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 use this tool on the Shelter website to help you find out.
How we can help
Our Housing Options team 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 Gravesham’s privately rented sector.
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
What should I do?
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 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
- or 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 as 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.
Don’t 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 so I need to provide?
We would always recommend that you come to us as soon as you believe that there is a risk of homelessness as this gives us more time to resolve your housing problem.
When you attend the meeting with an advisor you will need to provide the following documents:
- The tenancy agreement
- Anything else you were given when you signed the tenancy such as the Energy Performance Certificate and the Gas Safe Certificate
- The 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 received from the landlord or agent and any copies of any you have sent
- Before you come to see us try and write down the dates and details of any contact between you
At the meeting we will have a duty to assess the circumstances of your homelessness, identify what your housing and support needs are, and to 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, providing supporting documentation or making contact with other letting agents.
We will work with you and your landlord to resolve the issues with the intention of keeping you in the property. In some circumstances we can access the Homelessness Prevention Fund 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.
What happens next?
For us to 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. We will work with you to identify which areas are affordable for you to move to and the likelihood of securing accommodation.
We are able to provide financial assistance for you to secure alternative accommodation in most cases through a number of different schemes we have available. If you really want social housing, we can work with you to explore different parts of the country where this may still be available.
The Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service
A new government service is available to help people facing possession proceedings which could lead to the loss of their homes.Information about legal aid