A round-up of the recent legal developments affecting the affordable housing sector

Quick links:

Events and webinars

Video:  Covid-19: what enforcement options does a landlord have? TLT Video | 30 June 2021

The ban on forfeiture for non-payment of rent in England, Wales and Northern Ireland was due to expire on 30 June 2021. This has now been extended, but what you can and can’t do differs across the UK jurisdictions.

Consultations

Consultation on the Building Safety Levy Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government | 21 July 2021

This consultation seeks views on the design of a proposed levy on developers who seek regulatory permission to build certain high rise residential buildings.

Domestic abuse support within safe accommodation: statutory guidance and regulations consultation Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government | 15 June 2021 (Closes 27th July)

MHCLG is launching a consultation on the draft statutory guidance and two sets of regulations that accompany Part 4 of the Domestic Abuse Act.

Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans  Home Office | 8 June 2021

Following the Fire Safety Consultation, which ran from 20 July to 12 October 2020, the Home Office are seeking views on new proposals to implement the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 recommendations on Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans in high-rise residential buildings.

Consultation on the new housing supply strategy call for evidence Department for Communities Northern Ireland | 19 May 2021 (Closed 16th July)

The Department for Communities (DfC) is currently in the process of developing a new Housing Supply Strategy. Their intention is to have a draft Strategy for presentation to Ministers by the end of March 2022.

Call for Evidence: Simplifying the VAT Land Exemption HM Revenue & Customs | 12 May 2021

This call for evidence seeks views on the current VAT rules relating to land and property, and explores potential options for simplifying them.

Legislation

Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government | 10 July 2021

Construction

Build Back Better High Streets  Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government | 15 July 2021

The Build Back Better High Streets Strategy sets out the government’s long-term plan to support the evolution of high streets into thriving places to work, visit and live.

Building safety Bill published Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government | 5 July 2021

Information relating to the, introduced in the House of Commons on 5 July 2021

Warm Home Discount scheme Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy | 5 July 2021

This consultation proposes to expand and reform the scheme in England and Wales until 2026, in line with the commitments announced in the Energy White Paper in 2020

Affordable Homes Programme: 2021- 2026  TLT insights | 15 June 2021

The new shared ownership model applies to all shared ownership homes delivered through AHP 2021-2026, including Home Ownership for People with Long-Term Disabilities (HOLD), Older Persons Shared Ownership (OPSO), homes in rural protected areas and homes purchased through the Right to Shared Ownership.

Data, privacy and cyber security

ICO statement in response to the EU Commission’s announcement on the approval of the UK’s adequacy Information Commissioner’s Office | 28 July 2021

The EU Commission has announced that adequacy decisions for the UK have been approved. This means the EU has determined the UK’s data protection laws to be robust enough to ensure data can safely flow to the UK from the EU (and EEA).

Employment

‘Business as unusual’: working life and Coronavirus –  TLT insights | 22 July 2021

Although this summer sees the lifting of lockdown restrictions across the UK, the re-opening of workplaces does not automatically signal a return to “business as usual”.  In this briefing, we bring you up to speed on the key issues and latest developments on working life and Covid-19.

Employment law Focus: Employee wellbeing post pandemic – TLT Podcast 14 July 2021

Employee wellbeing has risen up the corporate agenda during the pandemic. However, this is set to become an even bigger issue in the coming months, as HR and legal teams navigate the impact of hybrid working, the right to work flexibly, the end of furlough, long Covid and more.

Long Covid and disability discrimination – TLT Insights | 12 July 2021

Long Covid has become a growing concern for employers, with a recent survey reporting that 2 million people living in England are suffering with long Covid symptoms. How should employers deal with staff with long Covid? What are the legal risks and what support might employees need?

The ‘childcare disparity’: here to stay (but for how long?) – TLT insights | 7 July 2021

Despite an increase in flexible working and an ever-changing landscape for working parents, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has said that female employees remain subject to a ‘childcare disparity’ for the purpose of indirect sex discrimination cases. In this Insight, we look at the EAT’s reasoning for that decision and query whether the assumption that female employees are more likely to be primarily responsible for childcare is set to change?

Right to work checks - What is required and what is changing on 1 July 2021? – TLT Insights |1 July 2021

Whilst employers have always been well advised to check that all employees have the right to work in the UK, the way in which this is checked will change from 1 July 2021 for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals (European Nationals).

