Housing advice factsheets

Download Shelter's factsheets, full of useful information and top tips for dealing with your housing problems.

If you need further help or advice, talk to an adviser at a Shelter advice centre or other welfare advice centre. Use Shelter's directory to find help in your local area.

Applying as homeless

Out of hours emergency help

Get emergency help and advice if you're homeless.

Find out more about emergency help and advice if you're homeless.

Factsheet: Out of hours emergency help June 2017)

Habitual residence test

Some people, including British citizens, who are coming, or returning, to the UK after living abroad, must pass the habitual residence test (HRT) in order to be eligible for help from the council when they are homeless.

Find out more about how the council decides you are homeless.

Habitual residence test (June 2017)

Asylum seekers

Asylum seekers getting support

If you have applied for asylum in the UK you may be entitled to help from the government. This is called asylum support and is arranged by UKVI.

Find out more about help and advice for asylum seekers and refugee.

Factsheet: Asylum seekers getting support (May 2018)

Care leavers

Benefits and money

Housing benefit if you're under 35

Different rules apply if you claim housing benefit and you're under the age of 35.

Find out more about claiming housing benefit when you're under 35.

Factsheet: Housing benefit if you're under 35 (May 2018)

Bedroom tax

You might get less housing benefit if you are a housing association or council tenant and your home is too large for your needs.

Find out more about the bedroom tax.

Factsheet: The bedroom tax (May 2018)

Benefit cap

The benefit cap sets a limit on the total amount in benefits that most working-age people can claim.

The level of the benefit cap was reduced on 7 November 2016. The amount you claim depends on whether you live inside or outside London

Find out more about the benefit cap.

Factsheet: Benefit cap (May 2018)

Discretionary housing payments

Discretionary housing payments could help you if you get housing benefit but can't afford to pay all your rent. Payments are usually for a short time.

Find out more about discretionary housing payments.

Factsheet: Discretionary housing payments (May 2018)

Universal Credit

Universal Credit (UC) is a welfare benefit to help you with your living costs. It replaces six other benefits including housing benefit, jobseeker’s allowance and tax credits.

Find out more about Universal Credit.

Factsheet: Universal Credit (May 2018)

Universal Credit: housing costs for renters

Universal Credit (UC) can include a payment for housing costs.

Find out more about Universal Credit.

Factsheet: Universal Credit: housing costs for renters (May 2018)

Universal Credit: help with your mortgage

You can get a government loan to help pay your mortgage if you are a homeowner and claim universal credit (UC). This help is called support for mortgage interest (SMI). As it is a loan and not a benefit, it must be repaid.

Find out more about Universal Credit.

Factsheet: Universal Credit: help with your mortgage (May 2018)

Private renting

Right to rent

From 1 February 2016 you can only become a private tenant or lodger in England if immigration law allows you the 'right to rent'. Not everyone has the 'right to rent'.

Find out more about the right to rent.

Factsheet: Right to rent (May 2018)

10 rights for private tenants

Whether you are renting a room, a flat or a house from a private landlord, you have certain rights and responsibilities.

Find out more about private renting agreements.

Factsheet: 10 rights for private tenants (May 2018)

Protecting your tenancy deposit

Your deposit should be protected in a government backed tenancy deposit scheme if you are an assured shorthold tenant.

Find out more about protecting your tenancy deposit.

Factsheet: Protecting your tenancy deposit (May 2018)

Rent increases: Assured shorthold tenants

Your landlord must follow procedures to increase your rent.

Find out more about private tenancy rent increases.

Factsheet: Rent increases: Assured shorthold tenants (May 2018)

Joint tenants: rights and responsibilities

If you and the people you live with all signed one tenancy agreement with the landlord when you moved in, you have a joint tenancy.

Find out more about joint tenancies.

Factsheet: Joint tenants (May 2018)

Renting from a council or housing association

Going on the council waiting list

If you're eligible, you can apply to go on a council’s housing waiting list.

Find out more about how to apply for council housing.

Factsheet: Going on the council waiting list (May 2018)

Mutual exchange

Many council or housing association tenants can exchange (swap) their home with that of another social housing tenant.

Find out more about mutual exchange.

Factsheet: Mutual exchange (May 2018)

Rent arrears protocol for council and housing association landlords

All council and housing association landlords must follow the pre-action protocol for social landlords if they want to evict a secure council tenant, or an assured, assured shorthold or secure housing association tenant because of rent arrears.

Find out more about the rent arrears protocol for council and housing association landlords.

Factsheet: Rent arrears protocol (May 2018)

Introductory council tenancies

Many councils give their new tenants an introductory tenancy.

Factsheet: Introducy council tenancies (May 2018)

Ending or passing on a tenancy

How you can end your tenancy

You must end your tenancy in the correct way. If you don't, you could still be responsible for paying the rent.

Find out more about ending a tenancy.

Factsheet: How you can end your tenancy (May 2018)

Succession: your council tenancy

The right for your tenancy to be passed on to someone else when you die (‘succession’) depends upon the type of council tenancy you have.

Find out more about inheriting a council tenancy.

Factsheet: Succession: your council tenancy (May 2018)

Succession: your housing association tenancy

The right for your tenancy to be passed on to someone else when you die (‘succession’) depends upon the type of housing association tenancy you have.

Find out more about inheriting housing association tenancies.

Succession: your housing association tenancy (May 2018)

Eviction

Rent arrears protocol for council and housing association landlords

All council and housing association landlords must follow the pre-action protocol for social landlords if they want to evict a secure council tenant, or an assured, assured shorthold or secure housing association tenant because of rent arrears.

Find out more about the rent arrears protocol for council and housing association landlords.

