Helping you find new accommodation
If you are homeless, we will help all eligible households to secure suitable accommodation for at least 6 months. This could be by providing a rental loan or damage deposit guarantee to help you to secure a suitable property within the private rented sector.
If you are homeless, eligible for assistance, in priority need and have a local connection to the Epping Forest district we may have a duty to provide you with interim accommodation whilst fulfilling our relief duties.
You have the right to request a review of the suitability of the interim accommodation offered to you, within 21 days of your offer.
If you have no local connection to our Epping Forest district, we may refer your case to the council you have a connection to, who will take over your case. You can ask for a review as to whether the conditions are met for the council to refer your case to another housing authority.
If you are homeless, eligible for assistance, in priority need we will have a duty to provide you with interim accommodation whilst fulfilling our relief duties.
Interim accommodation is accommodation that we provide for you until such time as our relief duty ends, commonly by you securing suitable accommodation for the next 6 months or by you becoming homeless and 56 days has passed.
If you have been provided with interim accommodation but have been unable to secure alternative suitable accommodation during the relief period. If this results in the council ending its relief duty towards you, it is likely that you will be allowed to remain in the same accommodation if you are accepted as homeless under the main housing duty, which from then on would be referred to as temporary accommodation.
Main housing duty
Our duty to provide longer term accommodation – the main housing duty.
If your homelessness cannot be prevented or relieved within 56 days and you satisfy all of the following:
- You are homeless
- Eligible for assistance
- In priority need
- Not homeless intentionally
- You have a local connection with the Epping Forest district
You will be entitled to the main housing duty under the Housing Act 1996 Pt VII (as amended). In such circumstances, we will have to provide you with suitable temporary accommodation until the main duty ends, usually by the offer of suitable settled accommodation.
If you have no local connection to our district, we may refer your case to the council with whom you do have a connection, who will take over your case. You can ask for a review as to whether the conditions are met for us to refer your case to another housing authority.
If we accept the main duty towards you, you will usually be offered temporary accommodation within the our homeless hostel. You will stay at the hostel until settled suitable accommodation (in accordance with the our housing allocations scheme) becomes available for you.
The hostel comprises around 46 units on the ground and first floors which are let individually or as suites. Residents have the use of communal kitchens, common rooms and laundry facilities. There is ample onsite parking and the scheme also benefits from secure storage where residents can store their possessions if necessary.
Within the grounds there is also an enclosed garden which provides a play area for children aged below 5 years old and a play area for older children.
Unfortunately the demand for our hostel is great and sometimes we simply do not have enough room to accommodate everyone. It may therefore be necessary on occasion to offer alternative temporary accommodation to applicants in bed and breakfast hotels. However, this may not always be located within the district.
You have the right to request a review of the suitability of the temporary accommodation offered to you, within 21 days of your offer.
If we accept a main housing duty towards you, you will eventually be made one offer of suitable accommodation in order to discharge our main housing duty towards you. This will generally be a flat or a maisonette within the council’s own housing stock, subject to availability of accommodation.
The accommodation could be located anywhere within the district unless there are mitigating reasons why you would need to be accommodated away from or within a particular area of the district.
Unfortunately, the wait for settled accommodation can be long and is dependent on number of factors, such as how many applicants are waiting for direct offers of accommodation to be made to them and the type of property required. If, for example, due to medical reasons you require ground floor accommodation, this might increase your waiting time as there are often more people waiting for this type of accommodation. There is often also a long waiting list for people requiring 3-bedroom accommodation.
Under our housing allocations scheme, you will be offered a 2 year secure (fixed-term) tenancy to give you some temporary stability in order to prepare you to make your own arrangements thereafter. We will retain our duty to provide you with housing advice and assistance if, following assessment at the end of the fixed-term it is established that you are still owed the main housing duty under homelessness legislation.
You do have the right to request a review of the suitability of the settled accommodation offered to you, within 21 days of your offer, however you do not have a right to request a review the type of tenancy that you are offered, or the length of that tenancy, as these are clearly set out in our tenancy policy.
It is important to understand that securing accommodation through the homeless route, even where a main housing duty is owed to you, does not necessarily provide you with long term accommodation. Our aim is to help you when you most need it but there is an expectation that once accommodated you will seek alternative accommodation, so that you can move on and we can help more people at their time of housing crisis.