Housing needs self help guide

The Housing Needs Team can offer advice and assistance on all housing related matters however there are certain actions that you can take which may help resolve your problem quickly and easily.

Contents

Subject Advice Link / Contacts

Homelessness

If you are homeless and have nowhere to sleep tonight, contact the Housing Needs Team who will be able to offer advice and assistance which may include providing emergency accommodation if you are pregnant, have dependent children or considered to be vulnerable. The team is available Monday – Friday from 9.00am – 5.00pm however an out of hours service is also provided for emergencies only outside these hours weekdays, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays.

If you are a single person or couple, you can also contact HOPE Community Services who provide hostel, move on and supported accommodation.

You may also be able to use their Day Centre during the day which is a safe, warm place where you can get food, wash your clothes and have a shower. HOPE can also advise on housing, benefits and other rights, signpost to key agencies and make referrals to the Food Bank.

Young people and homelessness

If you are under 18 years old and homeless, you may be entitled to accommodation from Nottinghamshire Social Care Department. They may also be able to provide financial assistance, help with training, education, and support for personal issues. You can contact either Social Care or the Council’s Housing Needs Team however you are advised to contact Social Care in the first instance. If necessary, you will be provided with emergency accommodation whilst your needs are assessed.

If you are under 25, you can also contact Centre Place who provide information, guidance, advice, support and counselling.

Bassetlaw District Council

House Needs Team
01909 533533
(during normal office hours / 01909 5344999 (out of normal office hours, weekends and bank holidays)

Email: housing.needs@bassetlaw.gov.uk

Housing Registration Team
01909 533533

 

Hope Services website

17 Queen Street, Worksop
01909 531294

Email: info@hopeservices.org.uk

 

Shelter Housing Advice 

0808 800 444 (non urgent)
0808 1644 660 (urgent)

Shelter housing website

 

Notts County Council Social Care

0300 500 8080 (during office hours)

0300 456 4546 (out of office hours duty team – emergencies only) 

Notts County Council social care website

Email: enquiries@nottscc.gov.uk

 

Centre Place

01909 479191

Abbey Street, Worksop

Centre Place website 

Finding Somewhere to Live

Council/Housing Association Accommodation (Social Housing)

Bassetlaw District Council own approximately 6,500 properties consisting of houses, flats, maisonettes and bungalows. The Council also allocate properties on behalf of Housing Associations in the area.

To apply for a Council or Housing Association property you can call into any of the Council’s offices, download a form from the website or request one be posted out to your home.

Applicants must meet certain criteria before being allowed to register onto the Waiting List and those having criminal convictions for serious offences or owing former tenant arrears are likely to have their housing applications suspended.

 

Private Rented Accommodation

Bassetlaw District Council operates a Bond Guarantee Scheme and those assessed to be statutorily homeless or threatened with homelessness by the Council will be eligible and shall automatically receive consideration if appropriate. 

Applicants accepted onto the Bond Guarantee Scheme will be assisted to identify suitable properties taking into account the needs of the household and affordability. If a property has been identified and approved by the Housing Needs Team, they will liaise directly with the Landlord and agree terms and conditions of the tenancy.

There are other ways you can find accommodation in the private rented sector such as looking in the local papers, using the internet to find Lettings Agents or asking friends and family. If you do find a property always inspect it thoroughly to ensure it is in a good state of repair, has no health and safety hazards, meets the needs of your family and the rent is affordable.

Before signing up for a tenancy, ensure your income is enough to allow you to have your own home and manage all the household expenses that come with this such as gas, Website: www.bassetlaw.gov.uk/Benefits 01909 533533 electricity, water rates, Council Tax, TV licence etc. Also check that you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to receive and how much local housing allowance you might get towards the rent.

Housing Registration Team 

01909 533533

 

Termination of Tenancy

If your Landlord wants to terminate your tenancy they must follow certain steps as you have legal rights to occupy the property. If you do not know what your rights are, seek advice immediately. This could prevent you from losing your home and becoming homeless.

 

Landlords must give notice if they want to terminate your tenancy

The first step your Landlord has to take is to give you the correct period of notice in writing (landlords are not required to give written notice however if you share accommodation with them or are living in their accommodation on a temporary basis as a lodger).

The form the notice takes and the length of the notice period the Landlord must give you will depend on the type of tenancy you have. 

