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Your rights if homeless

You don't need to be sleeping rough or not have a roof over your head to be considered homeless.

We'll consider you to be homeless under a range of different circumstances, and may have a legal duty to help with your housing.

Such circumstances include:

  • you're sleeping rough
  • you're at risk of violence and/or abuse
  • you're at risk of losing your home
  • you cannot afford to stay where you live
  • you're currently living in very temporary accommodation
  • you're staying with friends or 'sofa surfing'
  • you've been locked out or illegally evicted
  • you're living in poor/dangerous accommodation
  • you have nowhere to put your houseboat or caravan

If one or more of the above apply to you, our Customer Advice and Support Team may be able to help.

We'll draw up a personal housing plan so you can work with us to solve your housing problem.

Who we can help

1. You must have a reason to believe you might be homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days. At this point you can make a homeless application.

2. You must be eligible - normally having lived in the UK long-term and not subject to immigration control.

3. We must be satisfied you're homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days. When we're satisfied you meet the criteria to make a homeless application, we'll draw up your personal housing plan. If you're homeless and have nowhere to stay, we'll decided whether to provide you with temporary accommodation while we work together to solve your housing problem.

If your housing problem remains unresolved after a certain period of time, we'll make a final decision on your homeless application to determine what, if any, accommodation duty we have.

We'll consider personal and housing circumstances such as:

  • whether you're in priority need - eg have dependent children who live with you, you're pregnant, have a disability or physical/mental health problem which means we consider you to be vulnerable
  • whether you've made yourself intentionally homeless - ie made yourself homeless on purpose or were responsible for events which led you to become homeless, eg criminal or anti-social behaviour, or failing to pay rent
  • whether you have a local connection to the borough (though exceptions can be made in certain cases, such as where you're escaping from domestic abuse)

If you meet the above criteria, we have a duty to offer you a suitable home in the private rented sector (eg with a private landlord or estate agency).

Due to the availability of homes in the social housing sector, we can only offer individuals and families social housing in limited cases.

You can register with us via our online housing portal.

Register with our self-referral housing options service

If you're homeless today, please call us on (01788) 533533 during office hours (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday). Out of office hours, call our emergency number on (01788) 579706.


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