This is worrying times for Landlords and tenants. Due to government measures at the moment there is a 3 month break on evictions and Landlords are being asked to be more understanding with tenants and make agreements.
What does the rent break mean?
The rent break does not mean you will not have to pay the rent back. If you cannot pay your rent, there could be a 3 month break, however this will need to be paid back. You will also need to prove that your income has been affected by Coronavirus.
What should I do if I am worried about my rent?
The first step is to discuss with your Landlord and see if an agreement can be reached. This could be a reduced rent for a few months whilst you get back on your feet, or they could allow you a rent break on the condition you were to pay it back.
What should I do if my Landlord has told me to leave?
The government have stated that no evictions are to take place. Discuss this with your Landlord and explain the current situation. If you need support with this, contact our housing team who can help or contact your local council who can explain the situation.
Can my Landlord be carrying out viewings whilst I’m in it?
Government guidance is clear that people should not be entering into properties. Therefore no new tenants should be viewing properties. As well as this, where possible people should not be moving unless it is a desperate situation i.e. where they are living is not liveable.
Are repairs still going ahead?
Only urgent repairs are going ahead, each Housing Association and management company will have their own process and timeline for this. If you have suspected corona symptoms you need to let the repair company know in advance and they are unlikely to attend if that is the case. Workmen should be wearing protective equipment and if you are concerned that they are not, you can refuse to allow them access. Similarly, if you have a vulnerable person in your household you can discuss with the managing agent on whether the repair is necessary.
CORONA VIRUS : CONTACT INFORMATION FOR HOMELESSNESS
Council staff ahve confirmed that they will continue to help people who are at risk of homelessness, as the law requires. (Direct to our existing web pages as to what that means?)
However, in the interests of customer and staff safety, the service will now be by telephone.
People who already have a homelessness application should e-mail or call their case officer on their normal number, for queries about their application.
There are also two generic numbers if case officers are already dealing with a call. These are 020 8825 8881 and 020 8825 8888
They ask that you please contact us for urgent matters only, at this busy time.
If you are in temporary accommodation provided by the Council and there is a problem, use the usual contact number 020 8825 8866. This includes queries about Council hostels.
If you have a query about your Housing Register application, use 020 8825 7274 (there will be further updates about social housing lettings, as the situation develops)
If you are at threatened with homelessness but do not have an existing homelessness application, you need to use a new number 020 8825 6444. This phone line will take you through to a team of officers. If the line is busy, it means all five officers are dealing with a customer, so you will need to call again. Being threatened with homelessness means that you are going to lose your home within the next 8 weeks.
What is the local housing allowance / the bedroom tax?
If you are in private rented accommodation, the maximum amount of Housing Benefit you can be paid depends on the number of bedrooms you need and the area where you are renting. You can find the local housing allowance for your area by putting the postcode in here, and you can work out the number of bedrooms you are entitled to here.
If you are only allowed one bedroom, then you will receive the lower shared accommodation rate if you are living in shared accommodation (which means not having exclusive use of at least two rooms), or if you are single and under 35.
Note that you will never receive more Housing Benefit than the amount of rent you owe, and the amount will then be reduced if you have more income or savings than are permitted.
The local housing allowance does not apply to Council and Housing Association properties. Instead, the “removal of the spare room subsidy” or bedroom tax is applied. This means that, if your property has more bedrooms than you are entitled to, your Housing Benefit will be reduced:
by 14%, if you have one extra bedroom, or
by 25% if you have two or more extra bedrooms.
This does not apply to people of pension age, and there are a number of ways the bedroom allowance can be increased (such as for a disabled child or carer who needs an additional room). If you think that your bedroom entitlement has been incorrectly calculated, please call us for advice.
What is the benefit cap?
The benefit cap is a limit imposed on the total weekly benefit a family can receive. This includes Universal Credit and the benefits it is replacing (see above), as well as Child Benefit. It does not include PIPs, DLA, Attendance Allowance, Carer’s Allowance and a few others (see the full list).
