If you are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless or concerned about the possibility of losing your home, it is extremely important that you seek advice at the earliest opportunity.
Seeking alternative accommodation
Before approaching the council, you should try to find alternative accommodation yourself. If you are relying on housing benefit or the housing costs element of Universal Credit to pay some or all of your rent, this is unlikely to cover the cost of renting privately in the Royal Borough - you may need to broaden the area in which you are looking for accommodation to find an affordable property.
Current local housing allowance rates can be found for each area at Directgov - