Housing the homeless in the private rented sector

The publication of Statutory Instruments is not, if I’m absolutely honest, the sort of thing to which I pay much attention. However, this week The Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order 2012 was published. It comes into effect early next month. And it is going to be of considerable significance.

Following the Localism Act local authorities are now allowed, for the first time, to discharge their homelessness duty into the private rented sector without the applicant’s consent. This change brought the Government under pressure to lay down some conditions regarding the nature of the accommodation that can be used for this purpose. And that’s what the SI does. [Read more…]

Laying the foundations for private renting?

[Originally posted as a Guest post at the National Landlord Association blog, 12/12/11]

The long-awaited Housing Strategy for England Laying the foundations – has now arrived. The headlines were dominated by the mortgage indemnity guarantee, restarting “shovel ready” developments, and revitalising the Right to Buy. But what does the strategy have to say about private renting? [Read more…]

A housing horror show

Yesterday the problems facing the English housing system got some much needed airtime. Channel 4 is performing an important service in raising the profile of some of the most pressing issues. Perhaps a week focusing on housing problems can really give the debate some momentum.

Last night’s first offering was Dispatches’ continuing investigation of rogue landlords. Then we had The Great British Property Scandal, looking at the coincidence of Empty Homes and housing needs that are either going unmet or are met through grossly inadequate accommodation.

Dispatches provided some vivid illustrations of the appalling conditions to be found in temporary accommodation and at the bottom end of the private rented sector. Cockroaches, bedbugs, dodgy wiring, streaming damp, mouldy carpets and leaky slates – all were clearly in evidence. There were also illustrations of the less tangible risks of poor management and fears for personal safety. [Read more…]