This monthly law update covers the current legal issues affecting the social housing sector
It includes the main legislative and case law developments and statutory guidance issued in connection with the Social Housing sector from the last month (month year) together with links to the relevant sources where you can obtain further information.
CPA opens consultation on new Code for Construction Product Information Construction Products Association | 25 January 2021
The Construction Products Association (CPA) has launched a consultation on a new proposed Code for Construction Product Information, in order to gather views on the Code before it is launched later in 2021. The Code has been developed by the CPA’s Marketing Integrity Group, which was tasked with responding to the issues raised in Dame Judith Hackitt’s report titled Building A Safer Future, and following the Grenfell Tower fire. Dame Judith Hackitt’s report confirmed 'radical change' was needed for construction products, especially in the areas of testing, information and marketing. The Code is made up of 11 clauses and aims to set the benchmark for how product information is presented and marketed by manufacturers. The consultation will open on 1 February 2021 and close on 31 March 2021.
New regulator established to ensure construction materials are safe MHCLG | 19 January 2021
Corporate governance: ICSA final report on board evaluation review ICSA | 20 January 2021
ICSA has published a report on the effectiveness of independent board evaluation in the UK listed sector.
The Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, has broadly welcomed the data protection aspects of the UK-EU trade and co-operation agreement as a demonstration of the commitment by both the EU and UK towards ensuring a high level of personal data protection and working together to promote high international standards.
Employment Briefing: Q&As on Coronavirus vaccine HR issues TLT Insight | 2 February 2021
Pimlico Plumbers recently announced a change to employment contracts to include a requirement for staff to have a Covid-19 vaccine. Many employers will be considering if vaccination should be mandatory in the workplace. What are the associated legal risks and how should you manage them?
A Treasury Direction modifies the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and extends it for the period beginning on 1 April 2021 and ending on 30 April 2021. A schedule to the direction sets out the scheme applying for the period beginning on 1 February 2021 and ending on 30 April 2021.
Covid-19: UK employers setting up systems to track which workers have been inoculated against Covid-19 The Guardian | 23 January 2021
Employers in the UK are setting up IT systems to track whether their workers have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Some companies also announced that they will dismiss or decline to hire anyone who refuses to be inoculated against the virus.
Employment Law Focus: Working parents TLT Podcast | 13 January 2021
The pandemic has required employers to flex their policies to support working parents who are trying to balance work and childcaring responsibilities. At the same time, there has been a general trend of increasing rights for working parents, and the pandemic is likely to drive a number of these policies and working practices forward.
Right to work checks - what is changing and when TLT Insight | 8 December 2020
In this Insight, we look at the current steps for checking a potential employee’s right to work and how this may change in the new year.
Employment Law Focus: Employee monitoring TLT Podcast | 7 December 2020
The use of employee monitoring has grown as more people work remotely and employers seek to get a better understanding of their workforce. However, whether it involves the use of surveillance technology to monitor people’s devices, CCTV, microchips or gathering personal data, there’s a whole host of data protection and employment risks to consider.
On 25 January 2021, Ofgem published a report setting out the findings of its review of GB system operation, including the creation of a new independent system operator. The aim of the review is to consider the current and future challenges facing GB system operation and assess whether we have the right governance framework in place to deliver the UK’s net zero emissions targets.
On 19 January 2021, MHCLG published:
How will new build homes be heated in the future? TLT Insight | 8 January 2021
Reducing carbon emissions from heating and hot water in housing is likely to remain high on the government’s Net Zero by 2050 agenda, given that these account for approximately 15% of all UK emissions.
End of year stats show milestones reached in making homes safer MHCLG | 21 January 2021
All high-rise buildings in the social sector and student buildings are now fully remediated or have work underway to remove unsafe ACM cladding, according to stats released today.
Housing association sentenced after employees suffer debilitating nerve damage Health and Safety Executive | 3 December 2020
Liverpool housing association company Onward Homes Ltd has been fined after four employees developed a debilitating nerve condition over a period of several years.
Modern Slavery: Commissioner publishes recommendations for financial services industry Anti-slavery Commissioner | 18 January 2021
The Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner has published a report entitled "Preventing Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking: An Agenda for Action across the Financial Services Sector".
Domestic abuse victim not supported properly when she became homeless: Ombudsman’s report Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman | 14 January 2021
On 14 January 2021 the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman highlighted the importance of councils considering the exceptional circumstances of people fleeing domestic abuse when assessing their housing needs, following a complaint about London Borough of Wandsworth.
Independent Human Rights Act Review issues call for evidence Gov.uk | 13 January 2021
On 13 January 2021 the Independent Human Rights Act Review issued a public Call for Evidence. The Call for Evidence closes on the 3 March 2021. It comprises two themes. The first deals with the relationship between domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights. The second considers the impact of the HRA on the relationship between the judiciary, the executive and the legislature.
National Planning Policy Framework: Draft text for consultation MHCLG | 30 January 2021
A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government consultation proposes revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework to place greater emphasis on beauty and place-making following the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission 2020 report. It also seeks views on the draft National Model Design Code, which provides detailed guidance on the production of design codes, guides and policies to promote successful design. Comments by 23.45 on 27 March 2021. Expressions of interest are also welcomed from local planning authorities in England to take part in the testing of the National Model Design Code by 22 February 2021.
On 27 January 2021, the CMA published an information sheet to help businesses and trade associations better understand how competition law applies to sustainability agreements and where issues may arise.