For people living in Greater London (including Ealing Borough), the cap is £442.31 £23,000 pa) for couples and single parents, and £296.35 for single people with no children. It is lower in the rest of the country.
The benefit cap does not apply if you or your partner:
are not getting Housing Benefit or Universal Credit,
are working enough to be entitled to Working Tax Credit (or the Universal Credit equivalent),
are in a nine-month “grace period” after finishing at least a year of work,
are receiving ESA with the support component (or the Universal Credit equivalent),
are receiving PIPs, DLA, Attendance Allowance or Carer’s Allowance,
The amount you are paid for various benefits depends on the number of children you have. However, under new rules Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit and Universal Credit will only be assessed for the first two children. Third (or further) children born on or after 6 April 2017 are not be taken into account, unless they fall into a limited exception (including multiple births or conception by rape).
Ongoing claims, or claims involving children born before that date, should not be affected. However when making a new claim for Housing Benefit, you will need to show that you are receiving a Child Tax Credit award covering any additional children.
I am having difficulty with my housing costs. What help is available?
If you are renting, you may be entitled to Housing Benefit, which is administered by the Council. If you claim means-tested JSA, means-tested ESA or Income Support, Housing Benefit can be added onto it (“passported”) automatically, without needing to go through a separate application process. If you meet certain conditions, you may be directed to apply for Universal Credit (see below) instead of Housing Benefit (as well as the passporting benefits listed above).
If you own your home and you receive means-tested JSA, means-tested ESA, Income Support or Pension Credit, you may be entitled to help with mortgage payments as part of the payment.
In any case, you may be entitled to Council Tax Support, which is also administered by the Council.
It may be that you find that you need temporary extra help with housing costs. If this is the case, and you receive Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support, then it is possible to apply for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) or Discretionary Council Tax Discounts (DCTD). These are extra payments that can be made by Council, and because they are discretionary, there is usually no right to appeal a refusal.
My home is in disrepair but and afraid to report it in case I am evicted
Tenants are often afraid to report disrepair for fear that landlords will service notice and evict them asap when their tenancy ends. The Retaliatory Eviction and the Deregulation Act 2015 came into affect.
Assured tenants enjoy the protection from eviction – ie a landlord must go through the correct procedure: They must have grounds for possession for wanting possession , for which they give notice , get a court order and then instruct a bailiff to enforce a warrant. to physically evict a tenant : otherwise they could be committing a criminal offence.
However as most tenancies are assured short hold fixed tenancies , a ground for possession can be that the tenancy’s fixed period has expired. In such cases landlord’s can apply for accelerated possession proceedings.
If you have an outstanding repair ( must not be minor) the new legalislation can offer protection from eviction for up to 6 months
1. If you have made a disrepair compliant the landlord (ideally in writing)
2. landlords must respond with action to be taken within 14 days otherwise
3. tenants can ask the local authority to verify the need for a repair and serve a notice which will prevent landlords being able o evict the tenant for 6 months
Women and Girls Network’s Ascent Advice Service provides free and confidential information, advice and support to women and girls affected by domestic and/or sexual violence and abuse. The Advice team will provide you with immediate information about your options and about staying safe.
Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm and
Late evening Wednesday 6- 8pm
If you are in arrears with your rent, you should first try talking to your landlord about the arrears and see if you can come to an agreement about repayment.
If the situation is caused by a delay to your housing benefit, you should write to your local Housing Benefit Office and request a payment within 14 days. If your Housing Benefit Office cannot process your claim quickly, you should ask for an interim payment. You should try and give the Benefit Office any information it requests.
If your rent arrears are caused by a difference between your housing benefit and the amount of rent you have to pay, you should apply to your Housing Benefit Office for a discretionary hardship payment. If your council rejects your claim or you disagree about the amount, you should write to the Housing Benefit Office within one month of the date of receiving your decision letter. Your claim will then be reconsidered.
