Our legal duties
If you are facing homelessness please contact us immediately as we need to make a full assessment of your situation. The law says we have different duties to help people, depending on their individual situation.
There are five main things that Housing Options need to look at:
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Are you eligible for assistance?
Before we can offer you help with your homeless application the Housing Options Service must ensure that you are eligible for assistance.
The law says there are four groups of people we cannot help, except to give housing advice. We will not be able to carry on with your homeless application if any of the points listed below apply to you:
- You are subject to immigration control and have limited rights to be here. (We have a duty to check your immigration status and tell the relevant authorities if you are here illegally.)
- You are here from abroad and are not able to claim state benefits (known as 'public funds')
- You are not normally or 'habitually' resident in this country
- You are an asylum seeker (but may be eligible for temporary accommodation arranged by central government)
If you are not eligible for help, we do not have to give you help; however we will provide advice to help stop you from becoming homeless.
If you are eligible for help we will then look at whether you are legally classed as being homeless.
Are you legally homeless?
For a definition of ' legally homeless' please see our Homelessness page.
Trafford’s Housing Options Service will make a decision about whether you are ‘legally’ homeless or threatened with homelessness.
If it is decided that you are not homeless, we will give you advice to help you keep your home, and tell you about the housing options that may be available to you.
If you are classed as homeless or threatened with homelessness we will look at whether you are in 'priority need'
Are you in priority need?
Everyone needs somewhere to live, but certain groups of people (listed below) are legally defined as being in priority for housing.
- You are pregnant or if dependent children live, or might reasonably be expected to live with you
- You have become homeless or are threatened with homelessness as a result of flood, fire or other disaster
- You are aged 16 or 17
- You are 20 or under and a former relevant child
- You are over 21 and vulnerable as a result of having been looked after, accommodation or fostered at some time in your life
- You are vulnerable due to old age, mental illness, handicap, physical disability or other special reason
- You are vulnerable as a result of having been a member of her majesty's regular navy, military or armed forces
- You are vulnerable as a result of ceasing to occupy accommodation because of violence or harassment from another person or threats of violence from another person that are likely to be carried out.
The only exceptions to the above are if you are:
'Relevant child' - if you are 16 or 17 and were in care for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14 and were looked after on your 16th birthday.
'Relevant Student' - a former relevant child in full time education and your term time accommodation is not available to you during a vacation.
'Child in need' - if a duty is owed to you under the Children Act 1989.
If you fall into one of these three categories listed above you need to speak to Social Services on 0161 912 5125 as they may have a duty to assist you with accommodation.
Are you intentionally homeless?
In order to assess whether we have a duty to re-house you we must consider if you are homeless as a result of your own actions.
Some examples of this are:
- You decided to leave a property when you didn't have to.
- You could have afforded to pay the rent or mortgage and just didn't pay it. We would look into your financial circumstance when investigating this.
- You didn't bother to claim Housing Benefit or to renew your claim; or you failed to give Benefits information about your circumstances that they needed to process your claim.
- You were evicted for anti-social behaviour.
- You were found suitable accommodation by Trafford Housing Trust but didn't take it.
- You have made yourselves homeless to try to get housing more quickly.
Trafford’s Housing Options Service will make a decision about whether you are homeless intentionally; you will be given this decision in writing. We would then have a duty, if you are in priority need, to find you temporary accommodation for a limited period of time, so you can find somewhere else to live.
After assessing your needs, we will give you appropriate advice and assistance to do this.
If we find that you are in priority need and not intentionally homeless, we will then look at whether you have a local connection to Trafford.
Do you have a local connection?
You have a local connection to Trafford if you have:
- Lived in Trafford for 6 out of the last 12 months, or 3 out of the last 5 years.
- Employment here.
- Family links - this has to be a close relative such as a parent, brother or sister.
- Special circumstances, which we would consider on an individual basis.
You do not have a local connection if your only connection is because you have been living in Trafford in somewhere such as hospital or at college here.
If a re-housing duty is owed to you but you do not have a local connection with Trafford but have one with another local authority, we would find you temporary accommodation and then refer your application to that Council. Once that Council has accepted your application, then it would accept responsibility for re-housing you.
You would not be referred to an area where you would be at risk of violence.
It is possible to have a local connection with more than one area, if you do not have a connection with Trafford, but you do with more than one Council area, then we would ask you about which Council you would prefer to accommodate you.
If you have no local connection anywhere, then it is usual for the Council you first approached to assist you. If Trafford were the first local authority you have contacted then we would process your application.
If you are eligible for assistance; homeless; in priority need; not intentionally homeless and you have a local connection to Trafford then the Housing Options Service, on behalf of Trafford Council has a duty to re-house you.