The Government first announced plans for a shared ownership right to buy in October 2019. At the time the sector raised concerns about the impact the plans would have on housing associations ability to borrow. An election and a pandemic later the Government announced, during the CIH Housing Festival last week, the return of the right to shared ownership as part of its Affordable Homes Programme (AHP).
The changes can be found in The Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) (England) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations 2016. The Schedule to those Regulations contains the content of the prescribed form of the new Section 8 Notice Seeking Possession.
- This new NSP must be used for all NSPs served on or after 1 December 2016 and replaces all previous prescribed forms.
- You need to change the form on your systems for all types of possession claims including rent possession claims regardless of whether Ground 7B is being relied upon. Expect to be challenged on the validity of NSPs in court by duty solicitors etc. otherwise.
The change to the form is to include reference to the new mandatory Ground 7B introduced by s41 of the Immigration Act 2016, also taking effect from 1 December 2016.
- Ground 7B applies where the Secretary of State has given a notice to the landlord which identifies that a tenant (or one of two joint tenants) is disqualified as a result of their immigration status from occupying the home under the tenancy.
- A tenant is disqualified if they are not a “relevant national” (which means either a British citizen or a national of an EEA state other than the UK or a national of Switzerland) and do not have a right to rent. A tenant does not have a right to rent if:
- They require leave to enter or remain in the UK but do not have it.
- Their leave to enter or remain is subject to a condition preventing them from occupying the property.
- Ground 7B is a mandatory ground and therefore no reasonableness requirement applies. However a defence could of course be raised on the grounds of proportionality as with all mandatory grounds.
- There is no power to the court to dispense with service of an NSP on Ground 7B.
- If only one joint tenant lacks the necessary immigration status, the court is given power to transfer the tenancy to the other joint tenant’s sole name. This is found in the new s 10A of the Housing Act 1988. It makes clear the transfer does not operate as a new tenancy but effectively as an assignment and if a fixed term tenancy it still ends at the end of the original fixed term.
The Regulations referred to above take you to a pdf form. A word version is however available to our clients on request from Ingrid.email@example.com as is a copy of the full text of Ground 7B.
For secure tenants there are no changes to the grounds or the secure NSP form. Similar changes are however introduced into the Rent Act 1977.
For more information
For queries, please contact Alex Loxton.
Two final pieces of the possession jigsaw have been published on 15 September 2020. Mr Justice Knowles’ working group on possession proceedings has issued its guidance on the “overall arrangements” for possession proceedings.
One change proposed by the Building Safety Bill is the introduction of a duty holder regime, which will see statutory responsibility for the safety of higher risk buildings placed on key individuals
Throughout this pandemic, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been publishing various “Statements on Coronavirus” (Statements) which provide guidance on consumer rights during this time.
A recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the UK means new measures are being put in place in an effort to reduce the risk of a second wave. Whilst the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt, it is important to remain focused on the sector’s road to recovery.
Sometimes half an hour at a conference gives you the reality that has been staring you in the face all along. That was my experience watching “Change is on the Horizon”
Following our recent e-briefing on Possession Notices, Helen Tucker and Emilie Pownall from our housing litigation team discuss the impact of the changes on social landlords.
Not only has the possession stay been extended until 20 September, the notice periods to be given to tenants has been extended in certain circumstances with some important exceptions.
The Court has confirmed that a party cannot withhold its consent in order to re-write the original bargain.
Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, building safety continues to be a key concern for social housing providers and their residents.
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