A new set of regulations have come into force, meaning that local authorities must now do more to assist homeless people.
Housing minister Mark Prisk recently announced changes to the process of housing homeless applicants. Previously, homeless people could turn down the offer of privately rented accommodation, in favour of waiting for a council house. This proved expensive for local authorities, as they had to house them in short-term accommodation, often for several months.
Under the new rules, if homeless tenants reject offers of privately rented accommodation, councils will need to do more to assist them.
Mr Prisk said that the new rules would not only make waiting lists shorter and fairer but also make sure that councils were doing their duty to homeless people. In addition, Prisk vowed that all rental homes offered to homeless applicants would be of a high-quality standard. Homes would include new Gas Safety and Energy Performance Certificates. Furthermore, it is now the duty of the council to ensure that the landlord passes a fit and proper persons test.
Speaking about his announcement, Mr Prisk said: “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. Today’s changes will lead to a fairer system.
“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, and with new freedoms and flexibilities, councils can now fulfil their duty and provide a safe and secure roof for the people who need it most.”