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Enhanced housing options

Find information about common problems that people may face when threatened with homelessness or when living in difficult or unsuitable situations.

If you register with Moving with Dacorum, you can also find help and advice about searching for jobs and applying for benefits.

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  • Buying your home

    I am a counciI tenant - can I buy my home? 

    If you have been a secure tenant of ours for at least five years, you can apply to buy your home (the freehold if you have a house, or the leasehold if you have a flat or maisonette) under the Government's Right to Buy scheme.

    • If you are a demoted tenant, you cannot buy your home under the Right to Buy scheme.
    • The only properties that you cannot buy are those that are particularly suitable for older or disabled tenants, properties that are currently vacant, or properties that are let to you as part of your employment.
    • You would not be allowed to buy your home if we have started legal action to end your tenancy because of your rent arrears or you breaking your tenancy agreement.

    What discount would I get?

    The discount you receive depends on the length of your tenancy and there is a limit on the discount you can get. The cost of us building new homes may restrict the amount of discount you receive if your home has been recently modernised.

    If you want to apply to buy your home, call us on 01442 228000 and ask for Right to Buy for more details of what you need to do.

    How do I apply to buy my home?

    If you live in a Council house, you can apply by filling in a Right to Buy application form which you can get from any of our Customer Service Centres or by downloading from our Right to Buy page.

    When we receive your completed application form, we will check that you are eligible and work out the discount that you would be entitled to. We will then send you a form confirming whether or not you have the right to buy your home.

    If you wish to proceed, we will arrange a valuation of your home (you do not have to pay for this). We will then send you a notice, which tells you the price you must pay and the terms and conditions of the sale.

    You will become responsible for maintaining and repairing your home, so you may want to arrange a survey of your home to find out about the condition of the building and any major faults (your bank or building society would arrange a survey before they give you a mortgage, but this is just to confirm the value of the property).

    If you want to go ahead, you then arrange a mortgage. Most tenants go to a bank or building society for this. You should get a solicitor to handle the legal side of the purchase for you.

    If you live in a flat or maisonette

    You should apply in the same way as for a house. When you buy the leasehold of a property, you have to pay service charges to us for your share of the regular maintenance of communal parts of the building, as well as a proportion of any large-scale replacement or repair work.

    Before you take on your lease, we will tell you about the charges you could be asked to pay for this work. We cannot charge you more than these estimates in the first five years.

    Selling your property

    >If you (or anybody who inherited the property after your death) want to sell your home within 10 years of buying it, you or they will have to give us the opportunity to buy the property back at full market value. You and we must agree the market value. If we cannot agree on the market value, the District Valuer will decide.

    If we do not accept your offer within eight weeks, you can sell the property on the open market.

    Citizens Advice

    For help with buying a property, Citizens Advice has created a comprehensive information page covering all aspects of buying.

    Government

    The Government is also committed to supporting people to own their own homes in the UK, even if they do not live in a Council home. Its website has more information about owning your own home

    To arrange a mortgage you will need to seek independent financial advice. You should do this at the earliest stage possible, so that you have a clear idea of whether it will be affordable for you to purchase a property.

  • Adapted housing

    If you are struggling in your home, you may need adaptations to make things easier for you.

    The level of adaptations you could have will depend on what type of property you live in and the type of tenancy you have.

    Social housing

    If you have a disability and would like an adaptation made to your Council home to make it easier for you to live there, we may be able to help.

    How it works

    1. The first thing you need to do is contact Hertfordshire County Council's Home Improvement Agency and request an occupational therapy assessment. If you do not have access to the internet you can call them on 0300 123 4042 Please note: We cannot agree to any adaptations to your home until we have a copy of the assessment, so that we can see what your needs are.
    2. An Occupational Therapist (OT) will visit you to assess your needs and make recommendations that could help you.
    3. The OT will discuss the recommendations with you and you would need to agree to them.
    4. The OT will then contact us and tell us the agreed recommendations.
    5. If the recommended work does not need a property survey, we will issue an order to one of our contractors and they will contact you to start the process.
    6. If the recommended work does need a survey, we will contact you to agree a survey date. After the survey, we will discuss your options with you.

    Adaptations will vary from person to person but could include any of the following;

    • Adapted showers
    • Stairlifts
    • Other types of lifts (for example: hoist, through floor)
    • Grab rails
    • Extra stair rails
    • Improving access to rooms (for example: making doors wider)
    • Improving access to your home (for example: a ramp)

    Costs

    You will not have to make a contribution for most types of adaptations. However, some larger adaptations may require a contribution from you. If it is likely that you will have to make a contribution then we would discuss this with you before starting any work.

    Private sector housing

    If you live in private rented housing, it can be more difficult to get adaptations put into your home.

    It is entirely down to the landlord's discretion and they are not legally required to install them.

    If your landlord refuses to install the adaptations you need, then you can still contact us for advice. Depending upon your age and circumstances, you may be able to access Supported Housing.

    Find out more on our Housing Options page.

    If you don't want to move but you are finding it difficult to get about, then Hertfordshire County Council may be able to help.

