Can I Get A Council House If I’m Homeless?

Different situations can make an individual a priority case for council housing. Through this blog post, we aim to learn whether someone can get a council house if they are homeless. We will also discuss the application of the term homeless when it comes to council housing as well as review some other forms of support that homeless individuals can get from their council authorities.

Can I Get A Council House If I’m Homeless?

Yes, you can get a council house if you are homeless; provided you fulfil the following conditions:

  • You are a British or Irish citizen, are living under the settled status from the EU settlement scheme, have an indefinite leave to remain, you have refugee status or humanitarian protection
  • You are in high priority need of housing
  • You are legally homeless
  • You are not intentionally homeless
  • You have a local connection to the area or you will be housed in a council district where you have one; unless you are homeless due to domestic abuse. 

If someone is living on the streets or in unhygienic conditions, councils can also provide them with emergency shelter until a council property is arranged for them to move into for the long term.

If you intend to apply for a council house due to homelessness, you may consider the following essential points as well:

  • One doesn’t have to be rough sleeping to be considered homeless. If anyone is sleeping off their friend’s sofa or living under cramped/overcrowded, unsanitary conditions, they will also qualify as being homeless. 
  • When the council extends help for homelessness, this includes being legally homeless or being threatened of homelessness in the immediate future.
  • Individuals who are living in the UK but are not British citizens can expect their right to stay in the country to be affected due to homelessness. 
  • If someone has applied for immigration and becomes homeless during the process, their application cannot be turned down due to this reason.

However, if you are intentionally homeless, you cannot expect the council authorities to provide you with short-term housing through an emergency shelter or long-term housing with a council house. Being intentionally homeless includes the following situations:

  • if someone has deliberately left a house on their own accord; despite being able to stay
  • if someone has been evicted from a house due to rent arrears or unpaid mortgage even though they had the means to afford them
  • if someone has planned to become homeless by asking their family to evict them without reason
  • if someone has been evicted due to antisocial or criminal behaviour

What Is The Meaning Of Being Legally Homeless?

If someone is legally homeless, it means that they are faced with one or more of the following situations:

  • they have nowhere to live in the UK
  • they have a home in the UK but can’t access it (possibly due to unlawful eviction)
  • they can’t live in their home because of abuse, poor conditions or it is no longer affordable 
  • they have no appropriate place to keep their home if it is moveable such as a caravan or houseboat

Can I Get A Council House If I’m Threatened For Homelessness?

Yes, you can get a council house if you are threatened with homelessness. This means that even though an individual may not be homeless currently, if they know that they are at a high risk of being homeless soon, they can apply for a council house and expect to be provided with accomodation.

Threatened for homelessness includes the following:

  • a tenant has been asked to leave their home within 8 weeks and has nowhere to live once the time ends
  • a tenant has been issued a valid section 21 notice which does not require the landlord to give a reason for eviction

If a council house is not available at such short notice, the authorities will provide an emergency shelter for the individuals when they become homeless so that they don’t have to live off the streets or in unsanitary conditions.

What Help Can I Get From The Council If I Am Homeless?

In addition to providing a council house to someone homeless, councils also provide immediate shelter to those who are legally homeless as well as advice and support to continue living in their home if the conditions allow for it.

They will also make sure that the housing facility provided to anyone homeless meets their needs especially if they are disabled or faced with a health condition (physical or mental). In addition to this, they will consider the benefits or wages of the individual when placing them in council accommodation so that they can afford the rent.

However, the support that an individual gets will depend on the following factors:

  • the eligibility level of the individual
  • whether or not they are in priority need
  • the reason(s) for their homelessness

What Is The Meaning Of Priority Need For Council Housing?

Being in priority need of council housing as a homeless person includes the following situations. If anyone faces even one of these conditions, it means that they are in a priority need and their need for housing will be addressed earlier than other individuals on the list. These include:

  • If an individual or someone living with them is pregnant
  • If you have a child or children under the age of 16 (19 if they are in full-time education) living with you
  • If you are aged 16 or 17 years old
  • If you are 21 years of age but were in care between the ages of 16 and 18
  • If you are assessed as being vulnerable due to disability, old age or having suffered from domestic abuse
  • If you were made homeless due to a disaster such as a fire, flood or earthquake


The discussion in this article goes on to show that while homeless individuals can claim council housing in the long term and emergency shelter on an immediate basis, there are certain essential criteria concerning their immigration status as well as the reasons for being homeless that will determine whether they can get a council house and how soon they can get it.

FAQs: Can I Get A Council House If I’m Homeless?

What help can a homeless person get?

If someone is homeless and seeking help from their council, they can expect to be provided with emergency shelter on a short-term basis and council accommodation in the long term. However, they will have to meet the eligibility criteria for being homeless and should not have been the cause of their current situation.

Can you get benefits if you are homeless?

Depending on your situation, you can claim different state benefits if you are homeless. These main benefits that a homeless individual can claim due to their housing situation include Universal Credit and Housing Beenfit.

What can I do if I am homeless and have no money?

If you are homeless and have no money, you should contact your local council office for support and guidance.

Do I qualify for emergency housing in the UK?

To qualify for emergency housing in the UK, an individual must be legally homeless, have a priority due to pregnancy, young children or domestic abuse and fulfil the immigration conditions.

Can I get Universal Credit if I am homeless?

Yes, you can get Universal Credit if you are homeless. If someone is new to Universal Credit and in financial need, they can apply for an advance payment while they wait for their benefits claim to be approved.


Who qualifies for housing – Shelter England

Help if you’re homeless or about to become homeless – GOV.UK

If you’re offered to house because you’re homeless – Citizens Advice

I am vulnerable and homeless but the Council is still refusing to help me | Osbornes Law

Check if you can apply for homeless help – Citizens Advice.