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 don't 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 don't 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
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.
Some homeless assessments are being done over the phone or online during the pandemic. You may have to attend an interview at the council offices.
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: 22 November 2021