Housing Act 1996
1996 Chapter 52 - continued

 
Suitability of accommodation.     210. - (1) In determining for the purposes of this Part whether accommodation is suitable for a person, the local housing authority shall have regard to Parts IX, X and XI of the Housing Act 1985 (slum clearance; overcrowding; houses in multiple occupation).
 
      (2) The Secretary of State may by order specify-
 
 
    (a) circumstances in which accommodation is or is not to be regarded as suitable for a person, and
 
    (b) matters to be taken into account or disregarded in determining whether accommodation is suitable for a person.
Protection of property of homeless persons and persons threatened with homelessness.     211. - (1) This section applies where a local housing authority have reason to believe that-
 
 
    (a) there is danger of loss of, or damage to, any personal property of an applicant by reason of his inability to protect it or deal with it, and
 
    (b) no other suitable arrangements have been or are being made.
      (2) If the authority have become subject to a duty towards the applicant under-

    section 188 (interim duty to accommodate),

    section 190, 193 or 195 (duties to persons found to be homeless or threatened with homelessness), or

    section 200 (duties to applicant whose case is considered for referral or referred),then, whether or not they are still subject to such a duty, they shall take reasonable steps to prevent the loss of the property or prevent or mitigate damage to it.
     

      (3) If they have not become subject to such a duty, they may take any steps they consider reasonable for that purpose.
 
      (4) The authority may decline to take action under this section except upon such conditions as they consider appropriate in the particular case, which may include conditions as to-
 
 
    (a) the making and recovery by the authority of reasonable charges for the action taken, or
 
    (b) the disposal by the authority, in such circumstances as may be specified, of property in relation to which they have taken action.
      (5) References in this section to personal property of the applicant include personal property of any person who might reasonably be expected to reside with him.
 
      (6) Section 212 contains provisions supplementing this section.
 
Protection of property: supplementary provisions.     212. - (1) The authority may for the purposes of section 211 (protection of property of homeless persons or persons threatened with homelessness)-
 
 
    (a) enter, at all reasonable times, any premises which are the usual place of residence of the applicant or which were his last usual place of residence, and
 
    (b) deal with any personal property of his in any way which is reasonably necessary, in particular by storing it or arranging for its storage.
      (2) Where the applicant asks the authority to move his property to a particular location nominated by him, the authority-
 
 
    (a) may, if it appears to them that his request is reasonable, discharge their responsibilities under section 211 by doing as he asks, and
 
    (b) having done so, have no further duty or power to take action under that section in relation to that property.
     
      If such a request is made, the authority shall before complying with it inform the applicant of the consequence of their doing so.
      (3) If no such request is made (or, if made, is not acted upon) the authority cease to have any duty or power to take action under section 211 when, in their opinion, there is no longer any reason to believe that there is a danger of loss of or damage to a person's personal property by reason of his inability to protect it or deal with it.
 
      But property stored by virtue of their having taken such action may be kept in store and any conditions upon which it was taken into store continue to have effect, with any necessary modifications.
 
      (4) Where the authority-
 
 
    (a) cease to be subject to a duty to take action under section 211 in respect of an applicant's property, or
 
    (b) cease to have power to take such action, having previously taken such action,
  they shall notify the applicant of that fact and of the reason for it.
      (5) The notification shall be given to the applicant-
 
 
    (a) by delivering it to him, or
 
    (b) by leaving it, or sending it to him, at his last known address.
      (6) References in this section to personal property of the applicant include personal property of any person who might reasonably be expected to reside with him.
 
Co-operation between relevant housing authorities and bodies.     213. - (1) Where a local housing authority-
 
 
    (a) request another relevant housing authority or body, in England, Wales or Scotland, to assist them in the discharge of their functions under this Part, or
 
    (b) request a social services authority, in England, Wales or Scotland, to exercise any of their functions in relation to a case which the local housing authority are dealing with under this Part,
  the authority or body to whom the request is made shall co-operate in rendering such assistance in the discharge of the functions to which the request relates as is reasonable in the circumstances.
      (2) In subsection (1)(a) "relevant housing authority or body" means-
 
 
    (a) in relation to England and Wales, a local housing authority, a new town corporation, a registered social landlord or a housing action trust;
 
    (b) in relation to Scotland, a local authority, a development corporation, a registered housing association or Scottish Homes.
     