Factsheet: Rent arrears protocol (May 2018)

Private tenants: Section 21 notices - procedure

Your private landlord does not need a reason to end your assured shorthold tenancy (AST) but must follow the correct procedure.

Find out more about the eviction with a Section 21 Notice.

Factsheet: Section 21 notices - procedure (May 2018)

Private tenants: Section 21 notices - restrictions

There are some rules about when your landlord’s section 21 notice will not be valid. If it’s not valid the court will not make an order to evict you.

Find out more about the eviction of assured shorthold tenants.

Factsheet: Section 21 notices - restrictions (May 2018)

Private tenants: Section 21 notices - accelerated proceedings

Your landlord can use a quicker route to get a possession order after serving a section 21 notice to end your assured shorthold tenancy.

Find out more about eviction using the accelerated possession procedure.

Factsheet: Section 21 - accelerated proceedings (May 2018)

Eviction if your landlord is repossessed

You may be able to stay up to two months longer in your home if your landlord’s mortgage lender is trying to repossess the property.

Find out more about repossession by a landlord’s mortgage lender.

Factsheet: Eviction if your landlord is repossessed (May 2018)

Eviction: going to court and bailiffs

Possession proceedings: Going to court

The eviction process begins with the landlord giving you written notice to leave your home by a certain date. If you don't sort out any problems such as rent arrears or you don’t leave, your landlord must usually apply to court for a possession order to lawfully evict you.

Find out more about court action for the eviction of private tenants.

Factsheet: Possession proceedings: going to court (May 2018)

Possession proceedings: Court powers

Your landlord must usually go to court and get a possession order before evicting you.

Find out more about court hearings and orders for the eviction of private tenants.

Factsheet: Possession proceedings: Court powers (May 2018)

Possession proceedings: Being evicted by bailiffs

If your landlord obtains a possession order, the court sets a date when you should move out. If you don't leave, your landlord must apply to the court to get the bailiffs to evict you.

Find out more about what happens when bailiffs evict private tenants.

Factsheet: Possession proceedings: Being evicted by bailiffs (May 2018)

Illegal eviction

Dealing with harassment

If your landlord is harassing you, you may be able to get help from the council or take your landlord to court.

Find out more about harassment by a private landlord.

Factsheet: Dealing with harassment (May 2018)

Illegal eviction

A landlord can only lawfully evict a tenant by following the correct procedure. Illegal eviction is a criminal offence.

Find out more about illegal eviction.

Factsheet: Illegal eviction (May 2018)

Rent arrears and debt

Keeping tabs on debt

Are you paying for services you don’t use or need? Take a closer look at your non-essential spending.

Find out more about where to get help with debts.

Keeping tabs on debt (May 2018)

Rent arrears protocol for council and housing association landlords

All council and housing association landlords must follow the pre-action protocol for social landlords if they want to evict a secure council tenant, or an assured, assured shorthold or secure housing association tenant because of rent arrears.

Find out more about the rent arrears protocol for council and housing association landlords.

Factsheet: Rent arrears protocol (May 2016)

Increasing income: rent out a room

Taking in a lodger: your obligations

When you rent out a room in your home, you are responsible for repairs and maintenance and getting a valid gas safety certificate each year.

Find out more about renting out a room in your home.

Taking in a lodger: your obligations (May 2018)

Taking in a lodger: money matters

Renting out a room in your home can affect any tax or benefits you receive.

Find out more about renting out a room in your home.

Taking in a lodger: money matters (May 2018)

Help for homeowners

Help with mortgage interest payments

You can get help to pay the interest on your mortgage if you receive a qualifying benefit. You could also get help with the interest on loans for repairs or improvements to your home.

Find out more about dealing with mortgage arrears.

Help with mortgage interest payments (May 2018)

Repairs and housing conditions

Health and safety at home

Help might be available from the council’s environmental health service if your home suffers from problems affecting your health or safety.

Find out more about standards for health and safety in rented homes and getting help from the council if you're worried about health and safety in your rented home.

Factsheet: Health and safety at home (June 2017)

Gas safety

Your landlord must make sure that gas appliances in your home are safe and regularly checked.

Find out more about gas safety.

Factsheet: Gas safety (June 2017)

Private tenants - smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

Your private landlord must install smoke alarms in your home, and carbon monoxide alarms if you have a wood or coal fire.

Find out more about gas safety and fire safety.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms (January 2018)

Dealing with pests in the home

If you rent your home, your landlord or the council may be responsible for dealing with pests and vermin. But if they can't or won't help, you might be able to deal with the infestation yourself.

Find out more about how to deal with pests and vermin in your home.

Factsheet: Dealing with pests in the home (April 2016)

Responsibility for repairs

Your landlord is responsible for dealing with most repairs in your home.

Find out more about responsibility for repairs.

Factsheet: Responsibility for repairs (June 2017)

Taking action on repairs

If your landlord doesn't do repairs within reasonable time, you can report the problem to your council or take court action.

Find out more about what to do if your landlord won’t do repairs.

Factsheet: Taking action on repairs (June 2017)

Mobile home owners

Rights of people who live on a protected site in a mobile home that they own

Find out more about your rights if you own a mobile home and live on a protected site.

See the section on mobile homes.

Mobile home owners (May 2018)

Relationship breakdown and housing rights

Students and private renting

Private rented accommodation for students

Find out more about your rights if you're a student and renting privately.

See the section on students.

Students and private renting (May 2018)

Prisoners

Prisoners: housing on release

See what your housing options are when you come out of prison

Find out more about help with housing if you're leaving or about to leave prison.

Prisoners: Housing options on release (May 2018)

Prisoners: keeping your home

See what help is available so you can keep paying rent or your mortgage while you're in prison

Find out more about help with keeping your home if you're in prison.

Prisoners: Keeping your home (May 2018)



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