It is important to remember that the laws concerning housing are very complicated. The information here cannot explain everything; it is intended to provide a guide to give you an idea of what to expect.
The Housing Act 1996, amended by Homelessness Act 2002, sets out the legal duties councils have towards homeless people. Under this Act, when looking at homeless applications we have to be satisfied that the applicant is:
- Eligible for housing assistance – not subject to immigration control and habitually resident in the common travel area.
- Homeless, or threatened with homelessness within 28 days – there is no property available to them that they have a legal right to occupy and that is reasonable for them to occupy.
- Unintentionally Homeless - the homelessness has occurred through no fault of their own and was not caused by act or omission on behalf of the applicant.
- Having a priority need as defined in the Housing Act 1996 part VII, s 189(1), which includes:
- A pregnant woman or a person with whom she resides or might reasonably be expected to reside;
- A person with whom dependent children reside or might reasonably be expected to reside;
- A person who is vulnerable as a result of old age, mental illness or mental handicap or physical disability or other special reason, or with whom such a person resides or might reasonably be expected to reside; and
- A person who is homeless or threatened with homelessness as a result of an emergency such as flood, fire or other disaster.
A further 6 additional categories were added to the priority need groups as a result of the Homelessness (Priority Need for Accommodation) (England) Order 2002; these are:
- A child aged 16 or 17
- A young person under 21, who has been looked after, accommodated or fostered, but who is not a student in full-time education
- A person over 21 who is vulnerable as a result of having been looked after, accommodated or fostered
- A person who is vulnerable as a result of having served in the armed forces
- A person who is vulnerable as a result of having been imprisoned
- A person who is vulnerable as a result of ceasing to occupy accommodation because of actual or threatened violence.
Having a local connection to the area. If the applicant does not have a local connection with Coventry but does with another area then a referral will be made to the other local housing authority.
Remember that homelessness is not a fast track to a Council property as Coventry City Council have no housing stock. All social housing belong to Housing Associations. You will be given a new effective date which will not take into account your previous time on the register. In addition to this, you will be limited to one offer of permanent accommodation.
Statutorily homeless households will be made one offer of suitable accommodation to discharge the main housing duty under Housing Act 1996, Part VII. This offer of accommodation may be in the social rented sector or it may be in the private rented sector.
Discharging the main housing duty
When an offer of suitable accommodation has been made to statutory homeless households, the Council will discharge its main housing duty. The events that can cause the duty to end by the provision of are:
- The refusal by an applicant of suitable accommodation secured in performance of the main housing duty
- The applicant ceasing to be eligible for assistance
- The applicant becoming homeless intentionally from his or her main housing duty accommodation
- The applicant accepting an offer of a tenancy made under HA 1996, part VI
- The applicant accepting an offer of an assured, but not an assured shorthold, tenancy from a private landlord, including a private registered provider in England or registered social landlord in Wales
- The applicant voluntarily ceasing to occupy his or her main housing duty accommodation as his or her principal home
- The applicant refusing a final offer of suitable accommodation made under HA 1996, part VI
- For applicants whose applications were made on or after 9 November 2012 to a local housing authority in England, the applicant accepting a private rented sector offer
- For applicants whose applications were made on or after 9 November 2012 to a local housing authority in England, the applicant refusing a private rented sector offer
If you are homeless or threatened with homeless please call 024 7683 4025.
If you would like more information about the Choice Based Lettings system, please visit the Coventry Homefinder website.
The Council is under a duty to protect the public funds it administers, and will use the information you have provided for the prevention and detection of fraud. It will also share this information with other bodies responsible for auditing, administering public funds and will use it for comparison across the Council and with external organisations for the prevention and the detection of fraud. For further information on data matching exercises, see www.coventry.gov.uk/datamatchingandnfi