Homeless Application (Housing Act 1996)
Making a homeless application is seen as the last resort. The law does not allow a Local Authority to provide accommodation to an individual or family just because they are street homeless.
If you have nowhere else to go then you can apply as homeless, but unless the Council has reason to believe you are homeless (within the legal definition), eligible and in a Priority Need class defined under the Housing Act you will not be provided with any accommodation.
Even if you apply as homeless and we accept after legal investigation that there is a full legal duty to provide accommodation you would be very unlikely to be re-housed in permanent accommodation for between 1 and 3 years (depending on household type). If you are found to have lost your previous settled accommodation “intentionally”, for example due to failure to pay rent or anti-social behaviour, then no further accommodation will be offered regardless of Priority Need.
Please note that our Emergency Duty Officer is only available from 1pm each day to see individuals who are street homeless that night. You will be required to supply certain documents without which we will be unable to assist.
If the Council has reason to believe you are homeless, eligible and in Priority Need then temporary accommodation will be offered. Our resources for emergency housing are in hostel or bed & breakfast accommodation. All emergency accommodation is outside of the Borough in areas such as Harlow, Basildon, Southend or Ilford (depending on availability). You will have to pay a charge for any emergency accommodation. If you are not entitled to full Housing Benefit you would have to meet this payment in full, which can be very high.
Emergency accommodation is only offered if you have no family or friends or other alternative accommodation for the period in which your full homeless application is being investigated.
What to do if you think you may become homeless
When looking at your options you may wish to consider if you are entitled to approach another Local Authority, if you have a Local Connection to it. If you have a Local Connection to another Local Authority and not to Brentwood you would be transferred by law in any event and would be advised to apply to that Authority.
Private Renting – including Rent Deposit: As you are at risk of losing your current accommodation you should look at alternate rented properties. The Housing Needs team may be able to assist with rent in advance (‘RIA’) and/or a rent deposit (‘RDS’) (subject to affordability and eligibility). Please inform the Housing Needs team if you wish for further information concerning RIA/RDS.
Given the very high rental costs within the Borough of Brentwood many applicants have to look at the reality of finding alternate accommodation outside of the Borough, for example in Basildon, Thurrock or Havering.
If you are going to become homeless in the next 28 days, eligible for assistance and want to apply to the Council
Please complete our Housing Advice request form
If you telephone the Council office your call will be dealt with by the Customer Contact Centre and you will be advised to complete the on line form. Only emergency situations (e.g. street homelessness that night) will be dealt with by the Emergency Duty Officer.
Please see separate advice if you are a victim of domestic violence
In an emergency homeless situation out of hours, please contact our emergency number 01277 312 500 selecting option 2.
It is extremely unlikely, given the huge current demand for Council and Housing Association accommodation, that you would be successful in being re-housed via the Housing Register in the short to medium term. Applicants who have in excess of £16,000 savings or a combined household income/savings in excess of £60,000 will not be eligible to join the Housing Register.
What happens next?
If your case does not require immediate assistance then your case will be allocated to a Housing Advice and Homeless Prevention Officer and you will be advised of their name and the priority timescale that you will be contacted. Due to the increase in demand for housing advice it is unlikely the allocated officer will be able to contact you before.
We cannot guarantee that a member of staff will be available for interview unless a prior appointment has been made by your allocated housing officer.
Whilst waiting to be contacted you need to register to join the Housing Register. Information on eligibility criteria can be found on the Allocations Policy web page.
A link to the online Housing Register application form is provided on the Apply to be on the Housing Register web page.
Please remember to supply ALL required documentation to the Council within 7 days of completion of the Housing Register application form. Details of the documents required and where to send them are provided on the Apply to be on the Housing Register web page.
It is important that you keep records of all accommodation types, addresses and rental prices which you have considered as you may be asked to produce these to your allocated Officer.
If after investigation we accept the homeless application there would be a legal duty to provide permanent accommodation. Permanent accommodation may be in either Council/Housing Association stock within the Borough or in the private rented sector which may be outside the Borough in a more affordable location. If you have no prior Local Connection to the Borough of Brentwood it is likely you will be housed in private rented accommodation outside of this Borough.
Private Renters: We would not normally consider you to be homeless until a Possession Order from the Court has expired. If you leave accommodation available to you because a legal Notice has been served you will likely be found to have made yourself ‘Intentionally Homeless’ and no duty to provide accommodation will remain.
Parental/Family Evictions: We will always seek to mediate between families to ensure that an individual is not made homeless. We therefore require families to undertake professional Mediation with relevant partner agencies, potentially including Social Services. A Homeless application will only be taken after all other options have been exhausted.