House has noticed a rather worrying growth RSL and Local Authority Neighbourhood Housing Officers doubling as Gatekeeper’s to the promised land of the ‘homeless application’ especially where rent arrears are involved.
House recently saw a letter from a Neighbourhood Housing Officer of a rather large Housing Association that stated ‘as a result of the proceedings you will be found Intentionally Homeless and the Local Authority will only have a duty to house you for a maximum of 28 days’.
What annoys House about this is not only the use of the word WILL and not for instance MAY, but also that frequently the advice is rather misleading to say the least as for instance in the case of the client that received the letter House has quoted. House’s client had rent arrears yes, but actually their tenancy had been terminated (before they came to see House) by a joint tenant who had moved out years previously. Therefore the cause of homelessness may well have had nothing to do with the arrears.
House has heard of a number of cases where clients, who may have some rent arrears, issued with a section 21 for a reason that is not related to rent arrears have been told by a Local Authority Housing Officer that they are intentionally homeless so the Local Authority doesn’t have to help them. This is of course done without any sort of investigation or decision letter or even taking a ‘homeless application’.
So for anyone reading this who may not know, if you have been told that you are intentionally homeless by a Local Authority or Housing Association Housing Officer this does not prevent you from making a ‘homeless application’ and receiving a proper decision letter as per section 184 of the Housing Act 1996.
Has anyone else had experience of this?