Section 202 reviews
Homelessness Reduction Act 2017
Since the 3rd April 2018, the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 has been in force. The act puts a legal duty on councils to offer more support to a wider range of people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness - and to intervene earlier.
What if I am not happy with a decision?
If you are not happy with outcome decision made you can request a S202 review of the decision below. The following decisions can be reviewed:
- Your eligibility for assistance
- What duty (if any) is owed to you
- The steps taken by the housing authority at the prevention and relief stages having regard to the assessment of your personalized housing plan.
- The prevention or relief duty are to end.
- That you have unreasonably and deliberately refused to co-operate.
- To refer your case to another authority.
- The suitability of accommodation offered to you under Section 193 of the Housing Act 1996
Your decision letter will clearly state if you have a right to review the decision.
You must request the review within 21 days of receiving your decision letter. We will only accept out of time reviews in exceptional circumstances.
Depending on the decision being reviewed you may be entitled to temporary accommodation while the review is being heard. If you need this then please request it when you request your review.
The length of time that should be taken for hearing a review varies depending upon the decision being reviewed. Once you submit a review you will be sent confirmation of the time in which the review should be heard. In some cases, the council will require longer than this in which case an extension will be agreed with you.
The possible decisions are:
- Uphold the original decision
- Overturn the original decision to a full duty
- Overturn to the original decision to one of the other possible outcomes.
If you believe that the S202 review decision is wrong in law, then you have the right to appeal to the County Court. This must be done within 21 days of making the decision and it is recommended that you seek legal advice to do this.
This new act expands the list of decisions that can be reviewed to include the new prevention and relief duties which can be found in the Homelessness Code of Guidance.
Chapter 19: Review of decisions and appeals to the County Court
19.1 This chapter provides guidance on the procedures to be followed when an applicant requests the housing authority to review any decision on their case.
Right to request a review
19.2 Applicants have the right to request the housing authority review their decisions on homelessness cases in some circumstances. If the request is made in accordance with section 202 the housing authority, or housing authorities, concerned must review the relevant decision.
19.3 Under section 202(1) an applicant has the right to request a review of a housing authority’s decision:
a. of their eligibility for assistance (section 202(1)(a));
b. what duty (if any) is owed to them in relation to the duties owed to persons found to be homeless or threatened with homelessness (section 202(1)(b));
c. of the steps the housing authority are to take under section 195(2) which includes having regard to their assessment of the applicants case in the r personalised housing plan at the prevention duty (section 202(1)(bc)(i));
d. to give notice to bring the prevention duty to an end (section 202(1)(bc)(ii));
e. of the steps the housing authority are to take under section 189B(2) which includes having regard to their assessment of the applicant’s case in the personalised housing plan at the relief duty (section 202(1)(ba)(i));
f. to give notice to bring the relief duty to an end (section 202(1)(ba)(ii));
g. to give notice under section 193B(2) in cases of deliberate and unreasonable refusal to co-operate (section 202(1)(bb));
h. to notify their case to another authority under section 198(1) (i.e. a decision to refer the applicant at the main housing duty, to another housing authority because they consider that the conditions for referral are met) (section 202(1)(c));
i. under section 198(5) as to whether the conditions are met for the referral of their case to another housing authority at the relief duty or main housing duty (including a decision reached either by agreement between the notifying and notified authority, or taken by a person appointed under the Homelessness (Decisions on Referrals) Order 1998 (SI 1998 No.1578) where agreement cannot be reached) (section 202(1)(d));
j. under section 200(3) (i.e. where a decision is made that the conditions for referral are not met and so the notifying housing authority owe the section 193 main housing duty) or a decision under section 200(4) (i.e. a decision that the conditions for referral to a notified authority in Wales are met and the notified authority owe the section 193 main housing duty) (section 202(1)(e));
k. as to the suitability of accommodation offered to the applicant under any of the provisions in paragraph (b) or (j) above or the suitability of accommodation offered under section 193(7) in relation to allocations under Part 6 [section 202(1)(f)]. Applicants can request a review of the suitability of accommodation whether or not they have accepted the offer (section 202(1B));
l. as to the suitability of accommodation offered to the applicant by way of a private rented sector offer under section 193 (section 202(1)(g)); or,m. as to the suitability of accommodation offered to the applicant by way of a final accommodation offer or a final Part 6 offer under section 193A or 193C (section 202(1)(h)). Applicants can request a review of the suitability of accommodation whether or not they have accepted the offer.
19.4 An applicant must request a review before the end of the period of 21 days beginning with the day on which they are notified of the housing authority’s decision. The housing authority may specify, in writing, a longer period during which a review may be requested.
19.5 In reviewing a decision, housing authorities will need to have regard to any information relevant to the period before the decision was made (even if only obtained afterwards) as well as any new relevant information obtained since the decision.
19.6 In the case of (i) above (a decision on whether the conditions are met for the referral of the applicant’s case to another housing authority) the request for a review must be made to the notifying authority.
19.7 There is no right to request a review of a decision reached on an earlier review.
The Review Procedures Regulations
19.8 The Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Review Procedures) Regulations 1999 (SI 1999 No.71) have been revoked and replaced by The Homelessness (Review Procedure etc.) Regulations 2018. These regulations set out the procedures to be followed by housing authorities in carrying out reviews under Part 7.
Who may carry out the review
19.9 A review may be carried out by the housing authority itself which made the original decision or by someone acting as an agent of the housing authority. For where the review is to be carried out by an officer of the housing authority, the officer must not have been involved in the original decision, and they must be senior to the officer (or officers) who took that decision. Seniority for these purposes means seniority in rank or grade within the housing authority’s organisational structure. The seniority provision does not apply where a committee or sub-committee of elected members took the original decision.
Further guidance on contracting out homelessness functions see Chapter 5.Where the review is to be carried out by an officer of the housing authority, the officer must not have been involved in the original decision, and they must be senior to the officer (or officers) who took that decision. Seniority for these purposes means seniority in rank or grade within the housing authority’s organisational structure. The seniority provision does not apply where a committee or sub-committee of elected members took the original decision.
19.10 The same officer is able to carry out multiple reviews relating to a single case as long as they were not involved in the original decisions.
19.11 Where the decision under review is a joint decision by a notifying housing authority and the notified housing authority as to whether the conditions of referral of a case are satisfied ,section 202(4)requires that the review should be carried out jointly by the two housing authorities.
19.12 Where the decision under review was taken by a person appointed by the notifying and notified authority, the review of that decision must also be carried out by a person appointed by the two authorities (see paragraph19.25).
19.13 An applicant is not required to provide grounds or reasons for challenging the housing authority’s decision in their request for review but should be invited to do so. The purpose of this is to invite the applicant to state their grounds for requesting a review (if they have not already done so) and to elicit any new information and particular issues that the applicant may have in relation to their request for a review.
19.14 Regulation 5requires the housing authority to notify the applicant that they, or someone acting on their behalf, may make written representations in connection with the request for a review.
19.15 Regulation 5 also provides that the housing authority must notify the applicant that if they chose to make written representations where the request for review relates to:
a.the steps the housing authority is to take under sections 195(2) and 189B(2)which includes having regard to their assessment of the applicants’ case in the personalised housing plan (during the prevention or relief duty)(section 202(1)(ba)(i) or (bc)(i)); or,b.a notice bringing the prevention dutyto an end (including where the reason for this is deliberate and unreasonable refusal to co-operate) (section 202(1)(bc)(ii) and (bb));
The representations must be made to the housing authority within two weeks from the day on which the applicant requested the review. The regulations provide that this two week period is open to be extended to a longer period if the applicant and reviewing authority agree in writing.