Temporary Accommodation Placements Policy
Approved by Cabinet on 18th October 2016
Temporary Accommodation Placements Policy
2. Temporary Accommodation Offers and Refusals
3. Suitability of accommodation – factors to consider
4. Criteria for prioritising placements inside/outside the Borough
5. Minimum Size Criteria
6. Criteria for prioritising moves between temporary accommodation
Temporary Accommodation Placements Policy
1.1 This document sets out our approach to the placement of households in
temporary accommodation, both in and out of the borough, on the periphery of
London and when required further afield. It covers both interim placements
made under Section 188 Housing Act 1996 (“HA96”), while homelessness
enquires are undertaken, and longer-term temporary accommodation
placements for households accepted as homeless under Section 193 HA96.
1.2 The Policy takes into account the statutory requirements on local authorities in
respect of the suitability of accommodation, including the Suitability of
Accommodation Orders, the Homelessness Code of Guidance 2006, and
Supplementary Guidance issued in 2012. It has also been formulated having
regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, as
required by section 11 of the Children Act 2004.
1.3 As per section 208 of the Housing Act 1996, and paragraph 16.7 of the
Homelessness Code of Guidance, so far as reasonably practicable, the council
seeks to accommodate homeless households in Haringey and always considers
the suitability of the accommodation, taking into account the circumstances of
the individual household. However, due to an acute shortage of affordable
housing locally and rising rental costs, an increasing number of households are
likely to be placed out of the borough as it will not be reasonably practicable to
provide accommodation within Haringey.
1.4 When determining whether it is reasonably practicable to secure
accommodation in Haringey, as opposed to simply what is reasonable, the cost
of the accommodation is a relevant and proper consideration given the intensive
pressures on housing stock in Haringey and a high demand for a range of
suitable accommodation with a limited budget.
1.5 The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is used to work out how much Housing
Benefit a tenant will receive to pay their rent. LHA rates depend on who lives in
the household, and the area they are making their claim in. These areas are
called Broad Rental Market Areas (BRMA).
1.6 Haringey Council is divided into two Broad Rental Market Areas which are used
to calculate LHA rates in Haringey. Inner North London BRMA and Outer North
1.7 Due to the lack of supply of affordable, suitable temporary accommodation
across London, it may be necessary to procure some units outside London.
Where possible, these units will be in the periphery of London, for example in
Essex and Hertfordshire. However, at times of high demand and limited supply,
it may be necessary to secure units further away from London. Such units will
only be procured when all other reasonable options have been exhausted. Prior
to placing a household into such accommodation, an assessment will be
undertaken to determine that the placement is affordable in cases where travel
to employment is a factor.
1.8 This Policy details how applicants will be prioritised for temporary
accommodation in Haringey, and out of the borough.
Temporary Accommodation Offers and Refusals
2.1 Homeless applicants who are housed under the council’s interim duty to
accommodate pursuant to Section 188 HA96 may initially be placed into
accommodation with shared facilities. Where this is non-council owned
accommodation, families will be moved to alternative accommodation within 6
weeks to comply with the legislation on B&B use. There is no restriction on the
length of time a household can spend in council owned accommodation with
shared facilities. It is also possible that families will be moved to nightly paid
self-contained accommodation. This accommodation is increasingly likely to be
out of the borough. If the council decides it has a duty to house the household,
they may be moved to longer-term accommodation such as council owned
hostel, Housing Association leased or other leased accommodation as soon as
a suitable property becomes available.
2.2 Where the council decides that applicants housed under Section 188 HA96 are
not owed the main homelessness duty, they will be asked to leave following
reasonable notice, after being notified of the decision. The reasonable notice
period would generally be 7-14 days for single applicants and 28 days for
families (having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of any
children in the family). The cessation of temporary accommodation will always
be notified to Social Services in cases where there are dependent children.
2.3 Applicants will be given one offer of suitable interim or longer term temporary
accommodation and they will be asked to accept it straight away. There is no
obligation upon the council to enable applicants to view the accommodation
prior to acceptance. In making the offer, the household’s individual
circumstances will be considered, taking into account the factors set out in
section 3 of this Policy and the council’s criteria on out of borough placements
2.4 If an applicant refuses an offer, they will be asked to provide their reasons for
refusal and to sign a pro-forma confirming that they understand the
consequences of the refusal. Failure to agree to sign the refusal pro-forma will
be noted. This applies to new applicants to whom the council has an interim
duty to accommodate under Section 188 HA96, as well as those being
transferred to alternative temporary accommodation. The council will consider
the reasons given and undertake further enquires as necessary. If the council
accepts the reasons for refusal as valid, the offer will be withdrawn and a further
offer will be made.
