You have the right to request a review of our decision on your homelessness and Housing Needs Register applications.
The Housing Act 1996, as amended by Homelessness Act 2002 and the localism Act 2011, gives you the right to request a review of certain decisions made by us whilst dealing with your homelessness and Housing Needs Register applications.
The decisions you can request to be reviewed are:
- being ineligible for housing assistance
- discharging a prevention duty
- discharging a relief duty
- not being homeless or threatened with homelessness
- not being in priority need
- being intentionally homeless or threatened with homelessness intentionally
- having other suitable accommodation available
- being referred to another authority
- having a suitable offer of temporary accommodation (Part VII)
- having a suitable offer of permanent accommodation which discharges the Council's duties towards you
- not putting you on the Housing Needs Register
- removing you from the Register without you asking us to do so
- reducing your priority on the Housing Needs Register due to unacceptable behaviour
- about the facts of your case that have or are likely to be taken into account when allocating accommodation.
The review process
Review requests of a decision that we have made must be made within 21 days of the date of the letter we wrote to you advising you of our decision. The review will be carried out by a Senior Officer who has not been involved in the original decision. They will look at the information on your file, along with your written submission and any further evidence in support of your review.
You will be notified of the decision in writing as soon as possible following full consideration of your case, but no later than 56 days from the day you first told us you wanted to review the decision. In certain situations we may need to extend the review period and will let you know when this situation arises.
After the review
If the decision following the review is different from the original decision, this will replace the original decision and we will tell you our reasons for changing the original decision. We will ensure that the necessary action is taken to comply with the review decision.
If the original decision is confirmed, we will provide our reasons in writing.
Temporary accommodation during the review period
We would not normally provide temporary accommodation whilst your case is being considered unless:
- your review is about the temporary accommodation you have been given and you agree to stay in that accommodation whilst your review is considered.
- there are exceptional reasons that will be considered when we receive your request for a review.
Reviewing the suitability of an offer of permanent accommodation
Whilst you are entitled to review the suitability of an offer of permanent accommodation (made under Section 184 of the Housing Act 1996, Part VII), you are strongly advised to move into the accommodation offered while the review is taking place.
If you do not move into the accommodation offered and the decision is not favourable to you, you may have nowhere to live.
No further offer of accommodation will be made and if you re-approach us for assistance, it's likely that you will be found intentionally homeless as you will have refused an offer of suitable permanent accommodation.
Further options if our original decision is upheld
If your review is about a decision made on your homeless application, there are two courses of action open to you, depending on the nature of the complaint.
The County Court
If your request for a review was about a homeless decision, you also have a right of appeal to the County Court if you are dissatisfied with the decision following the review procedure or if you are not notified of our decision within the 56 days time period.
Your appeal must be about a point of law and cannot be about an issue of fact.
You must submit your appeal within 21 days of receiving our review decision. If your appeal is about not receiving that decision within the 56 day period allowed, then count that 21 days from the day on which you should have received our decision (56 + 21 days). In very exceptional circumstances, if there is new information to consider, we may re-consider a negative review decision. However, in these cases the time limit for appealing to the County Court remains 21 days from the original review decision, unless we have advised you that the original decision has been withdrawn.
You may wish to seek independent advice from a solicitor, Citizens Advice or a housing advice agency before appealing our decision.
If your review decision was about your application for the Housing Needs Register, a legal challenge can only be brought by judicial review, on the grounds that we have infringed a requirement of public or administrative law.
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman
If your request for a review was about homelessness or the Housing Needs Register, and you feel you have been treated unfairly because of some maladministration on our part, you can complain to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.
For example, if you think we have:
- delayed taking action without good reason
- taken account of things that are irrelevant whilst ignoring things that are relevant
- not followed our own policy or complied with the law
- not kept promises made to you
- given you the wrong information
- not reached a decision in the correct way.
The Ombudsman is unlikely to investigate your complaint if you have not been through our review process, so you should to do this first.
The Ombudsman can only deal with your complaint if you make contact within 12 months of being aware of information that led to your request for a review to us or to him. If you delay beyond 12 months, the Ombudsman cannot deal with your complaint. The Ombudsman cannot deal with your complaint, if you are pursuing court proceedings.