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This week the team considers the Court of Appeal decision in Rowe v London Borough of Haringey, a case involving overcrowding and the reasonableness of a homeless applicant remaining in an HMO with shared facilities. We also look at the new 'Home from Home Scheme' supporting private renters aligned with First Direct Bank and Shelter. All this alongside our usual round up of insights from around the firm and some positive news of the week.

Rowe v London Borough of Haringey (2022)

This Court of Appeal decision flags likely future arguments as the Court failed to determine which overcrowding standards are to be applied to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). The Court dismissed the appeal and found that it was reasonable for the Appellant, a homeless applicant, to remain in HMO accommodation with shared facilities, but the case has wider significance on the consideration of overcrowding.

While the Court did not determine which standards should be applied, they seemed to take the view that Part X Housing Act 1985 applied to separate dwellings without shared facilities, and that the Housing Act 2004 applied to HMOs or properties with separate rooms but shared areas. However, there is no clarity on whether Part X applies where it is a single room tenancy with shared facilities.

'The Home from Home Scheme' to support renters by Shelter and First Direct

This scheme offers free help to the bank's customers who are private renters. Currently, it is only available in England, but it is expected to eventually be available across the UK. Over the next year, First Direct will work alongside Shelter to help private renters with issues such as unaffordable rent increases and eviction notices.

This partnership brings together experts from Shelter and a dedicated, trained team from First Direct to give First Direct customers access to specialist advice and support with welfare, debt, and housing issues.

Over 270,000 people were homeless last year in England, a figure that is likely to increase in the upcoming year. In England, the loss of a private tenancy is the second leading trigger of homelessness.

Chief Executive of Shelter, Polly Neate, stated that 'It [the scheme] will also help our frontline services continue providing free and expert support of thousands of other people facing homelessness, as well as helping us campaign for lasting change.'

Insights from around the firm

Positive News