We have a legal duty to provide anybody who is homeless, or threatened with homelessness, with advice and appropriate assistance. The kind of assistance you are entitled to depends on your circumstances and how you became homeless. The Housing Act 1996 (which was amended in 2002) states that enquiries must be made about all homeless applicants to establish if we have a duty to help and, if so, what kind of help we should give. Every Council must, by law, ensure that enquiries are made into all homeless applications.
Who should I contact if I am homeless?
If you find yourself homeless, or threatened with homelessness, you should call us straight away on 01233 330688. The Housing Services Team will determine whether you need to see a housing options officer that day. If you prefer, you can email .
The housing options officer will work with you to try and prevent you from losing your current home and will have a range of options that they can discuss with you. They will also ask you how you became homeless or why you may lose your home.
You should bring with you any documents that you have which may help to explain what has happened. If your home is being repossessed because you have not been able to pay your rent or mortgage payments then you should provide details of your rent or mortgage payments, details of any other debts and details of your income. If your landlord has given you notice for some other reason bring your tenancy agreement and any other letters you have received from your landlord.
What enquiries will be made?
We will make enquiries following five criteria. This will tell us what kind of help we have a duty to provide for you. It is important that you provide full and truthful information.
- Are you homeless?
- Are you eligible for assistance?
- Are you in priority need?
- Are you intentionally homeless?
- Do you have a 'local connection'?
- For full details of the criteria, please view our Homelessness Criteria
What help will I be entitled to?
Everyone is eligible for advice and assistance. You can get advice relating to any aspect of housing. For example:
- How to prevent you from losing your accommodation
- Your rights as a tenant or owner-occupier
- How to find your own accommodation
- Other organisations that may be able to help you
- Where to get advice about money or legal matters
- Where to get assistance with writing letters and filling in forms to secure accommodation
- There are also other voluntary organisations who can assist you if you are homeless, such as Porchlight, which has supported accommodation projects in Ashford, Dover, Canterbury and Ramsgate.
If you are homeless within 28 days, and eligible for assistance and in priority need, and unintentionally homeless, we have a duty to provide you with advice and assistance to help you find other accommodation. If there is no other suitable accommodation available for you, we may have a duty to provide you with temporary accommodation if you meet certain criteria as set out in the legislation.
If this applies to you but you have not lost your home yet but are threatened with homelessness then we will give you advice and assistance to prevent you losing your home.
If you are 'not homeless or threatened with homelessness', or 'not eligible for assistance', or 'not in priority need', then we have a duty to provide you with appropriate housing advice and assistance, which everyone is entitled to.
If you are 'homeless or threatened with homelessness', and 'eligible for assistance', and 'in priority need', but you made yourself homeless intentionally we have no duty to provide you with accommodation
If you have already lost your home and there is nowhere else you can stay, then we may provide you with emergency accommodation for a reasonable period of time, usually 28 days, to enable you to find somewhere to live. This is likely to be in a bed and breakfast establishment and will sometimes be located outside the borough.
You should be aware that you would not be allocated a secure lifetime or fixed-term tenancy within social housing as a direct result of your homelessness.
You can apply directly to the housing register by completing the Choice Based Lettings housing application form at Kent Homechoice.
We will then make enquiries and investigations using the homelessness criteria. We aim to complete all our investigations in relation to the five criteria and make a decision on your application within 33 days of your initial application.
If you disagree with the decision we make then you may ask for a review of that decision.
Your right to a review
If you disagree with a decision made about your homeless application you have the right to ask for a review. You must do this within 21 days of receiving the decision by writing to housing services at the address below or by completing our online homelessness review form. The review gives you the opportunity to provide any new or additional information about your claim. It also allows the council to consider any new information you may have in relation to the review.
The review will be dealt with by a senior member of staff. You will be told the result of the review within a maximum of 56 days from the date you requested the review. If you disagree with the review decision, or are not notified of the decision within the time limits above, then you can go to the county court to appeal. You must do this within 21 days of the date of the review decision (or the date when you should have been notified). The nearest courts are situated in Canterbury or Maidstone and we would advise you to contact Citizens Advice to assist you prior to approaching the County Court. You can also go to the Local Government Ombudsman if you think you have been treated unfairly.