Worried about becoming homeless?

Worried about becoming homeless?

If you are homeless or at risk of homelessness you should contact our Housing Options Team who will aim to prevent you from becoming homeless or to delay this wherever possible.

It is important that you do not give up any accommodation voluntarily before checking what your rights and options are.  Do not leave contacting us until the last minute. You can contact us via email or call us on 01372 474590 but you should also read the information below.

Are you homeless?

This is set out in law but in summary you can be considered as homeless if:

  • you don’t have anywhere to live or

  • you are likely to lose your home in the next 28 days, or

  • it is not reasonable for you to remain in your home

  • you cannot gain entry to your property

  • you are at risk of violence in your property

For more information visit the Shelter website.

Get a personalised action plan

We recommend you obtain a personalised action plan on your potential housing options if you are homeless or threatened with homelessness. You can do so by completing part one of the online application process to join the Council’s housing register. This will take about 20 minutes to complete. We'll ask you a number of questions and you can obtain advice based upon your answers that you can then save or print out in the form of an action plan.

Are you a single person or a couple or an all adult household?

Unless you have a serious medical problem, physical or mental disability you will normally receive advice and assistance only, rather than accommodation, as you may not be vulnerable and in priority need. This assistance may be a referral to another agency to see if they can help you with private sector rented accommodation or a referral to a hostel. You should contact the Housing Options Team if you consider you may be vulnerable or if you have been subject to domestic abuse, are a care leaver or have been in prison so we can assess your situation.  There is more information on priority need on the Shelter website.

Do you have dependent children, are you pregnant or do you have serious medical problems?

If this applies to you we may have a duty to assist if you are homeless or threatened with homelessness within 28 days and you should  contact us.  We recommend that you also obtain a personalised action plan on your potential housing options and general advice.

Preventing homelessness

We may be able to do this by

  • advising you of your legal rights if you have been served with a Notice to leave your home or if this is not possible to try and help you find other accommodation

  • negotiating with your landlord or the person you live with to let you stay for longer

  • providing advice on claiming housing benefit to assist with your housing costs

  • offering general advice including on the housing options that might be available to you

Contact us via email or call 01372 474590 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm – 4.45 Friday). If you become homeless outside the times above, you can call our Out of Hours Team on 0300 123 7719.

What happens once I contact the Housing Options Team?

You may be asked to attend a housing options interview or for a homeless application to be taken so we can find out more about your situation. You will be asked to provide the following documents to confirm your situation to your interview

  • proof of identity including the birth certificates (full version) and passports of all the people in your application

  • proof that you are or will be homeless e.g. A notice to quit from your landlord, friend or relative

  • letters from the building society showing that it intends to repossess your home; and a court order or bailiff's warrant

  • proof of income and savings including: Wage slips, benefit books, P45, bank statements and savings books

  • proof of where you and all the people in your application have lived for each of the last five years, including: tenancy agreements, rent books or receipts for rent, postmarked letters, bills, bank statements, driving licences, and medical cards

  • if relevant, documents proving: you are married, you are divorced, you have custody of children, you are pregnant, you are asking for or have been given asylum

If we take a homeless application we will investigate your case to decide if there is a duty to secure accommodation against each of the five tests in the homeless legislation to establish whether you are:

  • eligible for assistance, and

  • homeless or threatened with homelessness within 28 days, and

  • in priority need, and

  • not intentionally homeless, and

  • if you have a local connection with Elmbridge or any other housing authority area

Sometimes we may need to arrange temporary accommodation until we finish our enquiries. As a last resort, we may need to place households in bed & breakfast, where there are no other options available.

We are not able to secure accommodation for everyone that wants it and we may have no legal duty to secure accommodation but we will always provide you with advice and assistance.

Seen someone sleeping rough?

If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough in Elmbridge, you can inform StreetLink online or by calling them on 0300 500 0914. StreetLink can help to connect the person to the local services and support available to them, or you can contact us by email or call us on 01372 474590.

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