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Ceasing to occupy accommodation

This content applies to England

An applicant must have ceased to occupy accommodation to be found to be homeless intentionally .

A person who ceases to occupy accommodation, whether in the UK or abroad, may be intentionally homeless if the accommodation was 'available' and 'reasonable to continue to occupy'.[1]

A person cannot become intentionally homeless from accommodation that they have never occupied. However, an applicant may have occupied accommodation even if they occupied it intermittently, as long as it was available for them to occupation.[2]

The authority may say that it has discharged its duty if suitable accommodation is refused.[3] Where the act of refusal leads to the termination of the temporary accommodation that the applicant was occupying, they may be declared intentionally homeless from the temporary accommodation.[4]

Applications made before 3 April 2018

The current Homelessness Code of Guidance was introduced on 3 April 2018 and the references on this page are to this Code. For applications made before this date, the recommendations of the 2006 Code of Guidance should apply.

[1] De Falco, Silvestri v Crawley BC [1980] QB 460, CA; Trindade v Hackney LBC [2017] EWCA Civ 942; paras 9.21 and 9.22 Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, Feb 2018.

[2] para 9.12 Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, Feb 2018.

[3] R v Westminster CC ex parte Chambers (1982) 6 HLR 24, QBD.

[4] Godson v Enfield LBC [2019] EWCA Civ 486; R v Brent LBC ex parte Awua (1995) 27 HLR 453, HL; para 9.12 Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, Feb 2018.

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