Opposition to UK Home Office plans to drop housing protections for asylum seekers

A row of terraced houses in the UK

Opposition to UK Home Office plans to drop housing protections for asylum seekers Credit: N Chadwick Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

New Home Office rules passed last month would allow landlords to bypass many regulations in an attempt to get asylum claimants out of hotels and into private lettings. Three families have now, June 13, launched a legal challenge against this. 

The new ruling would allow landlords to bypass HMO (Homes of Multiple Occupancy) regulations, which could lead to asylum seekers beings subjected to cramped and dangerous conditions.

The legal action calls for the new draft regulation to be suspended until its impact could be better assessed, with concerns that unscrupulous landlords could see it as a goldmine.

The government though is determined to get asylum seekers out of hotels and into private accommodation as the current scenario is costing the UK taxpayer six million pounds per day.

The lawyers representing the three families have said that the government has carried out no ‘careful investigation’ into what their new rules would mean for those migrants who have arrived in the UK to escape trauma. They accuse the government of trying to save money at the expense of the most vulnerable.

Landlords who become government contractors under the new system will have little obligation to meet safety standards, the legal representatives of the migrant families have posited.

Sheroy Zaq, representing Duncan Lewis Solicitors, was quoted in the Guardian as saying: “The draft legislation threatens the safety of asylum seekers including families with children placed in unlicensed accommodation.”

“The proposals also threaten the safety of the wider community, for example, the risk of a fire breaking out. This removal of vital regulatory protections is a charter for unscrupulous landlords.”

The legal team has accused Michael Gove, the levelling-up, housing and communities secretary of uncritically adopting “the policy objectives of the home secretary”, Suella Braverman.

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Written by

David Laycock

Dave Laycock has always written. Poems, songs, essays, academic papers as well as newspaper articles; the written word has always held a great fascination for him and he is never happier than when being creative. From a musical background, Dave has travelled the world performing and also examining for a British music exam board. He also writes, produces and performs and records music. All this aside, he is currently fully focussed on his journalism and can’t wait to share more stories from around the world and beyond.