Final homeless decisions (main duty)

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This page will provide you with information on the final decisions that can be made following a homeless approach.

On this page:

Decisions that can be made

The following decisions can be made following the investigation of a homeless application:

Not eligible

This decision will be made if the customer is not eligible to receive housing services due to their immigration status. This can occur at any point in the process, but it is typically made after the initial contact. If the customer is considered vulnerable, they may be referred to Adult Social Care or Brighter Futures for Children for additional support. The local authority is not obligated to offer accommodation to ineligible households or individuals, and no other legislation override this decision.

Not homeless

This decision will be made if the accommodation a customer is living in remains suitable for them. To be considered suitable, the property must meet certain criteria, including accessibility and affordability, among other factors. A full assessment of suitability will be made before reaching a final decision.

Not a priority need

This decision will be made if the customer does not meet any of the priority need categories listed below. We will still provide support to explore alternative accommodation. However, we will not have a duty to provide accommodation. This decision is likely to be made when the relief duty ends.

A person is considered to have a priority need if they:

  • have dependent children or are pregnant
  • are someone who the local authority believe is vulnerable as a result of old age, learning or physical disability, or other special reason
  • are a person who is homeless as a result of domestic abuse
  • are a person who is vulnerable as a result of having spent time in prison, armed forces or hospital or being a looked after child
  • are homeless as a result of a fire, flood or other natural disaster.

Intentionally homeless

This decision will be made if, following a full investigation and meeting with the customer, we can provide evidence that:

  • the last settled home was lost as a result of actions, or lack of actions, by the customer, and those actions were carried out in good faith
  • the accommodation was reasonable to continue to occupy

If emergency or temporary accommodation has been provided and this decision is made, the customer will no longer be entitled to it and will be given reasonable notice to leave (generally 14 to 28 days, depending on the situation). If there are children in the household, and we have their consent, we will refer them to Brighter Futures for Children for additional support.

No local connection

This decision will be made if the customer does not have a local connection to the borough. You have a local connection to Reading if:

  • you have lived in the Reading borough for 6 out of the last 12 months or 3 out of the last 5 years
  • you have a close family member (parent, brother, sister or adult children) who has lived in the Reading borough for 5 years
  • you work within the Reading borough
  • you are at risk where you have a local connection and no other area is safe for you

If the customer is considered, at this point, to be eligible for assistance, homeless, meets a priority need category, and unintentionally homeless, the case will be referred to a borough where there is a local connection. A referral will not be made to any borough where the customer would be considered to be at risk of harm.

Any of the above decisions will result in the local authority not having a duty to provide accommodation. The customer will have the right to request a review of the decision which can be made within 21 days of the date the decision is received.
If we issue a negative decision, it will not affect the work we do to find alternative accommodation, but the main housing duty will not be owed. The above decisions may affect the applicant’s application for Homechoice at Reading.

The Main Housing Duty

This decision will be made if the customer:

  • is eligible for housing assistance
  • is homeless
  • meets a priority need criteria
  • is unintentionally homeless
  • has a local connection to the borough

This decision means that the local authority has a duty to support with accommodation while it supports to secure a more permanent home, unless there is accommodation that is reasonable to occupy in the short term. The housing options that will be explored are a tenancy in the private rented sector or access to social housing.

This duty can be brought to an end in the following ways:

  • an offer of suitable accommodation is accepted (this could be an offer of private rented or social housing)
  • a refusal of suitable accommodation
  • a refusal of temporary accommodation
  • the customer ceases to be eligible for housing assistance
  • the customer becomes intentionally homeless from temporary accommodation provided
  • the customer cease to occupy any temporary accommodation that has been provided

Points at which decisions can be reviewed

The customer has the right to request a review of the following decisions:

  • of their eligibility for assistance
  • what duty is owed to them when they are homeless or threatened with homelessness
  • of the steps and actions set out in their personalised housing plan
  • the decision to end the prevention or relief duty
  • any notice service in cases of deliberate and unreasonable refusal to cooperate
  • the decision to refer their case to another local council
  • the suitability of any accommodation offered

The customer must request a review within 21 days of receiving a decision. Once the local council receives this request, they have 8 weeks to provide a response. During this period, the customer will need to actively participate in the process and submit evidence to support their review request.

Getting in touch with the Homeless Prevention Service

You can contact the Homeless Prevention Service online by filling in an online form.

Last updated on 30/11/2023