Councils sever their duties to the homeless
New rules that came into effect from Friday, in an attempt to cut costs of temporary accommodation, mean that councils can now force homeless households into the Private Rented Sector.
Previously a council would have to house someone if they refused Private Rented Sector accommodation offered to them, but the new rules mean that local housing authorities can now offer accommodation in the PRS without an individual’s agreement.
Recently appointed housing minister Mark Prisk insists the changes will lead to a fairer system.
‘For too long, councils have been restricted in the way they provided homeless assistance when good quality rented accommodation was available right on their doorstep,’ he said.
The minister stressed that councils must only offer homes that meet ‘good standards’ and have minimal impact on employment, education or caring responsibilities.
Councils must also ensure a number of ‘safeguards’ are in place when discharging their duty into the private rented sector, including:
- checking for a current gas safety record,
- that any appliances, furnishings and wiring conform to standards on fire and electrical safety,
- an adequate written tenancy agreement is in place.
- The council must also be satisfied that the landlord is a ‘fit and proper person’.
Mr Prisk added: ‘The safeguards we’ve put in place will give vulnerable families the reassurance they need whether they’re housed in the private or social rented sector.’
What Landlord Referencing Services would like to know is:
what safeguards will councils be putting in place to make sure that tenants, that they must force into the PRS, are ‘fit and proper people’?
Open Letter to Mr Prisk from Landlord Referencing Services.
Thank you for severing all duties that councils should rightly have to the homeless and now offloading all council tenants onto the Private Rented Sector.
Of course all private landlords will provide a current gas safety record.
Of course all private landlords will conform to all standards regarding fire and electrical safety.
Of course all private landlords will provide and put in place an adequate written tenancy agreement.
And in return for such favours to you (the government) we guess you’ll be asking, no telling, all private landlords that we must
- take all tenants on regardless of their history,
- with minimal deposit (or even none?),
- that we take no up front fees,
- THEN wait 4 weeks until the tenant receives their direct payment via Universal Credit,
- AND THEN hope that they pass it onto us ??? !!!
Unfortunately hope does not pay the rent.
Therefore LRS call on the Government to provide landlords in England, Wales & Scotland with the same concessions that have been granted to Northern Ireland for the implementation of welfare reform (whereby tenants in NI will still be able to have their housing costs paid directly to their landlord) ; for those on low incomes to avoid rent arrears and further debts.
Whatever your view is on the matter please share it with the LRS community!