A round-up of he current legal issues affecting the social housing sector

Events and webinars

Consultation deadlines


  • CITB launches levy consultation CITB | 1 March 2021
  • The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has launched a consultation on its levy proposals for the period 2022 to 2025.

Data, Privacy and Cyber Security

European Commission launches process on personal data flows to UK  European Commission  | 19 February 2021

The European Commission has published two draft adequacy decisions for personal data transfers from the EU into the UK in respect of the General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) and the Law Enforcement Directive (LED). Commencing the process for adoption of the decisions, the Commission concluded that the UK ensures an "essentially equivalent" level of protection to that guaranteed under the EU GDPR and the LED.


National Minimum Wage and ‘sleep-in’ shifts

TLT Insight | 19 March 2021

In the landmark case of Mencap v Tomlinson Blake, the crucial question for the Supreme Court was whether ‘working time’ for the purpose of the National Minimum Wage regulations should include time spent sleeping during a night shift; or should employers only include time when workers are awake and undertaking their duties?The Supreme Court found in favour of Mencap, and said that only time when workers are awake and working counts towards National Minimum Wage calculations.

TUPE and re-tendering/outsourcing service contracts

TLT Insight | 11 March 2021

An important recent case heard by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), McTear Contracts Limited v Bennett,  has looked at whether the principles set out by the European Court of Justice in the case of Govaerts can be applied to a ‘service provision change’  under TUPE. This heralds a change in approach to re-tendering or outsourcing exercises, where there are multiple incoming contractors.


Recent Climate Bills in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland The pathway to net zero? TLT Publication | 30 March 2021

The Republic of Ireland approved a landmark Climate Bill putting Ireland on the path to net-zero emissions by 2050. A Climate Change Bill was also introduced in Northern Ireland with the aim of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2045.

Government boosts energy efficiency spending to £1.3 billion with extra funding for green homes BEIS | 27 March 2021

£300 million extra funding for green home upgrades to help lower income households cut emissions and save money on bills.

What will green cities look like? TLT Publication | 15 March 2021

The latest report in the Evolving Cities series looks at the impact that the emergence of green finance and changes to planning policy are each having on trends in development and construction.

Nearly zero energy buildings requirements for new buildings MCHLG | 15 February 2021

This circular letter informs building control bodies about how to meet nearly zero energy buildings requirements for new buildings.

Fuel Poverty Strategy published UK Government Policy Paper | 11 February 2021

On 11 February 2021, the government published an updated fuel poverty strategy, entitled Sustainable Warmth – Protecting Vulnerable Households in England. The new strategy is important to housing associations, both in relation to tenant support and the journey towards achieving net zero carbon housing stock. Government statistics suggest that 15% of fuel poor households in England live in social housing.


2020 Global accounts of private registered providers Regulator of Social Housing | 25 March 2021

An annual summary of the financial status of private registered providers of social housing.

Social housing sector remains financially strong Regulator of Social Housing | 5 March 2021

The Regulator of Social Housing has today (5 March) published the results of its latest quarterly survey of registered providers’ financial health. The report covers the period from 1 October 2020 to 31 December 2020. The sector remains financially strong with access to sufficient finance, despite the continuing challenges arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

Housing Ombudsman’s Insight report published Housing Ombudsman | 22 February 2021

We have published our latest quarterly Insight report on data and learning from casework, together with a new regional focus that starts with the north of England.

Health and Safety

Council 'prioritised cost over safety', Grenfell Tower inquiry hears The Guardian | 29 March 2021

A resident of Grenfell Tower warned its landlords in 2010 that an “inferno” could engulf the building and “trap the residents … with no escape,” the opening of the latest stage in the inquiry into the disaster heard.

Fire Safety Bill 2019-20 Research Briefing UK Parliament | 19 February 2021

The Fire Safety Bill amends the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and is expected to result in greater clarity over responsibility for fire safety in buildings containing more than one home. The Commons will consider Lords amendments on 24 February 2021.

Government to bring an end to unsafe cladding with multi-billion pound intervention gov.uk | 10 February 2021

Housing Secretary unveils a 5-point plan which will provide reassurance to homeowners and confidence to the housing market.

Human rights

New agreement between CQC and Equality and Human Rights Commission Care Quality Commission | 9 March 2021

CQC and Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have today published a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) agreement.

Decent Homes Standard: review UK Government Guidance | 8 February 2021

The Charter for Social Housing Residents: Social Housing White Paper published on 17 November 2020 announced a review of the Decent Homes Standard to understand if it is right for the social housing sector today.


New temporary insolvency practice direction in force on 1 April 2021 Judiciary.uk | 31 March 2021

On 31 March 2021, a new temporary insolvency practice direction was published. It comes into force on 1 April 2021, replacing the previous version which came into force on 1 October 2020.

Planning and environment

Changes to permitted development rights in England legislation.gov.uk | 31 March 2021

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2021 (SI 2021/428) (2021 Order) has been made and comes into force on 21 April 2021. The 2021 Order makes a number of changes to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (SI 2015/596).

Temporary changes to permitted development rights in Wales TLT Insight | 31 March 2021

Wales will see a number of temporary changes to permitted development rights coming into force on 30 April 2021 through the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (No. 2) (Wales) Order 2021.  These temporary measures aim to ease the pressure on hospitality and other businesses as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic by enabling them to put measures in place to resume trading as Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed.

Councils given power to build more homes for first time buyers and for social rent MHCLG | 20 March 2021

Councils in England will have more freedom on how they spend the money from homes sold through Right to Buy to help them build the homes needed in their communities

Government consults on proposals for closure of domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) BEIS | 26 February 2021

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published a consultation on proposals for closure of the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), on 26 February 2021.

