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Assorted updates.

Right to Rent – the new criminal offence. The Immigration Act 2016 (Commencement No. 2 and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2016 have been made and come into force on 1 December. The draft DCLG Guidance for the courts on the defence of taking steps to end a tenancy in a reasonable time is here.

Homeless eligibilityThe Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 came into force on 30 October 2016, correcting the Appendix FM leave to remain position. The DCLG letter to local authorities on the regulations is here.

Bedroom Tax – The Supreme Court is to give judgment in R (on the application of MA and others) (Appellants) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Respondent), R (on the application of A) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Respondent) and R (on the application of Rutherford and another) (Respondents) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Appellant) on Wednesday 9 November 2016. Our note on Rutherford and A in the Court of Appeal is here. These are potentially very significant judgments on disability discrimination and the bedroom tax.

Property Guardians – I briefly speculated here on whether buildings occupied by property guardians as licencees would be subject to HMO regulation under Housing Act 2004. Professor Caroline Hunter reached a much more detailed view here. I’ve now seen some documents that show that in 2011, Camelot were indeed told by Camden Council that one of the properties Camelot had put guardians in was an HMO that required mandatory licensing. Of course there had been no consideration of this by Camelot.

Camelot apparently tried to argue in response that i) it was a commercial property, ii) that there were no tenants, only licencees and iii) the building was not being used ‘mainly or solely to house tenants’. This – quite rightly on our analysis of Housing Act 2004 – availed them nought. Camden were not impressed. After getting two 3 month ‘temporary dispensations’, Camelot finally applied for a licence and were granted one (with arguments over how many kitchens there were, as Camden would not allow more than 5 occupants per shared kitchen).

So, Property Guardian firms would have to comply with any HMO licensing schemes in a council’s area, with mandatory licensing, if the number of occupants and number of floors qualifies, and with the HMO management regulations for any property with two or more separate people not part of the same household. There are, of course, all sorts of implications for property standards, safety and management by the Property Guardian firms.

(My thanks to the Property Guardians UK facebook page for help with this.)


Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.


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