Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Order: guidance

Guidance on the Unsuitable Accommodation Order.

2. Extending the Order to all homeless households

2.1 From 5 May 2020, SSI 2020/139 extends the Unsuitable Accommodation Order to all homeless households. This extension means that the maximum number of days that local authorities can use unsuitable accommodation for any homeless person is 7 days.

2.2 Section 2 of SSI 2020/139 reflects the amendments that have been made to the 2014 Order, which include changing the terminology to reflect that the UAO is now extended to all homeless applicants (Amendments to Articles 3 and 4 refer, see below), adding in other circumstances where accommodation is classed as unsuitable and adding in other types of suitable temporary accommodation that will not be deemed unsuitable now that the UAO no longer applies solely to families with dependent children and pregnant women. The definitions set out in the Order have been further refined as a result of stakeholder feedback via the Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Amendment (No.2) Order 2020 (2020/419) at Annex B.

2.3 For ease of reference Annex C of this guidance provides a consolidated version of Articles 2 to 7 of the Unsuitable Accommodation Order 2014, as amended, taking account of Amendment Orders made since then.

Article 3 of the 2014 Order (as amended)

2.4 SSI 220/139 includes an amendment to reflect that the Order has now been extended to all homeless households and therefore removes the 2014 definition where it was only applicable where an applicant was:

(a) pregnant

(b) a person whose household includes a pregnant woman; or

(c) a person whose household includes dependent children

2.5 Therefore Article 3 now reads:

This Order applies to accommodation provided to an applicant under Section 29 of the 1987 Act (interim duty to accommodate an applicant who may be homeless).

Article 4 of the 2014 Order (as amended)

2.6 SSI 2020/139 amends 4(b) of the 2014 Order to reflect that in all circumstances, accommodation is unsuitable if it is not suitable for occupation by a homeless household. The 2014 definition of 4(b) referred to being:

(b) not suitable for occupation by children.

2.7 However, as mentioned at section 2.2 above, the SSI at Annex B has been enhanced to ensure that the needs of vulnerable people are met.

Therefore after amendment it now reads:

(b) not suitable for occupation by a homeless household, taking into account the needs of the household.

2.8 To support local authorities in meeting the needs of vulnerable households, they could explore options for taking forward personal housing plans, as referenced in the Ending Homelessness Together action plan. This will help to assess the needs of differing homeless household groups and ensure that a person centred approach is applied.



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