Housing and Homelessness Reviews
The Council has a duty to provide advice and help to anyone who is homeless. If you make a homeless application, we will consider your individual circumstances to decide what, if any, housing duty is owed to you. If you disagree with a decision made on your homeless application, you may be able to ask for a review.
You may also be able to ask for a review of a decision made in relation to your Housing Register or Local Lettings Plan application.
- Which decisions can I ask to be reviewed?
You are entitled to seek a review of the following decisions on homeless applications (or on the relevant duties owed you as a result of these decisions):
- eligibility if the decision is that you are not eligible for assistance due to your immigration or legal status in the UK.
- homelessness if you have been found not homeless.
- reasonable steps that the Council is to take to prevent or relieve your homelessness.
- ending the prevention or relief duty. the decisions made to end these duties, including the suitability of accommodation offered to end these duties and the decision that you have deliberately and unreasonably refused to cooperate.
- the decision to refer your case to another council, you may be able to ask for a review at two stages in the process, both when we refer you and when the other council accepts a duty to you, depending on when the referral is made.
- ending the s.193C (4) duty, the duty to provide accommodation to an applicant who is no longer owed the relief duty because they have deliberately and unreasonably refused to cooperate, providing they are homeless, eligible for assistance, in priority need and not intentionally homeless.
- priority need if the decision is that you are not in priority need.
- Intentionality if you are considered intentionally homeless.
- suitability of temporary accommodation only if the Council accepts the main housing duty to you.
- ending the main housing duty, decisions made to end the main housing duty to you.
You can also ask for a review of the following decisions made in relation to your Housing Register or Local Lettings Plan application:
- a decision about the facts of your case which is likely to be, or has been, taken into account in considering whether to allocate housing accommodation to you.
- a decision that you are ineligible to join the housing register.
- a decision that you do not qualify to join the housing register.
- When can I ask for a review?
The law says that you must ask for a review within 21 days of the decision. If you are outside this time, you do not have a right to a review. We may consider it however, if you show that exceptional circumstances caused you to be late.
- Can I get help with my request for a review?
You may find that an independent legal or specialist housing adviser can help you with this process. Let us know that you are asking for a review as soon as you can, and then seek this help to save time. You may also wish to provide new information, in which case you may need the help of professionals, such as social workers or doctors, who know about your situation.
- Who will deal with my review?
Your review will be dealt with by one of the Council’s review officers. This person will be independent of the original decision and experienced in housing law so that they can reach a new decision on your case.
You can contact the review officer either by:
or in writing: Review Officer, Housing Needs Department, 2nd Floor The Town Hall, Hornton Street, London, W8 7NX
- What happens next?
We will send you a letter acknowledging your request for a review. It will also explain the process. If you do not have an address, this letter (and any others concerning your review) will be kept in the Customer Services Centre at the Town Hall for you to collect.
Your case will be examined objectively and independently to make sure that the original decision was reached in a lawful way and was correct based on the information available. A new review decision will be reached. This must take account of your circumstances now and since the original decision was made. We may need to make enquiries and seek further information so this can take time. If you have a solicitor or specialist adviser acting for you, we will contact them rather than contacting you directly.
- How long will it take?
Different time limits apply depending on the type of decision that is being reviewed. The range of times is between three and 12 weeks. However, the period for completing a review can be longer than these prescribed periods if both you (or your representative) and the review officer agree in writing that the time limit should be extended.
- Will I continue to be accommodated?
Ordinarily, the Council does not have a duty to accommodate you while the review is being carried out and we do not normally provide accommodation, so you will need to make alternative arrangements. We may have to provide accommodation in exceptional circumstances - where we believe the original decision could be unlawful and may be overturned, or where new information puts it in doubt and you would face exceptional hardship without accommodation (more so than other people who are homeless). We will also provide accommodation if you refuse a final offer of accommodation or final Part 6 offer of accommodation during the relief stage, and request a review of the suitability of this accommodation – but only if there is reason to believe that you may be homeless, eligible and in priority need.
- What is the law around the review process?
Section 202 of Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended by the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017) instructs councils how reviews are to be carried out.
The Homelessness (Review Procedure etc.) Regulations 2018 set out the procedures we must follow in carrying out reviews. You can find copies of these in your local library, and housing advisers and solicitors will also keep copies.
- What if I think the review decision is still wrong?
If you still believe the Council has made an unlawful decision, the law allows you to seek a County Court Appeal (Section 204 of the 1996 Act). You must apply to the County Court within 21 days of the notification of the review decision and on a point of law. It is recommended that you obtain legal advice if you do seek such an appeal.