What Does No Fixed Abode Mean?

If you are seeking the meaning of no fixed abode, you will find a detailed explanation of the term in the following blog post. In addition to this, we will also discuss the consequence of not having a fixed abode on the benefits one can claim and the support one can claim from local councils.

What Does No Fixed Abode Mean?

No fixed abode means that there is no permanent address. If someone is said to have no fixed abode, it can be due to many reasons. Some of these include the following:

  • One of the main reasons for not having a fixed abode is that the person lives in a motorhome or travelling caravan which moves around to be parked at different places throughout the year.
  • Another reason could be that the person in question lives on a boat which is moored at different locations at different times of the year.
  • Other reasons for not having a fixed abode could be that the person lives in a temporary shelter, at a friend’s place or is currently homeless.  

Not having a fixed abode in the first two cases may not have dire consequences and can save housing costs for individuals who live on a boat, a motorhome or a caravan by reducing their expenses; including council tax and allowing them to claim benefits if they qualify.

However, when someone does not have a fixed abode because of homelessness, the individual(s) may be faced with much more severe conditions than just being without a permanent place to live in. This is the reason why individuals who have no fixed abode in such cases will receive council tax support in being provided with a shelter. 

How Can Someone With No Fixed Abode Claim Benefits?

If someone has no fixed abode, they should be able to meet the following conditions to claim benefits:

  • They must be ordinarily resident in the UK: This means that they must have a permanent address in the UK and intend to stay here indefinitely. In the absence of a personal address, they can provide the postal address of friends or family to fulfil the requirement and claim benefits.
  • They must be physically present in the UK. This means that they must be in the UK when they make your claim.
  • They must be available for work. This means that they must be able to start work immediately if offered a job.

To fulfil the requirement of providing an address, someone with no fixed abode can provide the postal address of either of the following:

  • friend or family member
  • hoster or shelter
  • day centre
  • nearest Jobcentre Plus office

You can use an independent, online benefits calculator to check which of these benefits you qualify for before applying for them. Alternatively, you can contact your Jobcentre Plus office or local council for guidance on how to claim the benefits that you qualify for.

How Can Someone With No Fixed Abode Register To Vote?

If you wish to register to vote despite having no fixed abode, you can use this online form. You will need to provide an address where you could be living at some time in the past, the address of a friend or family member and send the filled-in form to your electoral registration office.

To be able to register to vote in the UK, you must be:

  • above 18 years of age
  • a citizen of the UK or Ireland
  • a qualifying Commonwealth citizen who is living in the UK

Getting registered to quick and convenient. You can register to vote online by providing information regarding the following:

  • your address 
  • your date of birth 
  • your national insurance number

How Can Someone With No Fixed Abode Get Help For Housing?

If someone has no fixed abode due to homelessness, are living with friends or family in overcrowded or unsanitary conditions, they can not only get help for housing through their local council office but will also be given priority for it.

If you are homeless, the council will provide you accommodation at an emergency shelter and if you do not expect your situation to improve soon, you can apply for council housing for long-term accommodation.

The council can also help you with the following solutions if you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless:

  • provide support and advice for housing
  • accommodate you in an emergency shelter
  • help you keep your home if it is possible
  • if you need help in finding a home provide support and assistance
  • provide you with a council home for long-term housing


According to the above discussion, not having a fixed abode primarily means not having a fixed address. This can be due to a person living in a mobile home such as a caravan or boat or living under sire circumstances such as in a shelter or being homeless.


No fixed abode definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary

Lacking a fixed address or a safe place to receive mail will worsen Covid hardships, warns Citizens Advice

Register to vote if you haven’t got a fixed or permanent address – GOV.UK