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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 s/he has never occupied. However, an applicant may have occupied accommodation even if s/he has occupied it intermittently, as long as it was available for her/his 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, s/he 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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