New Bill set to change the moment that private tenants become homeless

A new Bill aimed at reducing homelessness has been published.

If passed, it would mean that private tenants will not have to wait for forcible eviction by bailiffs before being accepted as homeless by local councils. A notice of eviction would suffice.

The Homeless Reduction Bill has been tabled by Tory MP Bob Blackman, a member of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee.

The Committee earlier this month said it was horrified by the way some people faced with homelessness were treated by local councils – some being sent away with nothing more than a list of local letting agents.

The Bill includes measures to help councils intervene earlier to prevent people from becoming homeless.

It seeks to amend the Housing Act 1996 by:

  • Providing that eviction notices are proof that an applicant is threatened with homelessness
  • Doubling the definition of ‘threatened with homelessness’ from 28 to 56 days

The CLG committee, of which Hunters founder Kevin Hollinrake MP is a member, will now undertake a pre-legislative inquiry to examine whether the Bill will achieve its aims of reducing levels of homelessness.

Richard Lambert, CEO at the National Landlords Association, said: “When faced with eviction, many tenants are advised by councils to remain in a property until forcibly evicted by bailiffs, thus making them homeless and eligible for social housing.

“The NLA has consistently warned that putting vulnerable households in this position puts an unnecessary strain on tenants, private landlords, and the courts service.

“As a result, landlords may become less likely to let property to those most in need.

“By ensuring that councils accept eviction notices as evidence of homelessness, this Bill will take the strain off over-stretched courts, ensure that tenants are properly supported by their local councils, and provide landlords with the confidence they need to let their property out to more vulnerable tenants.”

The full Bill is here

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4 Comments

  1. Will

    Perhaps the way  many Councils behave there needs to be a licensing system to control their behavior.   I nominate it could be administered by the Private Rented Sector with a license fee of lets say £25m per council?

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    1. Trevor Mealham

      Councils ‘Housing’ come under the Housing Ombudsman.

      When they quote they can’t help some people and wipe their Duty of Care. Its worth reminding them (if they’ve said – ‘just stay put until eviction’ that such advice, when their staff should understand the implications of a Section 21 is quite serious and bad advice. In such cases report them to the Housing Ombudsman.

      If accommodation isn’t suitable. ie a B&B is offered for a mum and older kids and a bed and kids bunk bed is offered where bigger near adult kids couldn’t sleep – Its worth quoting at them the 2012 Order.

      https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/homelessness-changes-in-the-localism-act-2011-supplementary-guidance

      The Order requires local authorities to put in place arrangements to ensure that the private rented sector offer accommodation that is suitable.

      I did this fr a friend who with two kids was told that a local council was not going to help them after offering unsuitable accommodation. It worked and they got the help they needed days later.

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  2. Will

    There is only one way of reducing homelessness and that is to provide more homes.  The Courts should hold councils liable if they conspire in contempt of court if they forcing tenants to breach a possession order

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    1. Woodentop

      You have to get them into court first. You’ll never beat the system “as is”. This is a great idea and one that should have been done years ago. All they have been doing is delaying what eventually happens, knowing full well at everyone else’s expense. No accountability!

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