Homelessness Reduction Act 2017  

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 came into force on 3 April 2018. We have a legal duty to offer support to a wider range of people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness. We must help from an early stage with the aim of stopping you from losing your current home. Or we must take steps to help you to secure accommodation. 

The Act has changed the way that we tackle homelessness. We now have two new duties as well as the main housing duty.  

Duty to prevent homelessness 

Torbay has a duty to help you if you are eligible, and at risk of losing your home within the next 56 days. We may also have a duty to help you if your landlord has issued you with a Section 21 notice that will expire within the next 56 days. You should contact us as soon as you are aware that you are at risk of losing your home. The earlier we know about your situation, the better chance we have of stopping you from losing your home. If this fails and you still become homeless, we have a duty to take steps to help relieve your homelessness. 

Duty to take steps to relieve homelessness 

If you are already homeless when you approach us, we will help you. We will give you advice and help you find suitable accommodation for you and your family. The council will only provide you with emergency accommodation if you are a priority need. This would be if you have children under the age of 18 that you are responsible for. Contact us immediately if you become homeless so that we can act quickly and help you. 

The Main Housing Duty 

When the duties above come to an end, we will assess whether you are owed the main housing duty. This would apply if you:  

  • remain homeless after the relief duty comes to an end 
  • are in priority need 
  • have not made yourself homeless on purpose  

We have a duty to find suitable alternative accommodation for you.  

Please remember that we are responding to a crisis situation. This means that you may spend many years in temporary accommodation while bidding for a permanent home. Any offer made under the main housing duty is likely to be in the private sector.  

Remember that homelessness is not a fast track to social housing: 

  • you will be given a new registration date. It makes no difference if you have already spent time on the waiting list 
  • you will also only have one offer of permanent accommodation. 

There are no council homes available in Torbay. Social housing is offered by various housing associations.  

All social housing available in Devon is advertised through Devon Home Choice. 

Properties are not allocated. Tenants can bid on any they are interested in renting.  

Contact us or report a rough sleeper

For organisations 

The Homelessness Reduction Act provides an opportunity to work more closely with partners. They must notify us of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The Duty to refer came into force on 1 October 2018. The public bodies that have this statutory duty are: 

  • prisons 
  • youth offender institutions 
  • secure training centres 
  • secure colleges 
  • youth offending teams 
  • probation services, including community rehabilitation companies 
  • Jobcentre Plus 
  • social service authorities 
  • emergency departments 
  • urgent treatment centres 
  • hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care 

The Housing Options Service will work with the named public bodies under the Duty to Refer. It is important that we are notified as soon as possible. 

The above public bodies can refer details of any person within 56 days, via the duty to refer portal. 

If they are unable to access the portal, they can complete the Duty to Refer form. Then send it to dutytorefer@torbay.gov.uk.  

Please be aware that consent must be sought before making a referral.