Last week in Parliament, I called for rogue landlords of vulnerable people living in supported housing to have their rent payments docked if they provide substandard housing or care to those in need.
Speaking in the Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Bill, a bill to tackle rogue providers of supported housing for people who have drugs, alcohol, mental health or other challenges, I called for “financial as well as enforcement powers” to tackle rogue landlords, who receive enhanced rent payments from DWP for providing supported care. I praised the work of Dover Outreach Centre in looking after people who are homeless and gave examples of the challenges faced by homeless people with complex needs and addictions who find themselves back on the streets when their supported housing placement fails.
The Bill currently going through Parliament is spearheaded by Conservative MP Bob Blackman. It is seeking to ensure that landlords who are providing drugs, alcohol recovery or other support should meet national standards of care or face sanctions, including being banned from providing supported housing.
The Bill seeks to close a gap in the current regulation of housing and care which sees unscrupulous landlords able to fleece vulnerable tenants and taxpayers by charging high amounts for inadequate housing or care. Parliament heard that tenants are often threatened with a return to being homeless on the streets if they complain or try to move to better accommodation. This bill seeks to provide a stronger safety net for people with complex needs who wish to move to a different supported housing provider, where their needs are not being met.
The Homelessness Minister, Felicity Buchan MP, confirmed that the Government will look at cutting cash from rogue landlords receiving enhanced benefits payments. She gave assurances that the Bill is intended to help tenants seek help and support where they are in poor quality supported housing without being penalised for doing so.
This is a really important bill which seeks to close the gap in regulation that allows rogue landlords to fleece vulnerable homeless people in need of support and rip off the taxpayer through enhanced benefits payments.