Homelessness and eligibility

This LexisNexis Local Government practice note, produced in partnership with Iris Ferber of 42 Bedford Row, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the eligibility of applicants for housing assistance.

• Homelessness—eligibility
• What does eligibility for housing assistance mean?
• Decision making on eligibility
• Immigration status
• Who is not eligible?
• Persons subject to immigration control
• Persons eligible even though subject to immigration control
• Persons not eligible even though not subject to immigration control
• Habitual residence
• Exclusions from the habitual residence test

Homelessness - eligibility
Coronavirus (COVID-19): The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, in collaboration with Public Health England, has produced non-statutory guidance to support landlords with allocating social homes. The guidance contains information on how local authorities and housing associations consider using existing homes that become available during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. The government makes clear that allocation by local housing authorities continues to be governed by Part 6 of the Housing Act 1996 and authorities must have regard to statutory guidance. See further: Coronavirus (COVID-19) - social housing tracker - Government guidance and LNB News 28/04/2020 53.

This Practice Note focuses on the eligibility of applicants for ‘housing assistance’: that is, assistance under the homelessness provisions in Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 (HA 1996) in England, and Part 2 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 (H(W)A 2014) in Wales. For eligibility for the allocation of housing, see Practice Note: Allocation - eligibility.

What does eligibility for housing assistance mean?
Eligibility in relation to housing assistance concerns immigration status. The responsibility for determining whether or not an applicant is eligible rests with the local housing authority (LHA), and is subject to the applicant’s right of review, see Practice Note: Homelessness—the review and appeal procedures. England and Wales each have their own Homelessness Code of Guidance.

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