    It can offer support, including equipment to keep you safe and mobile as well as giving advice if you have or are a carer. You may also be entitled to a Blue Badge - disability parking permit.

    You can find more information on Hertfordshire County Council's Adult Social Services page.

  • Debt and money management

    If you are struggling with debt or money management, it is very important to ask for advice and help as soon as possible - especially if you are at risk of losing your home.

    If you lose accommodation due to financial problems, but you haven't sought assistance before that, it could affect what help you can get from us in the future.

    If you're struggling financially and have a lot of debt it can be hard to know what to pay first, so you need to get your priorities right.

    Debts are divided into two categories - Priority and Non-Priority.

    They are split this way because the consequences of not paying a Priority debt are much more serious than a Non-Priority one.

    It can be hard to work out because the creditors for the non-priority debts can sometimes be the ones that chase more aggressively.

    Regardless of what you may be told by them, Priority debts should always be dealt with before your Non-Priority debts.

    Priority

    Priority debts include:

    • mortgage repayments and loans secured on your home
    • rent
    • gas and electricity debts
    • Council Tax
    • certain payments ordered by the courts
    • Child support and maintenance payments are also considered priority debts, as are payments for your TV licence.

    Make sure you get help with debts before they build up. There are serious consequences if you don't pay a priority debt. For example you could:

    • lose your home through mortgage or rent arrears
    • go to prison if you don't pay your Council Tax, TV licence, taxes or magistrates' court fines.
    • have your gas or electricity supply cut off, or have to accept an expensive prepayment meter instead
    • lose belongings on hire purchase such as a car, furniture or other goods.

    Non-Priority

    Failing to pay non-priority debts is usually less serious than not paying a priority debt.

    However, your creditors (the people that you owe money to) may sue you for any money that you owe them. This could result in a county court judgment against you.

    Non-priority debts include:

    • credit card debts
    • hire purchase agreements
    • unsecured bank and payday loans (loans that are not secured against your property)
    • water bills
    • loans from friends and family.

    When a creditor gets a county court judgement against you, you must keep to the terms of the court order.

    If you don't, for example you fail to pay a certain amount each month, your creditor can go back to court and apply to enforce the debt.

    Depending on the amount of the debt and your circumstances, your creditors could ask the court to send bailiffs to seize your non-essential goods or make you bankrupt. If you are a homeowner, this could result in you losing your home.

    You can find more information about Priority Debts and Non-Priority Debts on the Money Helper website.

    Where to get help

    The most important thing to do is to seek advice as soon as possible. The longer you leave it the worse it will get. However, it's never too late to get advice, especially if your home is at risk. There are many organisations both locally and nationally that can provide you with assistance to resolve your debt issues, for example:

     
  • Disrepair

    As a tenant, regardless of whether you are a private or social housing tenant the rules around what you are responsible for are the same.

    When it comes to disrepair, there are some things the landlord is responsible for and others that the tenant is responsible for.

    Landlord responsibilities

    Your landlord is responsible for most repairs in your home. This applies to private, council and housing association landlords and includes:

    • the structure and exterior of the building, including the walls, stairs and bannisters, roof, external doors and windows
    • sinks, baths, toilets and other sanitary fittings, including pipes and drains
    • heating and hot water
    • chimneys and ventilation
    • electrical wiring

    Your landlord is responsible for repairing any 'common parts' of a building, such as entrance halls, communal stairways and shared kitchens.

    Your landlord also must put right any damage to internal decorations caused by repair problems or while repairs were carried out.

    Landlord's responsibility for health and safety

    Your landlord should make sure that your home is free from any hazards that could affect the health and safety of anyone in your household.

    Health hazards can include:

    • problems with damp and mould - unless caused by your lifestyle
    • overcrowding - if there are too many people living in your home according to the Government's space standards.

    Gas safety

    Your landlord is responsible for keeping gas appliances they provide in safe working order. Your landlord must arrange an annual gas safety inspection to be carried out by a registered Gas Safe engineer and give you a copy of their report.

    Electrical appliances

    Your landlord is responsible for keeping electrical appliances they provide in safe working order.

    It's your responsibility as a tenant to check that any appliances that you own are in good safe working order.

    Tenant's responsibilities

    You must use your home in a responsible way.

    You should:

    • keep it clean
    • not damage the property and make sure your family, guests or other visitors don't either
    • carry out minor maintenance such as replacing smoke alarm batteries
    • use the heating properly
    • never block flues or other ventilation

    You usually are also responsible for minor repairs, such as:

    • fixing a bathroom cabinet
    • renewing sealant around the bath
    • replacing a kitchen drawer handle

    Your landlord isn't responsible for fixing any appliances or furniture you own. They are your responsibility.

    You will probably have to pay for repairs if you cause damage to the property, even if it's accidental. You shouldn't have to pay for fair wear and tear to your home.

    If you don't put right any damage you've caused, your landlord could deduct money from your tenancy deposit.

  • Mortgage arrears

    If you don't keep up with the payments on your mortgage you risk losing your home.

