Labour MP Steve McCabe has introduced a 10 Minute Rule Bill into the House of Commons to address the problems of HMO’s being used as supported accommodation without sufficient regulation and oversight.
McCabe, who represents Birmingham Selly Oak, says the number of supported accommodation properties - where vulnerable private tenants are known to receive care and support - has grown rapidly in his constituency.
His Supported Accommodation Bill would require developers and landlords to disclose for planning purposes an intention to use a building for supported housing or other accommodation that is specified for the purposes of Universal Credit and Housing Benefit.
It would also seek to establish a suitability test for accommodation proposed for such use and make provision about the fitness of persons to be landlords or managers of supported or other specified accommodation.
Speaking in Parliament earlier this month, McCabe told government of the problems his constituents have had reporting problems; this included a pregnant woman and her partner who were apparently threatened with a knife after reporting a repair to their supported accommodation provider.
“My Supported Accommodation Bill would provide much needed oversight of the supported accommodation sector; we need suitable checks on the level of support provided and on the property being used. I have heard from local residents just how difficult reporting concerns about crime, noise and drug use are to landlords and owners of properties” he says.
“We need regulation to ensure supported accommodation is providing high quality support for vulnerable people as well as working with local communities and residents to address any problems. The current system is shrouded in secrecy, too many landlords are making profits from vulnerable people and providing no support. They need to be held accountable.”