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If you're homeless, or think you might soon become homeless then your local authority might have a duty to re-house you under homelessness regulations.

For this to happen you'll need to meet a number of criteria:

  1. You need to be homeless or about to lose your home within 28 days.
  2. You need to be eligible for assistance. You won't be eligible if you are subject to immigration control or an EEA national who is not deemed habitually resident for housing and benefits purposes.
  3. You need to be 'in priority need':
    (a) you're pregnant or about to become a carer of a child;
    (b) you have dependant children;
    (c) you're vulnerable because of old age, mental illness, handicap or physical disability, or you're the main carer of someone vulnerable;
    (d) you're homeless or threatened with homelessness as a result of an emergency, such as flood, fire or other disaster'
  4. You are not intentionally homeless; that is, you are homeless not because you deliberately did or failed to do something which resulted in you losing your accommodation.
  5. You need to have a connection with the local authority where you are making the application. You may have a local connection if you live or work in the area, or if 'there are other special circumstances', which is where a local authority must exercise its discretion.

Having a manageable chronic illness may not be deemed priority need on health grounds by many local authorities. If your only health problem is managed HIV, even if this requires medication, then you are unlikely to be deemed to have a priority need for this reason alone.

If you satisfy all the above requirements, the local authority will have a duty to house you. If you don't, it will only have a duty to advise you.

If you need to talk these things through, get in contact with THT Direct.

Do I have the right to housing?

Remember: if you're applying for rehousing based on homelessness to the local authority, it has the following duties:

  • to investigate
  • to provide housing while they investigate if they have reason to believe you are homeless and in priority need
  • to protect property in certain circumstances.

Your local authority also has a duty to give you a decision in writing. For the decision to be valid it needs to set out your right to ask for a review and the reason for the refusal.

In the event that you are not happy with the decision you should ask for a review within 21 days of the date of the decision. It is important you act as quickly as possible and so at this point we suggest that you call THT Direct who will try to signpost you to housing specialist in your area.

What if I'm not entitled to housing?

If you are not entitled to be re-housed under the homelessness regulations you should ask the local authority for further advice and look for private rented accommodation.

If you don’t have enough money for your deposit you should find out whether your local authority has a guaranteed deposit scheme which may help you with this.

You might also be eligible to claim Housing Benefit to help you with your rent. Follow this link for further information on finding accommodation.

You can also talk to one of our Online Advisors.



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The Information Standard: Certified member

This article was last reviewed on 2/5/2013 by T. Kelaart

Date due for the next review: 2/5/2016

Content Author: R. Kaye

Current Owner: R. Kaye

More information:

Astin, Diane. Housing Law: an advisor's handbook 2008 Ch 13, 476-477

Adviceguide - Finding a place to live - 2013