Threatened with homelessness (prevention duty)

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This page will provide you with information on support available when someone is at risk of becoming homeless and will be owed the prevention duty.

On this page:

What is the prevention duty?

If there is a risk of becoming homeless within 56 days, the prevention duty will be owed. During the prevention duty, we must take reasonable steps to prevent any eligible applicant from becoming homeless, regardless of priority need status, intentionality and whether they have a local connection. The council’s priority will be to try to resolve the homelessness so customers are able to remain in their current accommodation, or to assist to secure an alternative home.

If a customer is already homeless please move directly onto the relief duty.

We will always aim to support the customer to remain in your current accommodation and provide them with comprehensive information and advice to enable them to solve their own housing situation.

Homelessness prevention options

Some of the prevention options we may explore might include:

What the prevention duty involves

We will assess the circumstances and needs to create a personalised housing plan. The plan will:

  • set out the current situation, reasons for homelessness and any support required
  • set out the steps that the customer and Homelessness Prevention Team can take to prevent homelessness
  • contain mandatory actions and recommended steps which could relate to the wider circumstances
  • be reviewed by a Homeless Prevention Officer on a regular basis

If other agencies are involved with supporting the customer, we can involve them in the plan and share it with them, with the customers consent.

Failing to co-operate with the actions in the plan

If a customer deliberately and unreasonably refuses to co-operate with the required steps in the plan, they could be issued with a warning letter informing them of the actions that they need to take. If they continue to deliberately and unreasonably refuse to co-operate, they could then be issued with a notice which will bring the prevention duty to an end. If they subsequently become homeless, the relief duty will still apply.

Ending the prevention duty

The prevention duty can end if:

  • we have successfully prevented homelessness or we find alternative accommodation which is available for at least 6 months
  • 56 days have passed, support has been provided and the customer has not been made homeless (unless a section 21 notice has been served from private rented accommodation)
  • the application is withdrawn or we are unable to make contact with the customer
  • the customer ceases to be eligible for housing assistance
  • the customer refuses an offer of suitable accommodation
  • the customer loses accommodation that has been provided under the prevention duty (the relief duty will still apply)
  • the customer becomes homeless during or at the end of 56 days (you are owed the relief duty)
  • the customer deliberately and unreasonably refuse to co-operate with their personalised housing plan (this will not impact any other duty which may be owed should the customer become homeless)

The customer will be notified in writing if the prevention duty is going to end. If they disagree with a decision to end the prevention duty they can request a review of this decision.

Points in 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 co-operate
  • 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 Homelessness Prevention Service

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

Last updated on 04/06/2024