We give advice on a wide range of circumstances including where customers are being asked to leave by family/friends, fleeing domestic abuse, being served with a notice and facing possession proceedings for any reason, where accommodation becomes unaffordable or there are rent arrears. Even if you receive a notice you still have a legal right to occupy your accommodation beyond the end of the notice, although we will always try to ensure you and your family do have somewhere to move to in order to ensure you or your landlord do not incur any additional court costs.
We will assess your housing situation and if you are at risk of homelessness within 56 day will work with you to develop your own Personal Housing Plan which will outline the reasonable steps you can take to prevent the loss of your current home. This is called the Prevention Duty. The plan will include the actions that the Council will take to support your actions; this could be for example referring you to a specialist debt advice agency or for mediation.
If homelessness cannot be prevented
If you have lost your home, are eligible for assistance and legally homeless we will work with you to develop a Personal Housing Plan that outlines the reasonable steps you can take to find another home which is likely to be in the private rented sector. This is called the relief duty and can last for 56 days.
You will be considered to be legally homeless if:
- you’ve no legal right to live in accommodation anywhere in the world
- you can’t get into your home, for example your landlord has locked you out
- it’s not reasonable to stay in your home, for example you’re at risk of violence or abuse
- you’re forced to live apart from your family or people you normally live with because there’s no suitable accommodation for you
- you’re living in very poor conditions such as overcrowding
If no alternative home can be found before you are due to leave your accommodation and if you are in priority need and have worked with us on your personal plan, we may then make a decision as to whether we have a duty to provide you with an offer of emergency accommodation.
You may find it useful to look at the following websites :
If you have been living in private rented accommodation or with family relatives or friends and have been asked to leave: http://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/
If you are at risk of losing your home because of debt or rent arrears: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/
If you are at risk of losing your home due to rent arrears: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/rent-arrears/paying-off-your-rent-arrears-overview/
To find an Energy Certificate (EPC) for your accommodation: https://find-energy-certificate.digital.communities.gov.uk/find-a-certificate/type-of-property
In most cases if you have paid a deposit your landlord must protect this. To find a Deposit Protection Certificate (DPC): https://www.depositprotection.com/ or https://www.mydeposits.co.uk/ or https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com/