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National Homeless Advice Service

Overview of homelessness law and guidance

Information about the law and the statutory guidance on homelessness.

The main legislative provisions on homelessness are contained in Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996. The Housing Act 1996 has been amended on a number of occasions, significantly by the Homelessness Act 2002, the Localism Act 2011 and the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.

Other legislative provisions are found in regulations and orders, known as statutory instruments.

Judgments of the courts may form a precedent (binding on lower courts) in terms of how a legislative provision is to be interpreted. This is known as ‘case law’.

In addition to legislation and case law, local authorities must also ‘have regard’ to statutory guidance on homelessness, published by the government.

See Shelter Legal: Overview of homelessness law and guidance for more information.