2.5 Where applicants refuse suitable emergency accommodation (which may
include out of borough placements) and the council does not accept their
reasons for refusal, and considers that the offer is suitable, applicants will not
be offered further accommodation and will be required to make their own
arrangements. There is no right of internal review against the suitability of
accommodation offered to applicants under Section 188 HA96 (although
applicants can apply for judicial review through the courts). For applicants
where the council has accepted a rehousing duty under Section 193 HA96,
(s193 duty) there is a right to request an internal review of the suitability
decision, pursuant to Section 202 HA96.
2.6 In cases where the applicant still refuses a suitable offer of accommodation, the
homelessness duty will be discharged. If the applicant is resident in emergency
accommodation, they will usually be asked to vacate the property and advised
that no further assistance will be provided. If they are already in longer-term
temporary accommodation not managed by the council, the relevant housing
provider should be advised that the duty has been discharged so that they can
start possession action.
2.7 Where applicants, towards whom the council has accepted a s193 duty, refuse
a suitable offer and submit a review request, they will only continue to be
accommodated during the review period in exceptional circumstances. Each
case will be considered on an individual basis, taking into account the overall
merits of the review request, any new information or evidence that may affect
the original decision, and the personal circumstances of the applicant and the
potential impact of the loss of accommodation.
Suitability of accommodation – factors to consider
3.1 In offering temporary accommodation, the council will consider the suitability of
the offer, taking into account the following factors:
3.2 Location – if suitable, affordable accommodation is available in its area,
applicants will be housed in Haringey, allowing them to maintain any established
links with services and social/support networks. However, when there is a lack
of suitable accommodation or there are higher priority households needing
accommodation in the borough, out of borough placements will be used to
meet the council’s housing duty (see section 4 on priority for local
accommodation below). If no suitable accommodation is available in the
borough, attempts will be made to source accommodation within other parts of
London. If this is not available, the provision of accommodation on the periphery
of London or further afield may have to be considered.
3.3 Size condition and facilities – accommodation must provide adequate space
and room standards for the household and be fit to inhabit. Households in
temporary accommodation will often be placed into units with 1 bedroom less
than they would be entitled to on a permanent basis, with the expectation that
the living room provides dual purpose as a living and sleeping area. In deciding
on the fitness of the property, consideration should be given to the length of
time needed to complete any necessary repairs and whether it is reasonable to
complete these while the property is occupied. The quality of the
decoration/furniture, the layout/type of accommodation, provision of parking
and lack of access to a garden are extremely unlikely to be acceptable reasons
for a refusal.
3.4 Health factors – the council will consider health factors, such as an ability to
get up the stairs, care and support provided by other statutory agencies or the
need to access any specialist medical services that are only available in
Haringey. If the applicant or a member of the resident household is citing
medical grounds that were not identified during the initial assessment, the
applicant will be asked to submit medical information within 24 hours. The key
test in determining the impact of medical issues is whether the condition itself
makes the housing offered unsuitable. Problems such as depression, asthma,
diabetes or back pain would not normally make a property unsuitable, as the
problems would persist in any sort of accommodation.
3.5 Education - attendance at local schools will not be considered a reason to
refuse accommodation, though some priority will be given to special
educational needs and students who are close to taking public examinations in
determining priority for placements in the borough (see Section 4).
3.6 Employment –the council will consider the need of applicants, who are in paid
employment, to reach their normal workplace from the accommodation that is
secured. This will include having a regard to both travelling time and the costs
associated with this travel (see Section 4).
3.7 Proximity to schools and Services - The council will consider the proximity to
schools, public transport, primary care services, and local services in the area in
which the accommodation is located
3.8 The need to safeguard and promote the welfare of any children in the
household – Insofar as not already identified, the council will seek to identify
any particular needs of the children in the household. It will have regard to the
need to safeguard and promote their welfare in making decisions on whether
the offer is suitable (although it has to be borne in mind that almost all families
seeking temporary accommodation are families with children).
3.9 Any special circumstance - The council will consider any other reasons put
forward by the applicant and come to an overall view about whether the offer is
Criteria for prioritising placements inside/outside the Borough
4.1 As a number of applicants will be housed out of the borough, it will increasingly
be necessary to make decisions about the suitability of out of borough
placements for individual households and balance these against the type and
location of temporary accommodation that can be offered. In many cases
housing out of the borough will be more sustainable for the household in the
long-term, with lower rents allowing them to better meet their subsistence and
household costs and avoid rent arrears.
4.2 Priority for accommodation in the borough will be given to*:
(a) Members of an applicant’s household with a severe and enduring health
condition requiring intensive and specialist medical treatment where a move
from Haringey would disrupt that treatment and continuity of care.
