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

Posted on 01/12/21 in Housing Matters

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

The monthly round-up from Housing Matters


Possession proceedings from 1 December 2021 

The requirement that landlords provide information about what they know about the effects of the pandemic on the tenant continues until 30 June 2022, even if a possession claim was started after 30 November 2021. Practice Direction 55C continues to apply to claims brought before 1 December 2021. 

137th update – Practice Direction Amendments (pdf) 

Changes to universal credit work allowance and taper rate  

New regulations increase the universal credit work allowance and reduce the taper rate, meaning claimants will be able to keep more of their earned income. The rules apply from 24 November 2021 to new claims and assessment periods that end on or after that date. 

The Universal Credit (Work Allowance and Taper) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/1283 

Right to buy: rural areas and designated regions 

The order prescribes certain regions of South Somerset, West Lindsey and Wyre as rural areas and designated regions for the purpose of section 157 of the Housing Act 1985. If a property in such an area is sold under the right to buy, the local authority may impose restrictions on any future sales. 

Housing (Right to Buy) (Designated Rural Areas and Designated Regions) (England) Order2021 SI 2021/1222 


Local authority should not have assumed accommodation was suitable 

The Court of Appeal has ruled that a local authority that sought to discharge its homelessness duty by making a private rented sector offer should not assume that the accommodation was suitable based on the good reputation of the landlord.  

Hajjaj v Westminster CC and Akhter V Waltham Forest LBC [2021] EWCA Civ 1688 

Intentionally homeless for leaving suitable accommodation abroad 

The Court of Appeal examined the duty to make necessary enquiries under section 184 of the Housing Act 1996 and dismissed the homeless applicant’s appeal against the local authority’s decision finding them intentionally homeless.  

Ciftci v London Borough of Haringey [2021] EWA Civ 1772 

Allocations of social housing and mental capacity 

The High Court has found that an applicant who had been diagnosed with autism, anxiety, depression and a personality disorder had mental capacity to bring a judicial review claim against the local authority’s decision not to award them medical points on the housing register. 

R (on the application of BL) v Islington LBC [2021] EWHC 3044 (Admin) 

What counts as a request for a review of a homelessness decision? 

An email sent to the council’s designated email address reiterating the reasons why a homeless applicant had refused an offer of accommodation did not constitute a request for a review of a homelessness decision.  

R (on the application of Bereket) v Waltham Forest LBC [2021] EWHC 3120 (Admin) (subscription required) 

Contractual succession to a tenancy 

The High Court has ruled that it was possible for the daughter of a deceased assured tenant, who did not have statutory right to succession could rely on contractual succession rights. 

Clarion Housing Association Ltd v Carter [2021] EWHC 2890 (QB) 

Gypsies and Travellers: injunctions against persons unknown 

An injunction against persons unknown preventing the occupation of land could not be binding on 'newcomers' who were not party to the proceedings at the time.

Barking and Dagenham LBC v Persons Unknown [2021] EWHC 1201 (QB) 

Successful appeal of a homelessness decision  

A homeless applicant has successfully challenged a decision finding them not in priority need where the local authority reached it on the basis of external medical reports, none of which was based on a face-to-face assessment, and did not explain why it preferred these assessments over evidence provided by medical professionals directly involved in the applicant’s treatment.  

SR v Lambeth London Borough Council, County Court at Central London, 21st October 2021 H40CL201 (unreported)   

Report on the Nearly Legal blog  

Local authority criticised over its handling of anti-social behaviour 

The Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman found that Luton Borough Council did not do enough to help a local resident who had been subjected to years of harassment and anti-social behaviour from neighbours. 

Council did not do enough to help woman abused by neighbour - Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman 

Landlord penalised for health and safety breaches 

The Health and Safety Executive has reported that a landlord has been fined almost £4000 and sentenced to a community order for health and safety breaches, including a failure to maintain gas appliances and provide a gas safety certificate. 

