Homelessness guidance

What should I do if I am homeless

The first thing you should do is contact us.

You will be contacted by our triage team who will need to ask you a series of questions to understand your situation better. Please note that urgent homeless cases will be prioritised.

If you are homeless tonight, please contact us on 0300 1234 000 (option 3) and we will aim to make contact with you today. 

You will be required to provide documentation to allow us to establish what duty you may be owed.

If you are threatened with homelessness in the next 56 days, an appointment will be made with a Housing Solutions Officer to discuss your options and establish how we can assist, please use our online form to contact us.

It is important that you seek help at an early stage. 

How we can help

If you’re at risk of being homeless or are currently homeless we can:

  • Offer advice and assistance
  • Aim to prevent your homelessness
  • Provide advice on your legal rights

We will work with you to try and prevent your homelessness and achieve a resolution to resolve any housing issues you may have. A Housing Solutions Officer with work with you to create a personalised housing plan. 

The Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) came into force on Tuesday 3 April 2018. 

This law focuses on preventing people from becoming homeless and aims to reduce the need for people to go into emergency or temporary accommodation. It also aims to deliver better outcomes for single homeless people.

If we are unable to prevent you from becoming homeless

If we are unable to prevent you from becoming homeless the council may have a duty to provide you with temporary accommodation if:

  • You are a parent of dependent children
  • Currently pregnant
  • Vulnerable though age or ill health
  • Fleeing violence or Domestic Abuse
  • In and emergency such as fire or flood
  • A care leaver
  • In or have been in the armed forces
  • Serving or have served a custodial sentence

If you are homeless or about to lose your home, help is available. To find out more read our Housing and Homelessness Advice leaflet or contact us

If you are not already on the housing register, you may be asked to register on our Gateway to Homechoice system. This will mean you can be considered for social housing when homes become available.

You can find out more Gateway to Homechoice

Notice to leave a private tenancy

Your landlord must follow a legal process to bring your tenancy to an end. Most private tenants have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy which requires the landlord to issue either a Section 21 or a Section 8 notice.

Please contact the Housing Solutions team as soon as you have been served notice. 

Section 21 notices

This type of notice must give you at least 2 months notice but the landlord does not have to give a reason for asking you to leave. If your tenancy started after 1 October 2015 notice must be given using the Notice Seeking Possession.

Section 8 notices

You can be given a Section 8 notice at any time if any of the following apply:
•    You have rent arrears
•    You are involved in criminal or anti-social behaviour
•    You have broken a term of your tenancy agreement

The notice period can be as little as 14 days.

You can submit a defence form to the court if you have been served a Section 8 notice.

A landlord cannot force you to leave when the notice expires but must first gain a court order.

To find out if a notice you have been given is valid visit Shelter