 

Termination of tenancy at the end of a fixed term period

If you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and the initial fixed term has come to an end, or the tenancy has rolled on to be a period tenancy with no end date, your Landlord has to serve you with what is commonly known as a Section 21 Notice, this will give you either 2 months or 8 weeks’ notice to vacate the property. Notice can only be given by your Landlord using the required form 6A which must be correctly addressed to the tenant (s) of the property, dated, signed and have the correct expiry date on. If your notice does not have these details on, it may be invalid and will prevent or delay your Landlord from gaining possession of their property.

Your Landlord may also be prevented from gaining possession if they failed at the beginning of your tenancy to put your Bond in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme and provide you with a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate and Gas Certificate.

 

Termination of tenancy – breach of tenancy conditions

If your Landlord is seeking possession of your home as you have breached one or more of the terms of your tenancy eg you have failed to pay rent due, they must serve you with what is commonly known as a Section 8 notice. The amount of notice you are entitled to receive in this case can be much shorter as your Landlord only has to give between 2 weeks and 2 months notice, depending on which terms of the tenancy you’ve broken.

 

Court Action

After Notice has been served and the expiry date has passed, your Landlord has to apply to County Court for a Possession Order to get you to leave the property if you are still in occupation, they are not able to evict you without this. If your Landlord does commence legal proceedings, you will be notified of this by the Court and either invited to attend a hearing and/or submit a defence form. If you do not vacate the property and your Landlord is successful in obtaining a Possession Order, they can ask that the Court award any legal costs incurred against you.

 

Eviction Action

If your Landlord is successful in obtaining a Possession Order at County Court, you will be instructed to leave your home by a certain date. However if you remain at the property after the Order has expired, your Landlord will need to request an Eviction Warrant be served on you by a County Court Bailiff before you can be evicted from the property.

The Warrant will confirm the date and time of the eviction and you will be ordered to vacate the property on or before the date. Should you still be in residence at the time of the eviction, the Bailiffs will remove you from the property but they must not use violence or unreasonable force to do so. You will not be allowed to re-enter the property therefore it is in your interests to remove as many of your belongings as possible prior to the Bailiff’s arrival.

If your Landlord has to obtain an Eviction warrant, they may ask the Court to award any legal costs against you.

 

Stopping an Eviction

In some cases, evictions can be stopped however this is usually only possible by making an application to the County Court which is known as an N244. You can apply to Court any time after you have been served with an Eviction Warrant however it is not advisable to leave this until the last minute as you may not able to get a court hearing arranged before your eviction date. There may be a fee to pay for this application depending on your income.

No-one other than a County Court Bailiff is allowed to evict you from your home, if your your Landlord or a representative attempts to do this, ring the Police or the Council’s Housing Standards Team immediately as is an illegal eviction which is a serious offence and against the law.

Bassetlaw District Council

 

 

Housing Needs Team 

01909 533533 (9am - 5pm Mon - Fri)

01909 534999 (any other time - emergencies only)

 

Housing Standards Team

01909 533533 (9am - 5pm Mon-Fri)

Email: housing.needs@bassetlaw.gov.uk

 

Bassetlaw Citizens Advice Bureau

Telephone Advice Line only 0300 456 8369 (10am - 4pm Mon-Fri) 

Bassetlaw Citizens Advice website

 

Hope Service

01909 531294

Hope Service website

 

Shelter Housing Advice

0808 800 4444 (non urgent)

0808 1644 660 (emergencies) 

 

Mansfield County Court

01623 451500 

Illegal Eviction

An eviction is illegal if your Landlord (or his representative):

  • physically removes you from the property
  • forces you to leave by threatening or harassing you
  • stops you from getting into certain parts of your home
  • changes the locks without your knowledge or permission and as a result prevents you from gaining access to the property
  • does not give you reasonable notice to leave

What to do if you have been illegally evicted

Landlords who illegally evict tenants can be prosecuted. If you believe you have been illegally evicted or are being threatened with this, the Council’s Housing Standards Team or Housing Options Team can help. You can also ask the Police for help however their powers are limited in these situations, they should not enable or assist in an eviction they can only act to prevent a breach of the peace.

