Homelessness Reduction Bill (HL Bill 96)

Homelessness Reduction BillPage 10

(c) omit subsection (3);

(d) in subsection (5), omit “or (3)”.

(6) Omit section 192 (duty to persons not in priority need who are not homeless
intentionally).

(7) 5In section 193 (duty to persons with priority need who are not homeless
intentionally), for subsection (1) substitute—

(1) This section applies where—

(a) the local housing authority—

(i) are satisfied that an applicant is homeless and eligible
10for assistance, and

(ii) are not satisfied that the applicant became homeless
intentionally,

(b) the authority are also satisfied that the applicant has a priority
need, and

(c) 15the authority’s duty to the applicant under section 189B(2) has
come to an end.”

(8) In section 198 (referral of case to another local housing authority), before
subsection (1) insert—

(A1) If the local housing authority would be subject to the duty under
20section 189B (initial duty owed to all eligible persons who are
homeless) but consider that the conditions are met for referral of the
case to another local housing authority in England, they may notify that
other authority of their opinion.”

(9) After section 199 insert—

199A 25 Duties to the applicant whose case is considered for referral or
referred under section 198(A1)

(1) Where a local housing authority (“the notifying authority”) notify an
applicant that they intend to notify or have notified another local
housing authority in England (“the notified authority”) under section
30198(A1) of their opinion that the conditions are met for referral of the
applicant’s case to the notified authority, the notifying authority—

(a) cease to be subject to any duty under section 188 (interim duty
to accommodate in case of apparent priority need), and

(b) are not subject to the duty under section 189B (initial duty owed
35to all eligible persons who are homeless).

(2) But, if the notifying authority have reason to believe that the applicant
may have a priority need, they must secure that accommodation is
available for occupation by the applicant until the applicant is notified
of the decision as to whether the conditions for referral of the
40applicant’s case are met.

(3) When it has been decided whether the conditions for referral are met,
the notifying authority must give notice of the decision and the reasons
for it to the applicant.

The notice must also inform the applicant of the applicant’s right to
45request a review of the decision and of the time within which such a
request must be made.

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(4) If it is decided that the conditions for referral are not met—

(a) the notifying authority are subject to the duty under section
189B,

(b) the references in subsections (4) and (7)(b) of that section to the
5day that the notifying authority are first satisfied as mentioned
in subsection (1) of that section are to be read as references to the
day on which notice is given under subsection (3) of this section,
and

(c) if the notifying authority have reason to believe that the
10applicant may have a priority need, they must secure that
accommodation is available for occupation by the applicant
until the later of—

(i) the duty owed to the applicant under section 189B
coming to an end, and

(ii) 15the authority deciding what other duty (if any) they owe
to the applicant under this Part after the duty under
section 189B comes to an end.

(5) If it is decided that the conditions for referral are met—

(a) for the purposes of this Part, the applicant is to be treated as
20having made an application of the kind mentioned in section
183(1) to the notified authority on the date on which notice is
given under subsection (3),

(b) from that date, the notifying authority owes no duties to the
applicant under this Part,

(c) 25where the notifying authority have made a decision as to
whether the applicant is eligible for assistance, is homeless or
became homeless intentionally, the notified authority may only
come to a different decision if they are satisfied that—

(i) the applicant’s circumstances have changed, or further
30information has come to light, since the notifying
authority made their decision, and

(ii) that change in circumstances, or further information,
justifies the notified authority coming to a different
decision to the notifying authority, and

(d) 35the notifying authority must give to the notified authority
copies of any notifications that the notifying authority have
given to the applicant under section 189A(3) or (10)
(notifications of the notifying authority’s assessments of the
applicant’s case).

(6) 40A duty under subsection (2) or paragraph (c) of subsection (4) ceases as
provided in the subsection or paragraph concerned even if the
applicant requests a review of the authority’s decision upon which the
duty ceases.

The authority may secure that accommodation is available for the
45applicant’s occupation pending the decision on review.

(7) A notice under this section must be given in writing and, if not received
by the applicant, is to be treated as having been given to the applicant
if it is made available at the authority’s office for a reasonable period for
collection by or on behalf of the applicant.”

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(10) In section 200 (duties to the applicant whose case is considered for referral or
referred)—

(a) in the heading, after “referred” insert “under section 198(1)”;

(b) in subsection (1), after “another local housing authority” insert “under
5section 198(1)”;

(c) after that subsection insert—

(1A) A local housing authority in England may not notify an
applicant as mentioned in subsection (1) until the authority’s
duty to the applicant under section 189B(2) (initial duty owed to
10all eligible persons who are homeless) has come to an end.”;

(d) in subsection (6), omit “required to be”.

(11) In section 204 (right of appeal to county court on point of law), in subsection
(4), after “190” insert “, 199A”.

