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The amendment regulations are, reportedly, prompted by the increased use of hotels for housing asylum seekers, costing the taxpayer around £6 million per day. There are currently 50,000 asylum seekers being housed in hotels across the UK.
Baroness Scott of Bybrok, under the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities confirmed in the House of Lord's debate that all housing will still be subject to the wider private rented sector regulations and home office service providers are still obligated to provide "safe, habitable, fit for purpose and correctly equipped accommodation for all asylum seekers".
The Local Government Association has however criticised the proposed amendments.
On its website, the LGA said:
"Local government is aware of current pressures caused by high arrival numbers and share the wish to reduce the current use of hotels and to place dispersed asylum seekers in more permanent accommodation. The Home Office has stated that the standards for HMO asylum accommodation will be broadly in line with the current HMO licensing regime through the conditions of their contracts with providers and that no property would be brought online until it has been inspected by a Home Office (HO) contract inspector.
"There is however concern that even if the new standards and inspection process is similar current HMO requirements, given HO operational pressures and capacity, current standards may not be able to be maintained. Councils are keen to work with government to ensure that accommodation continues to meet the current national minimum HMO standards and that a ‘two-tier’ system with lower standards and enforcement for accommodation for asylum seekers does not result from the change."