    Mortgage arrears can occur for many reasons, depending on your circumstances. The most important thing to do if you are having difficulty paying your mortgage is to make sure you deal with the problem as soon as possible. Speak to your lender as soon as possible - don't put it off hoping that things will get better.

    Just like any other debt problem, the longer you leave it, the worse it will get. There may be ways you can set up repayment plans with your lender, extend the term of your mortgage, or negotiate with them on how best to deal with your situation.

    If you are struggling and unsure of your options the best thing to do is to get specialist advice.

    Certain organisations can provide specific advice on your options and some can even assist with speaking to the Lender on your behalf if you need them to.

  • Private rented sector

    These days, the most realistic option for many people looking for a home is to find one through the private rented sector.

    In Dacorum, we have more than 6,000 people on our Housing Register, so even if you source accommodation through our homeless route there is no guarantee this will result in social rented housing.

    The private sector, whilst it can be more expensive, could offer you the choice that you wouldn't otherwise get through an approach to us.

    We accept that the prospect of renting privately can be daunting because of the costs, but there is help available. All the information you need for taking the private rented route is below:

    Where can I find properties to rent?

    You can find properties to rent privately through many different websites. Some examples are given below:

    You can also try looking in local newspapers and shop windows.

    How can I get the money required for a deposit and rent in advance?

    For many people, finding the money required up front to rent a property is hard. There are ways to get help with this.

    Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP): If you are in receipt of Housing Benefit then you can apply for a DHP to cover a deposit. You need to meet certain criteria for this. You can find out more on our Discretionary Housing Payments page.

    Homeless Prevention Fund: If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness and need help with paying your rent in advance, we may be able to lend you the money for this. We pay the money directly to your landlord and then work out an affordable repayment plan with you. You would also need to meet certain criteria for this. Please speak to your Homeless Advice and Prevention Officer for more information.

    I can't afford the rent for a privately rented property

    There's no getting away from it, privately renting can be costly, but it could be more affordable than you think. There are several ways you can try to get around this.

    Income maximisation

    Even if you are working, you may be entitled to some benefits assistance. There are two benefit calculators below you can try - just input all your information and it can tell you what you may be able to claim.

    If you are concerned about affordability, take a look at the Money Helper Budget Planner. It is broken down to account for everything you may be regularly spending, so can help you to work out what you can afford and possibly even the areas you could cut back on to maximise your income.

    Employment

    With the changes to the benefits system, the benefit cap and Universal Credit being rolled out, it is a difficult time for people who are in receipt of benefits. This could have a huge impact on what is and isn't affordable for you.

    The best way to overcome this is to look at employment options.

    Not everyone is able to work full time, but even getting a part time job could make things easier for you.

    If you've been out of work for a while, you may feel daunted at the thought of getting back into the system, but there are national and local services set up to help people like you back into work. Take a look at the following links:

    Location

    If you struggling to find something affordable for you locally then you may wish to consider moving to another area.

    Dacorum is an expensive place to live because it has such good transport links to London.

    Why not take a look at the BBC's House Price Calculator to see which areas are the most and least affordable for people looking for somewhere to rent. Even if you don't want to move, it may be worth looking just to get an idea of average prices here and elsewhere.

    Look at different property types

    Depending on your circumstances, it may be worthwhile to look at different types of homes or rooms for rent.

    If you can't afford to rent a whole property yourself, you could look at renting a room in a shared house. This won't be suitable for everyone, but it can be an affordable option for single people and couples without children.

    You could also look into sharing a property with a friend so you're splitting the costs between you.

    I don't want to privately rent - the landlord can just kick me out and I don't want to move every six months

    This is a common misconception. Any tenancy - whether with a private or social landlord - can be ended.

    At the moment, if you are a private tenant, a landlord could end your tenancy without needing a specific reason for doing so, but there is a legal process that they need to go through before they can do this.

    It's worth remembering that it's not in a landlord's interest to get new tenants in every six months. If there are no rent or tenancy issues and both parties are happy, private tenancies often last for many years.

    I don't know what my rights are

    It's important that as a tenant - regardless of whether you rent privately or have a social housing landlord - you know what your rights are.

    You can find out more information about your rights and responsibilities as a private tenant on our Private Tenants page.

    I've found a property I like - what do I do now?

    Great! If you've found a property you like and you want to start renting it on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, make sure that you read the Government's booklet: How to Rent.

  • Relationship breakdown

    If your relationship has broken down, there are different options and routes available for you depending on the circumstances.

    In all cases, it is important to seek the correct advice about your rights and options. See below for more information and how you can find the help that's right for you.

    Domestic abuse/violent breakdown

    Further details can be found on our domestic abuse page.

    Non-Violent Breakdown

    There are support services available if you want to try to resolve the problems following a breakdown of your relationship. You may wish to try to resolve the issues, or to reach agreed decisions about the future.

    Family Mediation

    Mediation Hertfordshire offers a service to resolve conflict and rebuild relationships. Mediation offers an independent impartial lifeline to people experiencing conflict in the community, at work and at school. Offers a service to resolve conflict and rebuild relationships. Mediation offers an independent. impartial lifeline to people experiencing conflict in the community, at work and at school.

