You will need to establish a “local connection” for an authority to accept you on their housing list.
To ensure you have a connection you need the following:

  • Have lived in the area for a set amount of time – this is usually a year but varies from authority to authority.
  • Have family connections in the area.
  • Your parents still live there.
  • Your children are there.
  • You grew up there.
  • You work in the area.
  • If you do not have a local connection with one authority, they can insist you go to one where you have a clearer connection.

The time spent in the hospital will not usually count towards establishing a time line and create a local connection.

If you are not British, you will need to get advice on what housing rights you have. This can be complicated to resolve but they will need to look into where you are from, how long you have been here, what type of visa you entered Great Britain with and what your current status is.

If you are British you have the right to return to Britain at any time. However, it does not give you the right to access social housing and services. If you have been living abroad you will need to check on your rights and determine that you have a local connection and that you have a right to reside in a particular area. You may need to pass the “habitual residency test” to prove this. They will look at the reasons around why you left, what the purpose was for your leaving and whether it was your intention to leave the country to emigrate.

The habitual residency test will be used to establish where you are deemed to be residing. If you should fail this test then you will not be eligible to apply for social housing and you will need to look for a temporary housing solution while you build up time back in Britain. Once you re-establish your residency rights in Britain you will be able to reapply for social housing. At the point of your reapplication you may not be able to register as homeless.

Whatever you do you, always ensure that you get proper housing advice.

Some other reasons why you may not be offered housing from your authority are:

- Past rent arrears.
- Had previously made yourself intentionally homeless.
- Have a record for harassment or serious crime.
- You were evicted for previous breaches of tenancy agreement.

Once it is agreed that you are eligible for local housing they will then take all of the information that you provided and use that to work out your level of priority. Some call these “banding” or “points” systems.

If you are homeless your priority should be at the top of the list. However, we have found that housing departments can often under-score people. We find that local authorities often set your score before they have added any medical points. If when you receive your confirmation letter you are not in a high priority band then call them (or go in to the office) and ask for an urgent medical assessment. Make sure that all of your needs have been taken into account (care, access, and family support.) Once this is all added you may find that you are given higher priority. Once you have your final score, which may be a Banding A or points, depending on the system, you can join the “bidding process”.