With effect from 9 November 2012 a local housing authority in England or Wales can (it is a power not a duty) fully discharge their main homelessness duty to secure accommodation by offering suitable accommodation from a private landlord without, as before, requiring the applicant’s agreement. The Localism Act 2011 (Commencement No 2 and Transitional Provisions) (England) Order 2012 has brought into force s148 of the Localism Act 2011 to this effect and s193 of the Housing Act 1996 is accordingly amended.
Section 149 of the 2011 Act has been brought into force by the same order and sub-paragraph 4 of that section adds s195A to the 1996 Act to deal with re-applications after a private rented sector offer.
The duty can only be ended in the private rented sector if the assured shorthold tenancy is for a minimum of 12 months and reapplication will be possible if the household becomes unintentionally homeless within two years of taking the tenancy.
The Department for Communities & Local Government has produced “Supplementary Guidance on the homelessness changes in the Localism Act 2011 and on the Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order 2012” (November 2012).