021
Posted on 30/06/21
Welcome to the latest monthly round-up from Housing Matters.
List of documents for right to rent checks updated
From 1 July 2021, immigration regulations update the list of documents that can be produced by EEA and Swiss Nationals for employers and landlords to avoid a civil penalty. Civil penalties are imposed for employing or letting property to people subject to immigration control who require leave to enter or remain in the UK and do not have it.
The Order has brought into force revised Codes of Practice to reflect these changes.
Financial limits for Debt Relief Orders (DROs) increased
The financial eligibility limits for DRO applications have been increased. For applications made on or after 29 June 2021, the applicant can have up to £30,000 in debts, a surplus income of up to £75, and assets of up to £2000.
Mobile Homes fit and proper person regulations in force
From 1 July 2021, local authorities must accept applications to join the fit and proper person register. The requirement for all managers or site owners protected sites to pass the fit and proper person assessment applies from 1 October 2021.
Zambrano carers and right to reside
The High Court has held that Zambrano carers do not lose a right to reside as a result of their permission to remain having been granted under a route other than Appendix EU to Immigration Rules. This decision confirms that Zambrano carers (primary carers of British citizens, whose removal would mean the British citizen would be compelled to leave the EU) can apply for pre-settled status via the EU Settlement Scheme.
The Free Movement website has more detail on this decision.
No inconsistency between Homelessness regulations and Code of Guidance in calculating income and expenditure
The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal where the reviewing officer had recalculated the applicant’s income and expenditure. The reviewing officer considered the guidance and based their conclusion on the material available. The Court also held there was no inconsistency between Art.2 Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) Order 1996 which requires an assessment of the applicant’s living expenses, and para 17.46 Homelessness Code of Guidance, which states that authorities must consider whether the applicant can afford their housing costs without being deprived of basic essentials.
No requirement to provide Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for tenancies granted before 1 October 2015
In Minister v Hathaway, the Court of Appeal held that the requirement to provide an assured shorthold tenant with an EPC applies only to tenancies granted or renewed after 1 October 2015.
A more detailed summary of the case is available from Nearly Legal.
Judicial review of digital-only status of EU Settlement Scheme applicants refused
The High Court has refused permission for judicial review of digital-only status. The policy is fully implemented on 1 July 2021, and evidence of its potential discriminatory impact will only be available after this date.
Online tool: Check how to get repairs done in your rented home
The Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have launched an online legal support pilot. The new tool allows tenants to check how to get something fixed by a landlord or letting agent and find out what to do if requests for repairs are not responded to.
Housing associations make a commitment about eviction for rent arrears
The National Housing Federation has issued a statement on evictions and support for residents. It includes an assurance that no one will be evicted from a housing association home as a result of financial hardship where the tenant is working to get their payments back on track.
Universal Credit advances to be included in Breathing Space
The Treasury Minister John Glen has confirmed that Universal Credit advances will be included in breathing space moratoriums and mental health moratoriums ‘as soon as possible'. The Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space Moratorium and Mental Health Crisis Moratorium) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 provide for debtors to have a 60-day protection from enforcement action for moratorium debts for the standard breathing space. For those experiencing a mental health crisis, the protection lasts for as long as the crisis treatment.
Guidance for claimants confirms N244 required to reactivate stayed claims after 30 April 2021
Government guidance has been updated to confirm that possession claims issued before 3 August 2020 where no reactivation notice was filed before 30 April 2021 require an application to court to reactivate the claim. The application must be made on form N244 accompanied by the relevant fee. Guidance for social landlords has also been updated with this information.
Claims issued after 3 August 2020 will be processed in due course.
Fire safety in purpose-built blocks of flats guidance published on GOV.UK
A guide produced in 2011 and hosted on the Local Government Association website has been published on GOV.UK. It is no longer comprehensive and should be read alongside the MHCLG Building safety advice and the National Fire Chief Council’s guidance on simultaneous evacuation.
The Home Office expects to publish revised guidance later this year.
National Archives to host court judgments and tribunal decisions
The Ministry of Justice has announced that court judgments will be moved to the National Archives. The announcement states: “Judicial Review rulings, European case law, commercial judgments and many more cases of legal significance from the High Court, Upper Tier Tribunal, and the Court of Appeal will be readily available to anyone from April 2022.”
Courts and Tribunals Service feedback survey
HM Courts and Tribunals Service is seeking feedback from professionals who work in courts and tribunals, including solicitors and advice workers, about the way HMCTS communicates with the sector.