No fixed abode
In law, no fixed abode or without fixed abode is not having a fixed geographical location as a residence. This is applicable to several groups:
- People who have a home, but which is not always in the same place:
- Those whose occupation requires them to live permanently on boats, ships or movable oil platforms, or to travel constantly (as showmen, for example).
- Nomadic peoples (e.g. Indigenous Norwegian Travellers and Romanichal) and traveller groups (e.g. Irish Travellers, Scottish Gypsy and Traveller groups, New Age travellers, Norwegian and Swedish Travellers); as well as individuals who adopt a mobile lifestyle, living in narrowboats, recreational vehicles or the like.
- People considered to be homeless. The term "of no fixed abode" or "no fixed address" is frequently used as a description by the police and a euphemism by the media for somebody who is without a home. This may not be for obvious reasons; for example, their previous home may have been destroyed and physically not exist any longer.
Mail may be handled Poste restante.
Ships may have a mobile letter box, that can be placed on the dockside whilst a ship is moored in port or the crew are on shore leave, allowing the delivery of mail to those living on the ship—for as long as the vessel is in that port.
In the United Kingdom "no fixed abode" is a valid residential address. The law states:
If a person has no fixed abode he shall be treated as having his sole or main residence in the place where he is at any particular time.—Local Government Finance Act 1988
A person may wish to provide a temporary forwarding address to ease contacting them, or the locating of their whereabouts can be left as an exercise to the sender.
- "Chapter 41, Part I (Community Charges), Section 31 (Interpretation), Subsection 8". Local Government Finance Act 1988. Office of Public Sector Information.
If at a particular time a person has no fixed abode (in England and Wales or elsewhere) he shall at that time be treated as having his sole or main residence in the place where he is at the time.