Social Housing monthly law update 

November 2020


As part of our commitment to help you keep up with the law and comply with registered provider standards, this monthly law update covers the current legal issues affecting the social housing sector.

Quick links: 

Charities

The Charity Commission | 5 November 2020

Charity Commission News: Issue 65

CC News provides essential regulatory information for charity trustees and their advisers.

The Charity Commission | 2 November 2020

Regulator’s new “5-minute guides” will support charity trustees to meet duties.

The Charity Commission has launched a new set of simple, easy to understand guides to help trustees 

Construction

HMRC | 12 November 2020

Construction industry scheme: amendments to tackle abuse

On 12 November 2020, HMRC published a policy paper, Changes to tackle Construction Industry Scheme abuse together with draft legislation, an explanatory note, and the outcome of a consultation launched on 19 March 2020. Although the changes are primarily aimed at contractors and subcontractors within the construction industry, they also impact businesses outside the sector who may become deemed contractors as a result of their construction expenditure.

MHCLG | 3 November 2020

A message to the housing industry on continuing to work securely

A message to the housing industry from the Housing Secretary, Executive Chairman of the Home Builders Federation and Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders.

MHCLG | 30 October 2020

Boost for families wishing to build their own home

Review announced on 'Right to Build' day to make it easier for people to build their own home.

Data, Privacy and Cyber Security

TLT Legal Insight | October 2020

New ICO guidance on handling DSARs

The ICO has published new guidance on how organisations should handle data subject access requests (DSARs), aiming to simplify and clarify the process. 

ICO | October 2020

New ICO guidance on criminal offence data

The ICO has published detailed guidance on criminal offence data to provide a deeper understanding of the rules for processing criminal offence data to help organisations comply in practice. It is aimed at DPOs and those with specific data protection responsibilities in larger organisations.

TLT Legal Insight | 5 November 2020

Lessons from the ICO's reduced fines for BA and Marriott

In the last few weeks, the ICO has confirmed it will not fine British Airways and Marriott Hotels the £183.9m and £99.2m stated in the original notices of intention.  Instead, in a penalty notice issued on 16 October, it fined BA £20m for a data breach affecting more than 400,000 customers and employees, while on 30 October it fined Marriott £18.4m for failing to keep millions of customers’ personal data secure.

Energy

MHCLG | 19 November 2020

Consultation outcome - Energy Performance of Buildings: changes to The Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations 2012, No. 3118

The Government response to the consultation on changes to Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations in relation to the inspection of heating and air conditioning systems

Inside Housing | 19 November 2020

Gas boilers to be banned in new builds by 2023, reports suggest

All new homes in England will be banned from using gas boilers within three years as part of a raft of measures being introduced by the government to meet its 2050 net zero target.

BEIS | 18 November 2020

Open consultation - Improving home energy performance through lenders

Lenders could have a role in building a market for energy performance improvements. The government has been engaging with lenders, their engagement organisations, and other financial stakeholders to better understand how government can encourage lenders to innovate. This consultation sets out a range of proposals that could improve the energy performance of mortgaged properties, and deliver substantial emissions reductions.

European Commission | 17 November 2020

Energy Efficiency Directive: European Commission consults on review and revision

The European Commission launched a public consultation on reviewing and revising the Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU), on 17 November 2020.

Ofgem | 19 October 2020

Ofgem strengthens protections for customers struggling with energy bills this winter

Ofgem has today confirmed plans to strengthen protections for customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills this winter. Following a consultation in June (1), Ofgem is introducing new licence rules for suppliers from 15 December.

TLT Legal Insight | October 2020

Green loans: guidance for green buildings and retrofit

Buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU. Green buildings, however, have huge potential to mitigate climate change. There is also an increasing global demand from businesses for green finance solutions in a lending context.  In 2019, buildings accounted for 30% of use of proceeds in relation to green bonds and we hope to see the equivalent interest in the relevant green loans as these products (and the market for them) grow and develop.

Employment

TLT Legal Insights:

The new immigration system for skilled workers

 With the end of the UK’s Brexit transition period fast approaching, we are moving ever closer to significant changes to the UK’s work-based immigration routes.

Furlough - further changes and new Treasury Direction 

Any employer who is using, or intending to use, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (‘the Scheme’) must take note of two important new developments. 

Second lockdown in England: HR implications 

In a response to the financial implications of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government implemented a number of financial support packages including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

EU Settlement Scheme update 

Following the UK’s decision to leave the EU, the EU Settlement Scheme was established by the UK Government in 2019. The key purpose of the Scheme is to provide a mechanism for EU nationals to maintain their right to reside in the UK post-Brexit, whilst at the same time enshrining those residence rights in domestic UK law.

