Homelessness and Housing Options
If you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless within 56 days, it is very important to seek advice as soon as possible. You MUST complete the enquiry form (below) . On completion of the form a Housing Options Officer will contact you within 5 working days. Please do not call into our offices unless you have an appointment. For out of hours emergencies call 01268 758357.
If you are a partner agency and wish to make a referral under Section 213b of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2018, please complete our partner referral form or email us at email@example.com.
The Homelessness Reduction Act came into force on 3rd April 2018. This means we have a statutory duty to prevent homelessness where we can by offering a range of services to help you to stay in your current home, including help with mortgage advice, tenancy matters or relationship breakdown. If staying in your current home isn't an option, we can help you find alternatives.
Advice for homeowners
If you are having problems paying your mortgage and are at risk of losing your home please look at these government pages from their website GOV.UK for lots of information and advice.
Advice for people renting privately
Your landlord, or their agent, has legal responsibilities to manage your tenancy fairly and to keep your home up to a decent standard. If you need assistance our Housing Options Team can provide advice on the rights and responsibilities of private tenants, landlords and agents. You can use our Housing Options Assessment Form to tell us about your problem and we will endeavour to respond to you within 5 working days.
You can find advice below if:
- you need to check if your tenancy deposit is protected
- you don't have a tenancy agreement, or you don't understand it
- your landlord isn't meeting safety standards
- your landlord or their agent is bothering or harassing you at home
- your landlord is trying to evict you
- you've asked your landlord for repairs or complained about conditions in your home.
Rights and responsibilities
Our Housing Options Team can also assist tenants at risk of losing their homes, or tenants worried about their current housing situation. The team can also help with financial costs.
Financial Support for People Renting
We provide advice and financial assistance to local tenants who live in social or private sector housing.
We can help in the following ways:
- assist with applications for Discretionary Housing Payment fund (DHP), administrated by our Housing Benefit Section, which is used to help tenants cope with housing costs.
- we manage a Homeless Prevention Fund, to assist with rent arrears in order to try and prevent you from being evicted due to rent arrears.
- we provide advice and assistance to those affected by welfare reforms, such as the Social Sector Size criteria (otherwise known as Bedroom Tax), Benefit Cap, Local Housing Allowance reforms or Universal Credit)
- we offer a Rent Deposit Scheme for families under the threat of homelessness.
- we advise and assist tenants at risk of losing their homes, or worried about their current housing situation. We actively work with other agencies, including Job Centre Plus who help tenants find employment or downsize through HomeSwapper.
Registering with other councils
You can apply to go on the housing waiting list of any council in the country, and can be registered on more than one list. Each council has its own rules about who qualifies for their list, and its own policy for prioritising applicants. Most will give higher priority to people who have a local connection with the area.
If you work in an area, or used to live there, or have close relatives living there, you may be added to that area's waiting list.
To register in other parts of the England or Wales, go to: GOV.UK: Apply for council housing.
Affordable home ownership
You may be able to get financial help through a government home ownership scheme if you can’t afford to buy a home. Go to GOV.UK: affordable home ownership schemes.
- Help to Buy: equity loan – a government loan of up to 20% of the value of your new build home, reducing your initial outlay to 5% deposit and 75% mortgage
- shared ownership – a range of part-buy, part-rent schemes for households earning between £30,000-£80,000 a year, including options for people over 55 or with long-term disabilities.
For further details on these schemes, click on the following link https://www.helptobuyese.org.uk/help-to-buy
Search for shared ownership properties through the Share to Buy website.