If you are experiencing housing difficulty, are about to become homeless or you are currently homeless, the Council's Housing Solutions team may be able to help.
If you are at risk of losing your home or if you have been asked to leave where you are living, we can:
- Assess your situation and explain your rights
- Offer you advice on how to save your tenancy, if applicable
- Try to prevent you from becoming homeless, such as mediation between yourself and the excluder
- Offer advice on finding a new home
- Explain the duties the Council may owe to you
It is very important that you contact us as soon as possible. Early applications for assistance maximises the time and opportunities available for us to help you. We will work with you to try to prevent your homelessness and to resolve any housing issues you may have. This is known as a prevention duty.
Whilst we encourage you to seek our assistance as soon as possible, there are also actions you may be able to take in order to proactively reduce the risk of homeless:
- Check you are receiving all of the benefits you are entitled to receive using the 'entitled to' calculator. You may be eligible for Housing Benefit or Universal Credit to help you pay your rent
- If you have any concerns about debts, speak to an expert. Runnymede Citizens Advice and Christians against poverty may be able to help
- If you are in rent or mortgage arrears, speak with the lender or landlord to negotiate an affordable repayment plan. You can complete an income and expenditure form.
- You may wish to explore home ownership options
If staying in your current home is not an option then you need to be aware that rents in Runnymede are very high. It is imperative that you ensure any accommodation you move to is affordable.
If you rent privately, Local Housing Allowance (LHA) sets out the maximum amount of assistance you may be able to receive - to find out how much you may be able to receive use the 'entitled to' calculator which will give you an approximate guide
The useful websites below are popular home search engines you can use if you are looking for a new home:
Own your home
A number of people aspire to own their own home but don't feel that they are able to afford to. With limited social housing and high rental prices, owning your own home might be more affordable and accessible than you think. There are a number of Government schemes available for people who cannot afford to buy a property on the open market.
Help to Buy: Shared Ownership schemes are run by regional Help to Buy Agents. Radian is the agent that run the scheme in Runnymede.
Securing Accommodation when homeless
If we cannot prevent you from becoming homeless or if you are already homeless, the Council will assess your application for assistance in accordance with the Housing Act 1996 (as amended). This assessment will determine if there is a statutory duty to secure temporary accommodation for you and your household. Regrettably, the Council do not have a legal duty to provide accommodation to every person that approaches as homeless. For more information visit emergency housing if homeless.
If we have a legal duty to offer accommodation, we will offer you temporary accommodation. If you have no rights to public funds such as benefits, we may not be able to provide you with housing. We can still offer housing advice.
Regardless of if you are entitled to temporary accommodation, we will work you to support you to secure alternate housing. This is known as a relief duty. Whilst social housing may be an option for you, there is considerable demand and the quickest and most accessible route into accommodation is often the private rented sector.
How to access help
The Council's Housing Solutions Team are available to support you. The team will ask that an initial assessment is completed so that they are able to advise you accurately. This is often completed at the Council offices.
The team hold a drop in service between 09am - Noon Monday to Friday for those in need of housing advice and assistance. If you are homeless please attend the Council before 4pm Monday to Friday and the duty officer will assess your need.
The team can also be contacted by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 01932 838383 Monday to Thursday 08.30am - 5pm and Friday 08.30am - 4.30pm.
Should you experience a housing crisis or homeless emergency outside of the Council office opening hours, the Council do operate an out of hours officer that can be contacted on 01932 838383.
Documents we will need
In order to accurately assess your needs and offer you assistance, you will need to provide the following documents. You should aim to bring as many of the documents listed below with you for the first assessment in order to help us give you the most accurate advice.
- Proof of your identity and for everyone to be included as part of your household, such as birth certificates, passports, immigration documents
- Evidence that you are threatened with homelessness, such as a notice of seeking possession, possession order or bailiff's warrant or confirmation in writing that you are being made homeless if friends or family are asking you to leave
- Your current tenancy agreement
- Proof of your previous addresses for the last five years and your partner's addresses if relevant, such as medical cards, bank statements, utility bills etc
- Proof of your income and any savings or investments you have, such as wage slips, bank statements, benefit books, savings books, share certificates
Evidence of any serious illness or disability that you or any member of your household have, such as letters from your GP, hospital consultant, details of any prescribed medication