Homelessness duty to refer

The 'duty to refer' requires certain public authorities in England to notify a local housing authority of service users who are at risk of homelessness or who are already homeless. There is a list of the public authorities involved below.

Please note this is not a referral link for other services or for members of the public. For any Brighton & Hove resident who is worried about their housing situation, please contact our Housing Options Service. There is more advice and information in our homeless or at risk of becoming homeless pages.

For public authorities wishing to refer:

You can find further guidance on the duty to refer on the gov.uk website.

Please note that the duty to refer is not an application for assistance, but may become one. However, due to the housing shortage in Brighton & Hove, we cannot consider applications from everyone who wishes to live in Brighton & Hove. Most referrals, where an application is taken, will be referred to an authority where there is a connection.

It really is important not to raise expectations of clients and service users - please do not advise them or assist them to come to our offices in person on the back of or with a copy of this referral. We will respond to all referrals as quickly as possible and advise your client of their best options.

There is a legal minimum of information you need to refer but we would ask that you complete this form so we are able to address your clients’ referrals effectively:

Consent for this referral must be provided.

Please provide as much information as possible from an interview or case details of your client on the form - this will help speed up our responses as we will be able to see how to respond more easily.

Please email referral forms with attachments and supporting information to dutytorefer@brighton-hove.gov.uk or post to Duty to Refer, Housing Options, Brighton & Hove City Council, Bartholomew House, Bartholomew Square, Brighton, BN1 1JP.

What to expect and how to advise your client

We will try to respond as quickly as possible and within 14 days, depending on the urgency of your client’s situation. We are likely to contact you for further information if the form is not completed. The guidance is clear that this referral is not an application for assistance - it may become one and we will contact your client if that is the case. Please advise them of the timescales indicated above and, again, please don’t encourage or suggest that a client without links here should travel here in person.

List of public authorities subject to this duty

The duty applies to the following public authorities:

  • prisons
  • young offender institutions
  • secure training centres
  • secure colleges
  • youth offending teams
  • probation services (including community rehabilitation companies)
  • Jobcentre’s in England
  • social service authorities (both adult and children’s)
  • emergency departments
  • urgent treatment centres
  • hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care
  • Secretary of State for defence in relation to members of the regular armed forces