Housing Act 1996
1996 Chapter 52 - continued

 
  PART VII
  HOMELESSNESS
 
Homelessness and threatened homelessness
Homelessness and threatened homelessness.     175. - (1) A person is homeless if he has no accommodation available for his occupation, in the United Kingdom or elsewhere, which he-
 
 
    (a) is entitled to occupy by virtue of an interest in it or by virtue of an order of a court,
 
    (b) has an express or implied licence to occupy, or
 
    (c) occupies as a residence by virtue of any enactment or rule of law giving him the right to remain in occupation or restricting the right of another person to recover possession.
      (2) A person is also homeless if he has accommodation but-
 
 
    (a) he cannot secure entry to it, or
 
    (b) it consists of a moveable structure, vehicle or vessel designed or adapted for human habitation and there is no place where he is entitled or permitted both to place it and to reside in it.
      (3) A person shall not be treated as having accommodation unless it is accommodation which it would be reasonable for him to continue to occupy.
 
      (4) A person is threatened with homelessness if it is likely that he will become homeless within 28 days.
 
Meaning of accommodation available for occupation.     176. Accommodation shall be regarded as available for a person's occupation only if it is available for occupation by him together with-
 
 
    (a) any other person who normally resides with him as a member of his family, or
 
    (b) any other person who might reasonably be expected to reside with him.
  References in this Part to securing that accommodation is available for a person's occupation shall be construed accordingly.
 
Whether it is reasonable to continue to occupy accommodation.     177. - (1) It is not reasonable for a person to continue to occupy accommodation if it is probable that this will lead to domestic violence against him, or against-
 
 
    (a) a person who normally resides with him as a member of his family, or
 
    (b) any other person who might reasonably be expected to reside with him.
     
      For this purpose "domestic violence", in relation to a person, means violence from a person with whom he is associated, or threats of violence from such a person which are likely to be carried out.
      (2) In determining whether it would be, or would have been, reasonable for a person to continue to occupy accommodation, regard may be had to the general circumstances prevailing in relation to housing in the district of the local housing authority to whom he has applied for accommodation or for assistance in obtaining accommodation.
 
      (3) The Secretary of State may by order specify-
 
 
    (a) other circumstances in which it is to be regarded as reasonable or not reasonable for a person to continue to occupy accommodation, and
 
    (b) other matters to be taken into account or disregarded in determining whether it would be, or would have been, reasonable for a person to continue to occupy accommodation.
Meaning of associated person.     178. - (1) For the purposes of this Part, a person is associated with another person if-
 
 
    (a) they are or have been married to each other;
 
    (b) they are cohabitants or former cohabitants;
 
    (c) they live or have lived in the same household;
 
    (d) they are relatives;
 
    (e) they have agreed to marry one another (whether or not that agreement has been terminated);
 
    (f) in relation to a child, each of them is a parent of the child or has, or has had, parental responsibility for the child.
      (2) If a child has been adopted or has been freed for adoption by virtue of any of the enactments mentioned in section 16(1) of the Adoption Act 1976, two persons are also associated with each other for the purposes of this Part if-
 
 
    (a) one is a natural parent of the child or a parent of such a natural parent, and
 
    (b) the other is the child or a person-
 
      (i) who has become a parent of the child by virtue of an adoption order or who has applied for an adoption order, or
 
      (ii) with whom the child has at any time been placed for adoption.
      (3) In this section-
 
 
    "adoption order" has the meaning given by section 72(1) of the Adoption Act 1976;
 
    "child" means a person under the age of 18 years;
 
    "cohabitants" means a man and a woman who, although not married to each other, are living together as husband and wife, and "former cohabitants" shall be construed accordingly;
 
    "parental responsibility" has the same meaning as in the Children Act 1989; and
 
    "relative", in relation to a person, means-
 
      (a) the father, mother, stepfather, stepmother, son, daughter, stepson, stepdaughter, grandmother, grandfather, grandson or granddaughter of that person or of that person's spouse or former spouse, or
 
      (b) the brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew (whether of the full blood or of the half blood or by affinity) of that person or of that person's spouse or former spouse,
 
    and includes, in relation to a person who is living or has lived with another person as husband and wife, a person who would fall within paragraph (a) or (b) if the parties were married to each other.
 
General functions in relation to homelessness or threatened homelessness
Duty of local housing authority to provide advisory services.     179. - (1) Every local housing authority shall secure that advice and information about homelessness, and the prevention of homelessness, is available free of charge to any person in their district.
 
