This page is targeted at housing professionals. Our main site is at

Intentional homelessness inquiries and decisions

This content applies to England

The definition of intentional homelessness, as contained in sections 191 and 196 of the Housing Act 1996.

The Homelessness Act 2002, which amends the Housing Act 1996, has abolished the situation where homeless applicants may be treated as intentionally homeless where 'other suitable accommodation' is available in the authority's district but the applicant has failed to secure it.

Intentional homelessness definition

The legal definition of intentional homelessness, for people applying to their local authority as homeless 

Deliberate act or omission

How a local authority can decide if a homelessness applicant is intentionally homeless due to a deliberate act or omission. 


When an applicant may be found intentionally homeless because they acquiesced in the deliberate act or omission of another person. 

Acting in good faith

Why an act or omission in good faith by someone who was unaware of any relevant fact cannot be treated as deliberate. 


The causal link between a deliberate act or omission and the loss of accommodation which must exist for a decision of intentional homelesness. 

Ceasing to occupy accommodation

An applicant must have ceased to occupy accommodation for a council to decide they are intentionally homeless . 

Available for occupation

About the conditions that need to be met for accommodation to be available for an applicant's occupation. 

Reasonable to continue to occupy

Information on when accommodation is reasonable to continue to occupy. 


A brief discussion of collusion and the effect it will have on an homelessness application. 

Council inquiries

Guidelines on how a local authority should conduct inquiries to establish if an applicant is intentionally homeless. 

Welfare of children

Guidelines on how local authorities should deal with families with children under 18 who have been found intentionally homeless. 

Back to top