(12) In section 211 (protection of property of homeless persons and persons
15threatened with homelessness), in subsection (2), after “accommodate),”
insert—

  • “section 189B (initial duty owed to all eligible persons who are
    homeless),”.

6 Duties to help to secure accommodation

20In section 205 of the Housing Act 1996 (discharge of functions: introductory),
after subsection (2) insert—

(3) For the purposes of this section, a local housing authority’s duty under
section 189B(2) or 195(2) is a function of the authority to secure that
accommodation is available for the occupation of a person only if the
25authority decide to discharge the duty by securing that accommodation
is so available.”

Failure to co-operate by an applicant for assistance

7 Deliberate and unreasonable refusal to co-operate: duty upon giving of notice

(1) After section 193 of the Housing Act 1996 insert—

193A 30Consequences of refusal of final accommodation offer or final Part 6
offer at the initial relief stage

(1) Subsections (2) and (3) apply where—

(a) a local housing authority owe a duty to an applicant under
section 189B(2), and

(b) 35the applicant, having been informed of the consequences of
refusal and of the applicant’s right to request a review of the
suitability of the accommodation, refuses—

(i) a final accommodation offer, or

(ii) a final Part 6 offer.

(2) 40The authority’s duty to the applicant under section 189B(2) comes to an
end.

(3) Section 193 (the main housing duty) does not apply.

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(4) An offer is a “final accommodation offer” if—

(a) it is an offer of an assured shorthold tenancy made by a private
landlord to the applicant in relation to any accommodation
which is, or may become, available for the applicant’s
5occupation,

(b) it is made, with the approval of the authority, in pursuance of
arrangements made by the authority in the discharge of their
duty under section 189B(2), and

(c) the tenancy being offered is a fixed term tenancy (within the
10meaning of Part 1 of the Housing Act 1988) for a period of at
least 6 months.

(5) A “final Part 6 offer” is an offer of accommodation under Part 6
(allocation of housing) that—

(a) is made in writing by the authority in the discharge of their duty
15under section 189B(2), and

(b) states that it is a final offer for the purposes of this section.

(6) The authority may not approve a final accommodation offer, or make a
final Part 6 offer, unless they are satisfied that the accommodation is
suitable for the applicant and that subsection (7) does not apply.

(7) 20This subsection applies to an applicant if—

(a) the applicant is under contractual or other obligations in respect
of the applicant’s existing accommodation, and

(b) the applicant is not able to bring those obligations to an end
before being required to take up the offer.

193B 25 Notices in cases of an applicant’s deliberate and unreasonable refusal
to co-operate

(1) Section 193C applies where—

(a) a local housing authority owe a duty to an applicant under
section 189B(2) or 195(2), and

(b) 30the authority give notice to the applicant under subsection (2).

(2) A local housing authority may give a notice to an applicant under this
subsection if the authority consider that the applicant has deliberately
and unreasonably refused to take any step—

(a) that the applicant agreed to take under subsection (4) of section
35189A, or

(b) that was recorded by the authority under subsection (6)(b) of
that section.

(3) A notice under subsection (2) must—

(a) explain why the authority are giving the notice and its effect,
40and

(b) inform the applicant that the applicant has a right to request a
review of the authority’s decision to give the notice and of the
time within which such a request must be made.

(4) The authority may not give notice to the applicant under subsection (2)
45unless—

(a) the authority have given a relevant warning to the applicant,
and

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(b) a reasonable period has elapsed since the warning was given.

(5) A “relevant warning” means a notice—

(a) given by the authority to the applicant after the applicant has
deliberately and unreasonably refused to take any step—

(i) 5that the applicant agreed to take under subsection (4) of
section 189A, or

(ii) that was recorded by the authority under subsection
(6)(b) of that section,

(b) that warns the applicant that, if the applicant should
10deliberately and unreasonably refuse to take any such step after
receiving the notice, the authority intend to give notice to the
applicant under subsection (2), and

(c) that explains the consequences of such a notice being given to
the applicant.

(6) 15For the purposes of subsections (2) and (5), in deciding whether a
refusal by the applicant is unreasonable, the authority must have
regard to the particular circumstances and needs of the applicant
(whether identified in the authority’s assessment of the applicant’s case
under section 189A or not).

(7) 20The Secretary of State may make provision by regulations as to the
procedure to be followed by a local housing authority in connection
with notices under this section.

(8) A notice under this section must be given in writing and, if not received
by the applicant, is to be treated as having been given to the applicant
25if it is made available at the authority’s office for a reasonable period for
collection by or on behalf of the applicant.

193C Notice under section 193B: consequences

(1) In the circumstances mentioned in section 193B(1), this section applies
in relation to a local housing authority and an applicant.

(2) 30The authority’s duty to the applicant under section 189B(2) or 195(2)
comes to an end.

