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  • Writer's pictureEdgbaston Labour

Cllr Carl Rice calls for overhaul on Exempt Accommodation rules following Birmingham Housing Crisis

Updated: Dec 14, 2021


The increase of poorly managed Exempt 'Supported' Accommodation has caused concerns that have resulted in an increase of anti social behaviour across the City, including in Edgbaston. Many vulnerable people living within Exempt Accommodation have not received the level of support they need.


As Chair of the Coordinating Overview & Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Carl Rice has led a City wide inquiry into Exempt Accommodation. The Committee has gathered evidence from local residents groups, tenants living in Exempt Accommodation, housing providers, support services, charities, Council departments and statutory agencies such as West Midlands Police.


The inquiry has been concluded with Councillor Rice presenting the final report to December's Full Council Meeting. All recommendations were accepted and the committee will track progress. See his report here


Councillor Rice said


“As a local councillor I have seen the impact of badly managed exempt accommodation. People living within them are often left with poor living conditions and inadequate support. Local residents living around these properties are often left with the local impact and faced with horrific levels of anti social behaviour.”


”This inquiry has gathered evidence from a range of people across the city and has produced some robust recommendations for Birmingham City Council. It also asks for the Council to continue to lobby the Government for legislative changes needed. "


Cllr Sharon Thompson alongside Birmingham MPs, Councils across the West Midlands and national organisations have been calling for the Levelling Up and Housing Select Committee in Parliament, to launch an inquiry into Exempt Accommodation in the UK.


Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Select Committee launched the Exempt Accommodation in December, following calls from Labour Councillors and MPs across Birmingham, to reform a rented housing sector which has been blighted by exploitation and neglect from dodgy landlords.


Exempt Accommodation provides subsidised housing to a range of people with support needs, such as domestic abuse survivors, recovering addicts and people who are homeless. However,unlike other types of housing support, the accommodation is exempt from benefit caps which means that landlords can charge much higher rents than regular landlords.


Councillor Sharon Thompson, Cabinet Member for Vulnerable Children and Families, and former Housing Cabinet Member, said


“I have been working to push a nationwide inquiry into this silent scandal, which affects vulnerable people in our towns and cities. I am grateful to Clive Betts MP for meeting with me to discuss this issue and following the unified requests from across the UK agreeing to opening a Select Committee Inquiry. My colleague, Cllr Carl Rice has played an important role in leading Birmingham's Scrutiny Review which will play a vital part in producing Birmingham's submission to the select committee inquiry. We have seen first hand in North Edgbaston how some of these properties have devastated individual lives and local communities. We must continue to fight against this scandal and seek change for local residents.”


She added


“I hope that the evidence that Carl, and his colleagues on the Scrutiny Committee, have produced will send alarm bells ringing in Whitehall and that the immediate changes to the laws are brought forward to protect tenants from rogue landlords”

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