    Relate supports individuals, couples and families experiencing a wide range of difficulties. It can help with problems such as: breakups, arguments, affairs, sexual problems, domestic violence and abuse, post-divorce and separation parenting, step-families, retirement, new baby - in fact anything that has an effect on your relationships.

    Dacorum Borough Council - we have a dedicated Homeless Prevention Team that can provide advice and assistance about your housing rights and options. It doesn't matter whether or not you are one of our tenants or currently living in Dacorum, we can always give you advice. However, if you are one of our tenants and have recently experienced a relationship breakdown, then your Housing Officer (Tenancy) should be your first contact. Dacorum Borough Council tenants please call 01442 228000 and say the name of your Housing Officer (Tenancy) or if you don't know it you can just ask for Housing to be put through to our call centre.

    The Citizens Advice website gives advice about many issues, including advice about family mediation. You can contact Dacorum Citizens Advice directly for more help and advice. It may be able to help you with practical advice on what to do next.

    Every year, Shelter helps millions of people who are struggling with bad housing or homelessness through its advice, support and legal services. It can give you advice about your legal housing rights in your current situation.

  • Street homeless

    If you are facing street homelessness or are already sleeping rough, the first thing you need to do is get help and advice.

    Getting advice in Dacorum

    Dacorum Borough Council

    We can help you find a place to live, can sometimes provide financial assistance and can help get you linked in with the support services you may need.

    If you are street homeless or facing street homelessness, then you need to contact our Homeless Prevention Team.

    You can do this in the following ways:

    • In person - at The Forum, Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 1DN
    • By phone - call 01442 228000 and ask for Homeless Prevention (Outside our office hours you need to call 0800 018 6050)
    • By email - homelessnessprevention@dacorum.gov.uk

    DENS Day Centre

    The DENS Day Centre is a first point of contact for anyone at risk of sleeping rough in the borough.

    The centre is located on the outskirts of Gadebridge Park at 1 Queensway, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 1HT.

    For opening hours and more information, please visit the DENS website or call 01442 275900.

    The Day Centre staff and team of friendly volunteers fully assess our visitors to evaluate how they can best help and improve their situation. They are trained to tackle a wide range of issues.

    The range of services on offer includes:

    • Food and drink - providing an open, hot-meal drop-in service. It also acts as an outlet for Dacorum's Foodbank
    • Cleaning facilities - Visitors have access to showers as well as laundry facilities
    • Clothing - Clothes, toiletries and sleeping bags are given to those who have no accommodation or unable to access The Elms emergency night shelter
    • Computer access - Allows visitors to access the internet, search for jobs and look for accommodation
    • Help and advice - Covering eviction, job loss, benefit claims, filling out forms and solving personal issues
    • The Elms referral - for those seeking temporary accommodation, the Day Centre is a key point of referral to Dacorum's emergency night shelter as well as for long-term living solutions.

    Other support services

    We have joint working agreements in place with most support services in the borough.

    If you are already working with a service about your support needs then just tell whoever you are working with about your homeless situation. They can refer you to us for some further housing support and advice.

    Getting advice nationally

    You can get professional, impartial advice on homelessness from the following charities:

    Hostels and night shelters

    We aren't always able to provide temporary accommodation - it depends on your circumstances. If for any reason you don't meet the criteria, there are other hostels and night shelters you may be able to access whilst we try to help you find something more long term.

    Use Homeless Link to find a hostel or night shelter near you.

  • Tenancy rights

    Regardless of whether you rent your property from a private or social landlord, you have certain rights - but also responsibilities - as a tenant. These vary according to the type of tenancy you have.

    Private Tenants

    As a tenant, you have the right to:

    • live in a property that is safe and in a good state of repair
    • be treated fairly regardless of disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation
    • have contact details for the landlord
    • live in the property undisturbed - the landlord or agent must provide at least 24 hours' notice to visit the property, at a reasonable time of day, unless there is an emergency
    • be notified of a rent increase at least 28 days and no earlier than 90 days before implementation
    • have any problems with water, electricity and gas supply dealt with by the landlord or managing agent
    • see an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property
    • be protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent
    • have your deposit protected and returned to you when the tenancy ends - provided that the conditions are met for this
    • have any general and emergency repairs carried out by the landlord, managing agent or their appointed person -this does not include repairs for damage caused by tenants

    Additionally:

    • The landlord may not change the locks without informing you and providing a new set of keys

    You also have responsibilities as a tenant. Some of the main ones are:

    • Provide documents for a right to rent check
    • Pay your rent on time
    • Look after your home
    • Ask for permission when it's needed, for example:
      • To take a lodger or allow any other person not stated on your tenancy to live permanently at your home
      • To redecorate the property
      • To carry out any alterations, however small
      • To keep a pet (even if it's allowed by your tenancy agreement)
    • Allow your landlord access
    • Take responsibility for behaviour
    • Keep to the rules of your tenancy
    • Follow rules on smoking
    • Live in your home - always notify your landlord or letting agent if you will be away for 30 days or more.
    • End your tenancy properly

    You can find more information on our Private Tenants page. The following organisations can offer advice on your rights as a tenant of private rented accommodation.

