Housing (Homeless Persons) Act 1977

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1977 c. 48


Housing (Homeless Persons)Act 1977

1977 CHAPTER 48

An Act to make further provision as to the functions of local authorities with respect to persons who are homeless or threatened with homelessness; to provide for the giving of assistance to voluntary organisations concerned with homelessness by the Secretary of State and local authorities; to repeal section 25 of the National Assistance Act 1948; and for connected purposes.

[29th July 1977]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Homelessness and threatened homelessness

Homelessness and threatened homelessness

S-1 Homeless persons and persons threatened with homelessness.

1 Homeless persons and persons threatened with homelessness.

(1) A person is homeless for the purposes of this Act if he has no accommodation, and a person is to be treated as having no accommodation for those purposes if there is no accommodation—

(a ) which he, together with any other person who normally resides with him as a member of his family or in circumstances in which the housing authority consider it reasonable for that person to reside with him—

(i) is entitled to occupy by virtue of an interest in it or of an order of a court, or

(ii) has, in England or Wales, an express or implied licence to occupy, or

(iii) has, in Scotland, a right or permission, or an implied right or permission to occupy, or

(b ) which he (together with any such person) is occupying 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 any other person to recover possession of it.

(2) A person is also homeless for the purposes of this Act if he has accommodation but—

(a ) he cannot secure entry to it, or

(b ) it is probable that occupation of it will lead to violence from some other person residing in it or to threats of violence from some other person residing in it and likely to carry out the threats, or

(c ) it consists of a movable 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) For the purposes of this Act a person is threatened with homelessness if it is likely that he will become homeless within 28 days.

S-2 Priority need for accommodation.

2 Priority need for accommodation.

(1) For the purposes of this Act a homeless person or a person threatened with homelessness has a priority need for accommodation when the housing authority are satisfied that he is within one of the following categories:—

(a ) he has dependent children who are residing with him or who might reasonably be expected to reside with him;

(b ) he is homeless or threatened with homelessness as a result of any emergency such as flood, fire or any other disaster;

(c ) he or any person who resides or might reasonably be expected to reside with him is vulnerable as a result of old age, mental illness or handicap or physical disability or other special reason.

(2) For the purposes of this Act a homeless person or a person threatened with homelessness who is a pregnant woman or resides or might reasonably be expected to reside with a pregnant woman has a priority need for accommodation.

(3) The Secretary of State may by order, made after appropriate consultations,—

(a ) specify further categories of persons as having a priority need for accommodation, and

(b ) amend or repeal any part of subsection (1) or (2) above.

(4) No order under subsection (3) above shall be made unless a draft of the order has been approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.

(5) Any reference in this Act to a person having a priority need is a reference to his having a priority need for accommodation within the meaning of this section or any order for the time being in force under subsection (3) above.

S-3 Preliminary duties of housing authorities in cases of possible homelessness, etc.

3 Preliminary duties of housing authorities in cases of possible homelessness, etc.

(1) If—

(a ) a person applies to a, housing authority for accommodation or for assistance in obtaining accommodation, and

(b ) the authority have reason to believe that he may be homeless or threatened with homelessness,

the authority shall make appropriate inquiries.

(2) In subsection (1) above ‘appropriate inquiries’ means—

(a ) such inquiries as are necessary to satisfy the authority whether the person who applied to them is homeless or threatened with homelessness, and

(b ) if the authority are satisfied that he is homeless or threatened with homelessness, any further inquiries necessary to satisfy them—

(i) whether he has a priority need, and

(ii) whether he became homeless or threatened with homelessness intentionally.

(3) If the authority think fit, they may also make inquiries as to whether the person who applied to them has a local connection with the area of another housing authority.

(4) If the authority have reason to believe that the person who applied to them may be homeless and have a priority need, they shall secure that accommodation is made available for his occupation pending any decision which they may make as a result of their inquiries (irrespective of any local connection he may have with the area of another housing authority).

S-4 Duties of housing authorities to homeless persons and persons threatened with homelessness.

4 Duties of housing authorities to homeless persons and persons threatened with homelessness.

(1) If a housing authority are satisfied, as a result of inquiries under section 3 above, that a person who has applied to them for accommodation or for assistance in obtaining accommodation is homeless or threatened with homelessness, they shall be subject to a duty towards him under this section.

(2) Where—

(a ) they are not satisfied that he has a priority need, or

(b ) they are satisfied that he has a priority need but are also satisfied that he became homeless or threatened with homelessness intentionally,

their duty is to furnish him with advice and appropriate assistance.

(3) Where—

(a ) they are satisfied that he is homeless, and

(b ) they are subject to a duty towards him by virtue of subsection (2)(b ) above,

they shall secure that accommodation is made available for his occupation for such period as they consider will give him a reasonable opportunity of himself securing accommodation for his occupation.

(4) Where—

(a ) they are satisfied—

(i) that he is threatened with homelessness, and

(ii) that he has a priority need, but

(b ) they are not satisfied that he became threatened with homelessness intentionally,

their duty, subject to subsection (6) below, is to take reasonable steps to secure that accommodation does not cease to be available for his occupation.

(5) Where—

(a ) they are satisfied—

(i) that he is homeless, and

(ii) that he has a priority need, but

(b ) they are not satisfied that he became homeless intentionally,

their duty, subject to section 5 below, is to secure that accommodation becomes available for his occupation.

(6) Nothing in subsection (4) above shall affect any right of a housing authority to secure vacant possession of accommodation, whether by virtue of a contract or of any enactment or rule of law.

S-5 Responsibility as between housing authorities.

5 Responsibility as between housing authorities.

(1) A housing authority are not subject to a duty under section 4(5) above—

(a ) if they are of the opinion—

(i) that neither the person who applied to them for accommodation or for assistance in obtaining accommodation nor any person who might reasonably be expected to reside with him has a local connection with their area, and

(ii) that the person who so applied or a person who might reasonably be expected to reside with him has a local connection with another housing authority's area, and

(iii) that neither the person who so applied nor any person who might reasonably be expected to reside with him will run the risk of domestic violence in that housing authority's area, and

(b ) if they notify that authority—

(i) that the application has been made, and

(ii)that they are of the opinion specified in paragraph (a ) above.

(2) In this Act ‘notifying authority’ means a housing authority who give a notification under subsection (1) above and ‘notified authority’ means a housing authority who receive such a notification.

(3) It shall be the duty of the notified authority to secure that accommodation becomes available for occupation by the person to whom the notification relates if neither he nor any person who might reasonably be expected to reside with him has a local connection with the area of the notifying authority but the conditions specified in subsection (4) below are satisfied.

(4) The conditions mentioned in subsection (3) above are—

(a ) that the person to whom the notification relates or some person who might reasonably be expected to reside with him has a local connection with the area of the notified authority, and

(b ) that neither he nor any such person will run the risk of domestic violence in that area.

(5) In any other case it shall be the duty of the notifying authority to secure that accommodation becomes available for occupation by the person to whom the notification relates.

(6) It shall also be the duty of the notifying authority to secure that accommodation is available for occupation by the person to whom notification relates until it is determined whether subsection (3) or (5) above applies to him.

(7) Any question which falls to be determined under this section shall be determined by...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT