When a young person makes a homelessness application, the council can decide that they became intentionally homeless if they have deliberately done (or not done) something that caused them to lose their accommodation.
Section 191 of the Housing Act 1996 states that ‘a person becomes homeless intentionally if he deliberately does or fails to do anything in consequence of which he ceases to occupy accommodation which is available for his occupation and which it would have been reasonable for him to continue to occupy’. A local authority could, for example, decide that a young person is intentionally homeless where they have been evicted for non-payment of rent that they could have paid.
Several factors have to be taken into account when deciding if a young person is intentionally homeless, including if:
Young people are sometimes found to be intentionally homeless when they are evicted by their parents due to their behaviour.
In these situations local authorities should not discriminate against the young person and automatically take the parents’ word for what happened. They should discuss the situation with the young person. It could be that the parents’ rules were unreasonable or that there are other underlying problems that caused the homelessness.
The local authority do not have a duty to provide longer term accommodation to a young person found to be intentionally homeless. However, the authority should:
Young people may require specialist housing advice in the case of intentional homelessness decisions.
Young people may need to be advised about other accommodation options as soon as possible.
Advisers can try to avert an intentional homelessness decision, by writing to the local authority explaining the reasons for the young person becoming homeless. This can be done when making the homeless application is being made, or - if the young person has already made an application - at some point before the decision is made. The local authority should take any information contained in an adviser’s letter into account when making its decision. The standard homelessness application letter can be adapted for this purpose.
If the young person has been found intentionally homeless, advisers can request a review of the decision. This must be done within 21 days of the date on which the young person is notified of the decision.
For further information, see the page Requesting a review of a homelessness decision.