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Developments in social housing: May 2014

Anti-Social Behaviour

  • At last...! On 13 March 2014 at 11.06am, royal assent was finally granted for the Anti-social behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. View the publication.
  • The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (Commencement No.2, Transitional and Transitory Provisions Order 2014 has also been introduced with the effect that from 13 May 2014 the following provisions are in force:

    Section 98 - amendment to ground 2/ground 14: conduct causing nuisance to landlord, etc.
    Section 99 - new riot discretionary possession ground.
    Section 100(1) - suspension of RTB where new possession proceedings in progress.
    Section 101 - community remedies document.
    Sections 104 (part) & 105 & Schedule 4 (part) - community trigger.
    Sections 106 & 107 - re dangerous dogs.

In relation to the coming into force of section 99 (offences connected with riot), the court may only make an order for possession of a dwelling-house on Ground 2ZA of Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1985(a) or Ground 14ZA of Part 2 of Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988(b) where the indictable offence mentioned in that Ground was committed on or after 13 May 2014. Read the legislation.

Data Protection

  • The Information Commissioner’s Office produced an interesting report in February of this year entitled “Findings from ICO advisory visits to social housing organisations” with useful advice and guidance on data protection. View the report.

Fraud

  • The Prevention of Social Housing Fraud (Power to Require Information) (England) Regulations 2014 has brought into effect (from 6 April) various investigatory powers under the Act for local authorities. Read the regulations.
  • In any event Viridian Housing have already achieved great success in obtaining an unlawful profit order under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2014. Read Inside Housing's article.

Human Rights

  • For those whose interest in article 8 in possession claims has been awoken by Southend BC v Armour you may be interested in this Nearly Legal post with a perfect headline and report of a case in the European Court of Human Rights where the lack of any proportionality assessment did not overly trouble the court. Read Nearly Legal's post.

Regulation

  • The Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) published a discussion paper in February 2014 – “Charging Fees for Social Housing Regulation” – seeking views on whether the HCA should use its powers under the Housing & Regeneration Act 2008 to charge fees to cover the costs of its work.  The closing date for responses was 21 March 2014. Read the regulations.

Rent

  • The House of Commons Library is an excellent resource and the briefing note below on “Rent setting for social housing tenancies (England)” is no exception. Read the briefing note.

Tenancies

  • The Chartered Institute of Housing has produced an excellent briefing on the use of fixed term tenancies in the social and affordable housing sector in England. Read the briefing note.

Welfare Reform

  • The Government finally closed the bedroom tax “loophole” - for those in continuous receipt of housing benefit from 1 January 1996 and who continued to occupy the same dwelling - with effect from 3 March 2014 by introducing the Housing Benefit (Transitional Provisions) (Amendment) Regulations 2014. View the regulations.
  • Permission to appeal has been granted by the Supreme Court in the benefit cap case of R (on the application of SG &Ors) v The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and (1) Child Poverty Action Group (2) Shelter Children’s Legal Services (Interveners) [2014] EWCA Civ 156