Homelessness Law, Practice and the Homelessness Reduction Act

Monday, 4 October 2021
Online | 9.30am-4.00pm

Develop your understanding of the statutory duties the people you support may be owed by Local Authorities, including the duties of the Homelessness Reduction Act.

Large numbers of people approach Local Authorities every year either as homeless or facing the prospect of becoming homeless. Years of case law have confirmed that Local Authorities can take a wrong view of their responsibilities; also that those representing applicants can be overly optimistic in terms of duties owed to their clients.  

In this regard this course gives an overview of the duties contained in the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) and how they relate to the duties under the Housing Act 1996 Part VII.

The course will also look at the key concepts in Homelessness Law e.g. Priority Need and Intentional Homelessness; as it is from an understanding of these that it can ascertained what duties are owed to the applicant. In addition it will also explore what decisions can be challenged if viewed as incorrect.

What will you learn?

This course will:

  • Discuss the duties owed to applicants
  • Explore the key concepts of homelessness law, including who is homeless, what is means to be vulnerable and hence in priority need, and when someone can be found intentionally homeless
  • Explain how Local Authorities should process applications under the HRA
  • Look at the elements of the relief duty owed to all those who present to Local Authorities as actually homeless; likewise with the prevention duty if threatened with homelessness
  • Discuss how duties are ended under the HRA
  • Explain why the 'Personalised Housing Plan' is such a key part of the legislation and what makes for a lawful one
  • Explore what decisions relating to the duties can be challenged by seeking a review.

Module One

  • Duties that remain from the Housing Act 1996
  • Who is homeless and threatened with homelessness
  • Who is automatically priority need and who is if they are deemed 'vulnerable' 
  • An exploration of recent legal developments around the definition of vulnerability.

Module Two

  • The elements of the Intentional Homelessness Test
  • When is it likely that an applicant will be found intentionally homeless 
  • Defences allowed in law and in the Local Authority code of guidance when the applicant is faced with an intentional homelessness decision
  • Additional duties under the HRA
  • When is someone threatened with homelessness under the HRA  
  • What is different when a private landlord serves a Section 21 notice

Module 3

  • Assessments and the Personalised Housing Plan (PHP)
  • The Prevention Duty: the need for Local Authorities to take 'reasonable steps'
  • Local connection and the HRA
  • How duties end
  • What decisions can be reviewed.

Who is this course for?

This course is aimed at participants new to this area of law but the course may also benefit those who are more experienced.


This course consists of 3 live interactive training modules, which will take place during one day, with breaks. When you sign up, you will be signing up for all 3 modules.

We ask for a commitment from delegates to attend all 3 sessions. Sessions are not recorded, and slides will not be available until all 3 sessions have taken place.

Module 1: Monday, 4 October 2021 | 9.30am-11.00am

Module 2: Monday, 4 October 2021 | 12.00pm-1.30pm

Module 3: Monday, 4 October 2021 | 2.30pm-4.00pm

Cost and bookings

Members - £95 per person - all three modules are included in this price - if you are a Homeless Link member, you will need to login/create a login using your organisation e-mail address in order to access the member rate

Non-members - £125 per person - all three modules are included in this price

Book and pay online

Book online here

Bookings to be invoiced

For bookings of 3 or more places, an invoice can be raised - please email Lana.Newby@homelesslink.org.uk to make bookings to be invoiced. Please provide names and email addresses of the delegates wishing to be booked for the training. We are unable to take requests for invoicing for fewer than 3 people for our online training.

Cancellation policy

Please find our cancellation policy for public online delivered training here

Bookings for larger groups

This course is also available to be booked for staff teams of up to 20 people, to be delivered online "in-house" in live interactive sessions on dates to suit your organisation.

Please contact James.Cuming@homelesslink.org.uk or telephone James on 07375 042 815​ for more information. Prices are from £850 for up to 20 staff members.