Rochdale MP, Tony Lloyd, is demanding protection for the secure tenancy of social housing tenants who are forced to move into temporary accommodation due to a threat of violence to them or a member of their household, and to ensure social landlords work together to identify a safe permanent home as soon as possible.
Tony said, “No-one should face homelessness because they are threatened with serious violence, yet that is exactly what happens to far too many families who are forced to make an emergency move because a member of their household is at risk.
“As it stands, social housing providers have no legal duty to protect the tenancy rights of tenants who are forced to make an emergency move owing to a threat of violence. The shortage of social housing can leave families, who are already traumatised by the circumstances of their move, trapped in unsuitable and often overcrowded temporary accommodation, waiting for months or even years to be re-housed.
“That’s why I’m supporting ‘Georgia’s Law’, a proposal which would ensure social landlords work together to identify a safe permanent home as soon as possible.”
Georgia’s Law would make two important changes to current housing law:
1. That secure social housing tenants (whether Council or housing associations) should have their tenancy rights protected in a situation in which they have to move because they, or a member of their household face a threat to safety with a right to be moved as quickly as possible to an alternative home on the same tenancy terms.
2. That a new statutory duty to cooperate is placed on social landlords in circumstances where a tenant needs to be rehoused outside of the area within which their current landlord holds property.
Notes for editors:-
1) Georgia’s Law (Social Housing (Emergency Protection of Tenancy Rights) Bill) is a Ten Minute Rule Bill, a type of Private Members’ Bill that are introduced in the House of Commons under Standing Order No 23. The ten-minute rule allows a backbench MP to make their case for a new Bill in a speech lasting up to ten minutes. An opposing speech may also be made before the House decides whether or not the Bill should be introduced. If the MP is successful, the Bill is taken to have had its first reading.
2) The bill is being introduced by Helen Hayes MP and is named after her constituent, Georgia, who was placed in temporary accommodation after her teenage son was threatened by gang members who visited the family home. The police advised Georgia that she needed to move immediately for her family’s safety. Her housing association did not have any suitable homes available and referred her to the local authority who provided temporary accommodation. The housing association then began proceedings to end her tenancy, effectively making her homeless and facing a very long wait to be rehoused. Following Helen’s intervention, the housing association accepted responsibility for Georgia’s housing needs and have since found her a new home. However, there is no legal duty on social landlords to protect tenancy rights in cases like this.