Rented Housing: Homelessness

Department for Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 27th April 2016.

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Photo of Melanie Onn Melanie Onn Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what assistance his Department provides for homeless people unable to provide documentation and information on previous tenancies to help them secure new tenancies.

Photo of Marcus Jones Marcus Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Local Government)

Our ‘How to Rent’ guide, updated in February 2016 sets out the types of documents landlords and agents often ask from tenants when looking for new properties. They include confirmation of a tenant's identity, immigration status, credit history and possibly employment status. Private landlords and letting agents operate on a commercial basis and they will decide which documents to request from prospective tenants based on their individual circumstances.

The Government has provided a wide range of documents which can be accepted in Right to Rent checks in order not to disadvantage people who lack access to standard forms of identification such as passports and residence permits. Special consideration has been given to what documentation is available to people trying to escape homelessness, those fleeing domestic violence, ex-service people, and those leaving the prison system.

Victims of domestic abuse who are staying in a refuge or hostel are exempt from the Right to Rent scheme. Those not in a hostel or refuge can also use a number of less standard documents to prove their right to rent. Acceptable documents include documents which should be accessible without having to return to a previous address, such as a letter from either their employer, a British passport holder, or local authority.

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