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What's new? - recent updates to the site

This page summarises updates to the site and new publications relevant to migrants' housing rights. Go to the Brexit page for news on the rights of EU and EEA nationals after the UK leaves the EU.

Changes to help the 'Windrush generation'

Changes have been made by both the Home Office and DWP to help migrants who have been in the UK for many years to prove their status and their 'right to rent,' and to claim housing benefit.

On the right to rent, landlords are now told that:

“If a prospective tenant has lived in the UK permanently since before 1973 and has not been away for long periods in the last 30 years, they have the right to be here and to rent property.

“If a prospective tenant came to the UK after 1 January 1973 then they might not have the automatic right to be here, but they may be allowed to stay here permanently and will have the right to rent property.”

They are then referred to the Home Office checking service and the applicants are asked to get in touch with the Home Office’s dedicated unit. This should help people to resolve their cases although they may still experience problems if landlords are unwilling to do the further checks because they want to let the tenancy quickly.

On housing benefit, the DWP advises that:

“Should LAs identify… HB cases where the claimant is unable to evidence their immigration status to allow access to HB, but indicates they are from the ‘Windrush generation’, LAs are urged to apply extreme caution and refer the claimant, or their representative, to the Home Office dedicated taskforce team… to allow them to undertake necessary action.”

Local authorities should avoid delaying payments while awaiting Home Office guidance - they are the decision-makers (not the Home Office) and they have a duty to make a decision. They should also be willing to make a payment on account where the person has provided the evidence reasonably required.

Pages on private renting, destitution and other topics cover the changes in more detail.

New legislation and code of guidance on homelessness in England

A new code of guidance took effect in April, to take account of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 which came into force on April 3. Changes have been made to all the relevant English pages dealing with homelessness to reflect the new law and guidance. Broadly speaking, there is now a duty to advise and give information to a wide range of homeless people in England, as was already the case in Wales. Please get in touch if you spot any changes needed to guidance as interpretation of the new legislation is a work in progress.

Inspection report published on 'Right to Rent'

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Bolt, has published his inspection report on the ‘Right to Rent’ scheme. It is very critical of some aspects of the scheme, citing the views of the Chartered Institute of Housing and others. The government has replied, accepting some of the criticisms.

Restrictions on Croatian workers to expire in June

The restrictions that apply could be extended when they expire in June, but the government has decided not to do so.

Children and Social Work Act 2017 and migrant children

The legislation came into force on 1 April 2018 and NRPF Network has published guidance on it.

Deportation of homeless EU citizens challenged

The European Commission has said that expelling citizens solely because they are homeless contravenes free movement rules. Migrant Rights Network says that this will strengthen the legal challange being made against Home Office expulsions.

New private residential tenancies begin in Scotland

The Scottish pages on tenancies in the private rented sector have been updated because a new form of tenancy began in Scotland in December 2017. Letting agents also now have to abide by a new Code of Practice.

'Universal credit' is replacing housing benefit and some other benefits

Universal credit (UC) now replaces housing benefit for more and more applicants across England, Wales and Scotland. As a general rule:

  • you cannot get UC in a 'live service area' if you are a person from abroad (including those subject to immigration control) and therefore if you are making a new claim you must claim 'legacy benefits' (i.e. housing benefit) instead

  • in live service areas for UC, the same rules about eligibility for housing benefit also apply to your UC claim in its entirety, regardless of whether you claim the housing costs element. The only obvious difference is that there is no exception for those on a 'passport' benefit because there are none.

 

Recent publications

Below are recent publications for housing advisers which will be added to the site on the pages on 'What other organisations can help' or 'Other information for advisers', according to whether they are relevant to England or Scotland, or both.

DWP benefits guidance for refugees

This guide explains benefit availability for refugees with different kinds of leave to remain.

Right to Remain Toolkit

The Right to Remain Toolkit is a guide to the UK immigration and asylum system with excellent, plain English explanations of how immigration law works, mainly aimed at people who want to establish or fight for their right to remain in the UK

Resettling refugees - Support after the first year

A guide from the LGA for local authorities, prepared by Migration Yorkshire.

Helping refugees making homelessness applications

The Refugee Council has prepared a guide to help anyone supporting refugees make homelessness applications to local authorities. 

A hosting toolkit

Homeless Link, NACCOM and Housing Justice have produced a toolkit for those organising hosting schemes for destitute migrants.

Consolidated English and Welsh housing regulations

Unique to the website, the page on the law on housing eligibility contains links to consolidated versions of the English and Welsh regulations on eligibility for housing assistance according to immigration status.

Web-based tool to help destitute migrants

NRPF have launched a tool for local authorities and advisers, to help find out entitlements for different types of destitute migrant.

 

We welcome suggestions for updating the guidance on the Housing Rights website and for including links to relevant new sources of guidance or information.

Please email policyandpractice@cih.org with any suggestions, making clear your message refers to this website.

 

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