Homelessness code of guidance for local authorities

Guidance on how local authorities should exercise their homelessness functions in accordance with the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 from 3 April 2018.

Local housing and social services authorities must have regard to this guidance when exercising their functions relating to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

You can also download a copy of the Homelessness code of guidance (PDF).

This guidance will be in force from 3 April 2018 when the Homelessness Reduction Act comes into force.

  1. Definitions Definitions used in the code of guidance.
  2. Overview of the homelessness legislation A summary of the homelessness legislation and the duties, powers and obligations on housing authorities and others towards people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.
  3. Chapter 1: Introduction The purpose of the code and the relevant equality duties that housing authorities need to consider in carrying out their duties.
  4. Chapter 2: Homelessness strategies and reviews Guidance on housing authority duties to carry out a homelessness review and publish a homelessness strategy.
  5. Chapter 3: Advice and information about homelessness and the prevention of homelessness Guidance on housing authority duties to provide free advice and information about homelessness and the prevention of homelessness, and to ensure they design advice to meet the needs of particular vulnerable groups.
  6. Chapter 4: The duty to refer cases in England to housing authorities Guidance on the duty on specified public bodies to refer service users that may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to a local housing authority.
  7. Chapter 5: Contracting out homelessness functions Guidance on contracting out homelessness functions.
  8. Chapter 6: Homeless or threatened with homelessness Guidance on how to determine whether a person is homeless or threatened with homelessness according to legislation.
  9. Chapter 7: Eligibility for assistance Guidance on the provisions relating to an applicant’s eligibility for homelessness services.
  10. Chapter 8: Priority need Guidance on the categories of applicant who have a priority need for accommodation if they become homeless.
  11. Chapter 9: Intentional homelessness Guidance on determining whether an applicant has become homeless intentionally under homelessness legislation.
  12. Chapter 10: Local connection and referrals to another housing authority Guidance on the provisions relating to an applicant’s local connection with an area and explains the procedures for referring an applicant to another housing authority.
  13. Chapter 11: Assessments and personalised plans Guidance on the initial assessments required to determine the duties owed to a person applying for homelessness assistance; personalised housing plans and the reasonable steps to be taken to prevent or relieve homelessness.
  14. Chapter 12: Duty in cases of threatened homelessness (the prevention duty) Guidance on duties owed to applicants who are threatened with becoming homeless, to try and prevent their homelessness.
  15. Chapter 13: Relief duty Guidance on duties owed to applicants who are homeless, to try and relieve their homelessness.
  16. Chapter 14: Ending the prevention and relief duties Guidance on how the prevention and relief duties come to an end.
  17. Chapter 15: Accommodation duties and powers Guidance on housing authority duties and powers to secure accommodation for applicants; how they arise and are brought to an end, including under the main housing duty.
  18. Chapter 16: Securing accommodation Guidance on the various ways in which housing authorities can secure suitable accommodation for applicants.
  19. Chapter 17: Suitability of accommodation Guidance on housing authority duties to ensure that accommodation secured for homeless applicants is suitable.
  20. Chapter 18: Applications, decisions and notifications Guidance on procedural requirements related to homelessness applications and the notification of decisions.
  21. Chapter 19: Review of decisions and appeals to the county court Guidance on the procedures to be followed when an applicant requests a review of decisions reached on their homelessness application.
  22. Chapter 20: Protection of personal property Guidance on the duties and powers housing authorities have to protect the personal property of an applicant who is homeless.
  23. Chapter 21: Domestic abuse Guidance on providing homelessness services to people who have experienced or are at risk of domestic violence or abuse.
  24. Chapter 22: Care leavers Guidance on providing homelessness services to care leavers.
  25. Chapter 23: People with an offending history Guidance on providing homelessness services to people with an offending history.
  26. Chapter 24: Former members of the armed forces Guidance on providing homelessness services to former members of the armed forces.
  27. Chapter 25: Modern slavery and trafficking Guidance on providing homelessness services to victims of modern slavery.
  28. Annex 1: The habitual residence test Guidance on considering housing applications from persons who are subject to the habitual residence test.