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Offers of accommodation

This content applies to England

The kinds of offer that can be made to end particular duties and the requirements that apply to them.

This page considers what offers can be made to end main housing duty and the prevention and relief duties and duty to people who have deliberately and unreasonably refused to cooperate set out in the Homelessness Reduction Act. Other kinds of offer such as offers of interim accommodation are set out on the relevant pages.

General requirement of offers

The authority should always make clear to the applicant whether the offer of accommodation is temporary or intended to be a final offer. Where the authority makes clear that the offer is intended to be final it cannot subsequently treat the offer as if it was temporary.[1]

Overview of when each type of offer may be made

There are a number of different types of offer that a local authority may make in connection with either carrying out or ending its duties under homelessness legislation.

The offers are explained in detail on this page. The following bullet point lists summarise the circumstances in which each type of offer can be made:

Application made on or after 3 April 2018

  • final accommodation offers and final part 6 offers: to end relief duty and prevent main housing duty arising or to end the duty to a person who has not cooperated with the steps in her/his personal housing plan
  • final part 6 offers: to end main housing duty
  • private rented sector offer: to end the main housing duty
  • offer of suitable accommodation to end prevention or relief duty
  • offer of suitable temporary accommodation to carry out but not end main housing duty.

Application made before 3 April 2018

  • final part 6 offer: to end main homelessness duty
  • private rented sector offer: to end the main housing duty (but only in certain circumstances where the application was made before 9 November 2012 - see below)
  • offer of suitable temporary accommodation to carry out but not end full duty.

Final accommodation offer

A final accommodation offer cannot be made where an applicant applied as homeless before 3 April 2018.

A final accommodation offer is an offer:[2]

  • of an assured shorthold tenancy made by a private landlord
  • which has a fixed term of six months or more.

A local authority may make a final accommodation offer to end the:

This type of offer cannot be made under prevention.

A final accommodation offer can only be made if the authority is satisfied that the accommodation is suitable.[4] An enhanced level of suitability applies to final accommodation offers.[5]

In addition, the offer must allow the applicant to end any obligations s/he has in respect of existing accommodation, for example, to give notice.[6]

Final offer under part 6

Where an offer of accommodation under the local authority's allocation scheme is made on the basis that refusal can end duties under homelessness legislation, it is known as a 'final offer under part 6' or a 'final part 6 offer'. A final part 6 offer can be made in relation to the:[7]

  • * relief duty
  • * duty owed to people who are in priority need and not intentionally homeless but have deliberately and unreasonably failed to cooperate with a step in their personalised housing plan
  • main housing duty.

(* These duties only apply to homelessness applications made on or after 3 April 2018.)

A final part 6 offer must be in writing and must state that it is a final offer for the purposes of ending the relief duty, or the duty owed to people who are in priority need and unintentionally homeless but have failed to cooperate or main housing duty.[8]

The authority must be satisfied that the accommodation is suitable and it must be offered with a start date which enables the applicant to end obligations with respect to current accommodation, for example, to give notice.[9] Because the an offer of accommodation under part 6 will be of local authority or housing association housing, the enhanced standard of suitability does not apply.

Private rented sector offer

A 'private rented sector (PRS) offer' is an offer of a fixed term assured shorthold tenancy of at least one year, offered by a private landlord and arranged by a local authority in order to end its main housing duty.[10]

A PRS offer which satisfies the requirements in section 193(7AA) Housing Act 1996 (ie. offer in writing informing the applicant of the consequences of refusal or acceptance, of her/his right to request a review of suitability, and of the effect of reapplying within two years of acceptance (ie that a further duty will not require the applicant to be in priority need)), once accepted or refused, can be used to end the main housing duty in respect of:[11]

  • any application made on or after 9 November 2012
  • an application made before 9 November 2012 by a household gaining priority need through a 'restricted person'
  • an application made before 9 November 2012 where no duty to provide accommodation had arisen, including a duty to provide interim or temporary accommodation.

Where a household is owed a main housing duty because of a restricted person, the local authority should end their duty by making a private rented sector offer 'so far as reasonably practical'.[12]

A PRS offer cannot be a final discharge of duty for applicants who made a homelessness application before 9 November 2012 and were owed an accommodation duty (including an interim duty) on that day.

