Homelessness Final Offer Policy
The Localism Act 2011 made significant changes to the way in which local authorities can deal with applications for social housing and homelessness applications under Parts 6 and 7 of the Housing Act 1996. This includes allowing Local Authorities to end the full housing duty by making a ‘private rented sector offer’. This must be an offer of an assured shorthold tenancy with a minimum fixed term of one year. The Council decided to make use of this power in April 2013 and adopted a policy to allow it to do so.
Statutory homeless households are now made one reasonable offer of accommodation to end the main housing duty. These powers allow offers of non-social tenancies to be made when appropriate and, therefore, relieves some pressure on the Housing Register. This should also help improve the throughput of temporary accommodation and significantly reduce the risk of having to use bed and breakfast accommodation.
There is no longer any guarantee that a household found to be statutorily homeless will be provided with a Council or housing association property to end the homelessness duty.
The Council is satisfied that there are sufficient safeguards within the Localism Act provisions, and through the accompanying secondary legislation, to ensure that such private rented sector offers will provide suitable and settled accommodation for households that are offered them.
When developing this policy, strong consideration was given to the Council’s existing policy of utilising the private rented sector to prevent homelessness. The Council’s Homelessness Prevention Team has successfully helped numerous households who were threatened with homelessness to obtain accommodation from a private landlord. In many cases the Council’s assistance has included incentives such as arranging rent in advance, providing a rent deposit guarantee bond, arranging tenancy support and providing tenancy documentation. This approach is promoted and endorsed by the Council’s Homelessness Strategy.
The Homelessness Final Offer Policy explains this approach in detail.