Skip to main content

Housing Advice

We have a duty to provide advice and assistance on a wide range of housing-related issues to those who may be at risk of homelessness.

We will offer you free information and advice based on your circumstances and work with you to prevent you becoming homeless.

We can intervene in a variety of situations, whether you are in social housing or privately rented accommodation. For example, we can help you to stay in your home if you have been asked to leave, are experiencing difficulties with your landlord or living in substandard housing. We will let you know what support is available to help you resolve the issues and take action to prevent your homelessness. If remaining in your home is not an option we can consider, we will offer you help to find alternative accommodation.

We can step in to assist in the following areas

Those living in private rented accommodation often have problems with disrepair and experience difficulties addressing these issues. This is because tenants and landlords are uninformed about their rights and unaware of their tenancy obligations. Please see section below on private sector tenants for more information on how we are able to help.

Separating from a partner with whom you have shared a home is difficult and many people are not aware of their tenancy rights when this happens. We can give you advice on your rights and housing options, so you can make an informed decision on a way forward with your housing needs.

A lot of people are not aware of the wide range of benefits they may be entitled to. Alongside giving advice on this matter, our Housing Options Case Managers will signpost customers to relevant agencies and support services to ensure they are receiving all benefit entitlements and maximising their income.

We can assist you if you have received a notice from your landlord because your tenancy agreement has expired or in situations where you may have breached the terms of your tenancy agreement, for example, by causing nuisance and anti-social behaviour, or for non-payment of rent.

We can also help those who fall into rent or mortgage arrears. There are many reasons that could lead to someone accruing arrears; these may include:

  • low income
  • loss of employment
  • health challenges
  • relationship breakdown

There are practical solutions to consider in these circumstances that may help to prevent a person from becoming homeless, even if possession proceedings are underway in court.

Our Housing Options Case Managers will discuss the most appropriate action to take, based on your circumstances.

Our advice and assistance could include

  • Negotiating with your landlord to keep you in your current home
  • Seeking alternative accommodation in the private rented sector
  • Seeking accommodation through the Housing Register 
  • Advice on applying for our affordable housing and low-cost home ownership schemes 
  • Seeking accommodation through mediation with friends and family members
  • Finding shelters and hostels
  • Financial and budget advice
  • Using our Discretionary Housing Payment Loan Scheme
  • Defending your eviction or possession

If you are already homeless and do not have a connection to our district, we may refer your application to another local authority.

Private Sector Tenants

We can refer you to our Environmental Health Team for support if you are living in substandard accommodation or overcrowded conditions. They will visit your accommodation to assess any issue of disrepair and work with your landlord to put things right. If necessary, enforcement action can be taken against your landlord if there is an ongoing failure to make good the disrepair issues.

There is scope also to work with your landlord to carry out works or adaptations to your home, if required.

Additionally, we have a Private Sector and Tenancy Sustainment Team that can help you sustain your tenancy and where appropriate, assist you in finding alternative accommodation.

As part of our intermediary services, this team can work with both you and your landlord in situations where communication has broken down or your tenancy has run into difficulties. We will work and support both parties to iron out any misunderstandings and prevent further deterioration in the relationship that could lead to an incidence of homelessness.

Other support provided by this team include help with rent arrears, debt and budgeting advice, help with finding work, benefit advice and income maximisation. Please contact our Private Sector and Tenancy Sustainment team by registering for advice and support on the Housing Jigsaw webpage or emailing privatesector@somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk.

For further information please see our Homelessness FAQs page.