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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

The four homelessness 'tests'

The Housing Executive has a legal responsibility to help people who pass the 4 homelessness tests.  The tests look at whether you are homeless, why you are homeless, whether you're entitled to help and whether you're in greater need of help than other people. 

If the Housing Executive decides you've failed one or more of these tests you have a legal right to ask that this decision be reviewed.  There are strict time limits though, so you need to get advice and act quickly if you're going to challenge the Housing Executive's decision. 

The Housing Executive is responsible for providing accommodation for anyone who is legally homeless. To be legally homeless you have to pass 4 tests. The first of these is homelessness. The other tests are eligibility, priority need and intentionality.

The Housing Executive is responsible for providing accommodation for anyone who is legally homeless. To be legally homeless you have to pass 4 tests including the Eligibility test. The other tests are priority need, homelessness and intentionality. You may not be eligible if you are a person from abroad or if the Housing Executive decides you are guilty of unacceptable behaviour.

The Housing Executive will consider you in priority need if you are particularly vulnerable. If you are homeless, eligible for assistance and the Housing Executive thinks you may be in priority need you can get temporary accommodation while it completes the investigation.

The Housing Executive will only have to help you if you couldn't have avoided becoming homeless. The Intentionality test looks at how you became homeless to see if you deliberately did something or failed to do something and that action caused your homelessness.. The other tests are priority need, homelessness and eligibility.

The Housing Executive takes about 33 days to make a decision on whether or not it is responsible for rehousing you because you are homeless. It will look at your circumstances to see if you pass all 4 tests for homelessness. You need to make sure you give the Housing Executive all the information it needs in order for it to make the right decision.

The Housing Executive doesn’t have to find you housing if you don’t pass all 4 homeless tests. It may be worthwhile having the Housing Executive’s decision reviewed. Otherwise, you’ll have to look at other housing options.