Losing your tenancy
The normal way for a landlord to end an assured tenancy is to send you a document called a ‘Section 8 Notice’.
However, if you are in rent arrears and:
you live in an Assured Tenancy;
your tenancy is still in the fixed term; and
your tenancy agreement doesn’t contain a clause to the contrary
then your landlord cannot end your tenancy even if they send you a Section 8 notice.
If you are in rent arrears and you live in a secure tenancy your landlord must send you a Section 83 notice warning you of their intention to end your tenancy.
I’m being evicted because of my rent arrears. What can I do?
If you are getting behind with your rent, it’s important to act quickly to avoid the risk of being evicted. However, you cannot be evicted from your home until:
your landlord has obtained a court order to repossess the property; and
the court has issued a court bailiff with a warrant to evict you.
Your first step should be to check your rent book, payment statement and receipts to make sure that your landlord is asking for the correct amount in arrears. You should then discuss the rent arrears with your landlord, and try to come to an agreement about repayment with them. If you cannot pay the full amount you should try to pay some of the rent arrears back regularly. If you get housing benefit, the rent arrears may have arisen through a delay in the processing of payments.
If the arrears are due to recent welfare reforms ie the benefit cap or bedroom tax or another issue you may be able to claim Discretionary housing payments. DHPs are not payments of housing benefit. They are separate payments made at the council’s discretion in cases where it considers that extra help with housing costs is needed.
To improve your chances you should explain your position. You are most likely to get help if you are taking steps to improve your circumstances. IE for benefit caps you could show that you are looking for work. In the case of the bedroom tax you may be trying to tackle the problem by looking for a move or take on a lodger. You should check any correspondence from your local council carefully, and speak to their Benefits Department to check your entitlement to housing benefit. If you are still unable to pay your rent arrears and think you will be evicted, you have the right to make a homeless application to your local council.
I’m being evicted because of mortgage arrears. What can I do?
If you are having trouble paying your mortgage, it’s important to act quickly to avoid the risk of your home being repossessed.
However, your home cannot be repossessed until:
your mortgage lender has obtained a Court Order to repossess the property; and
the Court has issued a Court Bailiff with a warrant to evict you.
Your first step should be to discuss the mortgage arrears with your bank, building society or other lender. Most lenders will be very happy to discuss any arrears with you, so that they can try to resolve the problem quickly. You should look at your income and your outgoings, and try to come to an agreement with your lender on the arrears. It may be possible for you to agree more realistic payments on your mortgage, to avoid losing your home.
I am homeless. What can I do?
If you have nowhere to live, then you are homeless and you have the legal right to seek help from your local council. They must look into your claim of homelessness and provide help if they think you are eligible.
As soon as you think you may become homeless, you should contact your local council immediately. You will need to fill in a homelessness application form, and may be interviewed at the council’s offices. It is important to tell the council the truth in your application otherwise you may be committing a criminal offence. At this point you may also apply to join the council’s waiting list for housing.
If you are homeless and in ‘priority need’, the council should try and provide you with emergency accommodation until they have made a decision on your homelessness application. You are considered to be in ‘priority need’ if:
you are pregnant;
you have children;
you are elderly; or
you are otherwise vulnerable.
The council should investigate why you became homeless. They may do this straight away, or ask you to return to their office at a later date. The council normally has 33 working days to make a decision.
The council must tell you their decision in writing. If you think that the council have got it wrong you have the right to ask for this decision to be reviewed. Even if the council decides you are not eligible for assistance, they have a legal duty to give you advice to try to help you to resolve your homelessness.
My landlord won’t return my damage deposit. What are my rights?
Your landlord should return your damage deposit if they have checked your property and agreed that no damage had been caused.
Your landlord must put your deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) if you rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007.
You landlord must let you know the schemed the deposit is registered with. Gov.uk is great site which highlights step by step how the scheme works and how to complain if the landlord fails to return the deposit promptly and in full.
