Landlords have welcomed £20m Government initiative to support people who are faced with homelessness to secure a tenancy.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and local government (MHCLG) says thousands if vulnerable people facing homelessness will benefit from the Private Rented Sector (PRS) Access Fund.

The scheme, announced in the last budget, will be used to help establish or expand council schemes, to guide people into sustainable tenancies in the private rented sector.

A successful programme run by homelessness charity Crisis to help homeless people into thousands of private rental tenancies provided a model for the fund.

Residential Landlords Association (RLA) policy director David Smith said: “With over one million households waiting for a social rented home, increasing numbers of councils are now turning to the private rented sector to provide homes for the homeless.

“We strongly welcome the formal launch of the Government’s access fund, as announced in the Budget last year and campaigned for by the RLA and Crisis.

"Homeless tenants face the most difficult financial pressures which this funding could play an important part in addressing, whether it’s support to provide a deposit or ensure rent payments are made.

“Such funding however needs to be matched by an ambitious programme to see more homes of every tenure developed. This includes homes for private rent.”

The initiative comes after the Homelessness Reduction Act, which came into force across England in April.

The RLA has welcomed a new Homelessness Reduction Act, that was introduced in England, which gave new duties for councils, including a new duty to prevent homelessness.

The Housing Act 1996 was amended so that an eviction notice will be enough for Local Authorities to help somebody presenting as at risk of homelessness – giving people time to get help in finding somewhere else to live before physically losing their home.

The RLA supported the move because it believed it would save a lot of worry and stress for both landlords and tenants.

Previously, those who were being served notice were only able to ‘present as homeless’ to the Local Authority and receive help once the bailiffs had been at the property.

This practice was essentially making people ‘homeless at home’ and trying to find alternative accommodation with what possessions they had with them in some cases.