Sample letters

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.

Make sure you fill in all the 'blanks' (eg 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 our directory to find help in your local area.

Applying as homeless

Making an application

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. For more information, see the section on help from the council.

Letter applying to the council as homeless

Requesting a review

You can use ask for a review if you disagree with a decision the council has made about your homelessness application. For more information see the page on challenging homelessness decisions.

Letter asking the council to review its decsion

Claiming housing benefit

Requesting backdated housing benefit

If you have delayed making a claim for housing benefit, it may be possible for your claim to be backdated. For more information, see the section on backdating housing benefit.

Housing benefit backdate request letter

A change in circumstances

Inform the housing or council tax benefit department straightaway if your circumstances change, as this may affect the amount of benefit you receive. For more information, see the section on changes in your circumstances.

Change of circumstances letter

Requesting housing benefit for two homes

In some circumstances housing benefit can be paid for two homes, for example when you have had to leave your home because of fear of violence, or because you are waiting for adaptations. Find out more in our section on housing benefit for two homes.

Letter claiming housing benefit for two homes

Repairs in private rented homes

Reporting repairs to a private landlord

If any repairs are needed to the home you rent, tell your landlord or letting agent as soon as possible. For more information, see our page on asking your landlord to do repairs.

Letter reporting repairs

Reminding a landlord about 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.

Reminder letter about repairs

Warning your landlord that you're contacting the council

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 - for more information, see the section on repairs in social housing.)

Letter to send to landlord before contacting the council

Doing repairs yourself if a private landlord won't do them

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. For more information, see the page on doing repairs if your landlord won't.

Asking your landlord to protect your tenancy deposit (while you're still a tenant)

Letter asking your landlord if your tenancy deposit is protected

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. For more information, see our section on tenancy deposit scheme.

Letter asking your landlord if your tenancy deposit is protected

Letter asking your landlord to protect your tenancy deposit.

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.

Letter asking your landlord to make sure your tenancy deposit is protected

Letter before action - Failure to protect a tenancy deposit with a deposit protection scheme

If your deposit has not been protected, write to you landlord about possible court action. For more information on what to do next, see our page on protecting your tenancy deposit.

Letter before action - Failure to protect a tenancy deposit with a deposit protection scheme

Getting your deposit back (for protected tenancy deposits) after your tenancy has ended

Letter asking for a tenancy deposit to be refunded

Write to your landlord asking for the return of your deposit if it wasn't returned to you at the end of your tenancy. For more information, see our section on tenancy deposit scheme.

Letter asking for a tenancy deposit to be refunded

Letter before action - failure to protect a tenancy deposit in a deposit protection scheme.

If your deposit is not returned within 10 days of your tenancy ending, and you think your landlord has failed to properly protect it, write to your landlord about possible court action. For more information on what to do next, see our section on court action to get your tenancy deposit back.

Letter before action - failure to protect a tenancy deposit in a deposit protection scheme

Getting your deposit back (for unprotected tenancy deposits)

Letter requesting a breakdown of costs

If the landlord or letting agent makes any deductions from your deposit, write to ask how much of your deposit is being kept and the reasons why. If you are not sure whether you should have a protected deposit, use our tenancy deposit protection checker to find out.

Letter requesting breakdown of costs

2nd or reminder letter about return of a deposit.

Send a reminder letter to your landlord if you don't receive a reply within two weeks.

2nd or reminder letter about return of a deposit

Letter requesting reasons for deductions

If your landlord doesn't give you a full breakdown of the deductions from your deposit or if you don't agree with some or all of the costs, write and ask for more details or to dispute the costs.

Letter requesting reasons for deductions

Letter disputing deductions

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.

Letter disputing deductions

Letter before action

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 - you can download this from the Court Service website).

Letter before action

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