How we can help you
Criteria to be met to be considered as homeless or threatened with homelessness.
Threatened with homelessness
A person is considered to be threatened with homelessness if they are likely to become homeless within 56 days.
A person is also threatened with homelessness if a valid notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 has been served upon them, which will end their occupation in the only accommodation they have available to them and that notice expires within 56 days.
A section 21 notice is the legal document that is served to bring an end to a shorthold tenancy agreement, a tenancy typically provided by private landlords.
There are several different factors that determine whether a person is homeless but very simply you might be considered homeless if:
- You have no accommodation available to you, that you and your family have a legal right to occupy, within the UK or elsewhere
- You have accommodation but cannot secure entry to it
- You have accommodation in the form of a moveable structure, vehicle or vessel designed or adapted to for you to live in, but there is nowhere you can lawfully put it in order to provide accommodation
- You have accommodation but it would not be reasonable for some reason for you to continue to occupy that accommodation
Are you eligible for assistance?
We have a duty to provide or secure the provision of advice and information about homelessness and the prevention of homelessness, free of charge, to everyone in their district regardless of their eligibility.
However, certain people from abroad are ineligible for any further housing assistance.
The rules around eligibility are complicated but in very simple terms, you must normally live in the UK (long term) and not be subject to immigration control.
Priority need for accommodation
If you fall into 1 of the following categories you are likely to be considered to have a priority need for accommodation:
- A pregnant woman or a person with whom she lives with or might reasonably be expected to live with
- A person with whom dependent children live with or might reasonably be expected to live with
- A person who is vulnerable as a result of old age, mental illness, learning disability, physical disability or other special reason, or with whom such a person lives with or might reasonably be expected to live with
- A person aged 16 or 17 who is not a relevant child or a child in need to whom a local authority owes a duty under section 20 of the Children Act 1989
- A person under 21 who was (but is no longer) looked after, accommodated or fostered between the ages of 16 and 18 (except a person who is a relevant student*)
- A person aged 21 or more who is vulnerable as a result of having been looked after, accommodated or fostered (except a person who is a relevant student*)
- A person who is vulnerable as a result of having been a member of Her Majesty’s naval, military or air forces
- A person who is vulnerable as a result of having served a custodial sentence; being committed for contempt of court (or any other similar offence) or having been remanded in custody
- A person who is vulnerable as a result of ceasing to occupy accommodation because of violence from another person or threats of violence from another person which are likely to be carried out
- A person who is homeless, or threatened with homelessness, as a result of an emergency such as a flood, fire or other disaster
*A relevant student means a care leaver who is under 25 to whom section 24B (3) of the Children Act 1989 applies, and who is in full-time further or higher education and whose term-time accommodation is not available during holidays. If this applies to you, social services will have a duty to secure accommodation rather than the council.
A person becomes homeless intentionally if they deliberately do something or they fail to do something which causes them to lose the accommodation they live in, when ordinarily it would have been reasonable for them to continue to occupy that accommodation.
Local connection with Epping Forest district
A person will be assessed to have a local connection with the Epping Forest district if they have any of the following:
- They are, or were in the past, normally a resident of the Epping Forest district and that residence was of their own choice
- They are employed here
- They have family associations living here
- Because of any special circumstances