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Local authority housing assistance

The following types of housing assistance provided by a local council are classed as public funds for immigration purposes: 

  • Homelessness assistance under part VII of the Housing Act 1996
  • A local authority allocation of social housing (i.e. a council or housing association tenancy) made under part VI of the Housing Act 1996

A person who is subject to the 'no recourse to public funds' (NRPF) condition will not be eligible for homelessness assistance or a housing allocation. However, they may be included in an application made by a person in their household who is eligible, although this can affect what assistance the eligible person is entitled to.

The eligibility rules for European Economic Area (EEA) nationals are similar to those that apply when a person is claiming benefits. For example, an EEA national will be ineligible when they do not have settled status and are not exercising a European right to reside.

Shelter provide information about housing eligibility rules on their website and Housing Rights Information produce information specifically for migrants and their advisers.

A person who is found to be ineligible by their local housing authority must be provided with information and advice to help prevent their homelessness. This could include, for example, signposting to information about local immigration advisers or Home Office asylum support, or a referral to social services for support if they have children or care needs. See our information about support options for people with no recourse to public funds.

Housing eligibility rules can be complex, particularly when a person is an EEA national or is living in a 'mixed household', where members have different nationalities or types of immigration status. In such cases, specialist advice may need to be obtained. Anyone who is at risk of homelessness, for example, due to being evicted from a private tenancy, should seek advice from a housing adviser as soon as possible, regardless of their immigration status.

Covid-19 and housing assistance

In March 2020, the UK Government required councils in England to accommodate people with no recourse to public funds who were rough sleeping, in order to bring ‘everyone in’ as part of the emergency public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although Covid-19 is still a public health risk, the Government has not changed the housing eligibility rules, so people who are subject to the NRPF condition and some EEA nationals still remain ineligible for homelessness assistance. Councils may decide on a case by case basis whether to accommodate a person with no recourse to public funds who is rough sleeping, or at risk of rough sleeping, when they have no alternative support options.