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

Posted on 01/10/21 in Housing Matters

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

The monthly round-up from Housing Matters

Legislation


Shorter minimum notice periods

From 1 October 2021 the pre-pandemic rules for minimum notice periods apply. Regulations have been issued to prescribe new notice forms for assured, assured shorthold and secure tenants. From 1 October 2021 the minimum section 21 notice period is 2 months. The government has extended the relevant period during which  longer minimum notice periods could be re-introduced to 25 March 2022.

The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies and Notices) (Amendment and Suspension) (England) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/994

Eligibility of Afghan citizens for local authority housing and benefits

From 15 September 2021 certain Afghan citizens who have been either granted leave under a resettlement scheme or have left Afghanistan in connection with the collapse of the government in August 2021 are exempt from the habitual residence test when applying for income-based benefits, homelessness assistance or social housing.

The Social Security (Habitual Residence and Past Presence) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/1034

The Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) and Persons subject to Immigration Control (Housing Authority Accommodation and Homelessness) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/1045

Domestic Abuse Act 2021 - new provisions coming into force

Regulations have been issued to bring into force various provisions of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, including local authority support for victims of domestic abuse and their children contained in Part 4 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, provisions relating to children as victims of domestic abuse, and the appointment of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner. These provisions come into force on 1 October 2021. The provision relating to granting lifetime secure tenancies to survivors of domestic abuse rehoused in local authority housing comes into force on 1 November 2021.

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 (Commencement No. 2) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/1038

Accommodation-based support for survivors of domestic abuse

Section 57 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 requires local authorities to assess the need for accommodation-based support for survivors of domestic abuse and their children. From 1 October 2021 new regulations specify what types of accommodation these provisions apply to and amend the benefit regime to protect households living in accommodation adapted under a sanctuary scheme. The Circular A8/2021 provides more information about practical steps for benefit claimants.

The Domestic Abuse Support (Relevant Accommodation and Housing Benefit and Universal Credit Sanctuary Schemes) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/991

Housing Benefit Adjudication Circular A8/2021 

Local authority domestic abuse support strategy

As part of their duties under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, local authorities must prepare strategies in relation to the provision of accommodation-based support to survivors of domestic abuse and their children. Regulations have been issued to specify how these strategies should be prepared, including what matters the authority must have regard to, frequency of reviews and timescales for publication of draft strategies. The rules apply from 1 October 2021. The deadline for publishing the first strategy is 5 January 2022.

The Domestic Abuse Support (Local Authority Strategies and Annual Reports) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/990

Home loss payments increased

The minimum and maximum amounts of compensation for home loss have been increased to £7,100 and £71,000 respectively. The new thresholds apply where a displacement from the home takes place on or after 1 October 2021.

The Home Loss Payments (Prescribed Amounts) (England) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/841


Case law


Repossession of a leasehold property

The High Court held that a lease had not been lawfully forfeited by a landlord because it was done before the conclusion of an outstanding arbitration appeal. Forfeiture proceedings should have been adjourned pending the outcome of the appeal.

Chana v CC Properties (Yorkshire) Ltd [2021] EWHC 127 (Ch)

Application to postpone possession following an order for sale

The High Court refused an application to postpone the date for possession of a property where a charging order creditor had obtained an order for sale. The defendant had not shown that she had a realistic prospect of setting aside the charging order on which the order for sale was based, or that a proposed sale had a realistic prospect of being completed.

Day v Carmichael [2021] 9 WLUK 135 (not available on Bailii)

Appeal against a civil penalty for failure to license a HMO

The Upper Tribunal reinstated the landlord’s original appeal against a civil penalty imposed by the local authority under section 249A of the Housing Act 2004 and held that the First-tier Tribunal’s decision to strike out the landlord’s appeal was disproportionate. The landlord’s solicitor missed the deadline for paying the hearing fee due to a compulsory quarantine following travelling abroad.

Silber v Barnet LBC [2021] UKUT 206 (LC)

Landlord acting promptly after being notified of licensing requirement

A landlord who used a professional letting agent and complied with the requirement to obtain a licence under the selective licensing regime immediately after being notified of this requirement was not liable for a civil penalty under 249A of the Housing Act 2004 for the period when the property was unlicensed. The Upper Tribunal held that the matter should have been resolved informally, in line with the local authority’s policy.

Ekweozoh v Redbridge LBC [2021] UKUT 180 (LC)

Local authority action against a landlord who ignored planning laws

A landlord in Brent who built rental flats in extensions without obtaining the necessary planning permissions and ignored the local authority’s enforcement notices has been ordered to pay over £144,000.

Brent.gov.uk


Guidance and news


Updated Covid-19 guidance

Covid-19 guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities, including guidance on moving homes during the pandemic, and the guidance for night shelters have been amended following the government’s announcement of the autumn and winter plan for tackling the coronavirus pandemic. People who were previously classed as clinically extremely vulnerable are no longer advised to shield.

COVID-19 and renting: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities

Moving home during coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19: provision of night shelters

Consultation on dispute resolution – deadline extended

The deadline for responses has been extended to 31 October 2021. The Ministry of Justice is seeking evidence from all interested parties, including solicitors, mediators and the advice sector.

Dispute Resolution in England and Wales: Call for Evidence

Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has been renamed the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities with Michael Gove appointed as Secretary of State.

Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

Right to rent checks for late applicants to the EU Settlement Scheme

The landlord's guide to right to rent has been updated to include information on the appropriate course of action where an EEA national or their family member has a confirmation of their late application to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). The user guide for document checks has been updated with information about how prospective tenants with outstanding EUSS applications can evidence their right to rent.

Landlord’s guide to right to rent checks

Right to rent document checks: a user guide

Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping final report

The final report makes recommendations on measures to end rough sleeping and prevent a surge in street homelessness after the Covid-19 pandemic.

KRSC-Final-Report-2021.pdf

Benefit cap statistics

The Department for Work and Pensions has published statistics showing that in May 2021 number of households who had their benefit capped was 190,000, up from 79,000 in February 2020. In May 2021 the average cap amount was £238.15 per month.

Benefit cap: number of households capped to May 2021

Crisis: Number of households hit by benefit cap 141% higher than before the start of the pandemic

Enquiry into housing standards in England

The Centre for Ageing Better has published the findings of an independent enquiry into tackling poor quality housing in England.

The Good Home Enquiry

Support for landlords and tenants during the Covid-29 pandemic

The House of Commons Library has published a briefing that outlines support measures aimed at helping occupiers remain in their homes during the pandemic.

Coronavirus: Support for landlords and tenants

Voluntary Right to Buy for housing association tenants

The House of Commons Library briefing summarises the developments in the voluntary right to buy scheme since the government committed to extending the right to buy scheme to housing association tenants in 2015.

A voluntary Right to Buy for housing association tenants

Disabled adaptations in leasehold flats and common parts

The House of Commons Library briefing outlines options available to leaseholders who wish to obtain consent to home adaptations in flats and common parts.

Disabled adaptations in leasehold flats and common parts