Shelter's sample letters are downloaded as Word (RTF) documents. This means you can save them to your computer, add your own information and make any necessary changes before printing them out.
Fill in all the 'blanks' (for example names and addresses), which are indicated in red. Some of the letters may require you to describe your own situation in detail. If you need help with this, 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
You can ask your local council's housing department for help if you've nowhere to stay or are likely to lose your home in the next 28 days.
Read more about help from the council.
Claiming housing benefit
If you have delayed making a claim for housing benefit, it may be possible for your claim to be backdated.
Read more about backdating housing benefit.
Inform the housing or council tax benefit department straightaway if your circumstances change, as this may affect the amount of benefit you receive.
Read more about changes in your circumstances.
Ask the housing benefit department to explain a decision it has made about overpayment of housing benefit.
Read more about housing benefit overpayments.
Repairs in private rented homes
If you live in a rented home that came with gas appliances, your landlord must arrange for gas safety checks.
Read more about asking your landlord about gas safety checks.
If any repairs are needed to the home you rent, tell your landlord or letting agent as soon as possible.
Read more about asking your landlord to do repairs.
If your landlord does nothing about the problems you have reported, send a reminder letter, asking your landlord to contact you within 48 hours, or you will have to take further action.
If there is still no response, write to your landlord to tell them you will be reporting the matter to the council's environmental health department. (Council tenants do not have this option. Read more about repairs in social housing.)
Contact your local council's environmental health department about disrepair and hazards in your rented home.
Read more about asking the council for help with repairs.
You do not have the right to withhold your rent. If you want to pay for repairs yourself and then take the cost out of your rent, you must follow a specific procedure and must send all four of the following letters in order.
Read more about doing repairs if your landlord won't.
Repairs in council and housing association homes
Your council or housing association landlord should have a system for reporting and dealing with repairs. Send a request by email, fill in an online form or use our sample letter to report repairs.
Read more about reporting repairs and allowing access.
Asking your landlord to protect your tenancy deposit (while you're still a tenant)
Your landlord must tell you in writing which scheme has been used to protect your deposit.If you have not heard from your landlord within 30 days from paying your deposit, write asking if your deposit has been protected.
Read more about tenancy deposit schemes.
If it has been 30 days or more since you paid you tenancy deposit, write to your landlord asking for your deposit to be protected.
If your deposit has not been protected and you're still in the same tenancy, write to you landlord about possible court action.
Read more about protecting your tenancy deposit.
Getting your deposit back (for protected tenancy deposits) after your tenancy has ended
Write to your landlord asking for the return of your deposit if it wasn't returned to you at the end of your tenancy.
Read more about getting back your deposit.
Court action to claim compensation
Before you start a court claim, you must send a formal 'letter before action' to your landlord.
Choose the Shelter sample letter before action that applies to you.
Getting your deposit back (for unprotected tenancy deposits)
Write to your landlord to ask for the return of your deposit after you have left your tenancy.
If you write to your landlord to dispute the amount of deductions made from your deposit, give your landlord a deadline for a reply - such as within two weeks. In your letter warn that you will take your landlord to court if your deposit is not returned within the deadline date.
Finally, if your landlord or letting agent still refuses to return the money, send a letter before action with a completed copy of the relevant court form (form N1 - download this from the Court Service).