If your landlord claims that you are responsible for damage, you should make sure that they prepared an initial inventory. It i also a good idea to , before you leave , take photos of the flat to help show the state you left the property in.
If your landlord decides that there is some slight wear and tear, you should argue that your landlord should expect a reasonable level of wear and tear (unless the tenancy agreement states that any wear and tear could endanger the return of your deposit).
If your landlord continues to keep your deposit, you should write to them asking for the return of your deposit within 14 days. You should also say that if your landlord does not return your deposit, you will recover it in the Small Claims Court. You either sue money claims on line or use the guidance at gov.uk
If you don’t agree with the landlord’s description of the condition of your property, you should look over your tenancy agreement and check that:
there is a clause that allows your landlord to keep your damage deposit; and
the items that your landlord is keeping the deposit for are specifically mentioned.
Unless the agreement includes one or other of these your landlord does not have the right to keep your deposit. However, you must not withhold a month’s rent in place of the damage deposit – this would be illegal. You should seek legal advice if you are planning to do this.
My house is part of a Council Stock Transfer. How does this affect me?
A ‘council stock transfer’ means that you change from being a secure tenant of the council to an assured tenant of a registered social landlord. Before a transfer can take place your new landlord must agree to offer a new assured tenancy agreement.
Your new tenancy agreement specifies your rights and sets out details of the rent and any other charges, how often they will increase, and how much notice you must get of any change. It should make clear the obligations of the landlord and explain your obligations on the use of the property and its state of decoration and repair.
If you have the ‘Right to Buy’ with the council you will still have the right to buy your home after the transfer. This is called ‘Preserved Right to Buy’. Even if you do not have the ‘Preserved Right to Buy’, you may be eligible for the ‘Right to Acquire’. The ‘Right to Acquire’ gives registered social landlords’ tenants a statutory right to purchase their home with the benefit of a discount, generally between £9,000 and £16,000, depending on the local authority area.
The scheme applies to properties transferred from local authorities to registered social landlords after 1 April 1997, with certain exceptions such as homes in small rural settlements. You must have spent at least two years as a public sector tenant to qualify for the scheme.
Community Legal Advice (CLA) is a free and confidential advice service in England and Wales paid for by legal aid.
If you are living on a low income or benefits, you may be eligible for free specialist advice from legal advisers on issues including: benefits and tax credits; debt, education; housing; employment; and family problems.
The advice is independent and confidential. Community Legal Advice will ask you questions about your problem and find out what help you need. You will be asked a number of questions about your finances to see if you are eligible for legal aid.
Community Legal Advice has a free translation service available in 170 languages.
Get free and confidential legal advice in England and Wales if you’re eligible for legal aid.
Civil Legal Advice (CLA) Online enquiry form
Telephone: 0345 345 4 345
Minicom: 0845 609 6677
Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm
Saturday, 9am to 12:30pm
Consumer Focus provides information for consumers relating to core areas of work. They use their detailed knowledge of how markets work to help other organisations give accurate advice to consumers at the local level.
The Benefit Enquiry Line provides advice and information for disabled people and carers on the range of benefits available. The person taking your call will not have your personal papers but will be able to give you general advice. Please visit the Directgov page detailed below to learn about these benefits first.
Disability Living Allowance/Attendance Allowance Claim Line
For advice and information on Attendance Allowance which is paid at two rates depending on how your disability affects you. The claim pack gives some examples of different levels of care needs. You can claim Attendance Allowance online.
Find out more about how you can receive a Pension Credit estimate, and how to apply. Pension Credit is an income related benefit for pensioners living in Great Britain. It is made up of two different parts, Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has an A – Z of benefits and entitlements that provides details on most benefits. The site is updated regularly and also covers benefits that are administered by local authorities (e.g. your local Council, for example – Housing Benefit).
