This page is targeted at housing professionals. Our main site is at www.shelter.org.uk

Present accommodation

This content applies to England

Rights a client may have to stay in, or return to, her/his present accommodation.

Advising the client

The adviser should assess whether the client, if s/he wanted to, could return to or stay in her/his present accommodation. The client may not be aware that s/he may have rights to do this. However it is important that the adviser is sensitive to the possibility that the client may not want to remain there, and that there may be hidden reasons for this, such as domestic abuse. In contrast, it is also important that clients are made aware that if they do not have a good reason for not being able to return to their previous accommodation, the local authority might decide that they are not homeless if they approach them to make a homelessness application.

Find details of local authorities on Gov.uk

Rights to remain

Whether or not someone has a right to remain will depend upon her/his security of tenure, which is covered in detail in the sections on Security of tenure and Home ownership. If the client wants to go back to her/his present home, the adviser should establish what the legal status is in her/his particular case and - as a result - what the client's rights are. For example, even after a court has given a landlord possession, it is sometimes possible to have the order set aside (see the page on Changing possession orders).

Illegal eviction

The client may have been illegally evicted by a private landlord, in which case s/he might be able to obtain an injunction to move back in. For more information, see the section on Harassment and illegal eviction .

Relationship breakdown

For many people, the only reason why they find themselves facing homelessness is that they are fleeing an abusive or violent situation or because their relationship has broken down. However, homelessness does not always have to be the inevitable consequence: often the client will be unaware that s/he may have rights to stay in her/his accommodation. The section on Relationship breakdown has details on advising people in situations where there is abuse or a relationship has broken down.

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