The offer must be of suitable accommodation and will be subject to an enhanced level of suitability. It must be offered with a start date that allows the applicant to end liabilities with respect to current accommodation.[13]

Where an applicant accepts a PRS offer and applies as homeless again within two years from acceptance, special rules apply with respect to priority need. See multiple, repeat and withdrawn applications.

Other offers of suitable accommodation made under prevention or relief

Applies to homelessness applications made on or after 3 April 2018 only.

A local authority may end its prevention or relief duties with an offer of suitable accommodation, where there is a reasonable prospect of that accommodation being available for at least six months. If the applicant is in priority need, the enhanced level of suitability applicable to PRS offers applies.[14]

The Code of Guidance recommends that, where possible, authorities look for accommodation with a minimum tenancy length of 12 months, especially where the household includes children.[15]

The Code also recommends that applicants are allowed a 'reasonable period' (the length depending on the circumstances of the applicant) to decide whether or not to accept.[16] It goes on to say that applicants should be given the opportunity to view properties before being asked to accept, and where this is not possible being given information about the property including, for example, photographs and the opportunity to speak to the landlord or agent.[17] Ideally, they should be given the opportunity to consider more than one property.[18]

Other offers of temporary accommodation

Where a local authority has accepted a main housing duty to an applicant, it may not be able to make a private rented sector offer or final part 6 offer for some time. Unless it can end the main housing duty in some other way, it may have to provide temporary accommodation during that period. Any offers made to comply with this ongoing duty will have to be suitable.[19] If an applicant refuses a suitable offer, the authority may be able to end the main housing duty. See Ending main housing duty for more details.

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] Omar v Birmingham City Council [2007] EWCA Civ 610; Ravichandran & Anor v London Borough of Lewisham [2010] EWCA Civ 755

[2] s.193A(4) and s.193C(7) Housing Act 1996, both inserted by s.7(1) Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.

[3] s.189B(9)(a) Housing Act 1996, inserted by s.5(2) Homelessness Reduction Act and s.193C(6) Housing Act 1996 as inserted by s.7(1) Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.

[4] s.193A(6) and s.193C(9) Housing Act 1996, both inserted by s.7(1) Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.

[5] Art 2(b) and art 3 Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order 2012 SI 2012/2601 as amended by s.12 Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.

[6] s.193A(7) and s.193C(10) Housing Act 1996, both inserted by s.7(1) Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.

[7] s.189B(9)(a) Housing Act 1996 as inserted by s.5(2) Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 and s.193A(1)(b)(ii) Housing Act 1996 as inserted by s.7(1) Homelessness Reduction Act 2017; s.193C(6) Housing Act 1996 as inserted by s.7(1) Homelessness Reduction Act 2017; s.193(7) Housing Act 1996.

[8] s.193A(5)Housing Act 1996 as amended by s.7(1) Homelessness Reduction Act 2017; s.193C(8) Housing Act 1996 as inserted by s.7(1) Homelessness Reduction Act 2017; s.193(7A) Housing Act 1996, as amended by s.148(4) Localism Act 2011.

[9] s.193A(6) and s.193A(7) Housing Act 1996 as amended by s.7(1) Homelessness Reduction Act 2017; s.193C(9) and s.193C(10) Housing Act 1996 as inserted by s.7(1) Homelessness Reduction Act 2017; s.193(7F) and (8) Housing Act 1996, as amended by s.148 Localism Act 2011.

[10] s.193(7AC) Housing Act 1996, as amended by s.148 Localism Act 2011.

[11] s.193(7AA) Housing Act 1996 as amended by s.148(5)(c) Localism Act 2011 with effect from 9 November 2012 (see art.2 Commencement No. 2 and Transitional Provisions) (England) Order 2012 SI 2012/2599); see also R (on the application of SH) v Waltham Forest LBC [2019] EWHC 2618 (Admin).

[12] s.193(7AD) Housing Act 1996 as inserted by para 5(4), sch 5, Housing and Regeneration Act 2008.

[13] s.193(7F) and s.193(8) Housing Act 1996 as inserted by s.148 Localism Act 2012.

[14] Art 2(c) and 3 Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order 2012 SI 2012/2601 as amended by s.12 Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.

[15] para 14.7 and para 16.22 Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, Feb 2018.

[16] para 14.5 Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, Feb 2018.

[17] para 14.6 Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, Feb 2018.

[18] para 14.28 Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, Feb 2018.

[19] s.206(1) Housing Act 1996.

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