Offers of accommodation in homelessness applications
Types of offers of accommodation that can be made to end different homelessness duties.
When different offers of accommodation can 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.
Where a local authority is ending the main housing duty it can make a:
final part 6 offer of social housing
private rented sector offer (for applications after 2012)
Where a local authority is ending the relief duty it can make a:
final part 6 offer of social housing
final offer of a six month AST
offer of suitable housing for six months
A local authority can also offer suitable temporary accommodation to carry out the main housing duty without ending it.
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.
Final part 6 offer of social housing
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:
main housing duty
duty owed to people who would be owed the main housing duty but have deliberately and unreasonably failed to cooperate
A final part 6 offer must be in writing and must state that it is a final offer for the purposes of ending the duty owed.
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.
Private rented sector offer
A 'private rented sector (PRS) offer' is an offer of a fixed term assured shorthold tenancy of at least 12 months, offered by a private landlord and arranged by a local authority in order to end its main housing duty.
The offer must be in writing, informing the applicant of the consequences of refusal or acceptance, their right to request a review of suitability, and that there are special rules if they reapply within two years.
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. As part of the notification of the special rules, the authority must inform the applicant that they will be treated as homeless from the date a valid section 21 notice expires if they reapply within two years.
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'.
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.
Final accommodation offer of a six month AST
A final accommodation offer is an offer:
of an assured shorthold tenancy made by a private landlord
which has a fixed term of six months or more
A final accommodation offer cannot be made where an applicant applied as homeless before 3 April 2018.
A local authority may make a final accommodation offer to end the relief duty. It can also be made to end the duty owed to an applicant who would be owed the main housing duty but the local authority has given notice that the applicant has deliberately and unreasonably refused to cooperate.
This type of offer cannot be made under the prevention duty.
In addition, the offer must allow the applicant to end any obligations they have in respect of existing accommodation, for example, to give notice.
Suitable accommodation offers under prevention or relief
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.
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. 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. Ideally, they should be given the opportunity to consider more than one property.
Offers of temporary accommodation under the main duty
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.
If resources are an issue, a local authority must consider using Part 6 housing stock to perform Part 7 duties. An allocation under Part 6 is merely a matter of discretion; an offer under Part 7 is a matter of binding legal obligation.
An applicant may only choose to waive their right to be provided with suitable accommodation if they are placed in a position to make a fully informed decision. If the applicant changes their mind, the authority must comply with its duties.
Last updated: 28 November 2023