The Homelessness Reduction Bill 2016, if passed, will mean that private tenants will not have to wait for eviction by bailiffs before being accepted as homeless by local councils. A section 21 notice would be sufficient for a tenant to be treated as homeless, this also prevents the landlord having to pay the Court costs for their tenant to be evicted for the purpose of being housed via their local authority.
Bob Blackman MP is a member of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee. The Committee had previously commented on the way local authorities treat some tenants faced with homelessness, sometimes offering no more support than a list of local letting agents.
The main purpose of the bill is to allow local authorities to get involved earlier in the eviction process to prevent homelessness and the adverse effect the current law has on landlords. If the Bill is passed, the Housing Act 1996 will be amended and provide:
- That a Section 21 notice is proof that an applicant is threatened with homelessness, and
- the definition of ‘threatened with homelessness’ will double from 28 to 56 days.
The Homelessness Reduction Bill, tabled by Bob Blackman MP, has had its second reading and is currently a the committee stage in the House Commons.
Can Local Authorities commit to this Bill?
Local authorities are underfunded by the millions to be able to commit to a significant Bill like this and the underfund is acknowledge by MP’s and others in support of the Bill.
Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, said:
“We are also mindful that the Bill will increase pressure on local authority resources. Comments by Ministers suggesting that the Government will help meet these financial burdens are welcome and we urge the Department of Communities and Local Government to work with councils to develop a funding model that reflects local demand.”
We, Landlord Advice UK, have submitted evidence to the Public Bill Committee proposing crucial amendments which will allow the Bill to gradually apply to all tenancies to steadily increase the burden on local authorities and essentially increase the chance of the Bill being passed. The committee does not permit the disclosing of evidence provided to them, we are therefore unable to disclose our proposed amendment at this stage.