Annex A – The Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Amendment (Coronavirus) Order 2020
Two temporary exceptions were created via SSI 2020/139, laid in May 2020, which were due to expire on 30 September 2020. The laying of SSI 2020/268 has the effect of extending these exceptions for a further four months until 31 January 2021.
At the same time a further exception has been created for cases where the local authority is unable to place the household in suitable accommodation as a result of the impacts of coronavirus on temporary accommodation supply in the area. This exemption does not apply to households containing children or pregnant women, where placements in unsuitable accommodation of over 7 days are not permissible.
This means that until 31 January 2021 a placement will not be considered as unsuitable if:-
- a person in the household has symptoms of coronavirus and the household requires to isolate; or
- the accommodation is required to provide temporary accommodation to ensure that a distance of 2 metres can be maintained between a member of the household and a person who is not a member of the household in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus; or
- the local authority is unable to place the household in suitable accommodation as a result of the impacts of coronavirus on temporary accommodation supply in the area, provided that where a household includes a child or a pregnant woman the household is not placed in unsuitable accommodation for more than 7 days.
Local authorities should ensure that, wherever possible, homeless households are not placed in unsuitable accommodation, such as B&Bs, for any longer than 7 days.
The first two exceptions were created specifically to address the public health needs created as a result of the outbreak of the pandemic. The third exception has been created in recognition of the indirect impacts of the outbreak which has resulted in the availability of suitable accommodation being stifled as a result of local authorities and registered social landlords being unable to turn over void properties, resulting in greater numbers of temporary placements, including the use of bed and breakfast and hotel accommodation in some parts of the country.
Placements for longer than 7 days, where the household contains a child or a pregnant woman, will be considered a breach, even where there are temporary accommodation supply issues in the local area. This has been included to ensure that families and pregnant women continue to receive preferential treatment, even during the time that the exceptions apply for.
5. This Order has now been replaced by the Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) (Modification and Revocation) (Coronavirus) 2021/10 which was laid 13 January 2021 and which extends the temporary exceptions until 30 June 2021.
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