Social Housing monthly law update - January 2020

TLT's monthly law update on all things affecting social housing

To help you keep up with the law and comply with registered provider standards, this monthly law update covers the current legal issues affecting the social housing sector.

It includes the main legislative and case law developments and statutory guidance issued for Social Housing sector from the month, with links to the relevant sources to find out more.

Quick links:  


Building (Amendment) Regulations 2018: circular 03/2019

Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government | 11 December 2019

Explains the impact of a High Court judgment on the ban on combustible materials in and on the external walls of high-rise buildings and reminds building control bodies of their responsibilities.

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Data, privacy and cybersecurity

10 tips for responding to data subject access requests

TLT Legal Insight | 19 December 2019

The number of employees asking for a copy of the personal data the company holds about them is increasing.

A right under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), this can be time consuming and if the company doesn’t respond fully, it can face a fine, undertaking or a compensation claim.

In the latest episode of our employment law podcast, Employment Law Focus, we discuss how the GDPR is impacting on HR teams and share some top tips on how to respond. 

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What's next for cybersecurity: five predictions for 2020

TLT Legal Insight | 02 January 2020

Cybersecurity has been a hot topic for large and small businesses alike throughout 2019.

Big household names such as British Airways and Marriott have faced record fines from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for data breaches, and headlines warn of the increasing threat posed by the use connected devices, potentially allowing hackers easier access to our data.

Although many businesses are taking steps to protect themselves against cyber-attacks, there are still many more that are not sufficiently motivated to protect themselves against such threats, or even feel that the threat level doesn’t warrant the investment required to implement adequate cybersecurity protocols.

We expect 2020 will be another eventful year for the ever-evolving cybersecurity industry, and have listed below our top 5 predictions for the year ahead.

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The dawn of the Cyber Privacy Systems Integrator

TLT Legal Insight | 27 December 2019

A Data Protection Officer recently told me that her budget had shrunk in the run up to the GDPR deadline in May 2018. But, as we talked, we realised that her budget had reduced because other members of the C-Suite were now using those funds to address cybersecurity and data privacy risk issues in their individual areas with a range of external advisors.

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ICO launches data protection guidance for SMEs

Information Commissioner’s Office | 12 December 2019

The Information Commissioner's Office has added data protection guidance specifically for the assistance of small and medium sized organisations to its website.

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ICO consults on subject access guidance

Information Commissioner’s Office | 5 December 2019

The Information Commissioner’s Office has published draft guidance on the right of subject access, out for consultation until 12 February 2020.

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The Future Homes Standard: changes to Part L and Part F of the Building Regulations for new dwellings – consultation extended

Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government   | updated 16 December 2019

Consultation on the uplift to standards of Part L of the Building Regulations and changes to Part F. This uplift is the first step in achieving the Future Homes Standards.

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‘Sleep-in’ payments: Supreme Court hearing

Note that on 12 and 13 February 2020, the Supreme Court will hearing an appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision that employees who undertake ‘sleep in’ shifts at night are not undertaking ‘time work’ for the purposes of national minimum wage legislation.

Please click here for TLT’s Briefing on the Court of Appeal’s judgment.  The Supreme Court’s decision is likely to be published some months after the February hearing.

Ethical veganism protected as a philosophical belief

TLT briefing in HR Magazine | 9 January 2020

An employment tribunal has held that ethical veganism is a philosophical belief which qualifies for protection under the Equality Act 2010.

A case was brought by Jordi Casamitjana against his former employer, the League Against Cruel Sports, and the question of whether ethical veganism is covered by the Equality Act 2010 was considered as a preliminary issue. The case will now go on to a substantive hearing to decide if any discrimination took place under the Act.

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Government announces pay rise for 2.8 million people

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy | 31 December 2019

The new rate starts on 1 April 2020 and results in an increase of £930 over the year for a full-time worker on the National Living Wage. Younger workers who receive the National Minimum Wage will also see their pay boosted with increases of between 4.6% and 6.5%, dependant on their age, with 21-24 year olds seeing a 6.5% increase from £7.70 to £8.20 an hour.

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Changes to written employment particulars in April 2020

TLT Legal Insight | 6 January 2020

If you cast your mind back to 2017, you will remember that the highly anticipated Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices was published amid much publicity, and made a wide range of recommendations for reform of working practices.

The government responded to this with its Good Work Plan, which included proposals to improve the information that must be provided when an individual starts a new job.

To that end, from 6 April 2020, employers will be required to provide more detailed particulars of employment, to a wider section of their workforce.

