Housing advice for people being evicted from the private sector
Please note: Perceval House is currently shut - please contact us by telephone.
This advice is for people who are threatened with homelessness or are homeless due to the loss of a private sector accommodation.
What type of tenancy do I have?
Most people have an assured shorthold tenancy. If you are unsure what type of tenancy you have, then the Shelter tenancy rights checker could help you find out.
Help available from Ealing Council housing solutions
The housing solutions team at Ealing Council provides specialist advice on the rights and responsibilities of private tenants, landlords and agents. We aim to prevent homelessness and investigate allegations of harassment and illegal evictions within Ealing’s private rented sector.
The best way to get advice is to come in person to Ealing Council at Perceval House, 14/16 Uxbridge Road, Ealing W5 2HL between 9am and 4pm from Monday to Friday.
We will either give you advice on the day you visit us, or after making an initial assessment of your circumstances, we will make an appointment for you to see an advisor at a later date.
Please note: On the second Wednesday of each month Perceval House opens at 10am.
The team can advise and assist tenants at risk of losing their homes or tenants worried about their current housing situation. Some of the areas we can offer support with include:
- Checking if your tenancy deposit is protected
- Explaining the terms of your tenancy agreement
- Disrepair and safety standards
- Harassment from your landlord or agent
- A threat of eviction
- Retaliatory evictions
- Rent arrears.
We would always recommend that you come to us as soon as you believe that there is a risk of homelessness, as it gives us more time to resolve your housing problem.
What to do in advance of meeting an advisor
You should try to speak to your landlord or agent to see if the problem can be sorted out.
We would advise that you then write or email them to identify what the problem is and to suggest how you can resolve this. You can do this in the following type of scenarios:
- If the landlord has advised s/he wants to put the rent up and you are worried you cannot afford the increase
- If there are issues with a rent shortfall because your circumstances have changed, or you have had your benefit reduced
- If there are rent arrears.
- If the landlord is unhappy with an aspect of your behaviour as a tenant.
You should send the letter or email regardless of the landlord or agent’s response. Even if they have said no, they may change their mind once they have had a chance to see the letter and can see you are really committed to sorting things out.
Do not leave things - follow up the letter with a phone call or email within a week of sending it asking them for a response. If the landlord or agent has responded, write down what their response was and whether they want to discuss a possible solution. Keep copies of any email or letter they have sent you in response as we will want to see them.
What to bring to the meeting with housing solutions
When you come to the meeting at the council you will need to bring the following documents:
- Proof of your identity
- The tenancy agreement
- Anything else you were given when you signed the tenancy such as the Energy Performance Certificate and the Gas Safe Certificate
- Your Section 21 notice
- If you paid a deposit, we want to see the paperwork that the landlord should have given you about where they have protected the deposit. This is called prescribed information.
- We will want to see any emails or letters you have exchanged with your landlord or agent
- Before you come to see us, write down the dates and details of any contact between you and your landlord or agent.
At the meeting we will assess the circumstances of your homelessness, identify what your housing and support needs are, and work with you to try to prevent your homelessness, or support you to find somewhere to live.
We will provide you with a personal housing plan which will tell you what we can do to help you and what you can do to help yourself. This might include actions such as attending appointments with our employment and skills team or making contact with other letting agents.
We will work with you and your landlord to resolve any issues, with the intention of keeping you in the property. In some circumstances we can help with funds, if a small financial payment can resolve the situation. We have a lot of experience in negotiating with landlords, so it is important that you come to us as soon as you know there is a problem.
If the issue cannot be resolved
For the council to be legally obliged to provide you with accommodation, we would need to be satisfied that you are eligible, homeless, in priority need and that you have not made yourself intentionally homeless.
Given the small number of council or housing association homes available, if you have to leave your tenancy you will almost certainly have to consider renting from a landlord in the private rented sector and may have to spend a period in temporary accommodation. We will work with you to identify which areas are affordable - and suitable - for you to move to. Rents in the London area are very high, so for some families, this will mean finding accommodation outside of Ealing and west London, in a place where rents are more affordable. This is especially true if your benefits have been capped by the Government because you are not working the necessary number of hours. Your capped benefit amount also includes a contribution towards the cost of your housing.
In most cases we are able to provide financial assistance to help you secure alternative accommodation through a number of different schemes we have available. We can also work with you to advise you about different parts of the country where there may still be a reasonable chance of getting social housing.