The Homelessness Reduction Act is now in force. Our previous post can be read here.
The new legislation will require councils to intervene earlier to prevent homelessness. It is hoped that the Act will ‘eliminate rough sleeping within the next decade’ with local authorities taking ‘reasonable steps’ to prevent and relieve homelessness.
What this means practically is that rough sleepers and those at risk of being made homelessness will have a legal right to help from their local council. Local councils will have a ‘duty to assess all eligible applicants who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, identify their housing needs, and provide a personalised housing plan.’ This means the help will extend not only to people with children but also single people. However, it is important to note that this does not guarantee those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless to a right to housing, but at this stage only help.
Prior to the Act coming into force people at risk of homelessness were only given help if they were at risk of becoming homeless within 28 days. This has now been changed to 56 days meaning that councils will be required to intervene at a much earlier stage.
It is of course too early to determine whether the Act will have any positive impact on homelessness but it is seen as a positive step for both landlords and tenants. It is hoped that tenants who face eviction will no longer be required to wait for the bailiff’s appointment letter prior to seeking help meaning landlords may recover possession much sooner.