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:

  • Save them to your computer

  • Add your own information and make any necessary changes

  • Print and send

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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 8 weeks.

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.

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.

Gas safety checks

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

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.

Contacting council's environmental health department

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Asking for explanation of overpayment decision

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

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.

Dealing with 'no DSS' policies

No DSS policies are blanket bans on renting to tenants claiming universal credit or housing benefit.

You can complain if you see adverts like these or if an agent refuses to deal with you because you're on benefits.

Use our template letter to challenge discrimination

Use our template letter to challenge a blanket refusal of a viewing or tenancy just because you're on benefits.

Last updated: 1 November 2021

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