Homeless help from the council: private tenants facing eviction

When to ask the council for help

Ask for help as soon as you get an eviction notice from your landlord.

You do not have to wait until later in the eviction process. The council have more time to help if you contact them early.

You are legally threatened with homelessness if:

  • your section 21 notice ends in the next 8 weeks

  • you've had a different type of notice, for example a section 8 notice

You can usually contact the council's homeless team online, by phone or email.

How to contact your council's homeless team

What is your location?

Keep trying if you do not get through first time.

Chase up if you're close to the end date on your notice and you've not heard back.

What the council should do

The council's homeless team can:

  • check your notice is legal

  • carry out a homeless assessment

  • draw up a personal housing plan

The council must provide emergency housing for some homeless people.

Find out who qualifies for emergency housing and when the council must provide it.

Your eviction notice

Some landlords make mistakes with eviction notices. Bad landlords and agents try to make tenants leave early by giving shorter notices that are not legal.

If your notice is legal

The council must try to stop you becoming homeless

A housing officer will usually try to contact your landlord to find out:

  • why you were given notice

  • what the landlord intends to do next

If your notice is not legal

Your landlord cannot use an invalid notice to evict you. The council might say your landlord has to give you a valid notice before they will help further.

But they should also look at other things that could mean it's not reasonable to stay in your home. For example:

  • if you can afford the rent

  • any risk of harassment, abuse or violence

  • conditions and overcrowding in your home

Check your notice yourself

You can check if your notice is likely to be valid before you have your homeless assessment.

If you spot a problem with the notice, ask your housing officer about it.

Find out how to check:

Your homeless assessment

If it's a legal notice or you're facing homelessness for another reason, the council should carry out an assessment of your housing and support needs.

A housing officer will look at:

  • why you're facing eviction or homelessness

  • the size, type and location of housing you need

  • housing needs related to a disability or medical condition

  • support needs, for example, around domestic abuse or mental health

The assessment should happen soon after you make a homeless application but council homeless teams are often very busy. Chase things up if you're getting close to the end date on your notice and you've not had an assessment yet.

Your personal housing plan

The aim of a personal housing plan is to make sure you have somewhere suitable to live for at least the next 6 months.

It sets out the steps that you and the council must take to try and either:

  • stay in your home

  • find somewhere else to live

The quality of help provided under a personal housing plan can vary quite a lot.

You're likely to get more help if you have a priority need but everyone is entitled to some help with their situation.

How long the council should help for

The council should usually help you for as long as you're threatened with homelessness and for a further 8 weeks if you become homeless.

If you're still homeless after 8 weeks the council decides if you qualify for longer term housing.

The council might stop helping if you refuse an offer of a suitable home.

Last updated: 24 February 2022

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