Why the Homelessness Reduction Act is good news for landlords

The Homelessness Reduction Bill has received Royal Assent and become an Act of Parliament. The Act places a new duty on Local Authorities to help prevent the homelessness of all families and single people, regardless of priority need, who are eligible for assistance and threatened with homelessness.

Positive News for Landlords

Until now a common problem for landlords was when a section 21 notice was served, the tenant went to the Local Authority with the notice and the tenant was told that they must wait for a court order and possibly bailiffs before they would be deemed to be homeless and therefore eligible for assistance.The Homeless Reduction Act prevents Local Authorities issuing this advice.

The Homeless Reduction Act amends the Housing Act 1996 adding a new definition of threatened with homelessness:

“(5) A person is also threatened with homelessness if—
(a) a valid notice has been given to the person under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (orders for possession on expiry or termination of assured shorthold tenancy) in respect of the only accommodation the person has that is available for the person’s occupation, and
(b) that notice will expire within 56 days.”

Two possible pitfalls to be aware of:

1. The duty only arises if a valid section 21 has been given – landlords need to ensure any section 21 notice they serve is definitely valid.

2. Local Authorities have struggled making decisions on the validity of section 21 notices even before this Act – Local Authorities commonly try to find reasons why a section 21 notice is not valid and no doubt given the fact that some courts struggle with this, this problem will persist.

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