Get an estimate of what benefits (e.g. Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance) and tax credits you could get, and find out about claiming specific benefits. You can also find out how your benefits would be affected by a change in circumstances (e.g. if you find work).
Shelter provides a free, national telephone advice line staffed by trained housing advisers. We have helped thousands of people, from finding them a place to sleep to suggesting how to handle mortgage arrears. Very good and detailed services run by experts in the field and with links to local advice services in your area.
Open Monday to Friday 8:00am to 8:00pm Saturday to Sunday 8:00am to 5:00pm
Here you can find a useful A-Z on asylum and immigration issues. You will also find information on the Government’s National Asylum Support Service (NASS) that provides accommodation and subsistence for asylum seekers who are deemed to be destitute.
We are one of the country’s leading bankruptcy defence lawyers with a heavy emphasis on litigation. We are a niche practice which specialises in the more complex of cases involving substantial sums. Many of our cases involve saving people’s homes. We also undertake a large amount of claims against solicitors for negligence and have a fraud department that deals with assisting those who have been a victim of fraud in bringing an action, in addition to helping those who are defending fraud claims.
Open Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:30pm
Telephone Advice: Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:30pm
UACS offers a drop-in service and lunch club for all people with Afro – Caribbean cuisine at its Hanbury Road site and runs a social club in the evening from 6.00pm to 9.00pm. UACS also runs a hostel at its Southall address in conjunction with Central and Cecil Housing Association for 18 to 25 year old African/Carribean men and women.
Tallo Information Centre is a ‘One Stop Shop’ community advice centre on South Acton Estate. It gives advice and information to refugees and asylum seekers in West London although anyone is welcome to use the service.
Open Monday to Friday 10:00am to 5:00pm
Telephone Advice: Wednesday and Thursday 10:00am to 5:00pm
Our advice and casework services focus on welfare benefits but also include other areas of help including Locata bidding. We also host weekly housing benefit surgeries by Ealing Council (Appointment only), monthly DWP appointment only surgery and immigration and nationality advice (LAWTA Immigration Law Service). The Centre also organises a range of health, social and welfare activities particularly aimed at combating social exclusion and isolation amongst older people, people with disabilities, women, the unemployed or people on low incomes. We also host accredited training courses in ESOL and UK On-line IT courses.
Open Monday to Friday 9:00am to 4:30pm
Telephone Advice: Monday to Friday 9:00am to 4:30pm
The advice team offers students and those interested in studying with UWL a free and confidential advice service on practical issues such as ‘Financing your studies’, ‘Funding sources’, ‘International student issues’, ‘State benefits’ and ‘Housing’. The advisors offer relevant and accurate advice and information designed to empower clients, enabling them to make informed choices about the issues they have presented. In agreement with the client, the advice staff may negotiate and advocate on the client’s behalf where appropriate.The advice team are authorised to give immigration advice under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
Open Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm
Telephone Advice: Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm
St Mungo’s Ealing Street Outreach Team help to move rough sleepers off of the street by providing support and advice on a range of services including healthcare, drug and alcohol treatment, reconnection, community support and housing. Our team comes out to meet with rough sleepers on early morning or late night shifts and go on to work with them and partner agencies to help people away from the streets and destitution.
Open Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm
Telephone Advice: Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm
Wednesdays 12 to 2pm at Emmaus House Day Centre, 1 Berrymead Gardens, Acton W3 8AA
Thursdays 2pm to 4pm (2nd and 4th of the month) at Ealing DAIS, 3-4 Featherstone Terrace, Southall UB2 5AL
Fridays 1:30pm to 3pm at The Crypt at St John’s Church, Mattock Lane, West Ealing W13 9LA
Southall Black Sisters provides information, advice, advocacy, practical help, counselling and support to women and children experiencing domestic and other forms of gender-related violence. We encourage women to empower themselves and to lead independent lives by providing support groups and therapeutic, educational and social activities which enable them to make new friends, build self-esteem and confidence, learn life skills and overcome trauma arising from their experience. Our holistic service aims to help women and children escape violence and abuse (including forced marriage and honour crimes) and deal with a range of interrelated problems.
