Homelessness - Definition of Terms

Useful Contact Information | Questions and Answers

Definition of homelessness

The legislation says that an applicant is homeless if any of the following apply:

  • There is no accommodation anywhere in the world which they have a right to live in
  • There is nowhere for the whole family to live together
  • There is accommodation, but it is not “reasonable” to continue living there (When considering this, the local authority may take into account the general housing situation in the area)
  • They have accommodation but cannot gain entry to it
  • Continued occupation is likely to lead to domestic violence against a member of the household, or to lead to threats of violence which are likely to be carried out by someone who is resident in the accommodation, or used to live with the person in that accommodation or elsewhere
  • Their home is moveable, such as a caravan or houseboat, and they have nowhere to place it
  • It is overcrowded to an extent that it may endanger the health of occupants

If applicants are found to be homeless, we will provide accommodation to those that need it at least while we investigate application. All applicants will be provided with advice and information regardless of their homelessness status.

Intentionally homeless

The Code of Guidance on Homelessness gives this definition of intentionality. A person or household is intentionally homeless, or is threatened with homelessness intentionally if :

  • They deliberately do, or deliberately fail to do, anything that causes or is likely to cause them to lose accommodation that it would have been reasonable to continue to occupy. (Acts done in good faith will not be treated as deliberate)
  • When considering intentionality, the local authority will look at whether it would have been reasonable to continue to live in the accommodation. The local authority will also look at the general housing circumstances in the area.

Local Connection

The following constitute a local connection:

  • Being normally resident in the area, by choice, at present or in the past. This means for 6 months during the past 12 months if currently resident, or not less than 3 years in the past 5 years if not currently resident
  • Close family associations with the area (adult family members who have been resident for the past 5 years)
  • Special circumstances. This can include education or health reason for living in the area
  • Employment


An applicant household can be referred to another local authority (if they have no local connection to Argyll and Bute) if:

  • Nobody in the applicant’s household has a connection with A&BC area
  • Someone in the household has a connection with the local authority to which they may be referred
  • There is no risk of domestic violence in the other local authority area