Response: Local Decisions - a fairer future for social housing

By: Deborah Garvie  Published: January 2011


We agree with the CLG assessment that the proposals contained in this consultation would lead to 'the most radical reform of social housing in a generation'. We are therefore greatly concerned about the manner in which this consultation has been conducted. Our response focuses on the proposals set out in the consultation paper on homelessness discharge of duty, security of tenure in social housing, and allocation of social housing.

Summary

We welcome the Government's commitment to 'tackling homelessness and protecting the most vulnerable in society' and we support the retention of the current homelessness priority need groups and the retention of the duty on councils to secure suitable accommodation for people in these groups We therefore strongly oppose the proposal to allow councils to discharge the homelessness duty, without the applicant’s agreement, with an offer of a suitable private letting with a minimum 12 month fixed term. This measure will not alleviate homelessness.

 

We strongly oppose the removal of security of tenure in general needs social housing whereby councils will be able to discharge their homeless duty through the new tenancy, and existing relets of socially rented homes can be let on 'affordable rents'.

 

We welcome the Government's belief that 'social housing should continue to be prioritised for the most vulnerable and those who need it most' and that 'the best way to ensure a consistent approach to meeting housing need is to continue to set the priorities for social housing centrally'. However, it is important that homeless people are in practice, as well as in legislation, given ‘reasonable preference’ for social housing.  We are concerned that the proposed changes to homeless legislation undermine 'reasonable preference' for homeless people.