    Social Housing Tenants

    If your landlord is a housing association or a local authority (council) then your rights and responsibilities will be set out in your Tenancy Agreement and/or Tenants' Handbook.

    If you are a Dacorum Borough Council tenant, you should check your own Tenancy Agreement that you signed when you were allocated your current home, as well as following the advice in our Tenants' Handbook.

    If you need more information about your tenancy, the first point of contact will be your Housing Officer (Tenancy).  

  • Social housing

    Social housing is owned and managed by councils and other not-for-profit organisations such as housing associations. Social housing is let at rents below the current private rent for a similar property to those with a housing need.

    Most housing association homes are let at affordable rent, which is around 80 per cent of the current private market rent for a similar property.

    All our homes are let at social rent, which is usually around 50 per cent of the current private market rent for a similar property.

    To be able to apply for council and housing association properties in Dacorum, you must first apply to our housing register and be accepted on our active register.

    Our  Housing Allocations Policy (PDF 1.7MB) sets out how we prioritise applications based on your circumstances and your level of housing need. If you do not have access to the internet, you can ask us for a paper copy by calling 01442 228000 and asking for Housing.

    You can also find more information on our Housing Register page.

    If you are accepted on our active register, you are given a number of points based on your current level of housing need. The more points you have, the higher your priority for housing will be. We give points for a number of different categories including:

    • overcrowding
    • medical conditions**
    • care and support need and
    • the condition of your current property

    We also give points for time spent on the register.

    The policy also explains how these points are awarded and how many you get

    ** Please note: Medical points are not awarded based on your medical condition. They are awarded if the property you live in is directly affecting it. Even you had a very serious medical condition, if it would not be improved by moving from your current home then you won't get medical points.

    To apply to the housing register, you must first create an account, by generating a log-in ID and password on the Moving with Dacorum website. You will then need to complete an online housing register application.

    We will then assess your application to determine if you are eligible to be accepted on to our Housing Register and we will be in contact with our decision.

    Please note: Housing applications typically take up to four weeks to process.

    If you are eligible for social housing in Dacorum, you will be awarded points based on your level of need and the information you provide. If you want the officers to consider an element of your case that you think could give you points then you need to provide evidence of it.

    We have a choice-based lettings system: You can view information about a property before expressing an interest (known as bidding). You can place as many or as few bids as you like. If you bid on a property and are the successful applicant but you refuse the offer of housing then you will not be allowed to bid again for six months.

  • Tenant responsibilities

    If you wish to become a tenant, you need to know about your responsibilities. You must:

    Provide documents for a right to rent check

    Your landlord has to check you have the right to rent a home. You must provide certain documents to enable them to check you have the right to live in the United Kingdom.

    A landlord can't rent a property to you if you don't have the right to rent.

    Pay your rent on time

    Rent is usually paid in advance every month or week. You must pay it on time. If you fall behind with the rent, your landlord can take steps to evict you and claim any money you owe them.

    Housing Benefit

    If you claim housing benefit to help pay your rent, you must:

    • keep your claim up to date
    • tell the housing benefit department about any changes in your circumstances
    • complete any renewal forms they send to you and return them within the time limits set

    Contact us if your housing benefit is delayed. We can make an interim payment on account while your claim is being processed.

    Universal Credit

    If you claim Universal Credit to help pay your rent, you must keep your claim up to date.

    You must report any change in your circumstances. You can report changes through your online account.

    See the Government website for what changes to report.

    You can apply for a short-term advance payment while you are waiting for your Universal Credit claim to be processed. You will only get a payment if you would suffer financial hardship without one.

    Look after your home

    Your landlord is responsible for certain repairs and maintenance. However, as a tenant, you are also responsible for certain things.

    As a tenant you must:

    • report any repairs needed to your landlord
    • make sure your home is well ventilated (to help avoid condensation and damp)
    • do minor maintenance (such as check smoke alarms are working, change light bulbs)
    • dispose of your rubbish properly
    • not damage internal decorations, furniture and equipment. You'll have to pay for anything you've broken or damaged.
    • not use unsafe appliances - your landlord must make sure that gas and electrical installations meet safety standards.

    Ask for permission when it's needed

    Check what your tenancy agreement says about when you need your landlord's permission.

    You will probably need to ask your landlord if you want to:

    • take in a lodger
    • make improvements to the property
    • run a business from the property

    Your agreement may also say you need permission for keeping a pet, smoking or parking a caravan on the property. Always put requests to your landlord in writing and keep a copy. Keep copies of any reply.

    The landlord does have the right to refuse these requests.

    Allow your landlord access

    You must give your landlord access to the property if repairs are needed. They will need to assess or carry out the repairs. Your landlord must give you reasonable notice.

    You have the right to live in your home without unnecessary interference from your landlord. You have the right to stop your landlord coming into your home, unless you share your home with them.

    Harassment by a landlord or someone acting on their behalf may be treated as a criminal offence.