'Gender critical' belief is a protected characteristic – TLT Insights | 14 June 2021

In a case which has attracted a high level of interest due to the difficult and controversial issues in question, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled that a belief that sex cannot be changed is a valid ‘philosophical belief’ under the Equality Act 2010.

Energy

Transitioning to a net zero energy system: smart systems and flexibility plan 2021 Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy | 20 July 2021

The Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan, developed by the government and Ofgem in coordination with the energy sector, sets out a vision, analysis and suite of policies to drive a net zero energy system.

Green finance and biodiversity (Social housing series part 4) TLT insights | 15 July 2021

In this fourth and final part of the series, we discuss the financial market’s growing interest in biodiversity and the opportunities available to registered providers.

Energy partnerships are the key to sustainability | (Social housing series part 3) TLT insights | 1 July 2021

The UK’s carbon emission targets are among the most ambitious in the world, and as 23% of the UK’s carbon emissions come from housing, construction and development will have to be substantially and rapidly rethought.

Partnership opportunities (Social housing series part 2)  TLT insights | 15 June 2021

With the UK’s net-zero carbon emissions target only 30 years away, registered providers (RPs) are facing a range of challenges that will each require significant funding. In addition to working to meet Government targets to help alleviate the housing crisis, RPs need to ensure that homes meet the new fire and safety requirements, build new sustainable homes, and retrofit older homes to improve energy efficiency.

Financing retrofit projects (Social housing series part 1) TLT insights | 1 June 2021

Green and sustainable finance is on the rise and never more so than in the UK social housing sector. In this article, we will explore the most recent reports, developments, and opportunities for this form of finance, which has become a significant source of funding for this sector.

Health and safety

Leasehold high-rise flats: who pays for fire safety work? House of Commons Library | 16 July

This briefing paper considers the debate about who is responsible for paying for fire safety works on blocks of flats in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Human rights

Help with anti-social behaviour for social housing tenants Gov.uk | 19 July 2021

This guidance clarifies the roles of the agencies responsible for tackling anti-social behaviour and the help and support available for tenants

Human Rights Act Review: Select Committee report Parliament.UK | 8 July 2021

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights published its report setting out their views on the key topics underlying the review of the Human Rights Act. The report considers the terms of reference set for the independent review and concludes that there is no case for amending the Act

Domestic Abuse Act 2021 Home Office | 18 May 2021

The Act aims to ensure that victims have the confidence to come forward and report their experiences, safe in the knowledge that the state will do everything it can, both to support them and their children and pursue the abuser.

Fire Safety Act 2021 Legislation.gov.uk | 29 April 2021

The Fire Safety Act 2021 (FSA 2021) received Royal Assent on 29 April 2021. This is a list of changes to fire and building safety following the Grenfell Tower fire

Insolvency

New powers to tackle unfit directors of dissolved companies The Insolvency Service | 12 May 2021

New legislation to target company directors who dissolve their businesses and leave staff or taxpayers out of pocket.

Planning and environment

Government response to the National Planning Policy Framework and National Model Design Code: consultation proposals Ministry of Housing & Local Government | 20 July 2021

The government has made a number of changes in response to the consultation.

New apps to simplify extension application process for homeowners Ministry of Housing & Local Government | 30 June 2021

Two new web apps will help homeowners improve and extend their homes.

CIL - issue of new Demand Notice does not extinguish late payment surcharges TLT insights | 23 June 2021

The procedural intricacies of the community infrastructure levy (CIL) have come before the courts again, this time in relation to liability for surcharges for late payment. The issue in London Borough of Lambeth v Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government was whether the service of a revised Liability Notice or Demand Notice extinguished liability for a late payment surcharge which had already been incurred.

Registered providers: what you need to know about First Homes TLT insights | 8 June 2021

Registered providers need to be aware that as of 28 June 2021 there will be a new type of affordable product to offer: the First Home. This new tenure type of affordable home will have a significant impact on the availability and viability of section 106 schemes for registered providers.

Government announces 10 councils to test the use of digital tools in planning process Ministry of Housing & Local Government | 1 June 2021

The Housing Minister has announced a £1.1 million fund to test the use of digital tools and data standards across 10 local areas.

Councils given funding boost to develop new local design guide for housing development | 21 May 2021

A new national design code meaning areas is being tested across 14 areas in England.

Procurement

Procurement Policy Note 05/21: National Procurement Policy Statement Cabinet Office | 3 June 2021

This Procurement Policy Note (PPN) sets out information and guidance on the National Procurement Policy Statement (NPPS) which will require contracting authorities to have regard to national strategic priorities for public procurement.

Homes England to launches new purchasing system in September  Homes England | 24 May 2021

On 1 September 2021 Homes England will launch its new Delivery Partner Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS), marking a shift in the way the agency procures housebuilders, as well as increasing flexibility and accessibility. For the first time, housebuilders will be able to join the agency’s list of preferred developers whenever they choose.

Property

Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill [HL] | House of Lords | 20 July 2021

A "consolidated" version of the Bill HL Bill 47 (as amended on report) was released on 20 July 2021. This bill is now at the 3rd reading stage.

London Mayor announces ‘Right to Buy-back’ to boost supply of council homes London Assembly | 19 July 2021

Sadiq Khan announced that a new Right to Buy-back fund will give London boroughs the funds to purchase former council homes that have been sold into the private market through the Government’s Right to Buy programme. The scheme will make money available to aid councils and council-owned housing companies acquire homes that will then be let at social rent levels or used as accommodation for homeless families.

Break clause: removing 'too much' not fatal to vacant possession after all TLT insights | 14 July 2021

The Court of Appeal decision in Capitol Park Leeds plc and another v Global Radio Services Ltd has provided welcome clarification for landlords and tenants alike as to the meaning of vacant possession in break conditions.

Covid-19: what enforcement options does a landlord have? TLT Insight | 06 July 2021

The ban on forfeiture for non-payment of rent in England, Wales and Northern Ireland was due to expire on 30 June 2021. This has now been extended, but what you can and can’t do differs across the UK jurisdictions. In this video, Alexandra Holsgrove Jones is joined by Emma Cork, Fergal Maguire and Lucy Harington, to discuss the position in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Right to Rent Checks: A user guide for tenants and landlords Home Office | 1 July 2021

The Home Office published updated guidance for landlords and tenants on how right to rent checks should be carried out and which documents are acceptable.

Ministry of Justice launches legal support pilot for housing disrepair Ministry of Justice | 24 June 2021

In collaboration with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government the Ministry of Justice has launched an online legal support signposting pilot to help individuals resolve housing disrepair issues in private rented accommodation.

Discounted homes for key workers and local residents as First Homes scheme launches Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government | 4 June 2021

The First Homes scheme will help local first-time buyers onto the property ladder by offering homes at a discount of at least 30% compared to the market price.

£100m Government loan to support delivery of up to 3,000 homes Homes England | 26 May 2021

Homes England and British Land have agreed a deal which will see the Government’s housing agency provide a £100m loan for infrastructure works to support the development of up to 3,000 homes at British Land’s 53 acre, mixed use scheme at Canada Water, Southwark.

Housing Ombudsman releases report on dealing with cladding complaints Housing Ombudsman | 18 May 2021

The Housing Ombudsman has identified three key lessons for social landlords in dealing with complaints about cladding to ensure that the impact on all residents is recognised

Commonhold council launched Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government | 13 May 2021

Launch of the Commonhold Council – an advisory panel of leasehold groups and industry experts who will inform the government on the future of this type of homeownership.

Support for renters continues with longer notice periods Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government | 12 May 2021

Renters will continue to be supported as national COVID-19 restrictions ease, with longer notice periods in place until at least October, Housing Minister Christopher Pincher announced in May.

Regulatory

Regulator of Social Housing announces tenant satisfaction measures sounding board  Regulator of Social Housing | 7 June 2021

The regulator will work with representatives from across the social housing sector on a set of measures to inform regulation and help tenants hold landlords to account

Regulator of Social Housing Corporate Plan 2021-2024 Regulator of Social Housing | 1 June 2021

This plan outlines the regulator’s objectives, priorities, values, annual budget and business plan. It also includes their performance measures, accommodation strategy and commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Tax

Draft Finance Bill 2021-22 legislation, HM Revenue & Customs and HM Treasury | 20 July 2021

Supporting documents for Finance Bill 2021-22, the vehicle for renewing annual taxes, delivering new tax proposals and maintaining administration of the tax system.

Date published

06 August 2021

Get in touch

RELATED INSIGHTS AND EVENTS

View all