Court of Appeal upholds planning refusal for sustainable development in an AONB  TLT Insight | 1 March 2021

Since the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was first published in 2012, many cases have come before the courts concerning its interpretation.  In the recent case of Monkhill Limited v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government [2021] EWCA Civ 74 the Court of Appeal was required to determine the meaning of the policy relating to development in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and its relationship with the presumption in favour of sustainable development. Link to judgment

Permitted development right conversion to dwellinghouses refused TLT Insight | 25 February 2021

Permitted development rights grant planning permission without the need to go through a full planning application. They offer flexibility and certainty. As such, they are an attractive tool for developers.

No mandatory planning refusal for out-of-town retail and leisure development TLT Insight | 25 January 2021

Last week the Court of Appeal rejected an appeal challenging Leeds City Council’s grant of planning permission for a development in an ‘edge of centre’ development. The Court of Appeal had to consider the correct interpretation of paragraph 90 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill 2019-21 UK Parliament | 18 February 2021

This paper provides an analysis of the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill 2019-21. It includes background information, stakeholder comment and a summary of Parliamentary stages. The Bill was introduced to the House of Commons and given its first reading on 8 January 2020.

Registration of working quayside as TVG did not criminalise landowner's prior commercial activities TLT Insight | 12 February 2021

The Supreme Court has held that land on a working quayside was properly registered as a town or village green (TVG). Registration did not, on the facts of the case, criminalise or otherwise prevent the landowner from using the land for pre-existing commercial purposes, provided those purposes remained compatible with the recreational rights protected by the TVG registration (TW Logistics Ltd v Essex CC and another [2021] UKSC 4). Link to judgment


CMA response to consultation on reforming public procurement rules CMA | 31 March 2021

On 31 March 2021, the CMA published its response to the government's consultation on its Green Paper "Transforming public procurement".

Provisional Public Procurement Common Framework between UK government and devolved administrations published Cabinet Office | 23 March 2021

The Cabinet Office has published the Public Procurement Common Framework: Provisional Framework Agreement which purports to provide a non-statutory framework underpinning co-operation in public procurement matters between the UK government and the devolved administrations.

Procurement Policy Note 01/21: Procurement in an Emergency Cabinet Office | 4 February 2021

This policy paper reminds contracting authorities of the options available to them when undertaking procurements in an emergency.

Procurement Policy Note 02/21: The WTO GPA and the UK-EU TCA Cabinet Office | 19 February 2021

The policy paper Informs contracting authorities of considerations due to the UK’s membership of the GPA and actions required to apply the public procurement rules in the TCA.


Stamp Duty Land Tax - new surcharge for non-UK residents TLT Insight | 31 March 2021

It’s important non-UK resident property buyers are aware of the new SDLT surcharge, which will apply to non-UK residents from 1 April 2021.

Covid-19 and the rental market-one year on National Residential Landlords Association | 25 March 2021

It is now a year since the first regulations came into effect restricting repossessions in the private rented sector in England in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Affordable Homes Programme 2021 to 2026 Homes England | 18 March 2021

Programme information, how to apply for funding or become a Homes England investment or strategic partner.

New government campaign to empower social housing residents to raise complaints and make things right MHCLG | 5 March 2021

  • Campaign to raise awareness and understanding of the complaints process for social housing residents
  • Clear, straightforward advice on seeking redress from housing providers published
  • Building on reforms in the ‘Charter for Social Housing Residents’ to speed up complaints process

Homes England strategic partnership case studies Homes England | 26 February 2021

Take a look at these case studies from some of our first strategic partners to see how the partnership has benefitted them.

Housing Secretary extends support for renters during pandemic gov.uk | 14 February 2021

Renters will continue to be supported during the ongoing national lockdown restrictions, with an extension to the ban on bailiff evictions.

Commonhold: a quick guide for lenders TLT Insight | 8 February 2021

The government has announced that it will be setting up a Commonhold Council to pave the way for the widespread take-up of commonhold. The aim is to enable everyone to own the freehold of their property, regardless of whether it is a house or a flat.

Leasehold and commonhold reform House of Commons Library Research Briefing | 7 February 2021

This paper considers trends in leasehold ownership, ongoing problems associated with the sector, and Government plans for reform.

Brick by brick: the role of modular in meeting the housing crisis TLT Insight | 3 February 2021

In 2020, Homes England announced the new 5-year Affordable Homes Programme (AHP) as part of the Government’s plans to tackle the housing crisis and provide would-be homeowners with a step onto the housing ladder.


Housing Ombudsman sets out new framework on systemic issues Housing Ombudsman Service | 24 March 2021

The Housing Ombudsman Service have published a new Systemic Framework setting out how they will look beyond individual disputes to identify key issues that impact on residents and landlords’ services. Learning will be shared with the sector to promote good practice and support a positive complaint handing culture.

Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2021 legislation.gov.uk | 10 March 2021

These Regulations, which come into force on 31 March 2021, further amend Schedule 29 to the Coronavirus Act 2020. Schedule 29 modified various statutory provisions with the effect that during the relevant period specified in that Schedule, landlords are required to provide at least three months’ notice of intention to seeking possession of housing let under a Rent Act 1977 protected or statutory tenancy, a secure tenancy, a flexible tenancy, an assured tenancy, an assured shorthold tenancy, an introductory tenancy or a demoted tenancy let by a local authority or housing action trust.


Finance Bill 2021 to be published on 11 March 2021 UK Parliament | 25 February 2021

In a written statement published on 25 February 2021, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury announced that the Finance Bill 2021 (Bill) will be published on Thursday 11 March 2021.

Date published

12 April 2021

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