(b) Members of an applicant’s household who are in receipt of a significant
package and range of health care options that cannot be easily transferred.
(c) Members of an applicant’s household with a severe and enduring mental
health problem who are receiving psychiatric treatment and aftercare
provided by community mental health services and have an established
support network where a transfer of care would severely impact on their well
(d) Households with children registered on the Child Protection Register in
Haringey who are linked into local services and where it is confirmed that a
transfer to another area would adversely impact on their welfare.
(e) Households containing a child with special educational needs who is
receiving education or educational support in Haringey, where change would
be detrimental to their well-being.
(f) An applicant or a member of their household who have a longstanding
arrangement to provide care and support to another family member in
Haringey who is not part of the resident household and would be likely to
require statutory health and social support if the care ceased.
(g) An applicant or a member of their household who have a formal arrangement
to receive housing related or other support, including addiction help or
recovery, and where a move from Haringey would disrupt that support.
(h) Any other special circumstance will also be taken into account (including any
particular needs of the children in the household not already identified).
*Whilst priority will be given for these placements, this is dependent on such
accommodation being available.
4.3 Priority for placements within neighbouring boroughs will be given to:
(a) Applicants who have as part of their household, a child or children who are
enrolled in GCSE, AS or A level courses or post 16 vocational qualifications
(for example, BTEC) in Haringey, with exams to be taken within the
academic year. Wherever practicable we will seek to place such households
within 60 minutes’ travelling distance of their school or college.
(b) Wherever practicable, an applicant or a member of their household who
works for more than 16 hours per week will not be placed more than one
hour travelling distance by public transport, from their place of employment.
Consideration will also be given to the affordability of the travel
arrangements needed to reach the place of employment. This will include
women who are on maternity leave from employment.
(c) An applicant or a member of their household who is in higher or adult
education, vocational or professional training, a recognised apprenticeship,
self-employed with a business predominantly in Haringey, have a confirmed
start date to commence employment in Haringey or are enrolled in a
Haringey work readiness programme.
(d) Any other special circumstance will be taken into account (including any
particular needs of the children in the household not already identified).
4.4 Applicants who meet none of the above criteria are likely to be offered
properties outside of Haringey and the neighbouring boroughs, in other parts of
London or outside London.
4.5 If placed outside London the council may offer assistance and support for a
reasonable period, on a case by case basis. Support may include help with:
• Finding employment
• Identifying and arranging schools
• Child care
• Health e.g. signing up with a local GP
• Council links e.g. Council Tax, electoral register
• Welfare benefits
• Utility connections (i.e. electricity/gas/phone/internet)
• Removals and assistance with identifying appropriate storage
• Identifying links to local support e.g. contact with community, voluntary,
faith and other groups
• Financial assistance with immediate resettlement costs
The package will be kept under review and amended as required to ensure the
provision of appropriate support.
Minimum Size Criteria
5.1 Accommodation must provide adequate space and room standards for the
household and be fit to inhabit. Households in temporary accommodation will
often be placed into units with 1 bedroom less than they would be entitled to on
a permanent basis, with the expectation that the living room provides dual
purpose as a living and sleeping area. The following minimum size criteria will
5.2 Studio accommodation:
• Single applicants
• Lone parents with a child under the age of 12 months.
5.3 One bedroom accommodation:
• Lone parents or couples with 1 child over the age of 1 year(no upper age
• Lone parents or couples with 2 children of the same sex (no upper age limit)
• Lone parents or couples with 2 children of opposite sexes where both
children are under the age of 10 years.
5.4 Two bedroom accommodation:
• Lone parents or couples with 2 children of opposite sexes where one is over
the age of 10 years.
5.5 Three bedroom accommodation:
• Lone parents or couples with between 3 and 6 children.
5.6 Four bedroom accommodation:
• Lone parents or couples with more than 6 children.
Criteria for prioritising moves between temporary accommodation
6.1 Transfers between TA will be prioritised in the following order:
1. Transfer from TA found to be in serious disrepair that poses threat to life
2. Transfer from TA because of evidenced critical medical need e.g. TA
accessed by stairs and tenant unable to negotiate
3. Transfer from non-council shared accommodation for families who have
been in occupation for at least 5 weeks (to avoid penalties of sharing
accommodation beyond 6 weeks)
4. Transfer from TA found to be unsuitable following a review.
5. Transfer from PSLs at least 5 months beyond lease expiry date
6. Transfer because of evidenced serious medical need
7. Transfer from TA found to be in serious disrepair that cannot be rectified
while the tenant is in situ
8. Transfer from expensive TA to cheaper units
9. Transfer for overcrowding/under occupation.