TLT Publication 

The impact of flexible working on our towns and cities

As more of us move to flexible working potentially long-term, the latest in our ‘How will the office of the future work?’ series looks at how these changes will reshape our towns and cities, from the emergence of urban hubs to the need for improved connectivity.

TLT Podcast

Employment Law Focus: Flexible and agile working

The Covid-19 pandemic will undoubtedly trigger an increase in the use of flexible and agile working. HR teams must quickly grapple with the risks and act accordingly.  In this episode, we provide our practical insights into how to understand and manage those risks.

Employment Law Focus: Unconscious bias

Unconscious bias is a growing legal issue for employers. It is widely regarded as a barrier to equality, diversity and inclusion, and employment tribunals are looking more closely at motivation and bias in discrimination and harassment cases. In this episode we discuss recognising and tackling unconscious bias at work.

Governance 

MHCLG | 20 October 2020

Supported housing: national statement of expectations

Guidance setting out good practice in planning, commissioning and delivery of supported housing.

Health and Safety

MHCLG | 17 November 2020

Open consultation - Domestic smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

This consultation seeks views on proposals to extend the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015. This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 11 January 2021

Legislation.gov.uk | November 2020

Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020

These regulations, which came into force on 5 November 2020, impose restrictions on the occasions on which a person can leave or be outside of the place where they are living and on gatherings. Reg 5(1) prohibits any person from leaving or being outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse; but reg 5(3) provides that the regulation does not apply to any person who is homeless.

Housing 

Regulator of Social Housing | 17 November 2020

The charter for social housing residents: social housing white paper

Sets out the actions the government will take to ensure that residents in social housing are safe, are listened to, live in good quality homes, and have access to redress when things go wrong.

Homes England | 16 November 2020

New Help to Buy scheme open for business

First-time buyers interested in new-build homes can apply for the new Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme

Regulator of Social Housing | 10 November 2020

Updated Rent Standard and guidance

This page includes the Rent Standard that registered providers of social housing must comply with and guidance on how to apply for an exemption to the Standard. Updated to include Local authority guidance for formal applications to disapply government rent policy.

MHCLG | 6 November 2020

Smaller Housing Associations

Housing Minister Christopher Pincher's speech at the National Housing Federation event 'Smaller Housing Associations Conference and Exhibition'.

Courts and Tribunals Judiciary | 27 October 2020

Review of Pre-action Protocols: Civil Justice Council

The Civil Justice Council (CJC) is currently conducting a review of Pre-action Protocols (PAPs). The review will look at all aspects of PAPs including their purpose, whether they are working effectively in practice and what reforms, if any, are required.

MHCLG | 16 October 2020

£3 billion affordable housing guarantee scheme to be operated by Ara Venn

Investment management firm ARA Venn to deliver £3 billion scheme that will provide cost-effective long-term loans to registered providers of affordable homes.

TLT Legal Insight | October 2020

Developer suffers substantial losses in 'cynical' breach of restrictive covenant

Five years after completing the works, a developer has lost its appeal to the Supreme Court and the affordable housing units it built may now be taken down under a mandatory injunction.

Human rights 

MHCLG | 29 October 2020

Statutory homelessness in England: April to June 2020

On 29 October 2020 the MHCLG released statistics on statutory homelessness in England. Between April to June 2020

Gov.uk | 29 October 2020

Update - Next Steps Accommodation Programme

Guidance on the Next Steps Accommodation Programme and information on the allocations received by local authorities through this programme. Updated to include long-term accommodation and support allocations.

Insolvency

FRC | 17 November 2020

Financial reporting: FRC thematic review on cash flow and liquidity disclosures

The FRC has published a report setting out the findings of its thematic review of corporate reporting in relation to cash flow statements and liquidity disclosures. The review includes comments on the strategic report, going concern disclosures and viability statements.

Landlord and tenant

Legislation.gov.uk | 17 November 2010

The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020

The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1290) (Regulations) were laid before Parliament on 16 November 2020 and came into force on 17 November 2020. The Regulations apply in England only and give legal force to earlier requests made by the Lord Chancellor to enforcement officers and bailiffs to cease attending at residential properties for the purposes of eviction or taking control of goods.

Legislation.gov.uk | November 2020

The Civil Procedure (Amendment No. 6) Rules 2020

The Civil Procedure (Amendment No. 6) Rules 2020, which come into force on 28 November 2020, make minor amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules 1998. In particular, they amend Part 83 to ensure that the court’s permission to issue a writ of restitution in aid of a writ of possession is required regardless of whether permission was required for the writ of possession itself.

MHCLG | 5 November 2020

New protections for renters over duration of national restrictions

Renters will be protected during the national restrictions, with no bailiff enforcement action. On 5 November 2020 the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced a pause on bailiff evictions of renters, starting in December, so that evictions will not be enforced until 11 January 2021 at the earliest. Six months notice periods remain in place until at least the end of March 2021.

