Free templates: avoiding the relief duty by seeking a referral on local connection grounds

29.03.2018

Today's free documents are for when, as a homeless officer, you wish to avoid the s.189B(2) relief duty on the basis that the applicant's case can be referred to another council on local connection grounds.

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Today's templates

The following letters can now be downloaded from the Resources section:

From Tuesday there's one situation where you'll be able to avoid the relief duty, despite the fact that you're satisfied the applicant is homeless and eligible for help.

This is where you think the local connection referral conditions are met.

Note that if the applicant is merely threatened with homelessness you cannot start the referral process. Rather you'll owe the prevention duty, irrespective of any lack of connection.

Duties towards a homeless person without a local connection

If you've completed the s.184(1) inquiries and are satisfied the applicant is eligible and homeless you can't avoid the duties to:

  • undertake the assessment
  • try and agree a housing plan, and
  • notify both the assessment and plan.

If you wish to exercise the new s.198(A1) power to refer (so you're not waiting until the end of the relief duty to refer), you'll need to:

  • notify the other authority (of your opinion that the referral conditions are met), and
  • notify the applicant.

Crucially, you don't inform the homeless person that you're accepting the relief duty. This would snooker you until the end of the relief duty so far as seeking a referral is concerned (since the s.198(A1) power is only available if you don't accept the relief duty). If waiting until the end of the relief duty, you would only be able to refer under s.198(1) if (like now) the applicant has a priority need and became homeless unintentionally.

I don't expect homeless officers will often accept the relief duty when they have the option of seeking a referral. Although you might decline to exercise the referral power if there's a good chance you can help them find accommodation in the next 56 days.

Do you provide interim accommodation?

If you exercise the s.198(A1) power to refer you'll also need to consider whether you have reason to believe that the applicant may have a priority need. This will determine whether the new s.199A(2) duty to secure accommodation is owed.

Basically:

  • No reason to believe = no temporary accommodation.
  • Some reason to believe they may have a priority need = temporary accommodation pending the outcome of the referral.

How can I download the documents?

If you're new to the site you'll need to:

  • create an account with a local authority or registered housing association email address
  • wait for your account to be approved (you'll receive a second email), and
  • go to the relevant page in the Resources section (or click on the document links at the top of this blog post).

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