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The Homelessness Reduction Bill
The Homelessness Reduction Bill is due for its second reading on 28th October 2016 and if passed, should mean that private tenants will not need to wait for physical eviction by bailiffs to be accepted as homeless by local Councils. The notice of eviction itself would be sufficient proof.
Key elements of the proposed bill look to amend the Housing Act 1996 by:
- Providing that eviction notices are proof that an applicant is threatened with homelessness;
- Increasing the definition of ‘threatened with homelessness’ from 28 to 56 days.
Currently it is common for Local Authorities and other advice agencies to advise tenants faced with a notice to end their tenancy to remain in the property until they are physically evicted by enforcement agents. Upon eviction and being made homeless the tenants would then become eligible for social housing.
Private Landlords organisations have long campaigned against this situation because of the added costs it imposes on their members to enforce the notice to end the tenancy, by the employment of enforcement agents and additional court costs for example. Recent research by the National Landlords Association (NLA) suggests that these costs average almost £7,000 per case. Landlords also rightly point out the increased stress on tenants of having to go through the experience of physical eviction to ensure their eligibility for social housing.
The main purpose of the Bill is therefore to allow Local Authorities to get involved earlier, to speed up the process and to prevent homelessness. The bill should therefore represent a positive step for private sector landlords and tenants alike.
If you are seeking advice on any private rental sector legal issue then please fill in our contact form and we will come back to you as soon as possible. Alternatively, phone our office to speak with a member of our housing team on 020 8290 0333.