You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience and security.

Round up of legislation, case law, guidance and news: May 2022

Posted on 01/06/22 in Housing Matters

Round up of legislation, case law, guidance and news: May 2022

The monthly round-up from Housing Matters


Legislation

The Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (Amendment) (England) Order 2022

Lower suitability requirements for homeless accommodation apply to people who make a homelessness application on or after 1 June 2022 and who came to the UK in the two years before their application.

Local authorities are not automatically required to consider the effect of the location of the accommodation on the applicant. The usual rule limiting use of bed and breakfast to six weeks for people with family commitments also does not apply.

The changes are time limited and expire on 1 June 2023. 

The Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (Amendment) (England) Order 2022

Building Safety Act 2022

The Building Safety Act 2022 came into force on 28 April 2022. The Act makes provision about the standard of buildings, amends the Architects Act 1997, and amends provision about complaints made to a housing ombudsman.

Building Safety Act 2022

Fire Safety Act 2021

Sections 1 and 3 of the Fire Safety Act 2021 came into force on 12 May 2022. The Act amends the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to clarify that the fire risk assessment carried out by the responsible person must include the structure and external walls of the building, and all doors between domestic premises and common parts.

Fire Safety Act 2021

Cases

Suitability of homelessness accommodation

In R (on the application of Elkundi & Ors) v Birmingham City Council [2022] EWCA Civ 601 the Court of Appeal held that a local authority's duty to provide an applicant with suitable accommodation under s193(2) of the Housing Act 1996 is immediate and unqualified.

Where a local authority has breached its duty, an applicant might be able to apply for judicial review to compel the local authority to provide suitable accommodation. In R (Imam) v The London Borough of Croydon [2022] EWCA Civ 601, the Court of Appeal decided that, when resisting a mandatory order, an authority must prove that it took all reasonable steps possible to comply with the duty.

R (on the application of Elkundi & Ors) v Birmingham City Council [2022] EWCA Civ 601

Breathing space debt moratorium and possession proceedings

An occupier cannot be evicted during a breathing space or mental health crisis moratorium for a qualifying moratorium debt. In Lees v Kaye [2022] EWHC 1151 (QB) the High Court allowed an application to restore the position of a leaseholder who was evicted contrary to the mental health crisis moratorium protection. 

The moratorium was properly registered, and an order for sale enforcing a charging order was not exempt from the debt respite scheme regulations.

Lees v Kaye [2022] EWHC 1151 (QB)

Fraudulent housing benefit claim

The appellant claimed housing benefit and produced a falsified tenancy agreement. The Crown Court sentenced her to a suspended prison term and made a confiscation order.

The appellant appealed and argued that her offence was only committed at the time she produced the tenancy agreement. In general, a confiscation order can only be made if the offence was committed over the course of at least six months.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal. Benefit payments were made at regular intervals and relied on the forged information provided.

Saroya v R. [2022] EWCA Crim 602

Time limits for flexible tenancy review request

A local authority can decide not to offer a new fixed term at the end of a flexible tenancy. The tenant has 21 days to request a review of the decision. The Court of Appeal held that a local authority does not have power to extend the time for requesting a review.

Kalonga, R (On the Application Of) v London Borough of Croydon [2022] EWCA Civ 670

Deliberate act and allocations

The High Court found that a local authority's allocation scheme decision was irrational where it had concluded that an applicant's decision to move into overcrowded accommodation was a deliberate act. The applicant was not able to afford suitable accommodation that was not overcrowded. The Court held that an act is only deliberate if the applicant intended to do it and had a real choice between two or more viable options.

Roman, R (On the Application Of) v London Borough of Southwark [2022] EWHC 1232 (Admin)

Failure to accommodate under 'Everyone In'

The local authority decided not to accommodate a woman with no recourse to public funds under 'Everyone In'. The High Court found that the authority failed to adopt a policy or criteria for the exercise of its discretion under the LGA and NHSA. As a result the decision was unlawful.

R(Cort) v London Borough of Lambeth [2022] EWHC 1085 (Admin)

Rent repayment orders

Landmark Chambers has reported that the Supreme Court has given permission to appeal in the case of Rakusen v Jepsen, a case concerning rent repayment orders.

Landmark Chambers - Rent repayment orders and the Supreme Court

Rakusen v Jepsen & Ors (Rev 1) [2021] EWCA Civ 1150

Guidance and news

Ukraine Extension Scheme

The Ukraine Extension Scheme launched on 3 May 2022 and is open to Ukrainian nationals and their immediate family members. Applicants can be granted leave for up to three years with rights to work, study and access public funds.

The applicant must have had permission to enter or stay in the UK on 18 March 2022, unless they were in the UK with permission to enter or stay immediately before 1 January 2022 and their permission has since expired.

Apply to stay in the UK under the Ukraine Extension Scheme

Ukraine guides updated

The government has updated its guides related to Ukrainians affected by the conflict, including information on safeguarding and what to do in the case of a sponsorship breakdown.

Homes for Ukraine scheme: frequently asked questions

Homes for Ukraine: guidance for councils

Homes for Ukraine: sponsor guidance

Welcome: a guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK

Increase in no-fault evictions

Government figures show that 5,890 landlords in England started no-fault eviction court proceedings against tenants between January and March 2022.

Mortgage and landlord possession statistics: January to March 2022

Shelter: No-fault eviction court proceedings up 41% on pre-pandemic levels

English Private Landlord Survey

The government has published Information and documents relating to the English Private Landlord Survey.

English Private Landlord Survey

Queen's Speech 2022

The State Opening of Parliament took place on 10 May 2022. Bills of interest to housing professionals were announced in the Queen’s Speech, including the Social Housing Regulation Bill, the Renters Reform Bill, and the Housing Reform Bill. On 11 May, the government provided more details of the Social Housing Regulation Bill.

Government to deliver ‘new deal’ for renters

Property guardians

The government has updated its non-statutory guidance for current and potential property guardians.

Property guardians: guidance

Energy bills and minimum standards

Generation Rent have reported their analysis that found a quarter of a million families are living in homes that are so expensive to heat they fail Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards.

Rentals costing tenants £321m extra in energy bills

Extending the Right to Buy

Shelter commented on reports that the government is considering the extension of the Right to Buy to housing associations.

Shelter comments on government's "hare-brained" idea to extend Right-to-Buy to housing association homes

Supported exempt accommodation

The House of Commons Library has published an updated briefing paper providing an overview of the regulation of supported exempt accommodation.

Supported exempt accommodation (England)

Consultation on changes to Welsh homelessness law

The Welsh government is consulting on potential changes to homelessness law in Wales, including proposals to expand the priority need categories to rough sleepers, and a proposal to expend the circumstances in which bed and breakfast accommodation is suitable.

Post pandemic interim homelessness measures

Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 delayed

The implementation of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 has been delayed until 1 December 2022. The Act was due to come into force on 15 July 2022.

Written Statement: deferral of implementation date

Leasehold reform in England and Wales

The House of Commons Library has published this page explaining what is known about the planned reform to leasehold tenure and the plan to make buying or extending lease agreements “easier, faster, fairer and cheaper.”

Leasehold reform in England and Wales: What’s happening and when?

Housing Ombudsman: severe maladministration finding

The Housing Ombudsman has reported that it found severe maladministration in Clarion’s handling of a complaint from a vulnerable resident.

Severe maladministration for Clarion’s complaint handling failings

Local authority data: housing supply

The House of Commons Library has published an interactive tool providing data on housing support for local authorities in England.

Local authority data: housing supply