Homeless applications if someone in the household is ineligible

Rules for when ineligible household members are disregarded in establishing whether an applicant is homeless or in priority need.

This content applies to England

Applications by people subject to immigration control

If the applicant is subject to immigration control, any household member who is a person from abroad who is ineligible for assistance is usually disregarded when determining whether the applicant is homeless or has a priority need.[1]

For example, a refugee or person with indefinite leave to remain cannot rely on an ineligible person who is pregnant, vulnerable or a dependent child to give them priority need. 

Case law has established that it is not unlawful discrimination to treat applicants not subject to immigration control differently when determining priority need or homelessness in this way.[2]

See People from abroad who are eligible for more information on who is eligible for homelessness assistance.

Applications by people not subject to immigration control

A person not subject to immigration control can be homeless or in priority need because of an ineligible household member.[3]

For example, if the applicant is a British or Irish national.

If the local authority owes the applicant the main housing duty, there are specific rules about discharging the duty where the applicant is homeless or in priority need because of an ineligible person. This is called a 'restricted case' and the ineligible person is a 'restricted person'.

A restricted person is an ineligible person subject to immigration control who either:[4]

  • does not have leave to enter or remain in the UK

  • whose leave to enter or remain in the UK is subject to a no recourse to public funds condition

Ending the main housing duty in a restricted case

In a restricted case, a local authority must end the duty with a private rented sector offer so far as is reasonably practicable.[5]

A private rented sector offer means a fixed-term assured shorthold tenancy.

The local authority can only make an offer of social housing under Part 6 where it cannot end the duty with a private rented sector offer.

An applicant who is homeless because of an ineligible household member is not entitled to reasonable preference for an allocation under Part 6 as a homeless person.[6]

Last updated: 13 March 2021

Footnotes

  • [1]

    s.185(4) Housing Act 1996 as amended by s.314 and Sch.15 Housing and Regeneration Act 2008; Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 (Commencement No. 1 and Saving Provisions) Order 2009 SI 2009/415 (C.28).

  • [2]

    Bah v UK [2011] EHRC 1448, App no. 56328/07.

  • [3]

    s.185(4) Housing Act 1996 as amended by s.314 and Sch.15 Housing and Regeneration Act 2008; Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 (Commencement No. 1 and Saving Provisions) Order 2009 SI 2009/415 (C.28).

  • [4]

    s.184(7) Housing Act 1996; para 7.29 Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, February 2018.

  • [5]

    s.193(7AD) Housing Act 1996 as amended by Localism Act 2011; para 15.43 Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, Feb 2018.

  • [6]

    s.167(2ZA) Housing Act 1996 as introduced by s.314 and Sch.15 Housing and Regeneration Act 2008; Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 (Commencement No.1 and Saving Provisions) Order 2009 SI 2009/415 (C.28).