Frequently asked questions on homelessness

My landlord says I have not paid my rent, but I receive housing benefit and the payments are late. Will I be evicted?

If you receive housing benefit and your landlord seeks a possession order because your rent payments are late, but the payments are due from the housing benefit department, it is probable that you will not be evicted. This is because your landlord must show not only that there are rent arrears, but also that it is reasonable to evict you.

If your rent will be paid eventually and it is only because the housing benefit payments are late, the court will usually take the view it is not reasonable to evict you.

What if I have been told that I am not entitled to homelessness assistance?

If the council comes to the decision that you are not entitled to homelessness assistance following completion of a homelessness application, you will be informed in writing. The letter must explain the reasons why the council has come to that decision. It must also inform you that if you want the council to review its decision, you have to ask it to do so within 21 days. If the reasons the council give you are wrong or unclear, get advice immediately.


I have received a notice from my landlord, what do I do?

If you have received notice from your landlord you should seek advice from your local authority or other homelessness organisations as soon as you can. In many instances you may not be required to move out straight away, however it is always best to seek advice once you have received a notice.


I have just received a possession order or warrant of execution against me from the county court, what do I do?

You need to deal with this immediately. If you do nothing and ignore these court letters your home will be taken back by the landlord very quickly through the court, using court bailiffs.


Can the council still house me if I’m not a priority?

Councils don't have a legal responsibility to provide accommodation for people who are not in priority need. The council only has a legal responsibility to give you advice and assistance where appropriate.


What can I do if I am not accepted as homeless or deemed to have caused my own homelessness (intentionally homeless decision)?  

An intentional decision can be appealed, you have 21 days to give your appeal in writing. If that is unsuccessful you may need to try contacting hostels in the area or try renting privately. If you need a deposit for a private rental and you are on income based Job Seekers Allowance or income support you can apply at the Job Centre Plus for a budgeting loan from the social fund. Most private landlords will require a deposit and rent in advance and references from your last landlord, a credit check and a work reference. If you are on benefit or very low income, you may need to check if the private landlord will accept being paid by Housing Benefit.

If you think the council's decision is wrong, get advice quickly. If you want the council to review its decision, you have to request a review within 21 days of receiving the decision letter.


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