New bill for tenants helping to fight homelessness

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