Homeless and Housing Options
If you are homeless or are about to become homeless and would like some advice on your housing options 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.
We'll always try to prevent you from becoming homeless in the first instance. There are lots 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 endeavor 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. roperty)
- 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.
People can become homeless for many different reasons and this can be a very stressful experience.
If the council is unable to prevent your homelessness, then an application will be taken under the Housing Act 1996 - Part VII - amended by the Homelessness Act 2002. This sets out the legal duties of local authorities towards people who are homeless or about to be made homeless. However, the Council does not have to provide accommodation to all homeless people.
If we are unable to prevent homelessness, the council can help you:
- If you are eligible for assistance
- If you are homeless
- If you are in priority need
- If you are not intentionally homeless
- If you have a local connection with this authority
Am I eligible for assistance?
You are eligible for assistance if:
- You usually live in the UK and are a British Citizen
- You usually live in the UK and are subject to immigration control, but there is no time limit or condition on you to stay
- You have refugee status or leave to remain in the UK
Are you homeless or threatened with homelessness within the next 28 days?
Do you, or are you:-
- Have nowhere to stay tonight?
- Have you been staying somewhere but have no legal right to remain and have been asked to leave?
- Have you been locked out of your home and been told not to come back?
- Have somewhere to live but will face violence if you return?
- Have you been forced to leave your home due to harassment?
- Have a mobile home but you have nowhere to put it in order to live in?
If so, you could be considered to be homeless and we may be able to help you.
It is important to note that if you have a legal right to live in your accommodation and it is reasonable for you to carry on living there you are not likely to be considered homeless.
You may be considered as priority need if:-
- You are a member of your household is pregnant
- You have dependent children
- You are a member of your household is elderly or has a physical or mental disability or any other special needs
- You have become homeless because of an emergency such as fire or flood
- You have been in custody for a length of time
- If you are 16/17 years olds and have not previously been accommodated by Social Services
- You are a person who is vulnerable as a result of having been a member of Her Majesty's regular naval, military or air forces
- You are a person who is vulnerable as a result of ceasing to occupy accommodation because of violence from another person or threats of violence from another person which are likely to be carried out
- You have other special circumstances
You are likely to be considered as intentionally homeless if you:-
- Deliberately gave up your home when you could have still lived there or;
- Deliberately did or failed to do something which you knew would cause you to lose your home or;
- Entered into an arrangement that you knew would cause you to have to leave your home so that the council could house you
You are likely to be considered to have a local connection if you:-
- Have lived in the Castle Point area for at least 6 months in the last year or 3 years in the past 5 years
- Work in the Castle Point area
- Have a close relative living in the Castle Point area who has lived in the area for at least 5 years
- Have any special circumstances
If you do not have a local connection with the Castle Point area but have a connection with another area, we may ask the council for that area to help you.