Homelessness - Notice to keep intentionality


LEGAL NOTICE

MERTHYR TYDFIL COUNTY BOROUGH COUNCIL

INTENTIONALITY AND THE HOUSING (WALES) ACT 2014

TAKE NOTICE that on the 27th APRIL 2015 the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 (“the Act”) came into force in Wales. This legislation significantly changed the law governing how Local Housing Authorities deal with applications from persons who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

 

Pursuant to Section 78 of the Housing Act (Wales) 2014, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council (“the Local Authority”) has considered the priority categories outlined in Section 70 of the Act and has resolved to apply the test of intentionality to all individuals and households to include the categories detailed in section 70 of the Act as set out below.

 

Categories

 

(a) a pregnant woman or a person with whom she resides or might reasonably be

expected to reside;

 

(b) a person with whom a dependent child resides or might reasonably be expected to reside;

 

 (c) (i) a person who is vulnerable as a result of some special reason (for example: old age, physical or mental illness or physical or mental disability), or

      (ii) a person with whom a person who falls within sub-paragraph (i) resides or might reasonably be expected to reside;

 

 (d) (i) a person who is homeless or threatened with homelessness as a result of an emergency such as flood, fire or other disaster, or

      (ii) a person with whom a person who falls within sub-paragraph (i) resides or might reasonably be expected to reside;

 

 (e) (i) a person who is homeless as a result of being subject to domestic abuse,    or

      (ii) a person with whom a person who falls within sub-paragraph (i) resides (other than the abuser) or might reasonably be expected to reside;

 

 (f) (i) a person who is aged 16 or 17 when the person applies to a local housing authority for accommodation or help in obtaining or retaining accommodation, or

      (ii) a person with whom a person who falls within sub-paragraph (i) resides or might reasonably be expected to reside;

 

 (g) (i) a person who has attained the age of 18, when the person applies to a local housing authority for accommodation or help in obtaining or retaining accommodation, but not the age of 21, who is at particular risk of sexual or financial exploitation, or

      (ii) a person with whom a person who falls within sub-paragraph (i) resides (other than an exploiter or potential exploiter) or might reasonably be expected to reside;

 

 (h) (i) a person who has attained the age of 18, when the person applies to a local housing authority for accommodation or help in obtaining or retaining accommodation, but not the age of 21, who was looked after, accommodated or fostered at any time while under the age of 18, or

      (ii) a person with whom a person who falls within sub-paragraph (i) resides or might reasonably be expected to reside;

 

 (i)  (i) a person who has served in the regular armed forces of the Crown who has been homeless since leaving those forces, or

      (ii) a person with whom a person who falls within sub-paragraph (i) resides or might reasonably be expected to reside;

 

 (j) a person who has a local connection with the area of the local housing authority and who is vulnerable as a result of one of the following reasons:-

      (i) having served a custodial sentence within the meaning of section 76 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000,

      (ii) having been remanded in or committed to custody by an order of a court,

     or

      (iii) having been remanded to youth detention accommodation under section 91(4) of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, or a person with whom such a person resides or might reasonably be expected to reside.

 

Reasons for applying the test of intentionality to all individuals and households to include the categories detailed above

 

  1. The use of intentionality is intended to discourage households from giving up accommodation which is suitable for their needs and available to them. It recognises the expectation that, where possible, people ought to take responsibility for their actions and ensures they do not behave in a way which could cause them to lose accommodation.

     

  2. Where an intentional homeless decision is made the Local Authority’s housing duties to that household are significantly reduced. However, the numbers of applicants receiving an intentional homeless decision are not large. In Merthyr Tydfil in 2013-14, 23% of homelessness decisions made were that the applicant was intentionally homeless.

     

  3. Intentionality remains a key issue in deciding issue in deciding whether or not an applicant is entitled to receive a service and potentially being accommodated in permanent or temporary accommodation, which has a significant resource implication.

     

  4. By not retaining the test of intentionality, the Local Authority would have a duty to accommodate those who have carried out deliberate acts, the consequence of which has been the loss of their home; for example through non-payment of rent, by selling their home or by acts of anti-social behaviour. This has a resource implication. It is envisaged that the Local Authority will see a spike in those presenting as homeless as shortcut to alternative housing; leading to financial and resource implications for the Authority.

     

  5. The Local Authority is also likely to lose Private Landlords if people are making themselves homeless as a way to circumvent the normal allocation process

     

    This resolution will take effect in accordance with regulation 3 The Homelessness (Intentionality) (Specified Categories) (Wales) Regulations 2015 from the 1st July 2015

     

    Dated: 17th June 2015

     

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION REGARDING THIS NOTICE, PLEASE ASK TO SPEAK TO A HOUSING SOLUTIONS OFFICER

     

    Contact telephone number: (01685) 725452

    Email: Housing@Merthyr.gov.uk

    Address: Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, Civic Centre, Castle Street, Merthyr Tydfil CF47 8AN