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Tenants legal help – local authority re-housing

Speak to your Local Authority homelessness officerIf your landlord is trying to evict you and you are finding it hard to find somewhere else to live, you may be entitled to be re-housed by your Local Authority.

If so, the most important advice is DON’T MOVE OUT!  Because if you do, you will lose any right to rehousing that you have.

The rules for re-housing tenants being evicted are fairly forumalic.  They go as follows:

  • If you are homeless or are threatened with homelessness (ie if your landlord has served an eviction notice on you and is taking you through the courts), AND
  • if you are eligible for assistance (if you are a British citizen you should be OK), AND
  • if you come within one of the categories of ‘priority need’ (essentially pregnant women, families, people vulnerable e.g. through disability and old age and people made homeless because of an emergency/ disaster), AND
  • assuming you are not ‘voluntarily homeless’ (ie your homelessness is not down to you having moved out or been evicted because of something preventable like rent arrears caused by using your housing benefit to pay off other debts), AND
  • if you have some sort of local connection (although if you haven’t this is not necessary fatal)

then the Local Authority have a duty to re-house you.

However as most Local Authorities are short on housing in which to re-house people (a legacy of Mrs Thatcher’s right to buy), they normally won’t rehouse you until your landlord has got an order for possession.  Sometimes they won’t re-house you until the bailiff is almost at the door.

So don’t move out.  Some landlords get very upset about this, and consider that their tenants are dishonest in staying on, but really if you have a family and need re-housing there is little else you can do.

If your landlord is threatening to evict you, and you want to be re-housed, you need to speak to your Local Authority homelessness department RIGHT NOW, show them the paperwork, and follow their advice.

Finally, if they decide that you are not actually entitled to rehousing, take legal advice.  Sometimes the decision can be overturned.

See more help for tenants on Landlord Law.

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Important note. If you are reading an old post, remember that the law may have changed since it was written.

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About the post author:

Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is a lawyer and specialises in creating products and services which help landlords and letting agents learn and understand landlord & tenant law. For example, she runs the Landlord Law website (now in its 14th year) and is a director of Easy Law Training Ltd and Your Law Store. Tessa also sits on the Property Redress Scheme Council. When not working she enjoys reading, cooking and messing around on the computer. You can also find her on Google

The Landlord Law Blog from Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.

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