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Discharging Homelessness Duties in the Private Rented Sector

Meeting: 19/06/2018 - Housing Scrutiny Committee (Item 27)

27 Discharging Homelessness Duties in the Private Rented Sector pdf icon PDF 155 KB

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This item was Chaired by Councillor Mike Todd-Jones


Matter for Decision

  i.  In June 2013, in response to the Localism Act 2011, the Community Services Scrutiny Committee approved a policy of discharging the full housing duty to homeless households by way of a private rented sector offer.  A further element of that policy was that an offer outside of the city may be considered suitable, subject to certain tests, so long as the accommodation was located within the Cambridge or Huntingdon broad rental market areas (BRMAs).

  ii.  The report sought approval for a more flexible policy when assisting homeless households into the private rented sector. 


Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing

  i.  Noted the contents of the report in relation to the additional demands engendered by the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.

  ii.  Approved the Adoption of the policy on sourcing housing options in the private rented sector and discharging homelessness duties, as set out in Appendix 1 of the Officer’s report.


Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.


Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.


Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Head of Housing.


The Committee made the following comments in response to the report:

  i.  Praised the services already provided to housing applicants.

  ii.  Discussion of points to be raised in the response to additional pressures that may arise due to widened criteria for homelessness application criterion. 

  iii.  Expressed concerns that homelessness duties could be discharged by offering applicant accommodation many miles away from their family or wider support networks.


The Head of Housing stated the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  Confirmed that each applicant would have a needs assessment which would generate a personal housing plan.

  ii.  Housing demand would outstrip the supply and those not in priority need would be directed to other options.

  iii.  The new approach would see many more people gaining access to advice and support.

  iv.  Applicants could request a review at any stage of the process and internal review could be arranged very quickly. 


The Executive Councillor for Housing confirmed that the policy changes had not been undertaken lightly.


The Committee resolved by 5 votes to 3 to endorse the recommendation.


The Executive Councillor approved the recommendation.