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With support from the following housing associations

Innisfree Housing Association Tamil Community Housing Association

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 now that the UK has left the EU. Go the coronavirus page for the latest information and guidance during the current crisis.

Changes in allocations and homelessness rules

The latest changes in allocations and homelessness regulations give eligibility for housing help to two new categories of people: people who are “stateless” and certain family members of people in Northern Ireland. You can see the details, and an explanatory note, here.  The amendments finally include stateless people as eligible. This was a gap for some time, since they had leave with recourse to public funds, could claim benefits but were not eligible for a housing allocation or for homelessness help. The new rules take effect on August 24 and the website will be amended to reflect them.

Right to rent - latest

In 2019 the high court accepted the arguments in a case brought by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, and ruled that right to rent causes racism and is unlawful. In March 2020, the case went to the Court of Appeal. In April, the appeal court made its ruling: it agreed that forcing landlords to check migration status has encouraged landlords to discriminate based on ethnicity. Many landlords now favour typically 'British' names, accents and skin colour. The judge also said the home secretary at the time knew this could happen. But the government went ahead regardless.

Yet despite all this, the appeal court decided that the new rules aren't racist enough to breach human rights (the right not to suffer discrimination). So, the rules remain in force unless parliament overturns them, or until the case reaches the Supreme Court for a final judgment.

During the coronavirus crisis the government has changed some of the rules about checking the right to rent. Go to the coronavirus page for more information.

Windrush review published

The government published the report of the independent inquiry by Wendy Williams into the Windrush scandal. The Guardian, which broke the original story, analyses the report. The inquiry is very critical of the right to rent, and includes a lengthy assessment of how it developed, including the warnings issued by the CIH in its early stages. There is more about the Windrush scandal in the quarterly newsletters.

On June 23, the Home Secretary announced that she would act on all 30 recommendations from the Windrush review.

New pages on common immigration terms

To help users of the site, we've created new pages for England and Wales and for Scotland, explaining common immigration terms such as 'public funds' and 'right of abode'.

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.

New page on applying for council housing in England and Wales

Our guidance to people applying for a housing allocation (or via the waiting list) has been updated.

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.

Asylum seekers experiencing domestic abuse

ASAP has updated its briefing (pdf) on the help victims should expect to receive. It has an overview of the practical steps that need to be taken to secure a Home Office funded refuge placement through s98/s95 and s4 support. 

Children and British citizenship

PRCBC have guides to help people establish that their children have British citizenship.

Help in applying for universal credit

Citizens Advice has guidance on how to apply in 14 different languages.

A Lifeline For All - how 'no recourse' affects children

A report from the Children's Society highlights how ‘no recourse to public funds’ and strict immigration policies are leaving thousands of children in long-term poverty, trapped homelessness, destitution and mounting debt and segregated from their communities and peers.

Housing Allocation and Homelessness: Law and Practice - now free!

This detailed handbook is being made available free by the publisher, as a pdf. A new edition will be published in 2021.

Updated guide for those advising Polish victims of domestic abuse

Vesta has an updated guide to the housing rights of Polish people who experience domestic abuse, produced by housing rights author Sue Lukes. Getting and paying for housing is available in both English and Polish.

Government publications for refugees and asylum seekers

The Home Office has published a welcome guide for refugees setting out their rights to housing and other services. There is also a guide for asylum seekers living in temporary accommodation, to help with problems that might arise, and another on rights and expectations. All three are available in various languages.

The DWP has issued a guide for refugees on applying for benefits during the 28-day period after which they have to leave asylum accommodation. It also briefly covers getting a bank account and finding housing.

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

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.

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.

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

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Chartered Institute of Housing