We call on the Government to end the scandal of poor-quality Exempt Accommodation, so vulnerable people are housed in high-quality accommodation, with appropriate support in place.
We believe these changes are necessary because rogue landlords across Birmingham are capitalising on loopholes in the law to offer sub-standard accommodation to vulnerable people and families.
Currently, the law only requires landlords to provide ‘more than minimal’ care, support or supervision. This wording lets rogue landlords off the hook, leaves vulnerable people without the support that they need, and contributes to issues of organised crime and anti-social behaviour in our communities.
We are calling on the Government to adopt the following five measures to end this scandal.
- Adopt a national Charter of Rights and Quality Assurance Framework, such as the ones adopted by Birmingham City Council. These will help to create a registered of good quality Exempt Accommodation providers and create a better definition of the standard of care, support and supervision required. In particular, we echo the calls of Women’s Aid for Exempt Accommodation providers to give tailored support for women and children who are victims of domestic violence.
- Bring about legislative change to give Local Authorities and the Regulator of Social Housing greater powers of enforcement over rogue landlords, and strengthen the vetting process to prevent rogue landlords gaining licenses. Within this legislative change ensure that Exempt Accommodation is treated in the same manner as Houses in Multiple Occupation so that they are not exempt from planning legislation including Article 4.
- Increase funding for Local Authorities to ensure that they are able to fund appropriate inspection programmes for all Exempt Accommodation properties in their region.
- Give Local Authorities the power to reject applications on grounds of oversupply in a specific area, and insist that a Community Impact Assessment is carried out before an application is approved.
- Ensure that individuals housed in Exempt Accommodation have a link to the area where they are being placed. This is better for the tenants, and helps to stop vulnerable people being ‘dumped’ in unfamiliar areas.
We look forward to working with the Government to end the scandal of poor-quality Exempt Accommodation in our country.
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