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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Homelessness test

The homelessness test is one of 4 tests you have to pass to be legally homeless. 

The other tests are eligibility, priority need and intentionality.

Passing the homelessness test

You should pass the homelessness test if

  • you have nowhere to live, or
  • you have to leave the place you're living within 28 days, or
  • it's not reasonable for you to keep living at your current home.

Checking if you are homeless

The Housing Executive has to look at your case if it has reason to think you might be homeless. 

Contact us if the Housing Executive won't do a homelessness investigation for you.

The Housing Executive will check to make sure you pass the test. They might

  • ask questions about your most recent address
  • talk to your current or previous landlord
  • talk to whoever you were recently living with
  • ask for proof that you are homeless.

Evidence to show you are homeless 

You'll need evidence to show that you are homeless. This could include

  • an eviction notice from your landlord
  • proof that you're living in a hostel or other temporary housing
  • medical reports which explain how your housing condition is damaging your health
  • police reports if you've been harassed or victimised in your home
  • statements from the people you lived with if they've told you to move out
  • reports from teachers or social workers if your home is damaging your children's health or wellbeing.

Homelessness due to overcrowding

You probably won't be homeless if the only problem in your home is that it is too small for your household. 

The Housing Executive might agree that you are homeless if the overcrowding is causing problems, like

  • health problems
  • problems with your children's social or educational development.

You can apply for a transfer if you are a social tenant and your home is too small. 

Homelessness due to domestic abuse

The Housing Executive should not speak to your abuser to check your story. They may want to talk to someone you've spoken to about the abuse, like

  • Women's Aid
  • the Men's Advisory Project
  • a solicitor
  • a counsellor
  • a friend or family member
  • a charity.

Temporary housing

The Housing Executive has to give you temporary housing if 

  • you seem to be homeless and
  • you seem to be vulnerable. 

Preventing homelessness

The Housing Executive will check if there's any way they can help you stay or return to your home. 

Contact our helpline for advice on homelessness and housing. 

After the homelessness test

The Housing Executive will either

  • check if you pass the other 3 tests for homelessness, or
  • write to tell you that you've failed the homelessness test. 

You can challenge the Housing Executive if they say you failed the test.