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Homelessness

This page aims to give you advice if you think you are homeless or have been threatened with homelessness (which also includes those at risk of repossession).
If you are sleeping rough, you may also find our rough sleepers page helpful.

What should I do?

If you are homeless or think that you may be homeless in the near future you should contact the Housing Options & Advice Team at the Civic Centre, Home Gardens, Dartford, DA1 1DR. Tel: 01322 343114 or email housingoptions@dartford.gov.uk.

The Housing team is available Monday - Thursday between 8.45am and 5.15pm and Friday between 8.45am and 4.45pm. This is with the exception of Wednesdays when the offices are open between 9am and 12.45pm and closed for the afternoon. You can call anytime during office hours for advice or an appointment. If you find yourself homeless outside if these hours, you should contact the emergency out of hours team on 0845 634 1212.

How the Council can help

The Council has a duty to try and prevent homelessness. We will give advice to anyone that is worried about losing their home. We can offer advice on rent and mortgage arrears and will liaise with landlords directly to protect the rights of tenants. We also give advice and assistance to help residents rent privately and we operate a Deposit Guarantee Scheme to help you when doing this. We can also give you information on how to go onto our housing register.

The Law

If we are unable to prevent you from becoming homeless or find another housing option before you have to leave your home, we may have a legal duty to help you. This duty is set out in the Housing Act 1996 Part V11 (as amended).The Council does not have a duty to provide housing to all homeless people but has to if you meet the following criteria:

  • are homeless or threatened with homelessness within 28 days.

And if you are:

  • eligible for assistance,
  • in priority need,
  • not intentionally homeless, and
  • have a local connection to Dartford.

What does the word 'homeless' actually mean?

Someone is said to be homeless when:

  • There is nowhere that you or your family can stay, or
  • You no longer have a legal right to stay in your home e.g. your landlord has obtained an order from the courts to evict you.
  • You have somewhere to live but cannot get into it e.g. your landlord has illegally evicted you.
  • It is not reasonable for you to continue living in your home. That could be because of its condition or something else that makes it dangerous for you to live there.

What does 'eligible for assistance' mean?

This is mainly to do with your immigration status. You are not eligible if

  • You are from abroad and subject to immigration control.
  • You are not considered to be habitually resident in the UK.

The habitually resident test applies to all applicants including British citizens. It is necessary for you to show that you have taken up residence in the UK voluntarily and for settled purposes and that you have actually lived here for a period of time that is sufficient to show that you residency has become 'habitual' and is likely to continue to be so.

What is priority need?

You will be in priority need if you or someone you normally live with:

  • have dependent children living with you who is a 16 or under, or aged 17-18 and still in fulltime education.
  • are pregnant
  • are aged 60 years or over and vulnerable.
  • are vulnerable because you or someone you live with are physically or mentally ill or disabled,
  • leaving the armed forces, coming out of prison or having been in care or fostered or are fleeing violence.
  • are homeless because of fire, flood or any similar disaster.
  • are aged 16 or 17.

What does intentionally homeless mean?

You would be intentionally homeless if you deliberately chose to leave a home you could have stayed in or if it was your fault you lost your home. If, for example you became homeless through rent arrears or if you became homeless through anti-social behaviour.

If you are found to be intentionally homeless, the Council would not have a duty to find you a permanent home.

What is a 'local connection'?

We would only usually house you if you have a connection to Dartford. You would have a local connection to Dartford if:

  • you have lived in this area for 6 of the past 12 months, or 3 of the past 5 years.
  • you have a permanent job in the borough.
  • you have close relatives who have lived in the borough for 5 years.
  • If you do not have a local connection to Dartford, we will ask another local authority where you do have a connection to help you.

This is only a brief outline of the law and gives a few examples but does not cover every situation. If you are in any doubt, please contact us.

What happens next?

You will be seen by an advisor who will be able to offer advice and assistance. Please see what you will need to provide and bring this along to this interview.

If you have nowhere to stay that night you will be seen as an emergency.

You will be seen in a private booth but you can request an interview in one of the private interview rooms.

A full assessment of your circumstances and housing options will be carried out. You will be asked details about your housing situation, and these details will be noted on our system. You will be asked questions about your last settled address and why you have left the property. You will also be asked to provide details of where you have lived for the past five years.

We will ask you about your personal circumstances and explore with you measures to prevent you from coming homeless. If this is not possible, we will explore other housing options with you.

We will treat as confidential any information you give us. We will only pass it on when you have given your written consent, when we must legally pass it on or when it is allowed under the Data Protection Act.

What you may need to provide.

Here is a list of documents that you may be asked for. Not all of these documents will apply to your situation. To avoid delay and to help process you application quickly, please bring with you as many of the documents as you have. You should also bring relevant documents for all members of your household.

  • Immigration documents National Insurance
  • Passport Medical cards
  • Proof of pregnancy Birth & Marriage certificates.
  • Custody documents. Divorce paperwork
  • Written notice from landlord, friends Court orders, Bailiffs warrant or relatives Original tenancy agreements
  • Original mortgage agreements and/ Letters relating to mortgage arrears or statements Solicitor or legal advice letters
  • Rent book or receipts Proof of addresses for the last five years
  • Proof of income, either wage slips or Pension information of all benefits received

Please note that if you:

  • Say that you are homeless when you are not,
  • Give us false information about your circumstances,
  • Withhold information, or,
  • Fail to tell us material facts about your circumstances

You could face criminal prosecution for fraud.

Useful contacts

Last Updated: 19th February 2014 Print Link