 

Bassetlaw District Council

Housing Needs Team

01909 533533 (9am – 5pm Mon – Fri)

 

Bassetlaw Citizens Advice Bureau

Telephone Advice Line only 0300 456 8369 (10am - 4pm, Mon-Fri)

 

Hope Services

01909 531294

Hope Service website

 

Shelter Housing 

0808 800 4444 (non urgent) 

0808 1644 660 (emergencies)

Shelter Housing website

 

Police

999 (for emergencies)

101 (for non emergencies)

 

Harassment from Landlord

Harassment is a criminal offence. It can take many forms but is usually a deliberate action by your landlord to disrupt your life or make you leave your home.

Harassment can be from your Landlord or someone acting on their behalf such as an agent of member of his family. Some examples of harassment are when your Landlord:

  • enters your home without your permission
  • constantly visits your home without prior arrangement 
  • is violent or threatens you with violence
  • opens your mail or removes your belongings
  • cuts off your gas, electricity or water supply
  • sends builders in to carry out nonessential repair work without notice or at unsocial hours

 

How to stop harassment

There are steps you can take to try to stop your Landlord harassing you, these steps could also help if you decide to take legal action.

Contact your landlord

Write, email, text or use social media to contact your landlord and ask them to stop the harassment. If this doesn't work, contact them again and inform them that if the harassment continues you will take legal action. Take someone with you to any faceto-face meetings with your landlord.

Keep records

Ask your landlord to put all communication in writing. Do the same yourself and keep copies of all communication. Also keep a diary of all incidents noting nature of incident, date, time and if there were witnesses. You can also take photographs and videos. If you do decide to take action against your landlord, any records you have will be useful evidence in supporting your claim.

Contact the police

Call the police if you are at risk of harm, in danger or being threatened.

Get specialist advice

Contact the Council’s Housing Needs or Housing Standards Teams who can help by speaking to your Landlord on your behalf. You can also contact a Solicitor of your choosing.

If you are forced to leave your home because you are at risk of harm, the Housing Needs Team may be able to offer you emergency accommodation and help find somewhere else to live.

 

 

Bassetlaw District Council

Housing Needs Team

01909 533533 (9am – 5pm Mon – Fri)

Housing Standard Team 

01909 533533

Bassetlaw Citizens Advice Bureau 

Advice Line only 0300 456 8368 (10am - 4pm, Mon-Fri)

 

Hope Services

01909 531294

 

Shelter

0808 800 4444 (non urgent)

0808 1644 660 (emergencies) 

 

Police

999 (emergencies)

101 (non emergencies)

Rent Arrears

Paying your rent must always be your first priority however if you are unable to pay or can’t pay the whole amount due, you must let your Landlord know immediately. You should offer to repay any outstanding arrears by suggesting setting up a repayment plan so you can pay them off over an agreed period of time.

Make sure you have done everything you can to avoid accruing arrears such as making claims for Local Housing Allowance, Universal Credit or other benefits you may be entitled to and ensure you have provided all relevant information required to get your application processed.

Your Landlord is more likely to want to help you if let them know about any problems at an early stage and show that you are making an effort to deal with the situation.

Do not ignore the problem or bury your head in the sand as the situation will not go away, it will only get worse and you could end up losing your home and becoming homeless.

If you have tried to speak to your Landlord and feel he is being unfair, the Council can liaise with them on your behalf. Other advice agencies and charities may also be able to help and support you.

If your Landlord wishes to seek possession of your home they must follow the procedure outlined above in the section “Termination of Tenancy”.

Housing Needs Team

01909 533533

 

Income Recovery Team 

0800 590542

 

Hope Services

01909 531294

Hope Service website

 

Shelter Housing Advice 

0808 800 4444 (non urgent)

0808 164 4066 (emergencies)

Shelter Housing website

 

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice website

 

Bassetlaw Citizens Advice Bureau

0300 456 8369 (10am - 4pm, Mon-Fri)

 

Department for Work and Pensions

 

2Shires

01909 500575

2Shires website

 

Universal Credit 

0345 600 0723

 

Money Advice Service 

0800 138 777 (8am - 6pm, Mon - Fri)

 

Mortgage Arrears

Paying your mortgage must always be your first priority or you could lose your home. If you do fall behind on your mortgage payments or a second mortgage or secured loan, you need to take action straight away to avoid your mortgage lender taking court action to repossess your home.

The first thing you should do is speak to your mortgage lender immediately as they are likely to offer you more options if you make them aware of potential difficulties at an early stage rather than waiting until the arrears have escalated and become unmanageable. You should offer to repay any outstanding arrears by suggesting setting up a repayment plan so you can pay them off over an agreed period of time and show that you are willing to deal with the situation.

Mortgage problems can often be resolved without needing to go to court, however the longer the problem is left unresolved, the more your debt will grow as many lenders charge penalties for each missed payment.

If repossession proceedings are commenced, your lender may also be able to charge you for their legal costs and court costs, which can run into hundreds or even thousands of pounds. See section “Termination of Tenancy” for procedure.

Make sure you do everything possible to avoid accruing arrears, consider increasing your income by thinking about renting out rooms and taking in lodgers or finding out what benefits you may be entitled to and make any necessary claims.

Housing Needs Team 

01909 533533

 

Hope Services

Hope Service website

 

Shelter Housing 

0808 800 4444 (non urgent)

0808 1644 660 (emergencies)

Shelter Housing website

 

Bassetlaw Citizens Advice Bureau

0300 456 8369 (10am - 4pm, Mon - Fri) 

 

Department for Work and Pensions

 

2Shires

2Shires website

 

Universal Credit 

0345 600 0723

 

Money Advice Service

0800 138 777 (8am - 6pm, Mon - Fri)

Property in State of Disrepair

Council Property

If you are a Council Tenant, the Council is responsible for carrying out repairs to your property so it is safe and habitable for you and your family to live in. If you need repair work carrying out, you should report this to the Council immediately so appropriate action can be taken. It is your responsibility to make the Council aware of any repair issue and to ensure that you allow access to your home to enable inspections and work to be carried out.

Private Rented Property

Most repairs in private rented properties are the Landlords’ responsibility, although the tenant will be responsible for some things such as replacing broken windows.

You should report any repairs to your Landlord immediately and keep a record of the date you did this. After reporting the repairs, your Landlord may need to inspect the property or arrange for someone else to do this to identify what work needs to be done. You must ensure that you allow access to your home when arrangements have been made for this to be carried out. 

Refusal to carry out repairs

If your Landlord is refusing to carry out repairs to your home there are things you can do and help is available. Poor conditions in your home can cause illness and put your safety at risk. The Council’s Housing Standards Team can sometimes enforce private Landlords to carry out repairs where they are clearly breaching their obligations.

You can take legal action if a landlord refuses to carry out repairs, or has left repair work unfinished. But first there are steps you must take therefore seek legal advice before doing so.

Housing Team

0800 590 542

 

Housing Needs Team

01909 533 533 

 

Housing Standards Team 

01909 533 533

 

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice website

0300 456 8369 (10am - 4pm, Mon - Fri)

 

Hope Services 

01909 531 294

Hope Services website

 

Shelter

0808 800 444 (non urgent)

0808 1644 660 (emergencies)

Relationship Breakdown (Non Violent)

If your relationship has broken down and you have been asked to leave your home by your Spouse, Partner or Civil Partner, you may have rights to stay therefore you should seek professional advice before agreeing to leave (unless you are at risk of harm). If your name is on the tenancy or mortgage of the property where you live, it is likely you will have a legal right to reside at the property. If this is the case you may not be considered to be homeless and advised to remain in the property, providing you and/or members of your households are not at risk of harm.

If you have already left the property, you may have the right to return however you may need to get a court order to exercise these rights.

Housing Team

0800 590 542

 

Housing Registration / Housing Team

0800 590 542

 

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice website

 

Hope Services 

01909 531 294

Hope Services website

Relationship Breakdown (Violent / Domestic Abuse)

If you have been a victim of domestic abuse or violence, you can get confidential help and advice free of charge. Domestic abuse includes any incident of threatening behaviour, not just violence and can be psychological, physical, social, financial, sexual or emotional.

If you are at risk of harm, you should always put your safety first and think about leaving your current home for a place of safety or improving your safety if you decide to stay.

Help for Women

The National Domestic Violence Helpline is operated by Women's Aid and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It offers confidential advice, support and information to victims of domestic abuse, and can help with finding spaces at refuges for women fleeing domestic violence. It also provides support and advice for friends and families or professionals concerned about victims of domestic abuse.

It is free to call the helpline from any landline or public phone.

You can also contact the Council’s Housing Needs Team.

Help for Men

Men's Advice Line is a telephone helpline offering advice, information and support to male victims of domestic violence, as well as to their friends and family.

The helpline is operated by the charity Respect and is open Monday to Friday 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm.

