How can I get a hostel place?

There is usually more demand for a hostel place than space available. Some hostels only accept referrals made by statutory or voluntary organisations and some accept self-referrals. Get details of local hostels or shelters from the Local Authority, Shelter’s helpline 0808 800 4444 or www.homelessuk.org.uk

I have rent arrears and have received a notice to quit from my landlord. What do I do?

You are at risk of losing your home if you owe rent. Rent arrears must be treated as a top priority debt. You can check entitlement to housing benefit. Negotiate an affordable repayment plan with your landlord. Seek legal advice from a housing adviser. Do not ignore the problem because you could become homeless.

I am moving into a new home. Can I get financial help to furnish it?

Check if you are eligible for payments from the Social Fund (www.dwp.org uk)

You can find details of furniture projects in your area by checking out Furniture Re-Use Network(www.frn.org.uk). There will be criteria that you will need to fit into and also a charge, but it is a cheaper option.

I rent privately. What repairs should my landlord do?

Landlords are responsible for:

  • Structure and exterior of the building
  • Sinks, baths, toilets, pipes, drains
  • Heating/hot water
  • Gas appliances, flues, ventilation
  • Electrical wiring
Does it matter what my tenancy agreement says about repairs?

This depends on what is included in the agreement. Your landlord can not get out of their legal responsibilities no matter what is written in the agreement. You can get advice on the agreement from a housing adviser.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a form of negotiation, used in neighbour disputes amongst others, with an independent trained mediator. It is best to try to avoid neighbour disputes by:-

  • Behaving reasonably (eg don’t be an anti-social neighbour)
  • Trying to discuss any dispute with your neighbourhood to see if it can be resolved amicably
  • Contact the Local Authority for details of mediation schemes in the area
When do I need planning permission?

Planning permission is always needed for:

  • Building works (build, demolish, extend)
  • Changing the use of the land

Always check with the Local Authority before starting any works as failure to get the required permission will prove expensive.

What is a Disabled Facilities Grant?

This is a mandatory entitlement to provide funds for adaptations to enable people with disabilities to live independently in their own homes, regardless of tenure. It is administered by the Local Authority and there will be an assessment of both the need for the adaptation and your income. www.adkc.org.uk can advise.

What is sheltered housing?

Sheltered housing schemes enable people to live independently but with the added security of having an alarm system and warden. Sheltered housing can be bought or rented. Further information can be obtained from the Local Authority or Age Concern(www.ageconcern.org.uk).

I am having serious problems with my landlord. What can I do?

If you think your landlord is acting unfairly, or you feel you are being harassed or illegally evicted, you should seek legal advice. Harassment and illegal eviction are serious offences but the law relating to this is complex and you should seek legal advice