This information explains the duties of this Council if you are homeless or likely to be homeless soon. It only gives a guide to the law. If any further information is required about homeless procedures please speak to a Homelessness Officer at Three Rivers House who will be happy to advise you further. Alternatively, the Citizens' Advice Bureau will offer advice to persons threatened with homelessness.

What are my rights if I am homeless?

If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness within four weeks we have a duty to help you in some way. For some homeless people we will have to find a secure home but for others we may only have to provide temporary accommodation or advice.

Am I Homeless?

You do not have to be living on the street to be considered homeless.  You may be considered homeless if you:

  • Have nowhere to live
  • Have been taken to court by a mortgage lender or landlord and been ordered to leave
  • Are living with friends or family and being evicted
  • Are living in a property that is assessed as being unfit for habitation
  • Are afraid to go home because someone living there has been or may be violent to you or your family

What should I do if I think I am homeless?

  • Contact the Housing Needs team for advice and assistance
  • The Housing Needs team will try to prevent you becoming homeless and find the best solution to your housing need

What happens next?

You will be interviewed and be asked to give full details of your situation.  The council will check that:

  • You are eligible for assistance
  • You are homeless or becoming homeless
  • You are considered a priority need
  • You are not intentionally homeless

What is Eligibility?

Eligibility is a legal definition and means you have to be entitled to housing via the Council, have recourse to public funds and have a Right to Remain in the UK.
You may not be eligible for assistance if you are:

  • Your immigration status
  • Whether you are habitually resident in the UK
  • Whether you are classed as a 'worker'

The issue of eligibility can be very complicated and is assessed on a case by case basis.

Further information can be found at Shelter or Housing Rights

What is priority need?

You are in priority need if:

  • You, or someone you live with, is pregnant;
  • you have dependent children who reside with you or might reasonably be expected to reside with you (usually those under 16 or under 19 if they are in full time education)
  • You, or someone you live with, is vulnerable as a result of old age, mental illness or physical disability or other special reason
  • You are 16 or 17 years of age (in most cases);
  • You are under 21, and have been looked after, accommodated, or fostered but are not a student in full time education
  • You are over 21 and are vulnerable as a result of having been looked after, accommodated or fostered
  • You are homeless as a result of flood, fire or other disaster
  • You are vulnerable as a result of having served in the armed forces
  • You are vulnerable as a result of having been imprisoned
  • You are vulnerable as a result of ceasing to occupy accommodation because of actual or threatened violence

If the Council considers you Eligible for assistance, Homeless and in priority need, it will ensure you:

  • Have somewhere to stay whilst a full investigation into the circumstances of your homelessness.
  • If you are not considered intentionally homeless and we could not prevent you becoming homeless we will secure accommodation for you, either in social housing through the Choice Based Lettings Scheme or in private housing through the Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme.

What if I am not in priority need?

  • You will be offered advice and assistance to try and prevent you becoming homeless
  • You can be referred to alternative support agencies, such as housing providers, Social Services, Herts Young Homeless Group, mediation services, Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and financial advisors.

Am I Intentionally Homeless?

The Council may decide you have made yourself homeless if:

  • You deliberately did, or failed to do, something. This could be because:- 
    • You didn't pay your rent or mortgage when it was consider affordable to do so.
    • You were evicted for anti-social behaviour 
  • You chose to leave a property that it was reasonable for you to remain in
  • You arranged to be made homeless, i.e. arranging for your landlord to evict you.

This list is not exhaustive, each case is assessed on it's own merits.

Please be aware that should you be found intentionally homeless, the council will have NO duty to provide secure accommodation.  You will be given limited time in temporary housing in order for you to find alternative accommodation.

Do I have a local connection with Three Rivers?

It is probable you will have a local connection with Three Rivers if:

  • You have lived in this borough for Three out of the last Five years
  • You have lived in this borough for six out of the last twelve months
  • You have a permanent job based in the area
  • You have close family living in the borough i.e. parents and adult siblings. Cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles would not usually qualify as a local connection

What if I don't have a local connection with Three Rivers?

  • If Three Rivers District Council decides you are eligible for assistance, homeless, in priority need and are not intentionally homeless, but have no local connection, then a referral is made to the council you do have a connection with, so they can help you further.
  • If you have no local connection anywhere then assistance and advice will be given by the first authority you approach

If you are fleeing Domestic Violence, a local connection is not necessary.

What if I disagree with the council’s decision?

If you are told that we do not have an obligation to secure you accommodation, you will receive written notification of our decision. This notification will advise you of your right to appeal against the decision and how to go about making an appeal.

What is the appeal Procedure?

Appeals must be made in writing to the Housing Needs Manager within 21 days of the date of the decision letter.

Reviews are considered and determined by an independent reviewer, who will not have been involved in the original decision. The reviewer will look at the information on your file, along with your written submission and any further evidence in support of your appeal. 

Where else can I go for help?

A list of helpful contacts follows. Advice may help you keep your home if you are behind with your rent or mortgage, or if you have been told to leave. If you are in danger of being made homeless always get advice before leaving your home if at all possible.

Where to go for advice if you need to leave a violent partner

Women's Aid refuges provide temporary accommodation and advise women with or without children who have to leave home because of domestic violence. Look in the phone book or contact the national office for your nearest refuge.

For more information click here

Useful addresses

Housing Needs Team

Three Rivers District Council, Three Rivers House, Northway, Rickmansworth, Herts WD3 1RL.

Tel: 01923 776611

Citizens Advice Bureau:

Abbots Langley Office, The Old Stables, St Lawrence's Vicarage, Abbots Langley, Herts

Rickmansworth Office, Northway, Rickmansworth, Herts

South Oxhey Office, Bridlington Road, South Oxhey, Herts

Tel: 08444 111444