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Category: Housing

Government guidance on homelessness makes it clear that spent convictions should be ignored

In the government’s updated Homelessness code of practice, it has made clear that convictions that are spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 should be ignored.

Chapter 23 focuses on “people with a offending history”, and section 23.29 reads:

“23.29 People with an offending history face barriers to accessing accommodation across tenures. Housing authorities providing help to secure or securing accommodation should be aware of the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (as amended by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012). The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 sets out timescales for when convictions become spent, after which it is unlawful for social and private landlords to take spent convictions into account when determining whether the person is suitable for housing.”

The government had recently consulted on updating this guidance, which we submitted a response to. As part of our submission, we made the point that the earlier version of this guidance should be strengthened. This is particularly important given a recent case where a local authority were challenged in court because they took into account an applicant’s spent criminal record.

Find out more information about our policy work on housing.

Court makes it clear – spent convictions shouldn’t be taken into account for housing applications

Read more on our information site.

People with convictions to be banned from joining Harlow Councils list

We’ve contributed to a discussion on BBC Essex, looking at the news that Harlow Council is seeking to amend their housing allocations policy which would mean that people with convictions would be banned from join the housing list.

You can listen to the interview below.

The was followed by an article in the Guardian, which we were cited in. Interestingly, it also included a Poll which asked “should criminals be excluded from applying for social housing?”. The results were that 72% said “No”, they shouldn’t. 


Police checks on potential council tenants

We’ve taken part in a radio discussion on BBC West Midlands to discuss a local council with a proposed policy of carrying out police checks on potential council tenants. This is available to listen to below (in two parts)

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