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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 European nationals after the UK leaves the EU.

Housing rights website is being refreshed!

All the pages on the website are being updated at the moment. If you spot any issues, please let us know by emailing - thanks!

New eligibility regulations for Wales from 19 July

New regulations for Wales come into effect on 19 July 2019. If you are an EU citizen with pre-settled status (or someone advising them) these regulations may reduce your rights. So if you have not yet applied for social housing or for homelessness help but intend to do so, aim to apply before 19 July.

New allocations and homelessness eligibility rules in England

New rules took effect on May 7. They make clearer the eligibility of EU nationals for housing help and benefits. The changes are summarised on the Brexit page. The website again provides consolidated regulations on housing and benefits eligibility which have been updated with the new rules. See the pages on The law on housing eligibility for the new English rules and on housing benefit regulations for links to pdfs with the new rules for England, Wales and Scotland.

New section on European family members with a permanent right to reside

We have expanded the sections on EEA family members in England and Wales and Scotland to describe how they acquire the permanent right to reside, depending how long they have been in the UK and the family member they have been with, including those now deceased.

Applications for leave to remain - possible complications

The Home Office has moved to an electronic system for some applications for leave to remain, run by a firm called Sopra Steria. Apparently the system no longer produces receipts or acknowledgement letters for applications to renew or amend leave.  Unfortunately the Home Office has failed to inform other departments of this so people applying for housing and/or benefits are being asked for receipts or acknowledgements that they cannot provide.  Advisers are raising this with the Home Office but meanwhile those administering housing and benefit applications need to find alternative ways of confirming that applications have been made.

Where a solicitor or OISC registered adviser is involved this could be confirmation from them that the application has been made / received.  Applicants themselves should be encouraged to take a screen grab of the online acknowledgement if they can.  Failing these, an enquiry to the Home Office can be made, with the HO reference number.  Authorities who have liaison arrangements with the Home Office local / national teams may want to point out the extra work this involves.

Right to rent - latest

The government says in advice to landlords that there will be no change in the way EU nationals prove their 'right to rent' until 1 January 2021, whether or not the UK leaves the EU without a 'deal'. There is still no indication of the rules about right to rent for European nationals who arrive in the UK after that date, however.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants made a successful challenge to the right to rent on the grounds that it is discrinimatory. The Home Office will appeal, but if it the judgment is upheld the Home Office will have to amend or withdraw the right to rent. In the meantime, the scheme cannot be extended to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. The Home Office has now changed its guidance and gave advice to landlords on applications from longstanding residents (such as the Windrush cases).

The website pages on right to rent have been updated - separately for tenants and for advisers.

New Fitness for Human Habitation Act in rental homes comes into force

Legislation requiring homes to be fit for human habitation when a lease is granted, and remain fit for human habitation during the course of the tenancy, came into force on March 20. Official guidance has been published on the new requirement.

‘No recourse to public funds’ households – new duty to refer to a housing authority 

On 1 October 2018, it became a legal requirement for social services in England to make a direct referral to a housing authority for assistance under the Housing Act 1996 when a person they are supporting is homeless or is threatened with homelessness within 56 days. The new duty to refer is set out in the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, with information about implementing it included in the Homelessness code of guidance​ and the guide to the duty to refer

The duty applies when a family or person with NRPF has been provided with accommodation ​under s17 of the Children Act 1989, or the Care Act 2014, and becomes eligible for homelessness help. This may happen when they are granted leave to remain with recourse to public funds, or when an EEA national starts work and establishes a right to reside. At that point, the social worker or NRPF caseworker will usually issue the person with a notice that their temporary accommodation is due to end and must also make a direct referral to a housing authority. 

More details can be found on the NRPF Network website.

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.

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.

Challenging discrimination in private renting

A new guide produced for the Welsh Government but which applies more widely aims to reduce mistreatment and discrimination suffered by private tenants.

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.

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 with any suggestions, making clear your message refers to this website.

Chartered Institute of Housing

Background Topics

Chartered Institute of Housing