Homelessness Policy - Inquiries into Decision Making

A possible outcome following involvement by the housing options team is that a customer decides to submit a homelessness application.  Every customer will be informed of their right to make a homeless application.

The Council’s assessment of homelessness applications will be based on statutory requirements and any subsequent changes to legislation. 

The enquiry process involves building up a detailed picture of the customer’s individual/personal circumstances.  The Council will make decisions in accordance with the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987  http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1987/26/contents, as amended by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2001/10/contents and the Homelessness etc. (Scotland) Act 2003  http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2003/10/contents. and the Code of Guidance on Homelessness 2005 http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2005/05/31133334/33366.

The Council is required by law to undertake enquiries into homelessness in a specific order, starting with whether the customer is eligible to apply for assistance, then whether they are homeless, as defined by the legislation.  Thereafter the Council’s enquiries will assess whether a person has become homeless or threatened with homelessness intentionally and if they have a local connection with Moray.

In accordance with Section 24 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 (as amended), a person is homeless if he or she has no accommodation in the United Kingdom or elsewhere which he or she is entitled or permitted to occupy in one of the following ways:

  • by virtue of an interest in it (for example as an owner or customer); or
  • by right or permission, or an implied right or permission, to occupy (for example as a lodger or as a member of an existing household); or by virtue of some protection given by law; or
  • by virtue of a court order.

This applies to any homeless customer and any other person who would normally reside with them.  It also covers the situation where a split household is regarded as being homeless if they would normally reside together, but are not doing so as a consequence of their accommodation situation.

A person is defined in the Act as being threatened with homelessness if he or she is likely to become homeless (as defined above) within two months.

Any customer who is threatened with homelessness will be offered an interview within five working days and customers who are homeless will be offered an interview on the day of their approach or the next working day.

Where necessary, the Council may request information to support a customer’s case and to assist in reaching a decision on homelessness.  Examples of such information include:

  • a valid notice to quit (but will not necessarily require that an order or decree for repossession has been obtained); and
  • financial information to confirm income remaining after payment of housing costs and any changes in household income.

The Council will never seek information from an alleged perpetrator of abuse, nor will the Council insist that “proof” must be provided by a third party where there is alleged abuse.  Officers will work with Social Work or other specialist agencies, where appropriate, to assist investigations and to support the customer in such cases.

Persons Subject to Immigration Control

The rights of non-UK nationals to housing and homelessness provisions are a complex area.  The Council will ensure that applications received from non-UK nationals are processed in accordance with legislation. Temporary Accommodation will be provided pending the outcome of enquiries into eligibility.

View next the section: Reasonableness of Occupation

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