    Take responsibility for behaviour

    You should not behave in an anti-social or aggressive way towards your:

    • neighbours
    • landlord
    • anyone employed by your landlord.

    If you are the tenant, you will be held responsible for the anti-social behaviour of anyone who lives with you or visits you.

    Your landlord can take steps to evict you for anti-social behaviour.

    Keep to the rules of your tenancy

    If you don't follow the rules of your tenancy, your landlord can take steps to evict you. You could be evicted for breach of contract if you break tenancy conditions that say you must not:

    • run a business from the property
    • engage in anti-social behaviour
    • keep cats or dogs

    Follow rules on smoking

    Unless the tenancy agreement says that your property is non-smoking, you are allowed to smoke and allow visitors to smoke in your home.

    Smoking is not usually allowed in any parts of the building that are shared with other tenants.

    Live in your home

    You could lose your tenancy if:

    • it is no longer your main home
    • you rent out your home to someone else while you are away
    • you don't pay the rent

    Tell your landlord if you will be away from home for any length of time. For example, if you are going into hospital, into prison or are caring for someone who lives somewhere else. You must keep paying the rent while you are away.

    End your tenancy properly

    You must end your tenancy properly if you want to move out. If you don't end, you will still be liable for rent. This applies even if you are no longer living there.

    It is possible to end your tenancy immediately but only if the landlord agrees to this. Get their acceptance in writing.

    You can't give notice if you are still in the fixed term of a tenancy, unless your tenancy agreement says you can.

  • Housing advice for young people

    If you are 16-17 years old and facing homelessness or having issues at home, then there are specific services that are there to help and advise you.

    If you are having issues at home, then unless it's not safe for you to live there, leaving home in a hurry is hardly ever the most effective solution, even if you aren't getting on with your parents or other family members. Living alone can be harder and more costly than you would think.

    You can't legally hold a tenancy until you are 18, so the only option you'll have available to you at this age is to live in a hostel environment. You would have to share facilities (such as bathroom and kitchen) with other young people who are homeless.

    If you are not at risk, but are thinking of leaving home, then you need to think about all the issues you may face. Herts Young Homeless (hyh) is a local charity that helps young people facing homelessness or having issues at home. Its Frequently Asked Questions will give you an idea of the options available for homeless young people. 

    If you are having problems with parents/family relationships then moving out isn't necessarily going to solve these.

    In many cases, mediation can help work out what the problems are and look at ways to solve them. If you are not feeling safe at home for any reason, the most important thing to do is to seek help. If you are in immediate danger, you should always call 999.

    You should not remain in an environment where you are at risk of harm, whether physical or emotional. If you feel you are then you should get help immediately.

    If you need help leaving home out of hours, you need to get in touch and get emergency assistance.

    You can contact us on 01442 228000 during the day or 0800 018 6050 out of normal working hours.

    You can contact social services on 0300 123 4043. You can contact HYH on 08000 355 775.

    Whichever service you contact to start with, you should be provided with the help you need then redirected to the right service to handle your case.

  • Suffering a mental illness or impairment and homelessness

    Housing needs

    If you suffer from a mental illness or impairment for the first time and this means that you are struggling to live in your current home, or it puts you at risk of losing your home, please contact our Homeless Prevention and Advice Team as soon as possible. They will work with you to identify your housing problems and work with you to try to make sure that you do not become homeless. They would achieve this through partnership and multi-agency working to make sure you get support for your situation.

    If you are suffering from a mental illness or impairment that causes you to be classed as vulnerable, you could then become "priority need" for housing. This will depend upon your personal circumstances.

    If you are homeless or at risk of homelessness, your Homeless Advice and Prevention Officer will work with you to develop a Personal Housing Plan. If your condition makes it difficult for you to complete this or understand it, then we will suggest that you bring someone with you to support you with this.

    If you feel you need support to manage your mental health, you need to ask for help from your GP. They can provide you with advice and support as well as making sure you are referred to the appropriate service for your needs.

    Social care and support services

    If you have a mental health condition/impairment and need support to manage day-to-day personal activities, you may be able to get support from Adult Social Care Services.

    You can find more information about how to get care and support from Hertfordshire Adult Care Services on the Hertfordshire County Council website

    If you don't have access to the internet, you can talk to someone at HertsHelp for free, independent advice. Just call 0300 123 4044.

    For support and advice about mental health issues, please visit the Hertfordshire Mind Network website or call 020 3727 3600.

    For support from Samaritans, call free on 116 123 or visit the Samaritans website.

    If you need independent housing advice you can contact Shelter on 0808 800 4444 or visit the Shelter website.

    For more information about homelessness and other Council services, please visit our homeless or at risk of homelessness page.

  • Housing advice for care leavers

    If you are a care leaver and at risk of homelessness, you may be able to get housing and other help from ourselves and other agencies, depending upon your age and circumstances.

    Key advice

    Housing help for 16 and 17-year olds

    If you are 16-17 years old and at risk of homelessness, you will be able to get advice and support, including somewhere to live, from Hertfordshire Council's Children's Services. Many services are run by hyh - (Herts Young Homeless).