      Expressions used in paragraph (a) have the same meaning as in the Housing Act 1985; and expressions used in paragraph (b) have the same meaning as in the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987.
      (3) Subsection (1) above applies to a request by a local authority in Scotland under section 38 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 as it applies to a request by a local housing authority in England and Wales (the references to this Part being construed, in relation to such a request, as references to Part II of that Act).
 
 
General provisions
False statements, withholding information and failure to disclose change of circumstances.     214. - (1) It is an offence for a person, with intent to induce a local housing authority to believe in connection with the exercise of their functions under this Part that he or another person is entitled to accommodation or assistance in accordance with the provisions of this Part, or is entitled to accommodation or assistance of a particular description-
 
 
    (a) knowingly or recklessly to make a statement which is false in a material particular, or
 
    (b) knowingly to withhold information which the authority have reasonably required him to give in connection with the exercise of those functions.
      (2) If before an applicant receives notification of the local housing authority's decision on his application there is any change of facts material to his case, he shall notify the authority as soon as possible.
 
      The authority shall explain to every applicant, in ordinary language, the duty imposed on him by this subsection and the effect of subsection (3).
 
      (3) A person who fails to comply with subsection (2) commits an offence unless he shows that he was not given the explanation required by that subsection or that he had some other reasonable excuse for non-compliance.
 
      (4) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.
 
Regulations and orders.     215. - (1) In this Part "prescribed" means prescribed by regulations of the Secretary of State.
 
      (2) Regulations or an order under this Part may make different provision for different purposes, including different provision for different areas.
 
      (3) Regulations or an order under this Part shall be made by statutory instrument.
 
      (4) Unless required to be approved in draft, regulations or an order under this Part shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.
 
Transitional and consequential matters.     216. - (1) The provisions of this Part have effect in place of the provisions of Part III of the Housing Act 1985 (housing the homeless) and shall be construed as one with that Act.
 
      (2) Subject to any transitional provision contained in an order under section 232(4) (power to include transitional provision in commencement order), the provisions of this Part do not apply in relation to an applicant whose application for accommodation or assistance in obtaining accommodation was made before the commencement of this Part.
 
      (3) The enactments mentioned in Schedule 17 have effect with the amendments specified there which are consequential on the provisions of this Part.
 
Minor definitions: Part VII.     217. - (1) In this Part, subject to subsection (2)-
 
 
    "relevant authority" means a local housing authority or a social services authority; and
 
    "social services authority" means a local authority for the purposes of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970, as defined in section 1 of that Act.
      (2) In this Part, in relation to Scotland-
 
 
    (a) "local housing authority" means a local authority within the meaning of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988, and
 
    (b) "social services authority" means a local authority for the purposes of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968.
      (3) References in this Part to the district of a local housing authority-
 
 
    (a) have the same meaning in relation to an authority in England or Wales as in the Housing Act 1985, and
 
    (b) in relation to an authority in Scotland, mean the area of the local authority concerned.
Index of defined expressions: Part VII.     218. The following Table shows provisions defining or otherwise explaining expressions used in this Part (other than provisions defining or explaining an expression used in the same section)-
 
 
     
    accommodation available for occupation
     
    section 176
     
    applicant
     
    section 183(2)
     
    assistance under this Part
     
    section 183(2)
     
    associated (in relation to a person)
     
    section 178
     
    assured tenancy and assured shorthold tenancy
     
    section 230
     
    district (of local housing authority)
     
    section 217(3)
     
    eligible for assistance
     
    section 183(2)
     
    homeless
     
    section 175(1)
     
    housing functions under this Part (in sections 206 to 209)
     
    section 205(2)
     
    intentionally homeless
     
    section 191
     
    intentionally threatened with homelessness
     
    section 196
     
    local connection
     
    section 199
     
    local housing authority- -in England and Wales -in Scotland
     
    section 230 section 217(2)(a)
     
    minimum period (for purposes of section 193)
     
    section 193(3) and (4)
     
    prescribed
     
    section 215(1)
     
    priority need
     
    section 189
     
    reasonable to continue to occupy accommodation
     
    section 177
     
    registered social landlord
     
    section 230
     
    relevant authority
     
    section 217(1)
     
    social services authority
     
    section 217(1) and (2)(b)
     
    threatened with homelessness
     
    section 175(4)
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Prepared 22 December 1996