Local authority homelessness duties in Wales

Local authorities duties under Part 2 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014.

This content applies to Wales

Local authority duties

Part 2 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 contains five key duties to assist homeless applicants. These are the:

  • duty to assess

  • help to prevent duty

  • help to secure duty

  • interim accommodation duty

  • final duty

Duty to assess

A local authority has a duty to assess an applicant's case if:[1]

  • they have applied to the authority for accommodation or help in retaining or obtaining accommodation, and

  • it appears to the authority that they may be homeless, or threatened with homelessness within 56 days

There is no duty to assess an applicant who has already been assessed if there has been no material change in circumstances and there is no new information which affects that assessment.[2]

Help to prevent duty

A local authority has a duty to help prevent an applicant losing accommodation if it is satisfied that the applicant is:[3]

This is essentially a homelessness prevention duty owed to all eligible applicants who are threatened with homelessness, regardless of priority need, intentionality or local connection.

Help to secure duty

A local authority has a duty to help the applicant to secure that suitable accommodation is available for their occupation, if it is satisfied that they are:[4]

This duty is also described in the Code of Guidance as the relief duty.[5] It is owed to eligible applicants regardless of priority need or intentionality. However, it does not apply if the applicant is referred to another authority under the local connection provisions.

The duty to help to secure accommodation runs for 56 days. It can end earlier in a number of specified circumstances.

Interim accommodation duty

A local authority has a duty to provide suitable interim accommodation if it has a reason to believe that the applicant may be:[6]

The duty is triggered at a lower threshold and may arise before the help to secure duty. The authority does not need to be satisfied that applicant is in apparent priority need, is homeless and eligible before providing interim accommodation. It just needs to have reason to believe that they may be.

Once the authority is satisfied as to homelessness and eligibility, then the interim accommodation duty runs concurrently with the help to secure duty.

This duty is also owed to applicants who have been referred to a Welsh authority by an English authority under the local connection provisions.[7]

Final duty

The final duty is owed to certain homeless applicants in priority need who have been assisted under the help to secure duty for up to 56 days but no suitable accommodation (other than interim accommodation) has been secured.

A local authority has a duty to secure that suitable accommodation is available for occupation by the applicant and their household, if it is satisfied that the applicant does not have suitable accommodation likely to last for at least six months and is:[8]

Not all applicants in priority need for accommodation are owed the final duty. Even when the final duty is owed it does not necessarily end with an offer of social housing for the applicant.

Applications made before 27 April 2015

The provisions in Part 2 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 apply to homelessness applications made to local authorities in Wales on or after 27 April 2015.

For the law applicable to applications made in Wales before that date, contact Shelter Cymru.

Last updated: 29 March 2021

Footnotes

  • [1]

    s.62 Housing (Wales) Act 2014.

  • [2]

    s.62(2) Housing (Wales) Act 2014.

  • [3]

    s.66 Housing (Wales) Act 2014.

  • [4]

    ss.73-75 Housing (Wales) Act 2014.

  • [5]

    ch.13 Code of Guidance for Local Authorities on the Allocation of Accommodation and Homelessness, Welsh Government, March 2016.

  • [6]

    s.68(1) and (2) Housing (Wales) Act 2014.

  • [7]

    s.198(1) Housing Act 1996.

  • [8]

    s.75 Housing (Wales) Act 2014.