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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:

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:

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:

  • private tenancy

  • 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

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