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Draft West London Temporary Accommodation Clearing House Agreement

By Joshua Hunt,2014-09-04 13:26
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Draft West London Temporary Accommodation Clearing House Agreement

    West London Temporary Accommodation

    Cross Borough Placement and Clearing

    House Agreement

     thAs Agreed by West London Housing Directors 28 November 2005

    1.0 Background

    1.1 Each of the West London boroughs uses accommodation

    leased from private sector landlords to provide temporary

    accommodation to homeless households. This is done through

    two main arrangements Private Sector Leasing (PSL) and

    Housing Association Leasing (HALS). This agreement applies

    primarily to PSL properties, but could be extended to HALS with

    the consent of the housing associations involved if required.

    1.2 Because of market conditions, some boroughs find it difficult to

    procure enough leased accommodation to meet their needs for

    TA within borough, and homeless families are frequently placed

    in accommodation across London, where it can be difficult for

    them to maintain links with support networks.

    1.3 Other boroughs potentially have more Private sector

    accommodation available to them within their boroughs than

    they can currently use for TA, and so sometimes have to turn

    down offers of accommodation from private sector landlords.

    1.4 From a sub-regional perspective, it makes sense to make

    excess units of accommodation in West London available to

    boroughs, which need them. This is because:

    ; it makes it more possible for households who have to be housed

    out of borough to maintain some links to their established

    networks if they are housed in a neighbouring borough.

    ; it makes management and support for out of borough properties

    more practical if they are closer to the placing borough.

    ; it makes sense to establish as many partnerships between

    landlords and local authorities as possible against the possibility

    of less favourable market conditions in the future.

    1.5 However, despite the existing Londonwide inter-borough

    temporary accommodation agreement, some boroughs have

    continued to procure leased temporary accommodation outside

    their borough without reference to the borough where the

    accommodation is located. This can have negative effects,

    especially when:

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    ; The procuring borough pays a higher price for the accommodation

    than the host borough would pay, distorting the local market

    ; The procuring borough leases properties in areas where the host

    borough has identified there is already too high a concentration of

    temporary accommodation or other types of social housing which

    threatens the sustainability of the local community.

    1.6 All boroughs in the West London sub-region are committed to

    achieving substantial reductions in temporary accommodation

    and to increasing access to private sector direct lettings as an

    alternative where homelessness can be prevented or ended in

    this way. This means there is currently an increasing demand for

    private sector properties for boroughs direct lettings schemes,

    which needs to be accommodated and may take some

    properties which would otherwise be offered to other boroughs

    as leased accommodation through this protocol.

    2.0 Aims and Objectives

2.1 To prevent unauthorized out of borough temporary

    accommodation procurement by West London boroughs within

    West London and the difficulties this causes.

    2.2 To ensure that the markets for leased accommodation are not

    distorted by out of borough procurement within the sub-region

    2.3 To assist all boroughs within the sub-region to meet their needs

    for temporary accommodation

    2.4 To facilitate out of borough procurement within the sub-region by

    West London boroughs where this can reasonably

    accommodated by the host borough

    2.5 To help prepare the way for possible joint procurement

    arrangements within the sub-region in the future

    2.6 Nevertheless, to ensure that out of borough procurement of TA

    within West London is limited to manageable numbers, which do

    not place an undue burden on the host borough

    3.0 Protocol

    The West London boroughs of Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow,

    Hillingdon, Hounslow and Kensington & Chelsea agree:

    3.1 If a borough is offered properties to lease (either directly or via

    another agency) in another West London borough then, before

    accepting, they will contact a named person at the host borough

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    to determine the locally acceptable price for the properties and

    to ensure that the host borough does not have a specific

    objection to the use of the properties as TA.

    3.2 In agreeing a reasonable price, factors to be taken into account

    should include property size and type, location, and lease type

    (some leases leave more risk and responsibility with landlords

    than others and so require a higher payment).

    3.3 Except occasionally in emergency cases, the principle that

    should apply is that landlords should not be paid more than the

    local market rent, as determined by the rent officer for similar

    properties.