Planning Inspectorate publishes Strategic Plan 2020–2024 Planning Inspectorate | 26 January 2021
The Planning Inspectorate has published its Strategic Plan 2020–2024, which considers national infrastructure planning applications, planning appeals, examination of local plans and other planning and specialist casework in England and Wales. The plan is a revision of the Strategic Plan adopted in 2019, with the implementation over 2019–2020 concentrating on getting ‘the basics right’ to position the organisation to improve the service delivered to customers and to work with others to improve the planning process experience. The strategic priorities include to be customer-focused, to effectively and efficiently serve places, people and the economy, to be an attractive and inclusive organisation and to plan for the future.
Covid-19: Environment Bill's passage through Parliament faces further delays DEFRA | 26 January 2021
On 26 January 2021, the government confirmed that the Environment Bill 2019-21 will be carried over to the next Parliamentary session (which starts in May 2021) owing to "exceptional pressure on the Parliamentary timetable" due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bill had been due to return to Parliament on 26 January 2021 for the House of Commons report stage, before moving to the House of Lords. The government anticipates that the Bill will receive Royal Assent in the autumn.
Environment Agency publishes summary of consultation responses on process for river basin planning management Environment Agency | 25 January 2021
The Environment Agency published a summary of responses to its October 2019 consultation, River basin planning: Challenges and Choices, on 25 January 2021.
On 17 January 2021, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) announced new laws to protect English cultural and historic heritage. The protections come following the toppling of the statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston into the harbour during a protest in Bristol.
'Right to Regenerate' to turn derelict buildings into homes and community assets MHCLG | 16 January 2021
This letter provides advice to local planning authorities on the application of The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) (No. 4) Order 2020.
Government proposes new residential PD right and public services 'fast track' TLT Insight | 7 December 2020
The government has launched a consultation seeking views on the proposed introduction of a new permitted development (PD) right to allow for the change of use from any use, or mix of uses, within the new Class E (commercial, business and service) to Class C3 (residential).
The public procurement revolution 16 TLT Insight | 16 December 2020
Its much anticipated Green Paper “Transforming public procurement” sets out ambitious proposals for the post-Brexit procurement landscape, which are subject to consultation until 10 March 2021.
New plans set out to transform procurement, providing more value for money and benefitting small business Cabinet Office | 15 December 2020
Procurement Policy Note 10/20: Public Procurement after the Transition Period ends on 31 December 2020 Cabinet Office | 10 December 2020
This Procurement Policy Note (PPN) provides information on how the public procurement regulations will be affected after the end of the Transition Period.
Consultation on changes to the Electronic Communications Code DCMS | 27 January 2021
The government is consulting on changes to the Electronic Communications Code which regulates the rights of telecommunications operators to install and maintain their apparatus on public and private land. The government is seeking views on whether changes to the Code can help ensure that the UK has sufficiently robust electronic communications networks to deliver the coverage and connectivity consumers and on businesses need.
Faiz v Burnley BC  EWCA Civ 55 BAILII | 22 January 2021
A landlord's acceptance of rent did not waive the right to forfeit where: the rent had become due and been demanded before the landlord had knowledge of a breach of covenant; the rent had become due and been demanded after the breach itself; and the landlord had accepted the rent after becoming aware of the breach. Waiver took place where the landlord demanded or accepted rent which had become due after the date of a breach known to the landlord.
Mayor of London outlines plans for standard 999-year lease terms on new affordable housing London.gov.uk | 22 January 2021
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has set out plans to sell all shared ownership homes built under his Affordable Homes Programme, which will run from 2021 to 2026, on a long-lease basis. It is proposed that these homes will be sold with a standard 999-year lease term.
Information for Help to Buy: Equity Loan customers during Coronavirus (Covid-19) Homes England | 22 January 2021
Updated frequently asked questions about how coronavirus affects Help to Buy: Equity Loan customers.
Impact of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) on homelessness and the private rented sector UK Parliament | 18 January 2021
The HCLG Committee has launched an inquiry into the Impact of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) on homelessness and the private rented sector. It will consider both the immediate and long-term impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the homeless, rough sleepers and those in the private rented sector. [Also House of Commons Library briefing paper 14 January 2021]
Calls for help-to-buy deadline in England to be extended after Covid building delays Guardian | 15 January 2021
Ministers face calls to extend the deadline for purchasing a house in England using the help-to-buy loan scheme, as buyers face losing thousands of pounds because of Covid-related delays in construction.
Home building stats show sector is bouncing back MHCLG | 14 January 2021
Government reforms make it easier and cheaper for leaseholders to buy their homes MHCLG | 7 January 2021
Commercial leases: ban on forfeiture rights for non-payment of rent extended again TLT Insight | 9 December 2020
The moratorium on commercial landlords exercising forfeiture rights for non-payment of rent will be extended in England until 31 March 2021, according to a government press release today.
Extending a lease term - Beware! TLT Insight | 4 December 2020
Extending a lease term by a few months may seem simple. The tenant may be granted a rent concession, or rent free period, in return for an extension of the lease term. However, whilst it may seem a straightforward concept, extending the lease term can cause problems, for both landlords and tenants. Stamp Duty Land Tax and land registration requirements need to be considered and where the landlord itself is a tenant, superior landlord’s consent may be needed too.
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Social housing monthly law update - April 2021Read more
Green light for wide Class E to residential PD rightRead more
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Climate emergencies: development plans need to deal with onshore windRead more
MEES countdown - EPCs must be at least C in 2027 and B in 2030Read more
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Our countdown to Brexit and beyond podcast series looks at the impact for businesses on both sides of the pond of any free trade agreement between the UK and Europe and the UK and the US. ThisRead more
There's a growing demand for retailers to do more to attract the Purple Pound – the collective spending power of disabled shoppers, estimated to be worth around £274bn. We look at the opportunities, the legal issues and...Read more
Green finance is gaining speed, driven by global climate change pressures and the recognition of the vital role which sustainability plays in a resilient financial services sector.Read more