Evicted from a private property

Most people have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. If you are unsure what type of tenancy you have, there is a tool on the Shelter website which is very useful to help you find out.

Help available from us

We provide specialist advice on the rights and responsibilities of private tenants, landlords and agents. We aim to prevent homelessness and investigate allegations of harassment and illegal evictions within the borough’s private rented sector.

We can advise and assist tenants at risk of losing their homes or tenants worried about their current housing situation. Some of the areas we can offer support with include:

  • checking if your tenancy deposit is protected
  • explaining the terms of your tenancy agreement
  • disrepair and safety standards
  • harassment from your landlord or agent
  • threat of eviction
  • retaliatory evictions
  • rent arrears.

We always recommend that you come to see us as soon as you believe there is a risk of homelessness as this gives us more time to resolve your housing problem.

What to do in advance of meeting a Housing Advisor

You should try to speak to your landlord or agent to see whether the problem can be sorted out. We would advise that you then write or email them to identify what the problem is and to suggest how you can resolve it. You can do this in the following scenarios.

  • If the landlord has advised he wants to increase the rent and you are worried you cannot afford it.
  • If there are issues with a rent shortfall because your circumstances have changed or you have had your benefits reduced.
  • If there are rent arrears.
  • If the landlord is unhappy with an aspect of your behaviour as a tenant.

You should send the letter or email regardless of the landlord or agent’s response as even if they have said no they may change their mind once they have had a chance to see the letter and can see you are really committed to sorting things out.

Remember, don’t leave it. Follow up the letter with a phone call or email within a week of sending it asking them for a response. If the landlord or agent has responded write down what their response was and whether they want to discuss a possible solution. Keep copies of any email or letter they have sent to you in response as we will want to see them.

What to bring when meeting us

When you come to the meeting with us you will need to bring the following documents:

  • tenancy agreement
  • anything else you were given when you signed the tenancy such as the Energy Performance Certificate and the Gas Safety Certificate
  • Section 21 notice
  • if you paid a deposit, we want to see the paperwork that the landlord should have given you about where they have protected the deposit, know as prescribed information.
  • emails or letters you have received from the landlord or agent and any copies of letters or emails you have sent to the landlord or agent
  • before you come to see us try to write down the dates and details of any contact between you and the landlord or agent.

At the meeting we have a duty to assess the circumstances of your homelessness, identify your housing and support needs and work with you to prevent your homelessness or support you to find somewhere to live.

We will provide you with a Personal Housing Plan which will explain where we can assist and what you can do to help yourself. This might include actions such as attending appointments with Job Centre Plus or making contact with other letting agents.

We will work with you and your landlord to resolve the issues with the intention of keeping you in the property. In some circumstances, we can access the Homelessness Prevention Fund if a small financial payment can resolve the situation. We have a lot of experience in negotiating with landlords so it’s important that you come to us as soon as you know there is a problem.

If the issue cannot be resolved

For us to be legally obliged to provide you with accommodation, we need to be satisfied that you are eligible, homeless, in priority need and that you have not made yourself intentionally homeless.

Given the small number of council and housing association homes available, if you have to leave your tenancy you will almost certainly have to consider renting from a landlord in the private rented sector. We will work with you to identify which areas are affordable for you and the likelihood of securing accommodation.

We are able to provide assistance through our Let’s Rent Schemes for you to secure alternative accommodation in the private rented sector. If you really want social housing, we can work with you to explore different parts of the country where this may still be available.