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.