Homeless or threatened with homelessness

The council's duties towards households who are homeless or threatened with homelessness are set out in the Housing Act 1996 and the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 which placed new legal duties on Local Authorities with a focus on preventing homelessness. For an overview of the council's new duties see the Chartered Institute of Housing website.

There may be several reasons or causes for you being made homeless or threatened with homelessness. For example;

  • Your landlord has given you notice
  • You have been evicted from your accommodation
  • Your relationship has broken down
  • You have accommodation, but it is unsuitable for you to continue to occupy
  • Your parents or other relatives are no longer willing or able to allow you to remain in your home
  • You are leaving an institution such as the armed forces, local authority care, hospital or custody
  • You have accommodation, but you are unable to gain entry to it
  • You are fleeing violence or threats of violence
  • You are unable to pay your rent or mortgage

If you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless within the next 56 days you should contact the council's Housing Service as soon as possible via our Housing Assistance Referral Portal.

Following completion of the form a member of the Housing team will make contact within five working days to discuss your housing situation.

For more specific advice to your circumstances, you may find a link on the right-hand side of the page. 

We will try to help you stay in your home. If this is not possible or you are already homeless, we will work with you to find an alternative suitable home.

You will be invited to an appointment with a Housing Options Officer who will assess your housing and support needs and agree a personal housing plan with you. This is a plan of the steps you will be expected to take to remain in your current home if you have one, or find somewhere to live. It will also set out how the council will support you and what other agencies you should engage with to help you find and sustain a home.

There are a number of ways that we may help, such as referring you to hostel accommodation or lending you the deposit for a home in the private rented sector. You will be advised on making an application to the Housing Register if you have not already done so and qualify.

We will also assess whether you have a priority need under the terms of the Housing Act 1996. 

You will automatically be in priority need if you:

  • have dependent children that live with you or there is a pregnant woman in the household; or
  • are aged 16 or 17 and not owed a duty under the Children Act 1989 as a child in need; or
  • are aged 18 to 20 and were looked after, accommodated for fostered at any time while aged 16 or 17; or
  • are homeless due to domestic abuse.

If you do not sit in one of the above categories we will look at whether you are in priority need due to being vulnerable.

Additionally, we may investigate whether you have a local connection. To have a connection to East Herts you must:

  • Have lived in the district for six out of the last 12 months or three out of the last five years, by choice; or
  • Work in the district; or
  • Have a close family member that lives in the district and has done do for at least five years; or
  • Have another special reason for needing to live in East Herts

If you do not have a connection to East Herts we may refer you to a local authority to which you do have a local connection. You will not be referred to another local authority where you have a local connection if you, or any person who might reasonably be expected to reside with you, would be at risk of domestic abuse in that district.

If you are not in priority need, the council will not have a duty to provide you with temporary accommodation. In these circumstances, we will continue to work with you for up to 56 days to help you find somewhere to live.

If you are in priority need, but do not have a local connection, we will usually refer you to a local authority to which you do have a connection.

If we decide that you are in priority need and have a local connection you will be provided with temporary accommodation for up to 56 days. During this time we will continue to work with you to find a more permanent home. We will also look at the circumstances that caused you to become homeless and make a decision on whether you are intentionally homeless.

If you have not found a new home within 56 days of becoming homeless and you are in priority need and not intentionally homeless, the council will continue to provide you with temporary accommodation until we are able to offer you a more permanent home either in the private rented sector or in social housing. If you are intentionally homeless, the council will provide you with temporary accommodation for a reasonable period to allow you to find alternative accommodation.

For further information and help, please see our Independent advice and debt agencies page

Following the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is conducting research to find out more about what causes homelessness and how well homelessness services meet peoples' needs. To understand how your personal information will be used for this research, or to opt out, please read the following Privacy Notice