Overcrowded Housing

Deputy Prime Minister written question – answered at on 18 November 2003.

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Photo of Ms Oona King Ms Oona King Labour, Bethnal Green and Bow

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what obligations a local housing authority has to a household deemed to be statutorily overcrowded.

Photo of Keith Hill Keith Hill Minister of State (Housing and Planning), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

Under section 167 of the Housing Act 1996, a local housing authority is required to have an allocation scheme for determining priorities in the allocation of housing accommodation. That scheme must ensure that reasonable preference is given to:

"people occupying insanitary or overcrowded housing or otherwise living in unsatisfactory housing conditions".

Where a person applies to a local housing authority as homeless, the authority must decide whether or not he is homeless under section 175 of the Housing Act 1996. In reaching their decision, the local housing authority must not treat the applicant as having accommodation (if he does) unless it is accommodation which it would be reasonable for him to continue to occupy. Where statutory overcrowding exists, it will be a relevant consideration in reaching this decision, but under section 177(2) the local housing authority may also have regard to the general circumstances prevailing in relation to housing in the district.

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