Open Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm
Telephone Advice: Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm
We provide basic advice, information and general help and empower disadvantaged refugees families and their children with free study and support sessions at flexible times. Learning sessions for families, IT, ESOL and free weekend study support for children.
Open Monday to Friday 10:00am to 4:00pm
Appointments: Monday to Thursday 11:00am to 4:00pm
IAPT – Psychological Therapies Brent Mind, in partnership with Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, has developed an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Service. It is available to people in Brent experiencing common mental health difficulties. Horizon Day Services Mentoring, drop in, mutual support group and community based mental health promotion and awareness raising activities using a recovery based approach.
Mind Map Young People’s peer education project raising awareness and understanding of mental health issues and wellbeing.
Our strategy is to combat self-stigma.
Resettlement Housing services that is focused on client centred wellness and recovery orientated support and life skills development to enable people to move on to general needs housing. Provision of housing related support for mental health services users for a two year maximum period for each service user.
Mental Health Brokerage Service
A personalised brokerage service to drive forward recovery and self management by providing frameworks for making informed choices and enabling more involvement in promoting a mainstream approach to well being.
Housing for women aims to be an independent, effective and dynamic housing association. Aiming to ensure that women are recognised as a group with specific housing needs and provides good quality homes and services in which women can achieve their chosen quality of life. We offer free confidential one-to-one and professional support, advice, information, representation and accompaniment to appointments regarding issues related to domestic violence such as welfare rights, benefits, housing and legal options.
Open Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm
Telephone Advice: Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm
Our services are free, confidential, independent and impartial. However, for Ealing residents they are for clients with debt problems only. Our Capitalise money advice service is available to all new debt clients (provided our allocation has not been exceeded). We also provide money management (financial capability) training sessions and these can be available to groups in Ealing on request (email to Sue Carr at firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Open Tuesday and Thursday 9:00am to 11:30am and 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Telephone Advice: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9:30am to 11:30am and 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Drop in: Tuesday and Thursday 9:00am to 11:30am and 1:30pm to 3:00pm
We are a registered charity and provide free, confidential and impartial services to all Iraqi and Arab communities in London. We aim to promote the well-being of the Iraqi community, encourage mutual understanding and work to bridge the gap between British and Iraqi cultures and to ease the integration process. We offer advice, guidance and advocacy on the following issues: Immigration (Asylum and Nationality), Welfare Benefits, Housing, Health, Young Refugees and Asylum Seekers. 2 Elderly Day Centres, ‘Al-Muntada’ Newspaper, Social and Cultural Activities.
Open Monday to Friday 10:00am to 5:30pm
Telephone Advice: Monday to Friday 10:00am to 5:30pm
Appointments: Monday to Friday 10:00am to 5:30pm
Drop in: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10:00am to 5:30pm
We provide specialist legal advice to disabled people, their families and carers in Community Care, disability Welfare Benefits and the Disability Discrimination Act as it applies to Goods and Service Providers, further and higher Education and the Equality Duty. Enquirers contact our triage team and where appropriate will be booked an appointment to speak with a lawyer. We can provide casework and representation under legal aid. We also offer training in the areas of law in which we have expertise and are interested in collaborating with other organisations.
Open Monday to Friday 10:00am to 5:00pm
Telephone Advice: Monday to Friday 10:00am to 5:00pm
Contact A Family Ealing and Southall will support parents who have children with any disability or special need living in the London Borough of Ealing. We can offer advice, information and support with disability benefits, care issues, rare disorders, health, education and housing. We also have an accessible information library for parents.
