Our legal duties
If you are homeless or are threatened with homelessness within 56 days please contact Housing Options Service Trafford (HOST) immediately as we need to make a full assessment of your situation. The law says that we have different duties to help and advise you dependent on your individual situation.
Are you eligible for assistance?
Before we can offer you any assistance we must first ensure that you are eligible.
The law says there are four groups of people we cannot help, except to give housing advice. We will not be able to carry on with your homeless application if any of the points listed below apply to you:
- You are subject to immigration control and have limited rights to be here. (We have a duty to check your immigration status and tell the relevant authorities if you are here illegally.)
- You are here from abroad and are not able to claim state benefits (known as 'public funds')
- You are not normally or 'habitually' resident in this country
- You are an asylum seeker (but may be eligible for temporary accommodation arranged by central government)
If you are not eligible for help, we do not have to give you help; however we will provide you with some housing advice.
Housing Advice and Information
General housing advice will be provided including: how to secure accommodation, your rights, help that is available and how to access that help, we will provide specific advice to meet the needs of the following client groups:
- Persons released from prison or youth detention centres.
- Care leavers
- Former members of the regular armed forces.
- Victims of domestic abuse.
- Persons leaving hospital.
- Persons suffering from a mental illness or impairment.
- Any other group that the authority identify as being at particular risk of homelessness.
Are you legally homeless?
HOST will make a decision about whether you are ‘legally’ homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days.
If it is decided that you are not homeless, we will give you advice to help you keep your home, and tell you about the housing options that may be available to you.
If you are classed as homeless or threatened with homelessness within 56 days then we will look at what duty we owe. This will involve a detailed assessment of the circumstances which have led to your homelessness/threat of homelessness, your support needs and what type of housing is required. We will create an agreed Personal Housing Plan that will record reasonable actions that both you and the authority should undertake to prevent or relieve homelessness; this will be reviewed at a regular basis.
56 day Prevention Duty
If you are eligible and threatened with homelessness within 56 days we must take reasonable steps to ensure you can remain in your accommodation or secure alternative suitable accommodation that is available to you for a period of at least six months. Should your homelessness not be prevented there will then be a further duty to relieve your homelessness.
56 day Relief Duty
If you are already homeless or your homelessness has not been prevented there is a 56 day period called the Relief Duty where all reasonable steps, as agreed in your Personal Housing Plan, must be taken to secure you accommodation that is available to you for a period of at least six months. Should we decide that your local connection lies with another authority we will refer you and the Relief Duty to that authority.
Main Homelessness Duty
If at the end of both the Prevention and Relief Duties no accommodation has been secured for you and you have cooperated with all reasonable steps on the Personal Housing Plan we must decide if we legally owe you a Homelessness Duty.
Are you in priority need?
Certain groups of people (listed below) are legally defined as being in priority for housing.
- You are pregnant or if dependent children live, or might reasonably be expected to live with you
- You have become homeless or are threatened with homelessness as a result of flood, fire or other disaster
- You are aged 16 or 17
- You are 20 or under and a former relevant child
- You are over 21 and vulnerable as a result of having been looked after, accommodation or fostered at some time in your life
- You are vulnerable due to old age, mental illness, handicap, physical disability or other special reason
- You are vulnerable as a result of having been a member of her majesty's regular navy, military or armed forces
- You are vulnerable as a result of ceasing to occupy accommodation because of violence or harassment from another person or threats of violence from another person that are likely to be carried out.
The only exceptions to the above are if you are:
- 'Relevant child' - if you are 16 or 17 and were in care for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14 and were looked after on your 16th birthday.
- 'Relevant Student' - a former relevant child in full time education and your term time accommodation is not available to you during a vacation.
- 'Child in need' - if a duty is owed to you under the Children Act 1989.
- If you fall into one of these three categories listed above you need to speak to Social Services on 0161 912 5125 as they may have a duty to assist you with accommodation.
Are you intentionally homeless?
In order to assess whether we have a duty to re-house you we must consider if you are homeless as a result of your own actions.
Some examples of this are:
- You decided to leave a property when you didn't have to.
- You could have afforded to pay the rent or mortgage and just didn't pay it. We would look into your financial circumstance when investigating this.
- You didn't claim Housing Costs or renew your claim; or you failed to give information about your circumstances that Universal Credit or Housing Benefit needed to process your claim.
- You were evicted for anti-social behaviour.
- You were found suitable accommodation by Trafford Housing Trust but didn't take it.
- You have made yourselves homeless to try to get housing more quickly.
HOST will make a decision about whether you are homeless intentionally; you will be given this decision in writing. We would then have a duty, if you are in priority need, to find you temporary accommodation for a limited period of time, so you can find somewhere else to live.
After assessing your needs, we will give you appropriate advice and assistance to do this.
If we find that you are in priority need and not intentionally homeless, we will then look at whether you have a local connection to Trafford.
Do you have a local connection?
You have a local connection to Trafford if you have:
- Lived in Trafford for 6 out of the last 12 months, or 3 out of the last 5 years.
- Employment here.
- Family links - this has to be a close relative such as a parent, brother or sister.
- Special circumstances, which we would consider on an individual basis.
You do not have a local connection if your only connection is because you have been living in Trafford in somewhere such as hospital or at college here.
If a re-housing duty is owed to you but you do not have a local connection with Trafford but have one with another local authority, we would find you temporary accommodation and then refer your application to that Council. Once that Council has accepted your application, then it would accept responsibility for re-housing you.
You would not be referred to an area where you would be at risk of violence.