Will the Council Rehouse Me if I Get Evicted?

Facing eviction is a daunting and stressful experience. If you find yourself in this situation in the UK, you might wonder if the local council will rehouse you. This guide explores the circumstances under which the council might rehouse you, the process involved, and the various forms of support available to you.

Understanding Eviction

1.1 Reasons for Eviction

Eviction can occur for several reasons, including:

  • Rent Arrears: Failure to pay rent on time.
  • Breach of Tenancy Agreement: Violating terms outlined in your tenancy agreement.
  • Property Damage: Causing significant damage to the property.
  • Antisocial Behavior: Engaging in behavior that disrupts neighbors or the community.
  • Landlord’s Decision: The landlord decides to sell the property or use it for personal reasons.

1.2 Legal Process of Eviction

Eviction in the UK must follow a legal process:

  • Notice of Eviction: The landlord must provide a formal notice (e.g., Section 21 or Section 8 notice).
  • Court Order: If you do not leave by the specified date, the landlord can apply for a court order.
  • Bailiffs: If you still do not vacate, the court may authorize bailiffs to remove you from the property.

Council’s Duty to Rehouse

2.1 Legal Framework

The council’s duty to rehouse individuals facing homelessness is governed by:

  • Housing Act 1996
  • Homelessness Reduction Act 2017

These laws outline the circumstances under which the council must provide assistance.

2.2 Definition of Homelessness

Under UK law, you are considered homeless if:

  • You have no legal right to stay anywhere.
  • Your current accommodation is unsuitable (e.g., overcrowded, unsafe).

2.3 Priority Need

The council has a duty to assist those in priority need. Priority need categories include:

  • Families with Children: Households with dependent children.
  • Pregnant Women: Pregnant women or someone in the household who is pregnant.
  • Vulnerable Individuals: People with disabilities, mental health issues, or those vulnerable due to age (young or old).
  • Victims of Domestic Abuse: Individuals fleeing domestic abuse.
  • Emergency Situations: Those made homeless due to fire, flood, or other disasters.

The Application Process

3.1 Initial Contact

If you are facing eviction, contact your local council’s housing department as soon as possible. Provide them with:

  • Eviction Notice: Any formal notice from your landlord.
  • Personal Details: Information about yourself and your household.
  • Current Housing Situation: Details about your current accommodation and why it is ending.

3.2 Homelessness Assessment

The council will conduct a homelessness assessment to determine your situation. They will consider:

  • Eligibility: Your immigration status and whether you have recourse to public funds.
  • Homelessness: Whether you are legally considered homeless or at risk of homelessness.
  • Priority Need: Whether you fall into a priority need category.
  • Intentional Homelessness: Whether your actions contributed to your homelessness.

3.3 Personal Housing Plan

If you are eligible, the council will work with you to create a Personal Housing Plan (PHP). The PHP outlines steps you and the council will take to prevent or relieve your homelessness.

Temporary Accommodation

4.1 Emergency Accommodation

If you are in immediate need and eligible, the council may place you in temporary accommodation while they assess your situation. This can include:

  • Hostels: Short-term housing options.
  • Bed and Breakfasts: Used in emergencies, though not ideal for long-term stays.
  • Temporary Flats or Houses: Longer-term temporary solutions.

4.2 Suitability of Accommodation

The council must ensure that temporary accommodation is suitable, considering:

  • Location: Proximity to work, schools, and support networks.
  • Size and Condition: Adequate space and living conditions for your household.
  • Special Needs: Any medical or disability-related needs.

Long-Term Housing Solutions

5.1 Council Housing

If eligible, you may be placed on the waiting list for council housing. The availability of council housing depends on:

  • Local Demand: The number of people on the waiting list.
  • Property Availability: The number of properties available in your area.
  • Priority Banding: Your priority status based on need and waiting time.

5.2 Housing Associations

Housing associations provide affordable housing options and may be another route for rehousing. The council can help you apply for housing association properties.

5.3 Private Rented Sector

The council may assist you in finding accommodation in the private rented sector by:

  • Rent Deposit Schemes: Providing help with deposits.
  • Rent in Advance: Assisting with upfront rent payments.
  • Discretionary Housing Payments: Offering short-term financial assistance.

Financial and Legal Support

6.1 Housing Benefit and Universal Credit

If you are on a low income, you may be eligible for Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit to help with rent payments.

6.2 Discretionary Housing Payments

These are additional payments that councils can provide to help cover housing costs in emergencies.

6.3 Legal Aid

If you are facing eviction, you might qualify for legal aid to help with legal costs. Legal aid can provide:

  • Advice and Representation: Help from solicitors or advisers.
  • Court Fees: Assistance with paying court fees if you go to court.

Coping with Eviction: Practical Steps

7.1 Document Everything

Keep copies of all correspondence with your landlord, council, and any other relevant parties. This includes:

  • Eviction Notices: Any formal notices from your landlord.
  • Emails and Letters: Communication with the council and other support services.

7.2 Seek Advice Early

Contact housing charities and legal advice services as soon as possible. Organizations like Shelter and Citizens Advice can provide valuable guidance and support.

7.3 Stay Informed

Understand your rights and the eviction process. Being informed can help you navigate the process more effectively and avoid unnecessary stress.

Case Studies and Examples

Case Study 1: Family Facing Eviction

A family of four faced eviction due to rent arrears after the main earner lost their job. They contacted their local council, who assessed their situation and provided temporary accommodation in a nearby hostel. The council then helped the family apply for Housing Benefit and set up a Personal Housing Plan, which included finding more affordable private rented accommodation. With the council’s assistance, the family secured a new home and avoided homelessness.

Case Study 2: Single Mother Evicted

A single mother with two children was evicted due to antisocial behavior complaints from neighbors. She sought help from the council, who assessed her situation and determined that she was in priority need. Although she was found intentionally homeless due to the behavior issues, the council still provided temporary accommodation and referred her to support services to address the underlying issues. Over time, she was able to stabilize her situation and secure long-term housing through a housing association.

FAQs about Council Rehousing after Eviction

FAQ 1: What if the council says I made myself intentionally homeless?

If the council determines that you are intentionally homeless, they may still provide short-term assistance but will expect you to find your own long-term accommodation. You can challenge this decision through a review process or appeal.

FAQ 2: How long can I stay in temporary accommodation?

The duration of your stay in temporary accommodation depends on your circumstances and the availability of long-term housing. The council will work to rehouse you as quickly as possible, but it can take time.

FAQ 3: Can I refuse the accommodation offered by the council?

You can refuse the accommodation, but you need to have a valid reason, such as it being unsuitable due to location or condition. Refusing suitable accommodation without a good reason may affect your priority status.


Facing eviction is a challenging and stressful experience, but understanding your rights and the support available can make a significant difference. The UK’s local councils have a duty to assist individuals and families facing homelessness, particularly those in priority need. By taking proactive steps, seeking advice early, and working closely with the council, you can navigate the eviction process and secure suitable housing.

Remember, numerous support services and resources are available to help you during this difficult time. Whether you need legal advice, financial assistance, or simply someone to talk to, reaching out for help is the first step towards finding a solution and ensuring your housing stability.

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