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All-party support for MP's Bill - despite its danger to lettings sector

A Bill has received all-party support in the House of Commons despite one industry body's view that it contains significant dangers to the lettings sector.

Bob Blackman MP's Homelessness Bill has received a second reading in the Commons, without the need for a vote, following a debate showing substantial support from all parts of the chamber.

The National Landlords Association says in its current form the Bill "legitimises and encourages a practice which currently contradicts the government's [own] code of practice." That is, it says private tenants facing eviction should be treated as homeless unless a relevant local housing authority asks them to stay put.

The NLA says 40 per cent of possession claims from private landlords have to go all the way to repossession by bailiff, taking an average of 45 weeks, because local councils are increasingly advising tenants to stay where they are.

Despite this inclusion, the Homelessness Bill received widespread backing when debated by MPs.

Blackman - who described the level of homelessness in the UK as "a national disgrace" - was told that the government was giving its "full and unfettered support" to his Bill, which aims chiefly to ensure people get more help before becoming homeless.

Currently the threat of homelessness is defined as starting 28 days before a person is likely to lose the roof over their head: the bill would extend that to 56 days to allow more time for intervention to prevent the person being on the streets.

Former Conservative housing minister Mark Prisk and Labour's housing spokesman John Healey both told MPs that extra funding would be required for councils to intervene pro-actively at an early stage; Healey also said the fundamental way of alleviating homelessness was by building more homes at affordable prices.

The Bill now goes through committee discussions looking at provisions in more detail.

The NLA says it plans to meet with Blackman to consider ways that it can support the Bill if amendments are made.

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    OK, instead of doing more harm to the already fragile private rental sector, why not release 17000 dwellings in London from the avaricious landlords who prefer Air bnb to housing real people permanently? Or is it because at least with Airbnb you believe the tenants will leave on time, rather than having to call the bailiffs ?

    On the other hand I wonder what do Air bnb people have to do when their ' guests decide to overstay permanently? Will they be in the same boat and need up to 45 weeks to evict?

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