An industry group has analysed changes made to the Homelessness Bill and has concluded that far from being something it could support, it is now bad news for the private lettings sector.
The Bill, which shortly goes for its second reading in Parliament, was moved by Bob Blackman MP and had been supported by industry groups including the National Landlords Association.
That is because in its original form it stopped what the NLA describes as “councils’ damaging policy to advise tenants to stay in the property until evicted by bailiffs if served with a valid section 21 notice.”
However, the latest amendments to the Bill says tenants should be treated as homeless unless a relevant local housing authority asks them to stay put.
“In essence this is the opposite of what we supported previously as it legitimises and encourages a practice which currently contradicts the government’s code of practice” says a statement on the NLA website.
The NLA says that over the past 12 months, 40 per cent of possession claims from private landlords have had to go all the way to repossession by bailiff with the average time of this process taking 45 weeks.
“If the Bill gets passed, and councils are actively encouraged to continue this behaviour, we’ll be likely to see this increase further still” the association warns.