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6 Losing your Home

pdf iconDownload Losing your Home (PDF File, 284kb)

To download a PDF version of this leaflet click on the PDF icon above. PDF files require you to have a copy of Acrobat® Reader in order to be able to read them. This piece of software is freely available from the download pages on Adobe's web site.

1. Introduction

There are laws to help you if you have nowhere to live, whether it's because you're being unfairly evicted by your landlord, or you or your children are not safe where you live now.

This leaflet covers important questions you might have:

  • Will the council find me somewhere to live?
  • Does it matter how I became homeless?
  • What if the council offers me somewhere unsuitable?
  • What can I do if I disagree with the council's decision?
  • Where can I go if I need somewhere to stay urgently?
  • What if my landlord wants to evict me?
  • What can I do if my landlord is harassing me?
  • Further help.

The leaflets in this series give you an outline of your legal rights. They are not a complete guide to the law and are not intended to be a guide to how the law will apply to you or to any specific situation. The leaflets are regularly updated but the law may have changed since this was printed, so information in it may be incorrect or out of date.

If you have a problem, you will need to get more information or personal advice to work out the best way to solve it. See 'Further help' for sources of information and advice.

The prospect of having nowhere to live is terrifying for anyone. But there are laws that are meant to protect you from being homeless, especially if you are a vulnerable person - for example, if you are young, pregnant or being threatened by someone.

If you are facing homelessness because your landlord wants you to leave your house or flat, there are laws to make sure they deal with you fairly. Landlords must follow the proper procedures before you have to leave. These procedures depend on the type of tenancy you have, but if your landlord tries to force you to leave without following the right procedures, they will be breaking the law. For more on this, see the Gurkha Free Legal Advice leaflet 'Renting and Letting', which outlines rights for tenants and landlords.

It's important to act quickly if you are homeless or face being homeless. The sooner you get help, the more likely you will be to find somewhere suitable to live, or prevent a landlord forcing you to leave. As a first step before applying to your council as homeless, you can get on-the-spot help and advice by contacting certain organisations. (See 'Further help' for details.)

You do not have to be sleeping on the streets to be homeless. You may be legally considered homeless, and entitled to get help to find somewhere to live (or to stay in your home), for many reasons. These include:

  • you are too worried about your personal safety to stay at home, because of violence or the threat of violence (which could be from a neighbour or ex-partner, not just from someone you live with);
  • you can't stay in your home because it is in very poor condition and a threat to your health;
  • you have nowhere that you can live with your family;
  • you have been locked out of your home, and you are not allowed back;
  • you live in a caravan or houseboat (or other moveable structure) but you have nowhere to keep it legally.

There is information on:

2. Will the council find me somewhere to live?

3. Does it matter how I become homeless?

4. What if the council offers me somewhere unsuitable?

5. What can I do if I disagree with the council´s decision?

6. Where can I go if I need somewhere to stay urgently?

7. What if my landlord wants to evict me?

8. What can I do if my landlord is harassing me?

9. Further help

10 About this leaflet


Logo of Shelter

This leaflet is published by the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (LSC). It was written in association with Shelter.

Leaflet version: May 2008

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