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Domestic abuse and priority need.


In a rare these days bit of good news, the Government have announced that the Domestic Abuse Bill will be amended to make being a victim domestic abuse priority need for the purposes of local authorities homelessness housing duty.

This follows strong lobbying by Crisis, the APPF on Homelessness and domestic abuse charities. There will be cross-party support.

We will have to see the detailed amendment. I know Crisis had a very thorough and considered draft prepared by Counsel, so hopefully that will be adopted.

This doesn’t, of course, affect the ongoing crisis of affordable accommodation, social or PRS, but it will hopefully remove what was a major stumbling block for people who should on any reasonable view be considered vulnerable.


Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.


  1. Deb

    Am a victim of domestic abuse and homeless at present. Local authority done nothing to help me

  2. Allcry

    Does breaking a tenancy for domestic abuse count as intentionally homeless?

    • Giles Peaker

      If the domestic abuse was the cause of the eviction, then for the abuser, yes quite possibly.

      • Allcry

        Thank you. I see that s.177(1) Housing Act 1996 means you are homeless if you experience domestics abuse. It would seem logical that a victim would want to terminate their tenancy.

        However sometimes a council may tell you not to terminate your tenancy to not make yourself intentionally homeless. Even providing not serving notice template letters.

        I suspect that this kind advice from an LA may be ‘nearly legal’. Because if you are already homeless from domestic abuse and therefore by s177(1) cannot be intentionally homeless, then asking for a notice on a joint tenancy could never be intentionally homeless.

        I wonder how this LA behaviour is challenged?

        • Giles Peaker

          Domestic abuse is a valid reason for accommodation not being available to a person (not reasonable to remain), but it is not by itself a priority need for the full housing duty.

          If a council refuses to take a homeless application, that is gatekeeping and unlawful, can be challenged by judicial review.

          However, terminating a tenancy before a council has made a finding that the applicant is in priority need and it is not reasonable for them to remain does bring a risk of a finding of intentional homelessness if the council then find that it was reasonable to remain.

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