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

Priority need when homeless due to fire, flood or disaster

This content applies to England

Priority need of people made homeless by a flood, fire or other disaster.

Homeless due to an emergency

A person will be in priority need if the event that caused her/him to be homeless or threatened with homeless was an emergency, such as a flood, fire or other disaster.[1] This means that the event that causes the homelessness and the consequent priority need must be both an emergency and a disaster. For example, an unlawful eviction might be an emergency but it is not a disaster, and thus does not give an applicant priority need status.[2] Similarly, unfitness which gives rise to a demolition order is not deemed to be a disaster.[3]

No requirement to satisfy other categories

There is no requirement to satisfy one of the other priority need categories as well; a single person or a childless couple who are not vulnerable would be in priority need if made homeless as a result of an emergency that is a disaster.

[1] s.189(1)(d) Housing Act 1996.

[2] R v Bristol CC ex p Bradic (1995) 27 HLR 584, CA.

[3] Noble v South Herefordshire DC (1985) 17 HLR 80, CA; R v Walsall MBC ex p Price [1996] CLY 3068, QBD.

Back to top