Threatened with homelessness

Find out if your housing situation means you are legally 'threatened with homelessness' and what help you can get from the council.

How the council must help

You can ask for council help if you're facing homelessness.

You're legally threatened with homelessness if you're likely to become homeless within the next 8 weeks. This includes when your landlord gives you a valid section 21 notice.

If the council decide you're threatened with homelessness they must usually:

If you don't meet immigration and residence conditions, the council only has to give general advice and information.

If the council decide you're not threatened with homelessness, they should give you a letter with reasons. You can ask for a review within 21 days if you think the decision is wrong.

Private tenants facing eviction

Your landlord starts the eviction process by giving you notice.

After a section 21 notice

You're threatened with homelessness if your landlord gives you a valid section 21 notice that ends within 8 weeks.

When the notice period ends, the council decides if you're still threatened with homelessness or if you're now legally homeless.

After a section 8 notice

You can ask the council for help if you receive a section 8 notice. Your landlord needs to prove a legal reason for eviction in court, for example, rent arrears. 

The council might not treat you as threatened with homelessness unless the court makes a possession order.

If you are a lodger 

You're threatened with homelessness if your contract ends within 8 weeks and your landlord wants you to leave. 

Your landlord must give you notice to leave if you have a rolling contract (one with no fixed end date).

Council and housing association tenants facing eviction

Your landlord starts the eviction process by giving you notice. The notice you get depends on the type of tenancy you have. 

Secure tenants and assured tenants 

You can ask the council for help if you receive a notice. You should also get independent advice, especially if the council is your landlord.   

Your landlord needs to prove a legal reason for eviction in court, for example, rent arrears or antisocial behaviour. In some cases, the court can stop or delay an eviction.

The council might not treat you as threatened with homelessness unless the court makes a possession order.

Introductory council tenants

The council can take steps to end your tenancy by giving you a section 128 notice.

Get independent advice if you receive this notice because you can ask the council to review their decision to evict you. 

The council might not treat you as threatened with homelessness until there is a date for a court hearing or the court makes a possession order. 

Housing association starter tenants

Your landlord can take steps to end your tenancy by giving you a section 21 notice. 

You're threatened with homelessness if your notice ends in the next 8 weeks. 

Asked to leave by family or friends

You're threatened with homelessness if you're asked to leave within the next 8 weeks. The council may contact your family or friends to see if you can stay.

You're legally homeless if you stay for short periods with different friends or family because you have nowhere to live (sometimes called sofa-surfing).

At risk of violence or abuse

The council should treat you as legally homeless rather than threatened with homelessness if you're experiencing or threatened with:

  • domestic abuse by a partner, former partner or family member
  • violence in your home from someone unrelated to you

It can help to provide police or medical reports if you have them. The council shouldn't turn you away if you don't.

Rent or mortgage arrears

You may be threatened with homelessness if you have rent or mortgage arrears and are likely to become homeless in the next 8 weeks.

The council might decide you're not threatened with homelessness if:

  • you can come to a repayment arrangement with your landlord or lender
  • the court can stop or delay an eviction 

If you can't afford basics like food or heating once you've paid your rent or mortgage, you could already be legally homeless.

Overcrowded or poor housing conditions

You can ask for council help if your home is severely overcrowded or there's a significant risk to your health because of poor conditions.

Useful evidence of poor housing could include:

The council may decide you're threatened with homelessness rather than homeless if conditions in your home can be improved.


Last updated - 02 May 2018

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