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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Help if you don't pass all 4 tests

If you don’t pass all four homelessness tests, the Housing Executive doesn't have any responsibility to find you temporary or permanent housing. You can still apply for housing and be awarded points under the Housing Executive’s Selection Scheme. 

Failing the tests

The Housing Executive should write to you to let you know if you passed the tests or not.  The Housing Executive normally takes 33 days to make a decision from the date you gave it all the information it needed.  For prisoners, it can sometimes take a little longer since prisoners can apply up to 3 months before being released but you can't actually pass the homelessness test until you're 28 days or less from being released. 

When you get your decision letter, it should explain which test you have failed.  It should also tell you that you have a right to request a review of the decision and explain when you need to request this review by.  A housing adviser in the prison service or an adviser at Housing Rights might be able to help you challenge the decision

You have a legal right to have the Housing Executive's decision reviewed by a more senior housing officer. The law says you have to request this review within 28 days of receiving the decision letter but the Housing Executive will sometimes extend this to 40 days.  Speak to an adviser if you want to review a decision that says you're not homeless. 

Housing Executive not responsible for helping you

If you've failed the tests and 

  • this decision was reviewed but the review was unsuccessful or
  • the Housing Executive's decision was correct and you have decided not to ask for a review

the Housing Executive has no responsibility to help you.  If you've got nowhere to stay you should try to find some emergency accommodation.  You can still apply for social housing, but you might have to wait a long time to get an offer.  It might be a more realistic option to try to find somewhere to rent privately.  Speak to a housing adviser so you understand your housing options.