The new rules on dealing with Homelessness come into force on 3 April 2018. This is the most radical change in the Homelessness duties for many years, and brings in several new duties, which have not existed previously in England, but are similar to those which have been in place in Wales since the Housing (Wales) Act 2014.
The main changes are.
- an extension of the period ‘threatened with homelessness’ from 28 to 56 days.
- a new duty to prevent homelessness for all eligible applicants threatened with homelessness, regardless of priority need.
- a new duty to relieve homelessness for all eligible homeless applicants, regardless of priority need.
- A new ‘duty to refer’ – public services will need to notify a local authority if they come into contact with someone they think may be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Each of these new duties will carry the right of review, in the same way as previous decisions under the Housing Act 1996, and the old right to review of decisions will also remain in place, for example where you have been found to be intentionally homeless or not in priority need. New regulations have been brought in to cover the new challenges, and there are different time scales for providing responses for some of the new decisions capable of review.
People facing Homelessness will be able to present for assistance at an earlier stage and the local authority will have to deal with the new duties upon them. Local Authorities will have to assess cases, and it is not only people who have priority need that they will have to assist now. If you have been served with a valid s.21 notice, with the notice expiring within 56 days, then you will be treated as threatened with homelessness and can seek help. There is therefore likely to be a spike in the number of homeless cases within the next year.
If you have been served with a notice or if your accommodation is unreasonable for you to remain in and thus you are threatened with homelessness, here at T.A. Law we can advise as to what duties the Local Authority owe to you, and can assist if the Local Authority attempts to prevent you having the help you need.