Landlord fined and sentenced to a community order for gas safety breaches  

Guidance and news

Benefits for EU nationals 

The DWP has published two memos clarifying the position of EU nationals with outstanding applications to the EU Settlement Scheme after 30 June 2021. 

ADM Memo 19/21 

DMG Memo 14/21 

LHA rates for 2022/23 to stay at higher levels 

In a response to a parliamentary question, Work and Pensions Minister David Rutley has confirmed that in 2022-23 the local housing allowance rates will remain at ‘elevated cash rates’. 

UK Parliament: written questions and answers 

Benefit and pension rates 2022 to 2023 

End of the overall arrangements for possession proceedings 

On 3 November 2021 the Master of the Rolls confirmed that the overall arrangements had come to an end and the procedures to follow in the future would be those contained in the Rules and Practice Directions. 

Statement from the Master of the Rolls: the end of the ‘overall arrangements for possession proceedings’ 

Limit on annual rent increases 2022-23 

On 15 November 2021 the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) published updated figures for annual rent increases in social housing. 

Limit on annual rent increases 2022-23 

Housing Ombudsman housing conditions guidance 

The Housing Ombudsman has published guidance for landlords on pre-action protocols for housing condition claims and service complaints. 

Guidance on Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Conditions Claims and service complaints 

Smoke alarms in social housing  

On 23 November 2021 the Housing Minister announced that social housing tenants will be entitled to smoke alarms in their homes, and that fixing or replacing smoke alarms will become the responsibility of property owners. The new rules are part of wider reforms published in the Social Housing White Paper last year.  

All social homes required to have smoke alarms fitted 

Government’s response to the consultation 

Consultation on enhancing legal help for housing possession claims 

The Ministry of Justice is consulting on reshaping the legal aid model for housing possession claims, including introducing early intervention before the court hearing. The deadline for submissions is 20 January 2022. 

Consultation to enhance legal support for those facing eviction or repossession 

Consultation on pre-action protocols 

The Civil Justice Council is seeking views on pre-action protocols, including whether they should be made mandatory in all cases, apart from urgent ones. The deadline for responses is 24 December 2021.  

Civil Justice Council launches consultation on Pre-Action Protocols 

Council tax collection inquiry 

The Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) Committee is asking for evidence as part of an inquiry into practices when local authorities collect council tax arrears.  The closing date for submissions is 14 January 2022. 

Council tax collection inquiry launched by HCLG Committee 

Shelter’s report on social housing 

Shelter has published a report on social housing and the ongoing housing emergency based on the local experience and knowledge of staff and residents in three areas: Burnley, Sheffield and Plymouth. 

Levelling up with social housing - Shelter England 

Briefing: exempt supported accommodation 

The House of Commons Library has published a briefing on the exempt supported accommodation scheme, including an overview of the rules and regulatory provisions. 

Supported exempt accommodation (England) 

Briefing: support for landlords and tenants during the pandemic 

The House of Commons Library has published a briefing outlining what support has been available for landlords and tenants during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Coronavirus: Support for landlords and tenants 

Mortgage and landlord possession statistics: July to September 2021 

The Ministry of Justice has published the latest quarterly statistics on possession claims by mortgage lenders and landlords. Mortgage repossessions increased over 100 per cent compared to the corresponding quarter in 2020. Landlord possession claims have decreased by 64 per cent compared to the corresponding period in 2019 but increased over 100 per cent comparing to 2020. 

Mortgage and landlord possession statistics: July to September 2021 

Lack of specialist support for victims of domestic abuse 

The Domestic Abuse Commissioner has published reports into the provision of specialist support for LGBT+ victims of domestic abuse and victims with insecure immigration status. 

Reports - Domestic Abuse Commissioner 

ONS statistics on the impact of violence against women and girls

The Office for National Statistics has published a report into violence against women and girls, including an analysis of the difficulties in accessing support, long term effects, and the impact on housing.

The lasting impact of violence against women and girls - Office for National Statistics