MP Helen Hayes campaigns for Georgia’s Law protecting tenants under threat of violence


An MP is campaigning for victims not to be made homeless when they are forced to move because of violence and threats.

Georgia’s Law would be named after a constituent of Dulwich and West Norwood MP Helen Hayes who took her campaign to the House of Commons last week.

Georgia was placed in temporary accommodation after her teenage son was threatened by gang members in her home.

Police told her Georgia she had to move immediately for her family’s safety.

But her housing association did not have any suitable flats – and sent her to housing officials who provided temporary accommodation.

The housing association then began the process of evicting her – so making her homeless and putting her on the waiting list for accommodation.

Georgia said: “Guys came to the house and were banging on my door. My son – you know kids they don’t tell you stuff. But when the police came, I really had to move.”

The housing association found Georgia a new home after Ms Hayes intervened – but she found there was no legal duty on social landlords to prioritise such cases.

Georgia’s Law would ensure social housing tenants would have their rights protected – and keep the same tenancy terms – if they have to move because of a threat to safety.

It would also create a new duty for social landlords to co-operate if the tenant has to move outside the area.

The Bill is backed by Shelter, the National Housing Federation, and MPs across party lines.

Ms Hayes told the House on February 1: “No one should face homelessness because they or a member of their household is
threatened with serious violence, yet that is exactly what happens to far too many families who are forced to make an emergency move because a member of their household is at risk.”

She said outside the Commons: “Having to make an emergency move because someone in your family is at risk of serious violence is a terrifying and destabilising experience, affecting the whole family.

“My Bill seeks to minimise the trauma and instability tenants face in these circumstances by acknowledging in law that no one should face homelessness as a result of being threatened with violence, protecting existing tenancy rights in law, and ensuring that social landlords co-operate with each other to find a new permanent home as quickly as possible.

“Tackling serious violence requires multiple solutions. Ensuring that social landlords have a duty to act to limit the harm caused by a risk of violence is an important reform in keeping our communities safe, and I hope the Government will support Georgia’s Law.”

Kate Henderson, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “We support the principle that anyone forced to move home due to a threat to their safety has a right to be rehoused on the same terms.

“To help identify suitable permanent accommodation for those at risk we must address the shortage of social housing.

“It is therefore essential that this Bill is backed by an increased supply of homes for social rent.”

Helen Hayes’ Bill – The Social Housing (Emergency Protection of Tenancy Rights) Bill – was introduced under the “10 minute rule” which allows a backbench MP to make their case for a new Bill in a speech lasting up to 10 minutes.”


Pictured: MP Helen Hayes; Georgia

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