You are here

Homelessness Reduction Act 2017

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 came into force on the 3rd April 2018.

The Act sets out new duties on English Local Authorities with the aim of preventing homelessness.

The Act sets out the circumstances whereby all households that are eligible and threatened with homelessness within 56 days must be offered support from local authorities to try and prevent them from becoming homeless. Importantly, the Act extends the period during which someone might qualify as being threatened with homelessness from 28 days to 56 days.

The Act extends the existing duty on local authorities to provide free homelessness advice and information to any person in their local authority area.

This should include advice and information on:

  • preventing homelessness
  • securing accommodation when homeless
  • the rights of homeless people or those threatened with homelessness
  • the help that is available from the local authority or others and how to access that help

Local authorities must devise and agree a homelessness plan, regardless of priority need. This will require local authorities to carry out an assessment in all cases where an eligible applicant is homeless, or at risk of becoming made homeless.

The plan will set out reasonable steps both parties must agree to take and must be continuously reviewed until duty is discharged.

Duty in cases of threatened homelessness – The prevention Duty

A duty on councils to take reasonable steps to prevent homelessness for any individual, regardless of priority need or intentionality, who is at risk of homelessness. This means either assisting them to stay in their current accommodation or helping them to find a new place to live.

Duties owed to those who are homeless – The Relief Duty

A duty on councils to relieve homelessness for all eligible households, regardless of priority need.

If an applicant cannot be prevented from becoming homeless after 56 days or approaches as already homeless they should then be assisted under the Relief Duty.

This involves taking reasonable steps to help the applicant to secure suitable accommodation. This duty lasts for up to 56 days, and requires councils to take reasonable steps to help secure accommodation for any eligible person who is homeless. This help could be, for example, the provision of a rent deposit or debt advice.

An applicant can be referred to another local authority to whom they have a local connection at this point.

The Full Duty

If at the end of the relief duty the applicant is still made homeless then a full homeless assessment must be undertaken to determine what duty, if any, is owed.

At this stage, the local authority will then make a decision following consideration of whether a household is in priority need, intentionally homeless and has a local connection to the area.

Duty to Refer

Requires public authorities in England specified in regulations to notify a local housing authority (LHA) of service users they think may be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

If you require advice or assistance with making an approach to a local authority as Homeless please contact us

Accessibility tools

Text Size

Current Size: 100%

Page Style

Current Style: Standard