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CIH Scotland

Housing advisers


Advising people with limited leave to remain

This page is for housing advisers. If you are a new arrival please click here for information more relevant to you.

This section looks at housing problems faced by people given limited leave to remain as workers, students, family members and visitors. It includes some references to relevant case law, and links to the relevant regulations.

It does not cover advising refugees and other people given leave through the asylum system: go to refugees and people with discretionary leave, humanitarian protection and exceptional leave to remain and advising refugees and people with discretionary leave for information about their rights and how to advise them.

For help on advising people fleeing domestic abuse, go to the pages on people fleeing domestic abuse or advising people fleeing domestic abuse.

What are the housing and housing benefit rights of people with limited leave?

Generally, people are given limited leave in the UK to work, study, visit or join family members with the condition attached that they must be able to accommodate and support themselves without recourse to public funds. The housing and benefit eligibility regulations mirror this by excluding them from eligibility in most cases.

People with limited leave to remain can apply direct to housing associations because there are no eligibility regulations for these applications. People on short stays (visitors and some short-term students) may be refused because associations generally aim to house people intending to stay in the area for some time.

The Home Office publish guidance about recourse to public funds that explains how the rules are applied.

You can also look at the government’s immigration rules about public funds: this is the section of the rules that provides general definitions, and 'public funds' is defined, but at the end of the section there is a detailed clarification that also forms part of the rules.

Housing and support from social work departments

If a person with limited leave becomes homeless and destitute, social work departments may be able to accommodate vulnerable adults or families with children in certain very limited circumstances. See people with social care needs and advising people with social care needs for more on this.

Benefits for people whose funds have been disrupted

The right to claim HB for up to six weeks for self-supporting households that experienced a temporary disruption of their funds ended on 29th October 2013 – including for existing claims made before that date.

Benefits for people from certain European countries

People from Macedonia and Turkey are eligible for HB/CTR (as well as HB/CTR passported benefits) if they are habitually resident and have any form of leave (including leave with a ‘no public funds’ condition [2015] UKUT 438 (AAC)) or they have a right to reside as an EEA family member. However, a person who only has temporary admission and who is not an EEA family member is likely to be refused HB/CTR because they do not have a right to reside (Yesiloz v LB Camden).

Benefits and couples where one has limited leave

A member of a couple who has limited leave (and so who would be ineligible for HB/CTR if they were single) but whose partner is eligible for HB/CTR (e.g. a British Citizen) can receive HB/CTR provided that their partner makes the claim. Partner here means a spouse/registered civil partner or a person who is living with them as if they are their spouse/civil partner.

For the claim to be valid both members must provide a national insurance number (or at least to have applied for one).

Housing waiting list and homelessness applications where people with limited leave are part of the household

Any eligible person can make an application as homeless or to go on the housing waiting list, but there can be complications if the application includes people who are ineligible because they have limited leave (or no leave).

If the person with indefinite leave applies for help as homeless, they will be treated according to the rules for mixed households (and should look at that page for further information).

If an eligible applicant applies to go on to the council waiting list or to enter the allocations scheme, the local authority must assess the needs of the applicant according to their allocation scheme, and give reasonable preference to certain types of applicant, which includes applications made on the grounds of overcrowding or social or medical need. As long as the applicant is eligible, other members of the household are taken into account in deciding need and reasonable preference, even if they would themselves be ineligible because of their immigration status: see R (Kimvono) v Tower Hamlets London Borough Council [2001] 33 HLR 239.

When a local authority receives an application in this type of case it must first decide who it is reasonable to treat as a member of the household and in doing so the temporary nature of a person's immigration status can be a factor it takes into account: see Ariemuguvbe. So whilst it would reasonable for the council not to include the applicant’s adult child where that child had already been living independently (Ariemuguvbe) it would be unreasonable to exclude a child that was a minor (Kimvono - see above).

Housing and benefit applications for parents with care of an EEA child

Any EEA citizen – including a child – has the right to live in any EEA member state. In order for a child to exercise that right it follows that their parent or (carer) must also be able to live there even if that parent is not himself/herself an EEA national. 

If the child is an EEA national (but not a UK citizen where different rules apply) this is often known as a ‘Chen’ right after the case that established it.  In 2012 the EEA regulations were amended to include it as a new type of ‘derivative’ right to reside (which is likely to be challenged). The UK government view is that this does entitle the holder to housing or benefits since they are required to have sufficient resources for the child ‘not to become a burden on the public finances of the host Member State’.

Background Topics

How can we improve housing for new migrants in the UK?

A Housing Practitioners' Guide to Integrating Asylum Seekers & Refugees

A Housing Practitioners Guide to Integrating Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Published by the Scottish Refugee Council with support from CIH Scotland

Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland