Business | Community & living | Your Council | Environment | Housing | Jobs | Leisure & culture | Planning

What happens if I am at risk of becoming homeless?

As soon as you are worried about the risk of losing your home, contact us to arrange an appointment to discuss what you can do and what we can do to help prevent that from happening. The sooner you speak to us, the more chance there is that we can help to prevent you from losing your home.

We can

  • negotiate with friends and family on your behalf to enable you to stay where you are for longer while we help you to find something more suitable
  • provide debt counselling services with independent financial advisors
  • negotiate with your landlord if you have arrears
  • see whether you are eligible for the mortgage rescue scheme
  • help you to find a rented property in the private sector, in some cases we can help with a deposit
  • help you to apply for social housing
  • help single people to access hostel accommodation
  • provide practical help and support if you need to leave home because of violence or abuse.

Here is some advice that we hope you find useful.

Financial difficulties – rent or mortgage arrears

You must speak to your landlord or mortgage lender as soon as you can, to discuss making an arrangement for paying the money that is owed. If you are unsure about contacting your landlord or mortgage company, don't put it off, come and ask us to help you.

You should also check whether you are entitled to housing benefits or Local Housing Allowance to help towards the cost of your home. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau will also be able to give you advice about benefits and may also be able to help you make an agreement with your Landlord.

As soon as you have problems with your mortgage, come and talk to us. We can you access to money management, advise you of your legal rights and your best course of action. Find out more ;about how to avoid repossession, and the Government's Mortgage Rescue Scheme.

You can find more advice about how to avoid repossession in the leaflet Are you worried about your mortgage? produced by the National Homelessness Advice Service.

Relationship breakdown

Many people become homeless when a relationship breaks down. Your occupation rights can vary depending on your circumstances, but the following issues are amongst the most important to consider.

  1. If you are married to your partner, then you will normally have rights to the matrimonial home even if your name is not on the mortgage or tenancy agreement.
  2. If you have children you may be able to try and keep the property you currently live in by obtaining an Occupation Order. You must be able to support you and your household within the property, including being able to fund the mortgage or rent plus priority bills (fuel, water). A solicitor will be able to advise you on Occupation Orders.
  3. If your name is on the tenancy or mortgage, you will have rights of occupation and a solicitor or the housing department, will be able to advise you.

If your partner has been violent towards you, you could inform the police or support services for victims of abuse, for example Next Step, 01283 224024

If you aren’t sure what to do, come and talk to us, don’t suffer in silence

Your tenancy is coming to an end

If your landlord wants you to leave the property a valid ‘notice’ must be served, ending the tenancy in the correct legal form. If you are a private tenant with a short hold tenancy, generally the landlord cannot ask you to leave at the end of the tenancy term, without having given you two months' notice. If your landlord does not follow the correct procedures for ending the tenancy they are committing an offence under protection from eviction legislation. Check with Citizens Advice Bureau or the Housing Department regarding your rights.

When to leave

Do not leave your home until you are absolutely must.

If you are about to lose your home it is very important that you stay there for as long as you are entitled to. You should not give up any tenancy, or access to your home, without first discussing it with us, as this may affect your housing options later.

In many cases you do not have to leave your home until you receive a court order telling you to leave on a given you a date.

Keep us informed

We ;aim to help you avoid losing your home, but unless we are aware of changes it is difficult for us to do this.

Further advice

If your homelessness cannot be prevented we will book an appointment with the Homelessness Officer, who will discuss your current situation, legal obligations and your rights giving you relevant advice and assistance.

During this interview, we may complete a homeless declaration and photocopy all relevant documents.

Contact details

Housing Options Team
South Derbyshire District Council
Civic Offices
Civic Way
Swadlincote, Derbyshire
DE11 0AH

Tel: 01283 595778
Online: contact form
email: housing@south-derbys.gov.uk

page ref: LGSL 166