When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Eligibility test


The Housing Executive has a legal responsibility to help people who pass the 4 homelessness tests. The tests look at whether you are homeless, why you are homeless, whether you're entitled to help and whether you're in greater need of help than other people.

The Housing Executive is responsible for providing accommodation for anyone who is legally homeless. To be legally homeless you have to pass 4 tests including the Eligibility test. The other tests are priority need, homelessness and intentionality. You may not be eligible if you are a person from abroad or if the Housing Executive decides you are guilty of unacceptable behaviour. You must also pass a similar eligibility test in order to claim Housing Benefit and Universal Credit.

The Housing Executive will have a duty to offer you accommodation if it is satisfied that you are a Full Duty Applicant. You will be a Full Duty Applicant if you pass all 4 homeless tests also known as “hurdles”.

Nivelul de ajutor pe care Housing Executive trebuie să vi-l ofere depinde de circumstanțele dvs. personale. Housing Executive va utiliza 4 teste pentru stabilirea circumstanțelor dvs. locative. Dacă treceți toate cele patru teste, veți deveni Solicitant cu Regim Integral - Full Duty Applicant (FDA) și Housing Executive va accepta faptul că are o responsabilitate pentru a vă găsi locuință permanentă.

You must be habitually resident in Northern Ireland and have a right to reside in the UK in order to be eligible for assistance as a homeless person and in order to claim benefits, such as Housing Benefit and Universal Credit. You can also be found ineligible for help as a homeless person if you have been involved in antisocial behaviour. 

You will not be eligible for help if the Housing Executive decides you’ve been involved in unacceptable behaviour. Unacceptable behaviour is the type of behaviour that would make someone a bad tenant and covers actions carried out by you, by other people in your household and by visitors to your property. The Housing Executive will usually only consider behaviour in the past two years, when deciding if you have behaved in an unacceptable manner and are, as such, ineligible for help.

If you pass this test the Housing Executive will have to check that you are also homeless, in priority need and that you’re not intentionally homeless. You might be entitled to temporary accommodation while this is happening.

If you pass all 4 homeless tests you’ll be a Full Duty Applicant and the Housing Executive will have to make 3 reasonable offers of housing to you.

Sometimes people will come to another country because they feel that it is not safe or possible for them to stay in their own country, perhaps because of war or extreme poverty. Under a 1951 UN agreement, these people can seek asylum in the country they arrive in. When someone has asked another country for help in this way, they become an asylum seeker. 

The relevant agency in that country will then investigate this person’s circumstances to see if it is appropriate for that person to continue living in their home country. In the UK, this work is done by the Home Office. If the Home Office decides that it is not safe for someone to return to their own country, that person will become a refugee.

If you are not a citizen of an EEA country, you will only be eligible for help as a homeless person or for social security benefits if your immigration status allows this.

It can be very difficult to work out if a person from an EEA country is eligible for homelessness help or for social security benefits. If you are not sure if you are eligible, contact Housing Rights for advice.

Generally, an EEA national needs to either have settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme or must have some sort of history of working in the UK in order to be eligible for help.


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