Scottish Government
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More protection for the homeless

New regulations laid in the Scottish Parliament today will allow greater use of the private rented sector for rehousing those made unintentionally homeless.

Local authorities will have the option to negotiate short assured tenancies with private landlords; ensuring stringent conditions are met in terms of informed consent, housing support, and whether it is affordable to the tenant.

At the conclusion of a tenancy between 6 and 12 months, should the landlord and tenant agree to a renewal of the tenancy for a period of no less than 12 months, then this would constitute a discharge of duty by councils.

Housing and Communities Minister Alex Neil, said:

"It's imperative we do all we can to achieve our 2012 target of offering all unintentionally homeless, accommodation.

"We have taken on board the views of key bodies such as Shelter Scotland and COSLA on this issue.

"The responses produced a broad consensus on the acceptance that provision be made to increase access to private sector accommodation.

"The private rented sector has become increasingly professional in recent years and we want to encourage responsible landlords to work with their public sector partners to tackle homelessness."

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland said:

"Meeting the 2012 deadline to give everyone a home is an internationally recognised target that Scotland has to meet.

"The private rented sector has a role to play in areas where social housing is especially scarce and can provide a housing solution for some homeless people.

"Getting a private let is better than years stuck in temporary accommodation. We look forward to reading the regulations when they are published."

Firm Foundations set out that the Scottish Government would carry out a review of the private rented sector and also consult on amending the existing Homeless Person Interim Accommodation (Scotland) Regulations 2002 in order to facilitate greater use of the private sector to rehouse homeless households.

Conditions contained within the new Regulations will protect the existing rights of homeless people. Any offer to secure accommodation in the private rented sector will be subject to a robust process of independent information and advice, a housing support assessment, and an assessment as to the affordability of any tenancy.

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