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11 May, 2022 Open access

Temporary easement of suitability obligations on England’s local authorities to open up greater supply of temporary accommodation for people fleeing Ukraine and Afghanistan humanitarian crises

New statutory instrument

New regulations have been issued in relation to the obligations on local authorities in England to assess the suitability of privately owned accommodation used to house homeless people.

Taking effect on 1 June 2022 and expiring after one year on 1 June 2023, the Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (Amendment) (England) Order 2022 (SI.No.521/2022) amends the Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order 2003 (SI.No.3326/2003) (the 2003 Order) and modifies the Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order 2012 (SI.No.2601/2012) (the 2012 Order) to ease certain limitations on the use of B&B accommodation to house homeless families and pregnant women, and limit the matters a local authority must take into account in determining whether privately rented accommodation is suitable.

In particular, the Order achieves this by -

In the explanatory memorandum to the Order, the government says that it is committed to support families fleeing the humanitarian crises in Ukraine and Afghanistan and, in order to support the maximum number of people, it advises that -

'... we need to manage pressures on public services to ensure they have capacity to support the new arrivals. The Suitability Orders are being amended for a time-limited period to open-up a greater supply of temporary accommodation and make it easier for local authorities to support households that become homeless. The Government considers these changes to be appropriate and proportionate.'

SI.No.521/2022 is available from legislation.gov.uk