The Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Carl Sargeant has introduced Wales’ firstHousing Bill into the National Assembly for Wales.
The Bill aims to improve housing standards, increase affordability, enhance the communities and help prevent the difficulties and lack of opportunities encountered by vulnerable people.
The prevention of homelessness is also a focus of the housing policy. The number of households identified as unintentionally homeless increased during 2010 – 12.
However, this number reduced by 11 per cent during 2012-13 to 5,795 households.
The proposed legislation will do more to prevent homelessness. It includes a new strengthened duty on local authorities to take reasonable steps to prevent and relieve homelessness, with an emphasis on prevention; enabling local authorities to discharge their main homelessness duty through suitable accommodation in the private rented housing sector; and taking steps towards ending family homelessness.
Electrical Safety Council (ESC) Director General Phil Buckle commented: “We warmly welcome the Welsh Government’s aim of improving conditions in the Private Rented Sector (PRS). This new Bill offers a wide-ranging set of reforms for the sector that should improve the quality and standards of housing in Wales.
“However, we hope that the code of practice and training requirements for PRS landlords and managing agents – which will be introduced at a later date – will also aid in improving safety standards in the home. This is particularly important in the case of electrical safety, as the majority of domestic fires in Wales arise through electricity.”