Calls are free from landlines.

Help for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people

The Broken Rainbow helpline provides confidential support to all members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities, their family and friends, and agencies supporting them.

The helpline is open Monday 2pm to 8pm, Wednesday 10am to 5pm and Thursday 2pm to 8pm. Calls to the helpline are free from BT landlines.

The Stonewall Housing Advice Line provides housing advice and support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender victims and survivors of domestic abuse in England.

Stonewall Housing also provides housing support for LGBT people in their own homes and supported housing for young LGBT people.

Housing Needs Team

01909 533 533 (9am - 5pm, Mon - Fri)

01909 534 999 (out of office hours, emergencies only)

 

Housing Team

0800 2000 247 

 

National Domestic Violence Helpline

0808 2000 247

 

Nottinghamshire Women's Aid

01909 533 610

 

Police

999 (for emergencies)

101 (for non emergencies) 

 

Men's Advice Line 

0808 801 0327 

info@mensadviceline.org.uk

 

Refuge

0808 200 247

Refuge website

 

Broken Rainbow Helpline

0300 999 5428 

(2pm -8pm, Mon - Thur)

(10am, Wed)

mail@broken-window.org.uk

 

Stonewall Housing Advice

0207 593 1850

info@stonewall.co.uk

 

Centre Place

Centre Place, Abbey Street, Worksop (under 25s)

01909 479 191

07530 252 177

info@centreplace.org.uk

Parental / Friend Eviction

If you have been asked to leave your parents, relatives or friends home, it is likely you will have to leave as you will have no legal right to remain there.

The Housing Needs Team can help by mediating between the parties concerned to identify what the problems are and take action to resolve these where appropriate. They will always take steps to help you remain in your present home where appropriate. They may work with you to help find a home of your home whilst still liaising with the excluder at the same time to see if you could stay at home until this has been achieved.

Housing Needs Team

01909 533 533 (9am - 5pm, Mon - Fri)

01909 534 999 (out of office hours, emergencies only)

 

Housing Registration Team

0800 590 542

 

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice website

 

Bassetlaw Citizens Advice Bureau

0300 456 8369 (10am - 4pm, Mon - Fri) 

 

Shelter

0808 800 444 (non urgent)

0808 1644 660 (emergencies)

 

Centre Place

Centre Place, Abbey Street, Worksop (under 25s)

01909 479 191

07530 252 177

info@centreplace.org.uk

 

Hope Services 

01909 531 294

Hope Services website

Anti-Social Behaviour

If you or your family are affected by antisocial behaviour you can take action to try and get this stopped. You can:

  • speak to the person causing the problem
  • complain to the Landlord/owner of the property where the perpetrator lives
  • complain to the Council
  • complain to the Ombudsman
  • take legal action

Making a Complaint

Landlords may ask you to put your complaint in writing and provide evidence to support your allegations therefore it is important that you keep detailed records of incidents including nature of incident, name of perpetrator, date and time. It is also important to note how the incident made you feel. Council’s and Housing Associations will usually follow a formal procedure and in most cases this will have to be exhausted before you can take any further action. 

Complaining to the Ombudsman

The Local Government Ombudsman deals with complaints about Councils, and the Housing Ombudsman Service deals with complaints about Housing Associations. There is no Ombudsman service dealing with complaints about private landlords.

The Ombudsman can only look into your complaint if you have already gone through the Council/ Housing Association’s formal procedures but are not satisfied with the outcome. The Ombudsman can make a number of recommendations if they feel that your complaint has not been considered appropriately.

Taking legal action

You can apply for an injunction which is a Court Order made against one or more people that usually orders them to stop doing something, for example stop playing loud music or orders them to do something, for example clear rubbish up.

Injunctions sometimes have a power of arrest attached, this means that the Police can arrest the person if they breach the injunction, take them to court and ask that they are sent to prison.

Housing Needs Team

01909 533 533 (9am - 5pm, Mon - Fri)

 

Housing Standards Team

10909 533 533 

 

Anti-Social Behaviour Team 

01909 533 533

 

Housing Team

0800 590 542

 

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice website

 

Bassetlaw Citizens Advice Bureau

0300 456 8369 (10am - 4pm, Mon - Fri) 

 

Police

999 (for emergencies)

101 (for non emergencies)


Last Updated on Thursday, September 10, 2020