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Employment Law Focus: GDPR and access requests podcast

TLT Podcast | 2 January 2020

In our latest episode we look at the profound impact that GDPR has had on HR teams.  We take an in-depth look at:

  • The right to refuse or extend a request;
  • How to search, including the appropriate timeframe, terms and systems and whether you need to include instant messaging, texts or WhatsApps; and
  • How to respond, including what you do and don’t need to disclose. 

Listen to the Podcast

Clarity on CCTV monitoring of employees

TLT Legal Insight | 5 December 2019

A recent decision by the Grand Chamber (GC) of the European Court of Human Rights ruled that a Spanish supermarket was justified in its decision to install hidden cameras, which caught five employees in the act of theft.

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Immigration policy following the December 2019 General Election

TLT Legal Insight | 16 December 2019

With the Conservative Party securing a clear majority in the December 2019 General Election, there is now a degree of certainty as to the UK’s future immigration framework – although things are far from clear in a number of areas.

What is the likely direction of travel on future immigration policy?

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Health and safety

Building (Amendment) Regulations 2018: circular 03/2019

Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government | 11 December 2019

The government has issued a circular letter following a court judgment quashing regulation 2(2) of the Building (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/1230).  This explains the impact of a High Court judgment on the ban on combustible materials in and on the external walls of high-rise buildings and reminds building control bodies of their responsibilities.

Read more

Whirlpool to issue washing machine recall following intervention by regulator

Office for Product Safety and Standards | 17 December 2019

Following action by the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), Whirlpool is to recall and replace an estimated 500,000 Indesit and Hotpoint washing machines in January 2020.

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New Housing Disrepair Protocol comes into force on 13 January 2020

TLT Legal Insight | 13 January 2020

This update covers the introduction of the amended Housing Disrepair Protocol on 13 January 2020 and some important changes to housing disrepair legislation which come into force on 20 March 2020. The latter involves the introduction of some key provisions of the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018.

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Overhaul of tenancy agreement to help end pet bans

Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local | 4 January 2020

Housing Secretary calls on landlords to make it easier for responsible tenants to have well behaved pets in their homes. A revised model tenancy agreement will be published by the government this year.

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Queen's Speech: Delivering fairer, more affordable homes for buyers and renters

Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government | 19 December 2019

Plans announced to help home-buyers and renters, devolve power and funding to communities and improve building safety.

  • new lifetime deposit
  • Confirmation of plans to abolish ‘no-fault’ evictions – preventing landlords from evicting tenants at short notice and without good reason
  • Government also announces plans to slash the cost of new homes for local people and key workers in their area by up to a third
  • New English devolution white paper aimed at giving more power and decision making to regional areas
  • change to building safety laws to deliver new safety framework for high-rise buildings

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What does the new government's policy mean for housing?

TLT Legal Insight | 19 December 2019

Linda Convery shares 5 key takeaways on what the new government’s policy means for housing.

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Regulator publishes conclusion to intervention and enforcement powers consultation

Regulator of Social Housing | 16 December 2019

The Regulator of Social Housing has published the responses and its conclusion to a consultation on updates to guidance on its use of powers in relation to intervention and enforcement.  The guidance sets out the regulator’s general approach to intervention and enforcement and the high-level objectives and principles underpinning its approach to dealing with poor performance. Its focus is the regulator’s use of powers – it is not intended to be general guidance on legislation or legal advice to registered providers or other third parties.

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Regulator of Social Housing: guidance for tenants

Regulator of Social Housing | 12 December 2019

The Regulator of Social Housing published a guide for tenants of social housing on current arrangements for how to complain to the RSH about a registered provider of social housing and what the RSH does when a complaint is received.

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Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames v Moss [2019] EWHC 3261 (Ch)

BAILII | 29 November 2019

The High Court has ruled in Royal Borough of Kingston-Upon-Thames v Moss that a local authority should have passed on to its tenants the group discounts negotiated with Thames Water Utilities where those houses and flats were not on water meters.

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Planning and environment

Agricultural land is burdened by ACV designation

TLT Legal Insight | 17 December 2019

The First-Tier Tribunal has confirmed that agricultural land should remain listed as an Asset of Community Value, concluding that the public walking across the land was not merely an ancillary use of the land.

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Will Supreme Court decision lead to challenges to TVG registrations?

TLT Legal Insight | 12 December 2019

The Supreme Court has allowed an appeal in respect of two town or village green (TVG) cases, confirming that land held for "good public purposes" should not be "stymied" by registration as a TVG.

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This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at January 2020. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms and conditions.

Date published

21 January 2020


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