What do you need help with?
If you’re homeless or could become homeless in the next two months you can ask Wandsworth Council for help. You can do this by completing their housing options assessment form online. If you’re at immediate risk of domestic violence or abuse and don’t have a safe place to stay tonight you don’t have to complete this form, you can use the alternative contact details in the link above.
When you apply as homeless the support the council provide will depend on your circumstances. The council don’t have to give everyone housing and if you aren’t vulnerable they’re more likely to give you advice about keeping your home or help you look for a private tenancy. Shelter have a guide to getting help from the council that explains how the process works and who gets priority for housing.
If you’re homeless tonight and the council won’t give you emergency or temporary accommodation you may be able to find a shelter place at Ace of Clubs or Glass Door. The Shelter emergency helpline (0808 800 4444) is open 365 days a year and can give you information about night shelters and emergency housing issues.
Landlords generally have to follow a certain procedure in order to evict you. Your rights will depend on the type of tenancy you have, which you can check using Shelter’s tenancy rights checker.
Citizens Advice have a guide to eviction for rent arrears. In most cases you don’t have to leave your home before your landlord gets a court order. This means you may have time to resolve the issue, even if it’s already gone to court.
If court proceedings have started you may be able to get free advice from a solicitor. This will depend on whether you’re eligible for legal aid. You can check your entitlement to legal aid online or by calling Civil Legal Advice, who can also advise you about your situation.
If you can’t get legal aid or afford a solicitor you should still attend any court hearing about your eviction. If you explain to the judge why you’re in arrears they may decide that it isn’t appropriate to evict you. You may also be able to get legal advice from a duty solicitor on the day of the hearing – arrive early and speak to a court clerk about this.
There’s a limited supply of social housing in London and councils decide who gets priority. Shelter have a guide to who gets priority.
If you qualify for the waiting list but are given low priority, you may never be offered a home. Wandsworth Council say that even residents with high priority may wait several years to be housed.
If your circumstances have changed since you applied for housing, or the council aren’t aware of relevant information, you should speak to your allocated caseworker.
In the housing section of the Wandsworth Council website you can find information about:
- their allocations policy
- the process for applying for housing
- wait times and priority
- alternatives such as renting privately.
If the council offer you long-term housing it must meet certain criteria and be suitable for you.
However, if you refuse an offer of housing, even if it’s unsuitable, you put yourself at risk of homelessness.
You should therefore accept the offer but ask for a review within 21 days. Shelter have a guide to requesting a review, which includes a template letter, but you may also be eligible for free legal advice if you’re on a low income. Civil Legal Advice can help you check this and give you housing advice if you qualify.
Information and self-help resources
Organisations that can help
Advice, support and legal services to help with housing crisis, bad housing or homelessness. Service is for London residents only and may be easier to reach than Shelter’s national helpline.
Phone (under 25 years old): 0330 053 6091 (read about call charges)
Phone (25 or older): 0344 515 1540 (read about call charges)
Open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 6pm
Free, confidential advice for people who qualify for legal aid. CLA provide free interpretation for people who don’t speak English and can book a BSL interpreter if you’re deaf or hard of hearing.
Still need help?
Find out how to contact us if you haven’t been able to resolve your problem using the information above.
Please bear in mind that we are a local charity and demand for our services is high. You may have to wait to speak to one of our team and we can’t offer everyone an appointment with an adviser.