Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:46 am on 18th November 2022.

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Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East 9:46 am, 18th November 2022

One of the problems with exempt accommodation is that once it has become exempt, normal licensing rules on houses of multiple occupation, and other rules, go out the window. There is therefore no control whatsoever over what happens within that property. Frequently, the support that providers were supplying involved someone turning up once a week, completely unqualified, uninterested and frankly impetuous. Without asking, they enter the property, which has had every room converted into a small bedroom to maximise profits. They shout up the stairs, “Is everyone all right? Fine, I’ll see you next week,” and they depart 30 seconds later. That is not support in any sense of the word, and we need to call those people to account.

Other accounts we heard included those of landlords forcing tenants into prostitution and other illegal activity by threatening them with losing the roof over their heads and any future housing benefits. They also threaten tenants on the basis that, if someone leaves one of the properties, they will be classified as intentionally homeless and will not qualify for local authority support. Often, residents are encouraged not to enter the job market. We are trying to get people to rebuild their lives, but these rogue landlords try to prevent them from entering the job market. Even if tenants do so, it is for a maximum of 14 hours per week, making it almost impossible to save for the deposit needed to enter the private housing market.