    Housing help for care leavers

    You are entitled to housing help and assistance from us if all of the following apply:

    • you have already left care and
    • you have spent a total of at least 13 weeks in care since the age of 14 and
    • part of that time in care was while you were 16 or 17

    It doesn't matter if your 13 weeks in care was continuous. If you have spent less than a total of 13 weeks in care, or you want to leave care before your 16th birthday then your rights are different.

    Help and advice for homeless care leavers

    Get advice if you become homeless. An adviser can help you to:

    • check whether homelessness prevention and advice service/children's service should help you
    • tell you what sort of accommodation and support children's services normally provide in Dacorum - this will give you an idea of what you can expect
    • make sure you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to
    • tell you what longer term housing options are available in your area and give you an idea of how much it might cost
    • put you in contact with specialist support organisations or local schemes that can help you raise a deposit or find a suitable place to live.

    Use Shelter's directory to find an adviser in your local area, or call Shelter's helpline on 0808 800 4444. For more information about homelessness, visit our homelessness or at risk of homelessness page.

    Independent advice

    You can get free, confidential, independent advice from Shelter and Citizens Advice.

    Financial support for 16 or 17-year olds

    Most 16 or 17-year olds are not eligible for benefits. Children's Services and Herts Young Homeless must help you by:

    • providing housing or helping you find and keep your own place
    • supporting you financially by paying you enough for your rent, food, bills, travel costs for education and training, clothing, pocket money and childcare if you need it
    • giving you any other support you need, such as help with continuing your education, finding work or dealing with personal problems.

    If you are a 16 or 17-year old, you can usually only claim benefits if you are also a single parent or unable to work because of a disability or illness.

    Turn2us is a national charity helping people when times get tough. It provides financial support to help people get back on track. Its website includes a benefits calculator and advice about applying for small grants.

    Housing help for care leavers

    If you still have care leaver status, you can get help from both Hertfordshire County Council's Children's Services and the Homelessness Prevention and Advice Service. You are automatically classed as being in 'priority need' whilst the following apply:

    • Until your 21st birthday, which means that the Homelessness Prevention and Advice Service should help you find a place to live
    • If you are aged 18 to 21 and spent at least one night in care when you were 16 or 17, you are automatically classed as being in priority need until your 21st birthday.

    Children and Young People's Services can also help you by providing support and help with training and education. If you are in full-time further or higher education, Children's Services must find you somewhere to live during holiday periods if you need it.

    Benefits for care leavers over 18

    When you turn 18, you are entitled to claim benefits. You should be able to claim Universal Credit if you need to.

    Housing help for care leavers aged 21 years old and over

    Some older care leavers can get accommodation through the Homelessness Prevention and Advice Service if they are in priority need. For example, this may apply to you if:

    • you are vulnerable as a result of having been in care
    • you haven't had a stable home since you left care
    • you have slept on the streets in the past

    Other support for care leavers aged 18 to 24

    As a care leaver, you should continue to receive help and advice from Children's Services until your 21st birthday (or 25th if you are still in education or training). Children's Services can help you by providing assistance with education and training until your 25th birthday.

    Your personal adviser should still keep in touch and should go over your pathway plan with you to see how you are getting on (there is more information about personal advisers further down).

    Adult Services and/or Children and Young People Services can help you if you need support to continue with your education or find training or employment. It may be able to help with the cost of living near your college, training centre or workplace.

    Help for all care leavers

    The council that last looked after you remains responsible for you even if you move to a different area. It must continue to give you any heIp you need, even if you move to another area. You can contact us on 01442 228000. Call Shelter's helpline on 0808 800 4444 if you need emergency housing or support.

    Personal adviser

    Before you leave care, you're given a pathway plan setting out what support you might need to live independently. Find out more from the Government about pathway plans. You're given a personal adviser whose job it is to make sure that you claim everything you are entitled to.

    It can help you with application forms for housing, benefits, and education and/or training courses. It should also help you with learning life skills, like how to budget. Your personal adviser should stay in contact with you and provide ongoing support and help until you turn 21 (or until your 25th birthday if you are still studying full time). Get advice if you don't have a personal adviser. You may be able to get one even if you didn't have one while you were still in care.

    You can find more information about the kind of help you're entitled to on the Government website.

    Suitable accommodation for young care leavers

    Any accommodation that Hertfordshire County Council provides should be suitable for you. You may get a place in a hostel or a self-contained flat. It is possible (though unlikely) that in some cases you could be offered a place in a children's home or foster care. Ask your personal adviser to help you if you have problems with your accommodation. Get advice immediately if you're placed in bed and breakfast accommodation or any other unsuitable accommodation.

    Use Shelter's directory to find your local Shelter advice centre.

    Single room rate

    Usually if you are aged under 35 and you rent from a private landlord, the maximum Universal Credit amount you can get is the same rate you would get for renting a single room in a shared house. However, if you've been in care, this doesn't apply until you turn 22. You should be entitled to Universal Credit even if you have only spent one night in care. There is a maximum amount that you can be paid, which depends on the area you live in.

