Homelessness—priority need for accommodation
Produced in partnership with Lucie Bryan of Walker Morris and Elizabeth England, Barrister
Homelessness—priority need for accommodation

The following Local Government guidance note Produced in partnership with Lucie Bryan of Walker Morris and Elizabeth England, Barrister provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Homelessness—priority need for accommodation
  • Duty to provide homeless accommodation
  • The prevention duty, the relief duty and priority need for accommodation
  • Priority need for accommodation
  • Pregnant women
  • Dependent children
  • Emergency
  • 16- and 17-year-olds
  • Care leavers under 21 years old
  • Vulnerability categories—England
  • more

Duty to provide homeless accommodation

Under the Housing Act 1996 (HA 1996), a local housing authority (LHA) has an 'interim housing duty' if it has reason to believe that an applicant may be eligible, may be homeless and may be in a priority need group. See Practice Note: Homelessness—interim duties.

An LHA has a duty to secure that accommodation is available to a homeless applicant, if it is satisfied that the applicant:

  1. is homeless—see Practice Note: Homelessness—the meaning of the terms ‘homelessness’ and ‘threatened homelessness’

  2. is not intentionally homeless—see Practice Note: Intentional homelessness and

  3. has priority need

  4. and is eligible for assistance

For further information on the various duties of an LHA in homelessness, see Practice Notes: Homelessness—assisting the homeless post-3 April 2018 and Homelessness—services and assessment duties.

The effect of having a priority need varies according to whether a person is in England or in Wales.

The prevention duty, the relief duty and priority need for accommodation

The prevention and relief duties apply regardless of whether a person is in priority need for accommodation.

If an LHA is unable to prevent an applicant from becoming homeless, or to help them to secure accommodation within the ‘relief’ stage, they are required to reach a decision as to whether the applicant has a priority need for accommodation.

For further reading on the prevention and