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With support from the following housing associations

Innisfree Housing Association Tamil Community Housing Association

What's new? - recent updates to the site

Here you can read about updates to the site with links to the relevant pages. Go to the EU citizens' rights page for the latest news on the rights of European nationals.

Help for people seeking refuge from the crisis in Ukraine

Go to our special page on Help for Ukrainian refugees for the latest information and guidance.

Requirement to have a Nino to secure benefits

The requirement for a national insurance number to secure benefits was tested in a recent upper tribunal case. The tribunal decided that the requirement is reasonable and that benefit must also be refused if the claimant has applied for one, but the DWP has decided they are not entitled to have one allocated due to their immigration status.

Rough sleeping - councils should assist everyone

Doubts about councils' ability to assist rough sleepers via 'Everyone In' campaigns, if a rough sleeper has no recourse to pubic funds, have been adrressed in recent court cases. Last year, a court case in Brighton established that councils have the necessary powers (discussed here by Shelter). In May 2022, a court held Lambeth council to have treated a woman from Guyana unlawfully who was rough sleeping and had no recourse - they should have considered giving assistance under the 'Everyone In' policy.

This issue is regularly covered in the housing rights newsletters, which discuss the implications of these and other court cases.

Right to rent - changes in document checks

From April 6, Biometric Residence Card, Biometric Residence Permit and Frontier Worker Permit  holders have to prove their right to rent using the Home Office online service only; a physical document is no longer acceptable. This means that landlords are no longer able to accept a physical document as proof of right to rent, even if it shows a later expiry date. 

From October 1 2022, temporary changes to document checks introduced during the pandemic came to an end.

The government's Landlord's guide to right to rent checks shows the current requirements. For discussion of the changes and their implications, see the April housing rights newsletter. An update-to-date guide to starting a tenancy and proving a right to rent is available from Advice Now.

Help for Afghan nationals and family members

The government's Afghanistan resettlement and immigration policy gives details of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) and the previous Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme.

  • The ACRS will welcome up to 20,000 people over the coming years, providing vulnerable refugees from Afghanistan with a route to safety. 
  • The ARAP Scheme supports current or former locally employed staff who are assessed to be under serious threat: they are offered priority relocation to the UK regardless of employment status, rank or role, or length of time served.

Anyone arriving through either scheme is granted Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) with full rights and entitlements. Some initial arrivals under the ACRS were granted six months leave outside the rules ahead of being granted ILR. They have recourse to public funds, so are eligible for benefits and for housing (under class B of the regulations). A letter to local authorities from 2003 (pdf) is a point of reference if eligibility is contested.

Under new benefit regulations, evacuees under official schemes are exempt from the habitual residence test (HRT). An explanatory memorandum sets this out and the relevant regulations are on the website's page for secondary legislation. Afghan nationals can receive UC/HB from the date of their arrival in the UK. DWP guidance for universal credit (pdf) and a housing benefit circular explain how the changes work.

Housing and homelessness regulations have also been changed to exempt evacuees undergoing the HRT when approaching local authorities. This is the explanatory memorandum and the relevant regulations have been updated too. The English codes of guidance for homelessness and allocations have been updated. Similar changes have been made in Wales .

The page on advising refugees in England and Wales has a new section on advising Afghan nationals and there is a similar update for Scotland.

Hong Kong British National (Overseas) status holders

The Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/665) came into force on 29 June 2021. These Regulations create a new category of persons subject to immigration control eligible for an allocation of social housing or for homelessness assistance.

They amend regulations 3 and 5 of the Eligibility Regulations to provide that persons are eligible:

  • who have leave to enter or remain in the UK under Appendix Hong Kong British National (Overseas) of the Immigration Rules,
  • whose leave is not subject to a condition requiring them to maintain and accommodate themselves, or any person dependent upon them, without recourse to public funds, and
  • who are habitually resident in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland.

A consolidated version of the rules, updated with the latest changes, can be downloaded from the website (pdf).

Recent publications

Below are recent publications for housing advisers which will be added to the site on the pages on 'What other organisations can help' or 'Other information for advisers', according to whether they are relevant to England or Scotland, or both.

Housing rights of Polish victims of domestic abuse

This updated guide, published by Vesta, is co-authored by Sue Lukes and Liz Davies, who are both contributors to the housing rights website. It is available in English and Polish.

Housing Allocation and Homelessness Law & Practice

The sixth edition of this important guide, one author of which is Liz Davies who is a consultant on the housing rights website, is now available.

Housing practitioners' guide to integrating refugees

The housing practitioners’ guide to integrating people seeking protection and refugees (pdf), published by the Scottish Refugee Council and CIH Scotland, is a comprehensive guide to all aspects of housing refugees in Scotland, including coverage of the local connection issue.

Briefings from NHF on assisting people with no recourse and on assisting people apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

The briefing on NRPF is here and on assisting people apply to the EUSS is here.

We welcome suggestions for updating the guidance on the Housing Rights website and for including links to relevant new sources of guidance or information.

Please email with any suggestions, making clear your message refers to this website.

Chartered Institute of Housing

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Chartered Institute of Housing