(3) Subsection (4) applies if the authority—

(a) are satisfied that the applicant is homeless, eligible for
assistance and has a priority need, and

(b) 35are not satisfied that the applicant became homeless
intentionally.

(4) Section 193 (the main housing duty) does not apply, but the authority
must secure that accommodation is available for occupation by the
applicant.

(5) 40The authority cease to be subject to the duty under subsection (4) if the
applicant—

(a) ceases to be eligible for assistance,

(b) becomes homeless intentionally from accommodation made
available for the applicant’s occupation,

(c) 45accepts an offer of an assured tenancy from a private landlord,
or

Homelessness Reduction BillPage 15

(d) otherwise voluntarily ceases to occupy, as the applicant’s only
or principal home, the accommodation made available for the
applicant’s occupation.

(6) The authority also cease to be subject to the duty under subsection (4)
5if the applicant, having been informed of the possible consequences of
refusal or acceptance and of the applicant’s right to request a review of
the suitability of the accommodation, refuses or accepts—

(a) a final accommodation offer, or

(b) a final Part 6 offer.

(7) 10An offer is “a final accommodation offer” if—

(a) it is an offer of an assured shorthold tenancy made by a private
landlord to the applicant in relation to any accommodation
which is, or may become, available for the applicant’s
occupation,

(b) 15it is made, with the approval of the authority, in pursuance of
arrangements made by the authority with a view to bringing the
authority’s duty under subsection (4) to an end, and

(c) the tenancy being offered is a fixed term tenancy (within the
meaning of Part 1 of the Housing Act 1988) for a period of at
20least 6 months.

(8) A “final Part 6 offer” is an offer of accommodation under Part 6
(allocation of housing) that is made in writing and states that it is a final
offer for the purposes of this section.

(9) The authority may not approve a final accommodation offer, or make a
25final Part 6 offer, unless they are satisfied that the accommodation is
suitable for the applicant and that subsection (10) does not apply.

(10) This subsection applies to an applicant if—

(a) the applicant is under contractual or other obligations in respect
of the applicant’s existing accommodation, and

(b) 30the applicant is not able to bring those obligations to an end
before being required to take up the offer.”

(2) In section 193 (duty to persons with priority need who are not homeless
intentionally), after subsection (1) insert—

(1A) But this section does not apply if—

(a) 35section 193A(3) disapplies this section, or

(b) the authority have given notice to the applicant under section
193B(2).”

Local connection

8 Local connection of a care leaver

40In section 199 of the Housing Act 1996 (local connection), after subsection (7),
insert—

(8) While a local authority in England have a duty towards a person under
section 23C of the Children Act 1989 (continuing functions in respect of
former relevant children)—

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(a) if the local authority is a local housing authority, the person has
a local connection with their district, and

(b) otherwise, the person has a local connection with every district
of a local housing authority that falls within the area of the local
5authority.

(9) In subsection (8), “local authority” has the same meaning as in the
Children Act 1989 (see section 105 of that Act).

(10) Where, by virtue of being provided with accommodation under section
22A of the Children Act 1989 (provision of accommodation for children
10in care), a person is normally resident in the district of a local housing
authority in England for a continuous period of at least two years, some
or all of which falls before the person attains the age of 16, the person
has a local connection with that district.

(11) A person ceases to have a local connection with a district under
15subsection (10) upon attaining the age of 21 (but this does not affect
whether the person has a local connection with that district under any
other provision of this section).”

Reviews of local housing authority decisions etc

9 Reviews

(1) 20Section 202 of the Housing Act 1996 (right to request review of decision) is
amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1)—

(a) in paragraph (b)—

(i) for “190 to 193” substitute “189B to 193C”;

(ii) 25omit “and 196”;

(b) after paragraph (b) insert—

(ba) any decision of a local housing authority—

(i) as to the steps they are to take under subsection
(2) of section 189B, or

(ii) 30to give notice under subsection (5) of that section
bringing to an end their duty to the applicant
under subsection (2) of that section,

(bb) any decision of a local housing authority to give notice
to the applicant under section 193B(2) (notice given to
35those who deliberately and unreasonably refuse to co-
operate),

(bc) any decision of a local housing authority—

(i) as to the steps they are to take under subsection
(2) of section 195, or

(ii) 40to give notice under subsection (5) of that section
bringing to an end their duty to the applicant
under subsection (2) of that section,”;

(c) omit the “or” at the end of paragraph (f);

(d) after paragraph (g) insert , or

(h) 45any decision of a local housing authority as to the
suitability of accommodation offered to the applicant by

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way of a final accommodation offer or a final Part 6 offer
(within the meaning of section 193A or 193C).”

(3) After subsection (1A) insert—

(1B) An applicant may, under subsection (1)(h), request a review of the
5suitability of the accommodation offered whether or not the applicant
has accepted the offer.”

