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Written by rosalind renshaw

Councils wanting to house homeless and vulnerable families in private rental accommodation must ensure that the property has a valid Energy Performance Certificate before they move anyone in.

The requirement is in measures announced by housing minister Grant Shapps designed to make it easier for councils to tackle record waiting lists, which have doubled in the last 15 years, and move people out of expensive temporary accommodation.

The guidance follows a change in the law which means local authorities will soon be able to discharge their legal duty to vulnerable residents who fall homeless by offering them accommodation in the private rented sector.

Currently, people have had the right to refuse private rented accommodation and councils must still house them.

The proposed guidance to councils is contained in a new consultation with details of the safeguards private landlords will have to meet before councils can place homeless families in their accommodation.

The safeguards include:
    •    a current Gas Safety record
    •    all accommodation, appliances and furnishings conforming to fire and electrical safety standards
    •    precautions to be taken by landlords to prevent the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning
    •    valid EPC
    •    a written tenancy agreement approved by the local authority.

Shapps said: “With record numbers on housing waiting lists, we’re absolutely determined to give councils the flexibility they need to fulfil their statutory duties to the homeless while managing their housing stock in a way that’s fair to all residents.

“At the same time, the most vulnerable in our communities who find themselves homeless through no fault of their own deserve a safe and secure roof over their heads, close to their community wherever possible.

“These new safeguards will ensure vulnerable families have this reassurance whether they’re placed in the private or social rented sector.”

The consultation closes on July 26.



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    "With record numbers on housing waiting lists" so you make the rules harder.....clever

    • 14 June 2012 15:59 PM
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    A 'valid' EPC which, in many cases, will become invalid in 2018 if band E and below EPC's prevent the property from being let! Where will all the LA tenants go then?

    • 12 June 2012 10:15 AM
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    " • a written tenancy agreement approved by the local authority."

    This will be the problem - all else is a requirement already. Personally I would not touch an additional LA requirement with a bargepole.

    • 12 June 2012 09:47 AM
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    Just echoing the sentiments of IHS and IndustryInsider really.

    Its a bit like the Government announcing that cars supplied under the Motability scheme will have to be fitted with brakes, a steering wheel, and lights which show white to the front and red to the rear of the vehicle.

    • 12 June 2012 09:43 AM
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    Just another example of how out of touch this Government is with the PRS. Are the ministers advisors fit for purpose?

    • 12 June 2012 08:47 AM
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    Don't they do this already! It is a legal requirement so Local Authorities must have been breaking the law before.

    • 12 June 2012 08:36 AM