Homelessness Policy - Assessment of Intentionality

Assessment of intentionality

Where a person has been found to be homeless or threatened with homelessness, the Council will assess whether they are intentionally homeless.  Decisions regarding intentionality will be based on the law, and the criteria stated in the Code of Guidance.  A decision of intentionality will only be made where there is clear evidence that:

  • a person has become homeless, or threatened with homelessness, because they have deliberately done something, or failed to do something, while being aware of all of the relevant facts, that resulted in the loss of their secure accommodation;
  • they were aware of the consequences of his/her actions; and
  • it would have been reasonable for the person to have continued to occupy their previous or current accommodation.

There will be no automatic presumption of intentionality.  The specific circumstances associated with each individual case will be taken into account.  Consideration will also be given to the less obvious reasons which may have contributed to the customer’s homelessness and inquiries will take account of any relevant factors such as:

  • the threat or occurrence of domestic or external violence;
  • mental health problems;
  • financial difficulties;
  • substance misuse issues;
  • age of the customer; and
  • health related issues.

The following are examples when intentionality may be considered:

  • voluntary termination of property;
  • non payment of rent or mortgage;
  • failure to maintain and conduct a satisfactory tenancy;
  • voluntary relinquishment or sale of property without first ensuring that alternative permanent accommodation is available; and
  • failure to follow reasonable advice which would have prevented homelessness.

Where the Council’s decides that a customer is homeless but that they became homeless intentionally, the Council will provide them with advice and guidance in finding accommodation.  During this period the customer will be expected to make every effort to find alternative accommodation and may be asked to evidence what they have done to secure accommodation.

If the customer is in temporary accommodation they will be required to leave following a reasonable period of time.  Consideration will be given to the household’s circumstances when determining what a reasonable period is. 

View next section: Assessment of Local Connection

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