0808 808 4000 Get help now
On this page
At a glance: Find out what help you can get if you are homeless or worried about losing your home.
Reading time: 2 mins
This summary is not relevant in England and Wales
For a version of this summary that covers England and Wales, please click here.

What help can I get?

Councils have legal obligations to help some people find accommodation. Your council must re-house you if it decides all the following apply: 

  • You are eligible for assistance. 
  • You are homeless. 
  • You have not made yourself intentionally homeless.

Am I eligible for assistance?

You are eligible for assistance unless you are ‘a person from abroad’.  If you are from abroad, you must have one of the following for the council to help: 

  • Refugee status. 
  • Settled immigration status. 
  • Exceptional leave to enter and remain.

Am I homeless?

The council should treat you as homeless if one or more of the following apply:

  • You are without accommodation in the UK or elsewhere.
  • You are threatened with homelessness in the next two months.
  • You are unable to remain in, or gain access to, the place where you are living.
  • You live somewhere which is totally unsuitable.
  • The accommodation is below a ‘tolerable standard’.
  • The accommodation is unsuitable for health reasons.
  • You live in a mobile home or boat and there is nowhere to put it.
  • Where you live is statutorily overcrowded.
  • Occupying your accommodation is likely to lead to violence or threats of violence by somebody who used to live with you or still lives with you.

Am I intentionally homeless?

The council will decide that you are intentionally homeless if: 

  • You had somewhere reasonable to live, but you chose to leave. 
  • You left somewhere where you could have continued to live, to get council help.  
  • There is suitable accommodation available but you have not taken it. 

You should not be found intentionally homeless in the following circumstances: 

  • You left home because you felt threatened. 
  • Your home was repossessed due to rent or mortgage arrears. You will need to show that your income does not cover your rent or mortgage and basic living expenses. 
  • You have failed to exercise your rights to your home under the matrimonial homes legislation. 
  • The conditions were so bad that you could not remain. 
  • You lost your home through someone else’s actions. 

What help does the council have to give?

  • The council must provide temporary housing while it decides if you are homeless and eligible for assistance. If you ask for a review of a decision, it must provide temporary housing until the outcome of the review. 
  • The council must provide temporary housing if it thinks you are intentionally homeless and eligible for assistance. You should get at least 28 days to find alternative accommodation. 
  • The council usually needs to provide housing if you are homeless, eligible for assistance and not intentionally homeless. 

Learn more about this topic

If you want to learn more about this topic, you can read our in-depth guide.

Read in-depth-guide

Was this page helpful?

We're here to support you
However you feel comfortable, we can help you make a plan to take control of your debt.