    3.4 Host boroughs should not unreasonably object to such out of

    borough procurement, unless it is in an area, which they have

    previously specifically designated as unsuitable for TA, and

    which they would not use for TA themselves. Such designations

    should be made available to all West London boroughs to avoid

    confusion.

    3.5 Host boroughs should reply to all such enquiries from other

    West London boroughs within 5 working days. If the named

    person is on leave, or otherwise absent, they should make

    suitable arrangements to delegate responsibility for dealing with

    such enquiries.

    3.6 Boroughs seeking to procure should respect the host borough’s

    decision.

    3.7 If a borough has leased properties that it no longer needs for

    use as Temporary Accommodation, and either does not wish to

    or is unable to make use of for a direct lettings scheme, and

    would otherwise be carrying voids or would wish to terminate the

    lease, then before doing so it will ask the landlord or managing

    agent involved if they would consider leasing the properties to

    another borough.

    3.8 This also applies if a borough is offered new properties for use

    as leased Temporary Accommodation, which it does not require

    for TA, and either does not wish to or is unable to make use of

    for a direct lettings scheme.

    3.9 An exception to this is that boroughs are not required to offer

    properties for lease to other West London boroughs if they have

    serious concerns that increasing the amount of temporary

    accommodation in the area where the properties are located

    would increase existing problems of deprivation or anti-social

    behaviour, which would prevent the host borough from

    accepting the properties as TA for it’s own use.

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    3.10 If the landlord is willing to consider leasing to another borough,

    then the host borough will offer the option of leasing the

    properties to other West London boroughs. They may choose to

    offer properties preferentially to one borough in the first instance

    based on an identified need for properties by the preferred

    borough, or because the property is located close to the

    preferred borough. However, in the spirit of sub-regional working

    there should be no systematic preference given to one borough

    over another.

    3.11 If the offer is firstly made to a single borough and is refused, or if

    it is decided to offer the properties more widely in the first

    instance, then the properties should be offered via named

    representatives from the West London Temporary

    Accommodation Group, which is a sub-group of the West

    London Homelessness Group. This can be done by e-mail. The

    option to lease the properties would then be offered to the first

    borough to reply.

    3.12 Once it has been agreed that the option to lease the properties

    will be offered to a particular borough then discussion should

    take place to ensure that both boroughs are agreed on the

    maximum rent which can be offered, which should not be above

    the level prevailing in the borough where the properties are

    located at the time.

    3.13 In order to facilitate this process, boroughs may from time to

    time send out requests for particular types or sizes of properties

    through the West London TA group.

    3.14 Boroughs may wish to share sensitive information within the TA

    group e.g. on prevailing rent levels. This information should not

    be passed on outside the West London boroughs without

    permission.

    3.15 Surplus properties should only be offered to boroughs outside

    the West London Sub-region after all boroughs within the sub-

    region have been offered the option to lease them. Boroughs

    are expected to respond to such requests within 3 working days

    or be deemed to have refused the offer of a leasing option.

    3.16 Boroughs may wish to mutually agree a quota of properties

    which is acceptable for procurement by one borough within

    another borough.

    3.17 Boroughs will produce information on numbers of TA properties

    managed within the other boroughs within the sub-region in

    advance of each sub-regional TA group meeting. The group will

    monitor out of borough procurement and provide a forum for

    discussion of issues arising.

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    3.18 Placing boroughs retain responsibility for securing settled

    accommodation for people they have placed in TA out of

    borough.

    3.19 Boroughs agree where possible not to place very vulnerable

    households in TA out of borough

    3.20 Placing boroughs agree to provide support e.g. floating support

    to households placed in out of borough TA, where this is

    necessary

    3.21 Any disputes arising from this protocol can be referred to the

    West London Homelessness Co-ordinator for mediation if

    necessary, and if this does not resolve the issue, can be

    referred to the West London Housing Directors group.

TG 2/12/05

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