    Help for moving into a new place

    If you are a care leaver moving to a new place, you may be entitled to a budgeting loan to help pay for any rent in advance, your moving expenses or essential household items. Most people who have been on income support or jobseekers' allowance for at least 26 weeks can apply. These loans are paid back through deductions from your benefits.

    Managing your money

    Sit down and make a list of all your income and all your outgoings and any debts you may have. Take a look at our Money Advice page.

  • Homeless when released from prison

    If you have recently been released from prison, find out about services that could provide practical support and help you find accommodation.

    Key advice

    • Tell our Homelessness Prevention and Advice Service about your accommodation and health history.

    Help we can provide if you are homeless when released from prison

    If you apply to us for housing assistance because you are homeless after leaving prison, we may not be obliged to provide you with accommodation.

    Our duty to you might be limited to providing you with advice and assistance and not accommodation.

    For us to be legally obliged to provide you with accommodation, we would have to be satisfied that you are eligible, homeless and in priority need. We will take your time in prison into account when assessing your application, even if it has been some time since you were released.

    We will also look at whether you:

    • have a mental illness
    • have a learning disability or physical disability
    • are under 21 and have been in care
    • were in the armed forces
    • are fleeing violence or threats of violence.

    Priority need for prisoners and ex-offenders

    When assessing your application, we will look into whether you are in priority need because you have spent time in prison or on remand.

    When considering your homelessness application, we will look at:

    • the length of time you spent in prison
    • whether any third party support is being provided to you, either by the probation service, a youth offending team, or drug and alcohol team
    • evidence provided by any third party (including any housing needs assessment) about your homelessness vulnerability
    • the period of time since your release from prison and how successful you have been in finding, and keeping, your own accommodation
    • any third party support networks such as family, friends or a probation officer
    • evidence of any other vulnerability such as mental health problems, drug or alcohol misuse, or a history of having been in care
    • any other factors that might have an impact on your ability to find accommodation yourself.

    The fact that you have been in prison does not necessarily mean that we have to treat you as being vulnerable and in priority need for accommodation. We will need to assess the evidence, and be satisfied that you will find it difficult to seek out and maintain accommodation compared with other homeless people.

    What area can you be housed in if you are homeless?

    When you apply to us as homeless, our Homelessness Prevention and Advice Service will check to see if you have a local connection with Dacorum. You can establish a local connection, for example, by living, working, or having immediate family (usually a parent or brother or sister) in the area. Time spent in prison in a specific area does not give you a local connection with the area where the prison is located.

    If you have no local connection with any area, or if you are fleeing domestic violence, you can apply to any council in any area. The council you apply to has to help you.

    There may be restrictions placed on where you can live, depending on your release conditions.

    Emergency accommodation if you have no housing

    If you have nowhere to go following your release from prison, you may need to use emergency accommodation such as a hostel or a night shelter. Some hostels may provide temporary accommodation. Some are 'direct access', which means you don't need a referral from an agency to use them.

    In Dacorum, the DENS Day Centre provides hot meals, showers, laundry facilities and other practical help for people who need somewhere to go during the day. It may also be able to help you find housing.

    The DENS Day Centre is located on the outskirts of Gadebridge Park at 1 Queensway, Hemel Hempstead, HP11HT. For more information, contact the Day Centre on 01442 275900.

    You can also contact our Homelessness Prevention and Advice Team or visit our homeless or at risk of homelessness page.

    Search the Homeless England directory to find hostels, emergency and longer-term accommodation and day centres in your area.

    Use Shelter's directory or call its free housing advice helpline on 0808 800 4444 to find services near you.

    Help finding housing in the private rented sector

    You could try to find housing in the private rented sector. Our Homelessness Prevention and Advice Service will be able to advise you how to find out what housing is available locally and how to apply for Universal Credit to help with your housing costs. You may also be able to get help with a deposit.

    Apply for a council or housing association home

    As a longer-term housing option, you could also consider applying for a council home or a housing association home. Please complete the online Housing Register application on the Moving With Dacorum website where you can also use our Housing Options Wizard to find helpful advice about getting a job and applying for benefits.

    Help from probation services to find housing

    Offenders serving sentences of 12 months or more are released on licence and live in the community supervised by the probation service until the end of their sentence. If you are released on licence, your probation officer can help you find accommodation, so long as you have spent a continuous period of at least 12 months in custody.

    Help with money before you are released from prison

    All prisoners are given a discharge grant paid for by the prison when they leave. This is money to help with your costs until your benefits are sorted out. If a prison housing adviser has found you accommodation for your first night, you may be given a higher discharge grant (about an extra £50), which is paid directly to the accommodation provider.

    A prison adviser or other adviser may be able to help you with your application. You could apply for help with paying for: 

    • essential belongings lost when you were away
    • clothes
    • a fridge for your new home
    • help with the costs of moving into accommodation

    You may be able to prepare for your release when you are in prison by saving some of your prison wages. You could consider opening a credit union account when you are in prison. Ask at the prison for details.

Page Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 May 2023 at 06:40 AM