Final offers of housing when homeless
What counts as a final offer of housing?
A final offer of longer term housing could be a:
council or housing association home
private rented home
You might get a final offer while the council provide homeless help under either your personal housing plan or the main housing duty.
You should accept a final offer of housing from the council.
Ask for a review within 21 days of the final offer if you do not think it's suitable. But accept the offer anyway in case your review is unsuccessful.
The council will write to you if they accept the main housing duty because you meet the conditions for full homelessness help.
The main housing duty means the council must provide suitable housing for you, usually until they make a final offer of longer term housing.
Council and housing association homes
The council can make a final offer from the housing waiting list if you're on it.
Tenancy type and length
A housing association tenancy could be a:
assured tenancy with no fixed end date
fixed term assured shorthold tenancy for at least 2 years
starter tenancy for a year before becoming a longer tenancy
A council tenancy could be a:
secure tenancy with no fixed end date
fixed term flexible tenancy for at least 2 years
introductory tenancy for a year before becoming a longer tenancy
Private rented homes
The council can make a final offer of a private rented home if it meets the following requirements.
Tenancy type and length
The tenancy offered must be an assured shorthold tenancy.
It must have a written fixed term agreement of at least 12 months.
The fixed term only needs to be 6 months if the council make the offer before they've accepted the main housing duty. But the other requirements still apply.
Condition of the home
The property must be in reasonable physical condition and have:
a current gas safety record
carbon monoxide and fire safety precautions
safe electrics and electrical equipment
a valid energy performance certificate
a licence if required under HMO licensing laws
The council should not offer you a tenancy with a landlord who has been convicted of certain offences or breached landlord and tenant laws.
What makes a final offer suitable?
The council must consider if the offer of housing is:
affordable for you
in good enough condition
the right size for you and your family
suitable if you have health issues or a disability
Private rented offers must meet the suitability requirements regarding tenancy type, landlord and condition of the home.
The council must try and find housing in their area where possible.
If there's a shortage of longer term housing locally, the council could offer you housing in another council's area.
The council must consider factors such as:
your travel time to work
disruption to your children's education
caring responsibilities and local support networks
For example, you should not be offered longer term housing somewhere which would mean you had to leave your job. But the council might expect your children to change schools if this would not disrupt their education.
If you arrived in the UK in the last 2 years and you apply as homeless on or after 1 June 2022, the council will consider whether you have any caring responsibilities in the area but will not consider other factors. They may consider other factors if you were living in the UK before you went abroad.
You can ask for a review for any reason if you think your final offer is unsuitable. But do not refuse to because you may not be offered anything else.
Final offer letters from the council
The council must make any offer of longer term housing to you in writing.
The letter must explain:
that it's a final offer
what happens if you refuse or accept the offer
your right to request a review of the suitability of the offer
The council should give you a reasonable time to consider the offer.
Viewing the property first
The council should let you see the accommodation before you decide whether to accept it.
If a viewing is not practical, the council should show you photos and answer your questions about the tenancy.
How to ask for a suitability review
Accept the offer first in case your review is unsuccessful.
Ask for a review within 21 days of the offer letter if you think it's unsuitable.
The council's offer letter should set out why they think the offer is a suitable final offer.
It's risky to refuse an offer
This is because the council:
can end your temporary housing
will not have to make another offer unless your suitability review is successful
The council will not have to provide temporary housing while they carry out the review.
You can make a new homeless application. But the council could decide you're intentionally homeless unless you have a very good reason for refusing an offer.
Last updated: 25 May 2022