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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Intentionality test

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.

What does intentionally homeless mean?

Intentionally homeless means that you could have avoided becoming homeless.  The Housing Executive doesn’t have to help you if you left suitable accommodation that you could have stayed in or if you had to leave your home because of something you did or failed to do.

For the Housing Executive to decide that it doesn’t have to help because you’re intentionally homeless they need to show that

  • you left or were evicted from your last home because of a deliberate act
  • that home was suitable for your needs and the needs of your household and
  • it would have been reasonable for you to continue living in that home.

Evicted from a previous home

You might have problems passing the intentionality test if you were evicted from a tenancy because you broke the terms of your agreement. If you were evicted because you hadn’t paid your rent, you might pass the test if you can show that you couldn’t afford the rent or that there was some kind of problem with your housing benefit application.

Deciding to leave your previous home

If you left your old home voluntarily or you abandoned your property you might have problems passing this test.

Could you have stayed in your old home?

You may have decided to leave your previous home but this shouldn’t be a problem if you can show that it wasn’t reasonable for you to remain there.  There are lots of reasons why your old home might not have been suitable:

  • it was in a poor state of repair and the landlord wouldn’t fix it
  • you were not safe in your home or your health was being damaged
  • you or someone in your home was attacked or threatened with violence
  • you were having to go without food or heat to afford the payments on your old home.

Homeless because of someone else’s actions

If you had to leave your old accommodation because of someone else in your family’s actions you might pass the test if you can prove that you didn’t know what they were doing.  You’ll only get help if you can show that

  • you weren’t aware of the other person’s actions
  • you didn’t agree with what this person was doing
  • you couldn’t stop the other person

Talk to an adviser if you want to know more about the intentionality test.

Passing the test

If you pass this test the Housing Executive will have to check that you are also homeless, eligible for assistance and in priority need. If you pass all 4 homeless tests you’ll be a Full Duty Applicant and the Housing Executive will have to make 3 offers of housing to you.

Failing the test

If you are intentionally homeless the Housing Executive won’t have any responsibility to house you.  You can still apply for social housing and be given points using the selection scheme.  You may have to move out of the temporary accommodation that the Housing Executive arranged if you fail the test.  You can challenge the Housing Executive’s decision that you didn’t pass and you can normally remain in temporary accommodation while you challenge this decision. 

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