Homelessness—eligibility
Produced in partnership with Iris Ferber of 42 Bedford Row
Homelessness—eligibility

The following Local Government guidance note Produced in partnership with Iris Ferber of 42 Bedford Row provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Homelessness—eligibility
  • What does eligibility for housing assistance mean?
  • Decision making on eligibility
  • Immigration status
  • Who is not eligible?
  • Habitual residence
  • Exclusions from the habitual residence test

This Practice Note focuses on the eligibility of applicants for ‘housing assistance’: that is, assistance under the homelessness provisions in Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 (HA 1996) in England, and Part 2 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 (H(W)A 2014) in Wales. For eligibility for the allocation of housing, see Practice Note: Allocation—eligibility.

What does eligibility for housing assistance mean?

Eligibility in relation to housing assistance concerns immigration status. The responsibility for determining whether or not an applicant is eligible rests with the local housing authority (LHA), and is subject to the applicant’s right of review, see Practice Note: Homelessness—the review and appeal procedures.

England and Wales each have their own Homelessness Code of Guidance. In the English (2018 Code), Eligibility is dealt with in Chapter 7; in the Welsh Code, Eligibility is dealt with in Chapter 7, by reference to Chapter 2 (Eligibility in relation to Allocation). The contents of both Codes are very similar on this topic.

Eligibility is one of the most complex areas of homelessness law, combining elements of both housing law and immigration law. As with all other areas of homelessness law, the Equality Act 2010 must always be borne in mind; especially, in this context, any language or cultural barriers which arise as a result of the applicant’s race. See Practice Note: Public sector