Shelter template letters

Use Shelter's template letters when you need to write to your landlord or local council about tenancy deposits, repairs, homelessness or housing benefit.

Shelter's template letters are downloaded as Word documents. To use them:

  1. Save them to your computer
  2. Add your own information and make any necessary changes
  3. Print and send

Get advice if you need help to write your letter.

Contact a Shelter adviser online, by phone or in person

Protected tenancy deposits

Ask your landlord to protect your tenancy deposit

If it has been 30 days or more since you paid your tenancy deposit, write to your landlord asking for your deposit to be protected.

Letter template: Ask your landlord to protect your deposit

Inform landlord of possible court action if deposit is unprotected

If your deposit has not been protected in a deposit protection scheme and you're still in the same tenancy, write to you landlord about possible court action.

Letter before action - Failure to protect a tenancy deposit

Getting your protected tenancy deposit back

Write to your landlord asking for the return of your deposit if it wasn't returned to you at the end of your tenancy.

Letter template: Ask for your tenancy deposit back

Inform landlord of possible court action for failure to return deposit

If your deposit is not returned within 10 days of your tenancy ending, write to your landlord about possible court action.

Letter before action: Failure to return 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 template letter before action that applies to you.

Letter before action: Failure to return or protect deposit and claim compensation

Letter before action: Claim compensation from your current landlord

Letter before action: Claim compensation from your former landlord

Unprotected tenancy deposits

Ask for return of deposit

Write to your landlord to ask for the return of your deposit after you have left your tenancy.

Letter template: Request return of deposit

Ask for return of remaining deposit

If your landlord doesn't return the full amount of your deposit at the end of your tenancy, write to your landlord to ask for the return of the balance your deposit.

Letter template: Request return of remaining deposit

Remind landlord to return deposit

If you have written to your landlord about the return of your deposit but haven't received a reply, you can write a reminder letter.

Letter template: Remind landlord to return deposit

Dispute deposit deductions

If you write to your landlord to dispute the amount of deductions made from your deposit, give your landlord a deadline such as 2 weeks. In your letter warn that you will take your landlord to court if your deposit is not returned by the deadline date.

Letter template: Dispute landlord's deposit deductions

Court action for return of deposit

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).

Letter before action - return of deposit

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.

Letter template: Applying to the council as homeless

Challenge council's homelessness decision

You can use ask for a review if you disagree with a decision the council has made about your homelessness application.

Letter template: Asking the council to review its decision

Repairs in private rented homes

Reporting repairs

If any repairs are needed in your home, tell your landlord or letting agent as soon as possible.

Letter template: Report repairs to your landlord

Gas safety checks

If you live in a rented home that came with gas appliances, your landlord must arrange for gas safety checks.

Letter template: Ask landlord to arrange gas safety checks

Reminding 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.

Letter template: Remind landlord about repairs

Informing landlord that you will involve 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.

Letter template:  landlord before contacting the council

Contacting council's environmental health department

Contact your local council's environmental health department about disrepair and hazards in your rented home.

Asking the council for help with repairs

How to pay for repairs and deduct cost from your rent

You do not have the right to withhold your rent.

You must follow a specific procedure and send all four of the following letters in order if you want to pay for repairs yourself and then take the cost out of your rent.

Letter 1: Doing the work yourself unless the repairs are done within a reasonable time

Letter 2: Quotations for repair work and deadline for completion of repairs

Letter 3: Copies of receipts for repair work and request for refund

Letter 4: Deduction of repair cost from future rent

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.

Letter template: Report repairs to council or housing association landlord

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.

Letter template: Housing benefit backdate request

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.

Letter template: Change of circumstances

Asking for explanation of overpayment decision

Ask the housing benefit department to explain a decision it has made about overpayment of housing benefit.

Letter template: Housing benefit overpayments

Asking for housing benefit for 2 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.

Letter template: Claiming housing benefit for two homes


Last updated 01 Jan 2017 | © Shelter

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