Duty on public authorities in England to refer cases

10 Duty of public authority to refer cases to local housing authority

After section 213A of the Housing Act 1996, but before the heading after that
10section (general provisions), insert—

213B   Duty of public authority to refer cases in England to local housing
authority

(1) This section applies if a specified public authority considers that a
person in England in relation to whom the authority exercises functions
15is or may be homeless or threatened with homelessness.

(2) The specified public authority must ask the person to agree to the
authority notifying a local housing authority in England of—

(a) the opinion mentioned in subsection (1), and

(b) how the person may be contacted by the local housing
20authority.

(3) If the person—

(a) agrees to the specified public authority making the notification,
and

(b) identifies a local housing authority in England to which the
25person would like the notification to be made,

the specified public authority must notify that local housing authority
of the matters mentioned in subsection (2)(a) and (b).

(4) In this section “specified public authority” means a public authority
specified, or of a description specified, in regulations made by the
30Secretary of State.

(5) In subsection (4) “public authority” means a person (other than a local
housing authority) who has functions of a public nature.”

Codes of practice

11 Codes of practice

35After section 214 of the Housing Act 1996 insert—

"214A   Codes of practice

(1) The Secretary of State may from time to time issue one or more codes of
practice dealing with the functions of a local housing authority in
England relating to homelessness or the prevention of homelessness.

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(2) The provision that may be made by a code of practice under this section
includes, in particular, provision about—

(a) the exercise by a local housing authority of functions under this
Part;

(b) 5the training of an authority’s staff in relation to the exercise of
those functions;

(c) the monitoring by an authority of the exercise of those
functions.

(3) A code of practice may—

(a) 10apply to all local housing authorities or to the local housing
authorities specified or described in the code;

(b) contain different provision for different kinds of local housing
authority.

(4) The Secretary of State may issue a code of practice under this section
15only in accordance with subsections (5) and (6).

(5) Before issuing the code of practice, the Secretary of State must lay a
draft of the code before Parliament.

(6) If—

(a) the Secretary of State lays a draft of the code before Parliament,
20and

(b) no negative resolution is made within the 40-day period,

the Secretary of State may issue the code in the form of the draft.

(7) For the purposes of subsection (6)—

(a) a “negative resolution” means a resolution of either House of
25Parliament not to approve the draft of the code, and

(b) “the 40-day period” means the period of 40 days beginning with
the day on which the draft of the code is laid before Parliament
(or, if it is not laid before each House of Parliament on the same
day, the later of the two days on which it is laid).

(8) 30In calculating the 40-day period, no account is to be taken of any period
during which—

(a) Parliament is dissolved or prorogued, or

(b) both Houses are adjourned for more than four days.

(9) The Secretary of State may—

(a) 35from time to time revise and reissue a code of practice under
this section;

(b) revoke a code of practice under this section.

(10) Subsections (4) to (6) do not apply to the reissue of a code of practice
under this section.

(11) 40The Secretary of State must publish the current version of each code of
practice under this section in whatever manner the Secretary of State
thinks fit.

(12) A local housing authority must have regard to a code of practice under
this section in exercising their functions.”

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Suitability of accommodation

12 Suitability of private rented sector accommodation

(1) Article 3 of the Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order
2012 (S.I. 2012/2601) (circumstances in which accommodation is not to be
5regarded as suitable for a person) (“the 2012 Order”) is amended in accordance
with subsections (2) to (4).

(2) The existing text becomes paragraph (1).

(3) For “of a private rented sector offer under section 193(7F) of the Housing Act
1996” substitute “mentioned in paragraph (2)”.

(4) 10After paragraph (1) insert—

(2) The purposes are—

(a) determining, in accordance with section 193(7F) of the Housing
Act 1996, whether a local housing authority may approve a
private rented sector offer;

(b) 15determining, in accordance with section 193A(6) or 193C(9) of
that Act, whether a local housing authority may approve a final
accommodation offer made by a private landlord;

(c) determining whether any accommodation—

(i) secured for a person who has a priority need by a local
20housing authority in discharge of their functions under
section 189B(2) or 195(2) of that Act, and

(ii) made available for occupation under a tenancy with a
private landlord,

is suitable for the purposes of the section concerned.”

(5) 25The amendments made by this section are without prejudice to any power to
make an order or regulations amending or revoking article 3 of the 2012 Order.

General

13 Extent, commencement and short title

(1) This Act extends to England and Wales only.

(2) 30This section comes into force on the day on which this Act is passed.

(3) The rest of this Act comes into force on such day or days as the Secretary of
State may by regulations made by statutory instrument appoint.

(4) Regulations under subsection (3) may make transitional, transitory or saving
provision.

(5) 35This Act may be cited as the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.