Homelessness—the meaning of the terms ‘homelessness’ and ‘threatened homelessness’
Produced in partnership with Alexander Campbell of Field Court Chambers
Homelessness—the meaning of the terms ‘homelessness’ and ‘threatened homelessness’

The following Local Government guidance note Produced in partnership with Alexander Campbell of Field Court Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Homelessness—the meaning of the terms ‘homelessness’ and ‘threatened homelessness’
  • The LHA’s duty
  • The meaning of homelessness
  • Threatened with homelessness

Where a local housing authority (LHA) believes that a person is homeless or may be threatened with homelessness, it has a duty to make inquiries into their eligibility for homelessness assistance and into what housing duty (if any) is owed to them under the Housing Act 1996 (HA 1996). For more on the types of inquiries the LHA has to make, see Practice Note: Homelessness—services and assessment duties.

This Practice Note considers the definitions of the terms 'homeless' and 'threatened with homelessness’ as set out in HA 1996, s 175.

HA 1996 was amended by the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 (HRA 2017). Pursuant to the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 (Commencement and Transitional and Savings Provisions) Regulations 2018, SI 2018/167, which were made on 8 February 2018, HRA 2017 came into force on 3 April 2018. Among other things, HRA 2017 amended the definition of ‘threatened with homelessness’ (see below).

The LHA’s duty

Under HA 1996, s 184 an LHA has a duty to make inquiries into a person’s circumstances in order to determine whether they are eligible for assistance and, if so, to determine what homelessness duty (if any) they are owed by the LHA. That duty only arises where the person concerned is either homeless or threatened with homelessness, as defined by HA 1996, s 175.

The meaning of homelessness

HA