Homeless help from the council
Your personal housing plan
The council writes and agrees a personal housing plan with you as part of the assessment.
It sets out steps that you and the council need to take to either:
stop you becoming homeless
find you a place to live if you're already homeless
The council will usually try to help you stay in your home if it is safe and you can afford it.
They must help you find somewhere else if you cannot stay or you're already homeless.
Support to keep your home
The council could:
help you to claim benefits
advise on tenancy rights or debt
talk to your landlord or family so you can stay
tell you about grants or loans to pay off rent or mortgage arrears
Steps for you to take
The council could ask you to:
look for a private tenancy
get benefits or debt advice
bid for suitable homes if you're on the waiting list
take part in mediation with your family or landlord
Tell the council if your situation changes. For example, if you have new health needs or someone else joins your household. The council must update your plan.
You can question things in your plan
If the council tells you to find a private tenancy yourself, tell them if you have already tried.
Let them know if you've found it hard because of:
a disability or health problem
You can ask for more help.
Help to find a new home
The council could:
offer you housing
support you to find a private tenancy
help with rent in advance or a deposit
ask a supported housing project to help you
If the council offers you housing
The council might find and offer you housing while they help with a personal plan.
This could be a:
council or housing association home
supported housing or a hostel
room in a shared house or HMO
You should accept any offer of housing.
You can ask for a review if you think it's not suitable.
How long does the council help for?
With a section 21 notice, the council should help for as long as you're at risk of homelessness.
If you become homeless, they must check if you should get emergency housing. They should update your housing plan and help for another 8 weeks.
In other situations, support usually lasts for:
8 weeks while you're threatened with homelessness
another 8 weeks if you become homeless
If you're still homeless after 8 weeks, the council decides if you can get longer term housing.
Example: You get a section 21 notice
You're threatened with homelessness if:
the notice is valid
it ends in the next 8 weeks
The council must try to prevent you becoming homeless. For example, they might talk to your landlord to see if you could stay.
When the notice ends
The council must decide if you're legally homeless now. Or if it's reasonable for you to stay in your home while your landlord gets an eviction order.
If the council decides it's reasonable to stay, they must still help for as long as you're at risk of homelessness.
You should get emergency housing if they decide you're homeless and may have a priority need. You should not have to wait for the bailiffs.
The council must update your personal housing plan and help for at least 8 more weeks.
After this the council decides if you can get longer term housing.
When the council can stop helping
The council can stop helping if your housing problems are sorted out. For example:
you find somewhere else to live
your landlord or parents say you can stay
The council can only stop helping if there's a reasonable chance you will have somewhere suitable to live for at least the next 6 months.
The council could also stop helping if you refuse a suitable housing offer.
If you do not keep to your personal plan
The council can stop helping if they think you are not doing the things the plan tells you to. For example, asking letting agents about properties to rent.
The council must warn you that they might end their help. They should give you time to do what is in your plan before they end their help.
Ask for a review if the council end their help
You can ask for a review if you think the council has made a wrong decision.
Last updated: 9 January 2024