Find out who qualifies for a council offer of longer term housing for homeless people and what to expect.
What housing will be offered?
After you apply to a council as homeless, you could eventually get a final offer of longer term housing.
A final offer of longer term housing from the council could be a:
- council or housing association home from the waiting list
- a privately let flat (usually a 12 month assured shorthold tenancy)
- a room in a private rented shared house if you're single
You may be offered supported housing, or a refuge or hostel if you need this type of accommodation.
The council may place you in temporary housing until longer term housing is available.
Who qualifies for a final offer of housing?
You usually qualify for longer term housing if you:
- are homeless now
- meet immigration and residence conditions and have a local connection
- are in priority need
- are homeless through no fault of your own
You may get help with finding longer term housing at an earlier stage as part of the help the council provides under your personal housing plan.
You won't get a final offer if you or the council have already found suitable accommodation that's available for at least 6 months.
Where longer term housing might be
The council decides where to offer you accommodation. They must consider factors such as:
- your travel time to work
- disruption to your children's education
- your caring responsibilities
- your local support networks
If there's a shortage of longer term housing locally, the council could offer you housing in another council's area.
Offers from the council housing register
The council might offer you a council or housing association tenancy if you're on the housing list.
You may have to bid for housing if your council uses a choice based lettings bidding scheme.
How long the tenancy lasts
An offer of a council home could be a:
- lifelong secure tenancy
- fixed-term tenancy for at least 2 years
- introductory tenancy for the first 12 months before becoming a longer tenancy
An offer of a housing association home could be a:
- lifelong assured tenancy
- fixed-term tenancy for at least 2 years
- starter tenancy for the first 12 months before becoming a longer tenancy
Offers of a private rented home
Some councils will offer you longer term housing with a private landlord.
If you are offered a private rented home, you will probably have an assured shorthold tenancy
The council can approve a final offer of an assured shorthold tenancy from a private landlord as long as it meets certain requirements:
Length of tenancy
If the council has accepted that you qualify for a final offer of a private tenancy, it must have a written tenancy agreement with a fixed-term of at least 12 months.
If you or the council secure a private tenancy while you are getting help under a personal housing plan, the council must be satisfied that the accommodation will be available for at least 6 months.
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.
How the council makes a final housing offer
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 isn't practical, the council should show you photos and answer your questions about the tenancy.
Unsuitable longer term housing offers
The council must consider if the accommodation 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
If you think the housing you've been offered isn't suitable, you can ask the council for a review
Risks of refusing an offer
Housing and legal advisers usually advise that it is not a good idea to turn down an offer of housing.
The council can end your temporary accommodation if you refuse a suitable:
- offer of a tenancy with a private landlord
- final offer of a council or housing association home
- offer of alternative temporary accommodation
If you ask for a review after refusing an offer
The council does not have to provide you with any further accommodation if your review request is unsuccessful.
You can make a new homeless application but the council will probably decide that you're intentionally homeless.
The council must offer you somewhere else if your review is successful.
Still need help?
Get advice from a Shelter adviser before you challenge a council offer of longer term housing.
You can also get legal advice if you want to challenge a council decision.
You may qualify for free legal help if you're on a low income:
Last updated 20 December 2018 | © Shelter
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