Duties owed to those who are homeless

Homelessness Reduction Bill – in the House of Commons at 11:45 am on 27 January 2017.

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Amendments made: 4, page 7, line 45, after “accommodation” insert

“and, on the date of refusal, there was a reasonable prospect that suitable accommodation would be available for occupation by the applicant for at least 6 months or such longer period not exceeding 12 months as may be prescribed”

This amendment provides that a local housing authority can only bring the duty in section 189B(2) of the Housing Act 1996 (inserted by clause 5) to an end on the basis that the applicant has refused an offer of suitable accommodation, if on the date of the refusal there was a reasonable prospect that suitable accommodation would be available for 6 months or such longer period not exceeding 12 months as may be prescribed in regulations made by the Secretary of State.

Amendment 5, page 8, line 9, at end insert—

‘(9) The duty under subsection (2) can also be brought to an end under—

(a) section 193ZA (consequences of refusal of final accommodation offer or final Part 6 offer at the initial relief stage), or

(b) sections 193A and 193B (notices in cases of applicant’s deliberate and unreasonable refusal to co-operate).””

This amendment inserts, into section 189B of the Housing Act 1996 (inserted by clause 5), references to section 193ZA (inserted by amendment 10), and sections 193A and 193B of that Act (inserted by clause 7), under which the duty in section 189B(2) can be brought to an end.

Amendment 6, page 8, line 18, leave out paragraph (a) and insert—

“(a) for subsection (1) substitute—

(1) If the local housing authority have reason to believe that an applicant may be homeless, eligible for assistance and have a priority need, they must secure that accommodation is available for the applicant’s occupation.

(1ZA) In a case in which the local housing authority conclude their inquiries under section 184 and decide that the applicant does not have a priority need—

(a) where the authority decide that they do not owe the applicant a duty under section 189B(2), the duty under subsection (1) comes to an end when the authority notify the applicant of that decision, or

(b) otherwise, the duty under subsection (1) comes to an end upon the authority notifying the applicant of their decision that, upon the duty under section 189B(2) coming to an end, they do not owe the applicant any duty under section 190 or 193.

(1ZB) In any other case, the duty under subsection (1) comes to an end upon the later of—

(a) the duty owed to the applicant under section 189B(2) coming to an end or the authority notifying the applicant that they have decided that they do not owe the applicant a duty under that section, and

(b) the authority notifying the applicant of their decision as to what other duty (if any) they owe to the applicant under the following provisions of this Part upon the duty under section 189B(2) coming to an end.”;”

See amendment 8. This amendment also makes the circumstances in which the interim duty to provide accommodation under section 188(1) of the Housing Act 1996 comes to an end where the local housing authority decide that the applicant does not have a priority need.

Amendment 7, page 8, line 26, leave out from “for” to end of line 27 and insert

““pending a decision of the kind referred to in subsection (1)” substitute “until the later of paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (1ZB).”

See amendments 6 and 8.

Amendment 8, page 8, line 27, at end insert “;

() for subsection (3) substitute—

“(2A) For the purposes of this section, where the applicant requests a review under section 202(1)(h) of the authority’s decision as to the suitability of accommodation offered to the applicant by way of a final accommodation offer or a final Part 6 offer (within the meaning of section 193ZA), the authority’s duty to the applicant under section 189B(2) is not to be taken to have come to an end under section 193ZA(2) until the decision on the review has been notified to the applicant.

(3) Otherwise, the duty under this section comes to an end in accordance with subsections (1ZA) to (1A), regardless of any review requested by the applicant under section 202.

But the authority may secure that accommodation is available for the applicant’s occupation pending a decision on review.””.—(Mr Marcus Jones.)

This amendment, together with amendments 6 and 7, ensure that any interim duty of a local housing authority under section 188 of the Housing Act 1996 to accommodate an applicant continues pending the conclusion of a review of the suitability of accommodation offered in a final accommodation offer or a final Part 6 offer under section 193ZA of that Act (inserted by amendment 10).

Clause 6