Open Monday to Friday 9:00am to 3:00pm
Telephone Advice: Monday to Friday 9:00am to 3:00pm
The Centre for Armenian Information and Advice seeks to enhance the quality of life of disadvantaged members of the Armenian community in London, specifically those in poverty and isolation. The Centre supports their diverse needs through the provision of welfare, educational and cultural services at a welcoming Centre for all Armenians.
Open Monday to Friday 9:00am to 4:00pm
Telephone Advice: Monday to Friday 9:00am to 4:00pm
Provision of advice and information to the general public.
Open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 9:30am to 4:00pm
Tueday 1 pm – 5pm plus late opening for workers 5pm – 7pm
Due to very high demand, we are currently running a first-come, first-served ticket system. There is usually a long queue and they do not always see everybody.
Telephone Advice: Monday to Friday 10 to 4pm
12 Children’s Centres if you have children under 5 years old or you are pregnant. You can phone the children’s centre for an appointment; you don’t need to come for an assessment first.
Our Information & Advice service deals with more than 10,000 enquiries annually. We offer free, independent and confidential advice about issues affecting older people and their carers in the Borough of Ealing.
Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9:30am to 4:00pm
Telephone Advice: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9:30am to 4:00pm
Appointments: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9:30am to 4:00pm
Drop in: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9:30am to 4:00pm
The site provides easy to understand general information on all areas of law including welfare benefits. It has handy tips on how to deal with situations and very useful standards letter and documents you can download.
I am having serious problems with my landlord. What can I do?
If you think your landlord is acting unfairly, or you feel you are being harassed or illegally evicted, you should seek legal advice. Harassment and illegal eviction are serious offences but the law relating to this is complex and you should seek legal advice
What is sheltered housing?
Sheltered housing schemes enable people to live independently but with the added security of having an alarm system and warden. Sheltered housing can be bought or rented. Further information can be obtained from the Local Authority or Age Concern(www.ageconcern.org.uk).
What is a Disabled Facilities Grant?
This is a mandatory entitlement to provide funds for adaptations to enable people with disabilities to live independently in their own homes, regardless of tenure. It is administered by the Local Authority and there will be an assessment of both the need for the adaptation and your income. www.adkc.org.uk can advise.
When do I need planning permission?
Planning permission is always needed for:
Building works (build, demolish, extend)
Changing the use of the land
Always check with the Local Authority before starting any works as failure to get the required permission will prove expensive.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a form of negotiation, used in neighbour disputes amongst others, with an independent trained mediator. It is best to try to avoid neighbour disputes by:-
Behaving reasonably (eg don’t be an anti-social neighbour)
Trying to discuss any dispute with your neighbourhood to see if it can be resolved amicably
Contact the Local Authority for details of mediation schemes in the area
Does it matter what my tenancy agreement says about repairs?
This depends on what is included in the agreement. Your landlord can not get out of their legal responsibilities no matter what is written in the agreement. You can get advice on the agreement from a housing adviser.
I rent privately. What repairs should my landlord do?
Landlords are responsible for:
Structure and exterior of the building
Sinks, baths, toilets, pipes, drains
Gas appliances, flues, ventilation
I am moving into a new home. Can I get financial help to furnish it?
Check if you are eligible for payments from the Social Fund (www.dwp.org uk)
You can find details of furniture projects in your area by checking out Furniture Re-Use Network(www.frn.org.uk). There will be criteria that you will need to fit into and also a charge, but it is a cheaper option.
I have rent arrears and have received a notice to quit from my landlord. What do I do?
You are at risk of losing your home if you owe rent. Rent arrears must be treated as a top priority debt. You can check entitlement to housing benefit. Negotiate an affordable repayment plan with your landlord. Seek legal advice from a housing adviser. Do not ignore the problem because you could become homeless.
How can I get a hostel place?
There is usually more demand for a hostel place than space available. Some hostels only accept referrals made by statutory or voluntary organisations and some accept self-referrals. Get details of local hostels or shelters from the Local Authority, Shelter’s helpline 0808 800 4444 or www.homelessuk.org.uk