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6 Losing your Home
2. Will the council find me somewhere to live?
If you are homeless or likely to become homeless within 28 days, the local council may have to offer you somewhere else to stay or to live, temporarily or longer term. The offer of somewhere to live may also apply to someone who normally lives or might reasonably live with you as a member of your family, and will depend on your circumstances. The council must offer you somewhere if you are:
However, the council may advise you to apply to a different council for housing if you have a 'local connection' there, but no connection with its area (see 'What is a 'local connection'?').
How does the council decide if I am in priority need?
In England you will also be in priority need if you are considered vulnerable because:
In England you should also be found somewhere to live if you are:
If you fall into one of these three groups, the situation is complicated. Social Services, rather than the housing department, may be responsible for finding you somewhere to live, depending on your cirsumstances. If you are not considered in 'priority need', social services must find you somewhere to live. If the two departments cannot agree which of them is responsible for you, you should get advice, because one or other of them must find you somewhere to live. See 'Further help' for details of organisations which can help you.
And in Wales, a 'special reason' can include:
How does the council decide if I am vulnerable?
Am I eligible for assistance?
The law is complicated and you should get advice if you are not sure. whether you are eligible for assistance. If you are an asylum seeker, you will not normally be able to get help from the housing department of the council. See the CLS Direct leaflet 'Claiming Asylum', for more information about your rights, and also for the names and phone numbers of organisations that can help you.
If the local council believes that you are homeless, eligible for assistance and in priority need, then it must make sure you have somewhere to live immediately while it makes enquiries and investigates your case. This may be bed-and-breakfast, hostel or hotel accommodation. In England, if you or someone else in your household is pregnant or has responsibility for children, the council can house you in bed-and-breakfast accomodation only in an emergency, and then only for a maximum of six weeks. In Wales, these limits on using bed-and-breakfast accommodation do not apply.
The council must go on providing accommodation for you until it has finished investigating your case and has told you the decision. If a decision goes against you and you challenge it, the council can continue to house you while it looks again at your case, but it does not have to.
If the council offers you unsuitable accommodation, tell them why it is unsuitable (see 'What if the council offers me somewhere unsuitable?'). But don't reject it outright without getting advice first, because the council may refuse to find you an alternative.
This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Shelter.
Leaflet version: June 2019
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CLS Legal Info Leaflets
29 I am in arrears with my rent. What are my rights?
(Legal Information Leaflets)