MHCLG | 16 October 2020

Right to Rent

Check if someone can rent your residential property

Prempeh v Lakhany [2020] EWCA Civ 1422

A tenant appealed against a circuit judge's decision that the respondent landlord had served a valid notice upon her under the Housing Act 1988 s.8.

TLT Legal Insight | October 2020

Residential possession: landlords' questions answered

Residential landlords will be acutely aware of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the private rented sector in England since March. Many have experienced rent arrears or delays in obtaining possession, or have needed to show forbearance to tenants whose financial circumstances have been affected by the pandemic.

Practical Law | 16 November 2020

Break condition not satisfied where tenant left property in dysfunctional condition (High Court)

In Capitol Park Leeds plc v Global Radio Services Limited [2020] EWHC 2750 (Ch), the High Court held that a break condition requiring the tenant to hand back property with vacant possession had not been satisfied where the tenant left it in a dysfunctional condition..

Gateway Housing Association v Ali & Begum [2020] EWCA Civ 1339

A housing association appealed against a decision that a notice to quit, served under the Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1994 Pt II s.18(1), was invalid for lack of clarity.

Planning and environment

European Commission | 17 Nov 2020

EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS): European Commission consults on revision

On 13 November 2020, the European Commission launched a consultation on revising the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). The Commission has identified that the EU ETS needs to be strengthened to support the EU's 2030 target for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to at least 55% of 1990 levels and its 2050 net zero carbon target.

Legislation.gov.uk | 13 November 2020

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1243) have been made. The regulations amend the existing law on permitted development rights (deemed planning permission for certain types of development and material changes of use). The majority of regulations come into force on 3 December 2020.

MHCLG | 10 Nov 2020

Notes on neighbourhood planning: edition 25

On 10 November 2020, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) published

Notes on Neighbourhood Planning: Edition 25.

This bulletin contains information on:

Additional support being provided for neighbourhood planning in urban and deprived areas.

• Planning reform (including the Business and Planning Act 2020 and changes to the use classes order).

• Research report written by the University of Reading on the impact of neighbourhood planning on development outcomes, community attitudes and engagement, and decision-making and investment.

• Impact of COVID-19 on Community Infrastructure Levy receipts.

Legislation.gov.uk | 10 November 2020

The Community Infrastructure Levy (Amendment) (England) (No. 2) Regulations 2020

The Community Infrastructure Levy (Amendment) (England) (No 2) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1226) have been made and come into force on 16 November 2020.

TLT Legal Insight | October 2020

Interpretation of planning conditions

The Lords Justices in the Court of Appeal have handed down a very helpful judgment concerning the interpretation of planning conditions.

TLT Publication | October 2020

Planning reforms 2020

The government's white paper on planning reforms, 'Planning for the Future', proposes radical reform unlike anything we have seen since the Second World War. In our report, we draw out some of the key themes in the white paper and discuss what the impact will be on development.

Procurement

The Cabinet Office | 13 November 2020

Cabinet Office publishes guidance on outcome of Brexit for public sector procurement from 1 January 2021

On 10 November 2020, the Cabinet Office published guidance on public sector procurement from 1 January 2021 which provides advice on publishing notices through Find a Tender (live on 1 January 2021).  

The Cabinet Office | 29 October 2020

Procurement Policy Note – Taking account of a bidder’s approach to payment in the procurement of major contracts

On 29 October 2020, the Cabinet Office published Procurement Policy Note PPN 07/20 which sets out how payment approaches can be taken into account in the procurement of major government contracts. PPN 07/20 updates and replaces PPN 04/19 from 1 April 2021.

Real estate 

FCA | 17 November 2020

COVID-19: FCA confirms latest support for mortgage borrowers impacted by coronavirus

The FCA has now confirmed updated guidance to firms setting out enhanced support that should be available to mortgage borrowers experiencing payment difficulties as a result of coronavirus. The guidance will be fully in force from 20 November but the FCA encourages firms that are able to start providing this enhanced support sooner to do so.

Tax 

HMRC | November 2020

SDLT 3% surcharge applies to mixed acquisitions if MDR claim made and non-residential element is negligible or artificially contrived. On 13 and 16 November 2020, HMRC updated its guidance on the 3% SDLT surcharge in its SDLT manual, in particular to update its view on mixed acquisitions of residential and non-residential land where multiple dwellings relief is claimed.

Welfare reform

House of Commons Library | 14 October 2020

Can private landlords refuse to let to Housing Benefit claimants?

This briefing paper considers evidence of private landlords' reluctance to let to prospective tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit/Universal Credit. The paper looks at the reasons behind this reluctance and action being taken to challenge landlords/agents who operate a "no DSS" policy.


Related insights & events

View all

Hot topics

Related services