An industry body has backed a Conservative MP's anti-homelessness Bill, which has been published by the Communities and Local Government Select Committee.
The measure, tabled by MP Bob Blackman, includes practical suggestions showing how councils could have powers to intervene earlier to prevent people from becoming homeless.
The Bill amends the Housing Act 1996 to expand councils’ duties to reduce homelessness by providing that eviction notices are regarded as sufficient proof to indicate an applicant is threatened with homelessness, and by extending the definition of ‘threatened with homelessness’ from 28 to 56 days.
The DCLG Select Committee will now undertake an enquiry - before the measure progresses further in parliament - to examine whether the Bill will achieve its aims of reducing levels of homelessness.
The National Landlords Association says that many councils tell tenants faced with eviction that they should remain in a property until forcibly evicted by bailiffs, thus making them homeless and eligible for social housing.
“The NLA has consistently warned that putting vulnerable households in this position puts an unnecessary strain on tenants, landlords, and the Courts Service. As a result, landlords may become less likely to let property to those most in need" warns the association chief executive Richard Lambert.
“By ensuring that councils accept eviction notices as evidence of homelessness, this Bill will take the strain off over-stretched courts, ensure that tenants are properly supported by their councils, and provide landlords with the confidence they need to let their property out to more vulnerable tenants.”