Our statutory duties
The homelessness legislation
The primary homelessness legislation – that is, Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 – provides the statutory duties to prevent homelessness and provide assistance to people threatened with homelessness within 56 days.
Duty to provide advisory services
We have a duty to provide advice and information if you are threatened with homelessness and will assist to prevent your homelessness or if you are already homeless we will assist you to relieve your homelessness.
Applications and inquiries
This assessment process is important in enabling us to identify the assistance you may need, either to prevent you from becoming homeless, or to help you find another home. In each case, we will need to first decide whether the you are eligible for assistance and threatened with or are actually homeless.
Assessments and personalised housing plans
We have a duty to carry out an assessment in all cases where you are either homeless or are threatened with homelessness. This will identify what has caused the homelessness or threat of homelessness, your housing needs and any support you may need in order to be able to secure and retain accommodation. Following this assessment, we will work with you to develop a personalised housing plan which will include actions (or ‘reasonable steps’) to be taken by the council and yourself to try and prevent or relieve homelessness.
The council will have a duty to take reasonable steps to help prevent any eligible person (regardless of priority need status, intentionality and whether they have a local connection) who is threatened with homelessness from becoming homeless. This means either helping you to stay in your current accommodation or helping you to find a new place to live before you actually become homeless. The prevention duty continues for 56 days unless it is brought to an end by an event such as your accommodation being secured, or you become homeless.
If you are already homeless, or have become homeless despite activity during the prevention stage, the reasonable steps will be focused on helping you to secure accommodation. This relief duty lasts for 56 days unless ended in another way. If the council has reason to believe you may be eligible for assistance and have a priority need, you must be provided with interim accommodation. The temporary accommodation options will be discussed within your housing options interview, with your caseworker.
Duty to refer
The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 introduced a duty on certain public authorities to refer service users who they think may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to a housing authority.
Main housing duty
If homelessness is not successfully prevented or relieved, the council will owe you the main housing duty if you are eligible, have a priority need for accommodation and are not homeless intentionally.
Certain categories of household, such as pregnant women, families with children, and households that are homeless due to an emergency such as a fire or flood, have priority need if homeless. Other groups may be assessed as having priority need because they are vulnerable as a result of old age, mental ill health, physical disability, having been in prison or care or as a result of becoming homeless due to domestic abuse.
You would be considered intentionally homeless if homelessness was the consequence of a deliberate action or omission by yourself. A deliberate act might be a decision to leave the previous accommodation even though it would have been reasonable for you (and everyone in your household) to continue to live there. A deliberate omission might be non-payment of rent that led to rent arrears and eviction despite the rent being affordable.
Local connection and referrals to another authority
You may have a local connection with a district because of residence, employment or family associations in the district, or because of special circumstances. (There are exceptions, for example, residence in a district while serving a prison sentence there does not establish a local connection). If you meet the criteria for the relief duty or for the main housing duty, and the council considers that you do not have a local connection with the district but do have one somewhere else, the council can ask the housing authority in that other district to take responsibility for the case.
Last updated: 16/05/2018 9:44