      (2) The authority may give to any person by whom such advice and information is provided on behalf of the authority assistance by way of grant or loan.
 
      (3) A local housing authority may also assist any such person-
 
 
    (a) by permitting him to use premises belonging to the authority,
 
    (b) by making available furniture or other goods, whether by way of gift, loan or otherwise, and
 
    (c) by making available the services of staff employed by the authority.
Assistance for voluntary organisations.     180. - (1) The Secretary of State or a local housing authority may give assistance by way of grant or loan to voluntary organisations concerned with homelessness or matters relating to homelessness.
 
      (2) A local housing authority may also assist any such organisation-
 
 
    (a) by permitting them to use premises belonging to the authority,
 
    (b) by making available furniture or other goods, whether by way of gift, loan or otherwise, and
 
    (c) by making available the services of staff employed by the authority.
      (3) A "voluntary organisation" means a body (other than a public or local authority) whose activities are not carried on for profit.
 
Terms and conditions of assistance.     181. - (1) This section has effect as to the terms and conditions on which assistance is given under section 179 or 180.
 
      (2) Assistance shall be on such terms, and subject to such conditions, as the person giving the assistance may determine.
 
      (3) No assistance shall be given unless the person to whom it is given undertakes-
 
 
    (a) to use the money, furniture or other goods or premises for a specified purpose, and
 
    (b) to provide such information as may reasonably be required as to the manner in which the assistance is being used.
     
      The person giving the assistance may require such information by notice in writing, which shall be complied with within 21 days beginning with the date on which the notice is served.
      (4) The conditions subject to which assistance is given shall in all cases include conditions requiring the person to whom the assistance is given-
 
 
    (a) to keep proper books of account and have them audited in such manner as may be specified,
 
    (b) to keep records indicating how he has used the money, furniture or other goods or premises, and
 
    (c) to submit the books of account and records for inspection by the person giving the assistance.
      (5) If it appears to the person giving the assistance that the person to whom it was given has failed to carry out his undertaking as to the purpose for which the assistance was to be used, he shall take all reasonable steps to recover from that person an amount equal to the amount of the assistance.
 
      (6) He must first serve on the person to whom the assistance was given a notice specifying the amount which in his opinion is recoverable and the basis on which that amount has been calculated.
 
Guidance by the Secretary of State.     182. - (1) In the exercise of their functions relating to homelessness and the prevention of homelessness, a local housing authority or social services authority shall have regard to such guidance as may from time to time be given by the Secretary of State.
 
      (2) The Secretary of State may give guidance either generally or to specified descriptions of authorities.
 
 
Application for assistance in case of homelessness or threatened homelessness
Application for assistance.     183. - (1) The following provisions of this Part apply where a person applies to a local housing authority for accommodation, or for assistance in obtaining accommodation, and the authority have reason to believe that he is or may be homeless or threatened with homelessness.
 
      (2) In this Part-
 
 
    "applicant" means a person making such an application,
 
    "assistance under this Part" means the benefit of any function under the following provisions of this Part relating to accommodation or assistance in obtaining accommodation, and
 
    "eligible for assistance" means not excluded from such assistance by section 185 (persons from abroad not eligible for housing assistance) or section 186 (asylum seekers and their dependants).
      (3) Nothing in this section or the following provisions of this Part affects a person's entitlement to advice and information under section 179 (duty to provide advisory services).
 
Inquiry into cases of homelessness or threatened homelessness.     184. - (1) If the local housing authority have reason to believe that an applicant may be homeless or threatened with homelessness, they shall make such inquiries as are necessary to satisfy themselves-
 
 
    (a) whether he is eligible for assistance, and
 
    (b) if so, whether any duty, and if so what duty, is owed to him under the following provisions of this Part.
      (2) They may also make inquiries whether he has a local connection with the district of another local housing authority in England, Wales or Scotland.
 
      (3) On completing their inquiries the authority shall notify the applicant of their decision and, so far as any issue is decided against his interests, inform him of the reasons for their decision.
 
      (4) If the authority have notified or intend to notify another local housing authority under section 198 (referral of cases), they shall at the same time notify the applicant of that decision and inform him of the reasons for it.
 
      (5) A notice under subsection (3) or (4) shall also inform the applicant of his right to request a review of the decision and of the time within which such a request must be made (see section 202).
 
      (6) Notice required to be given to a person under this section shall be given in writing and, if not received by him, shall be treated as having been given to him if it is made available at the authority's office for a reasonable period for collection by him or on his behalf.
 
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Prepared 8 January 1997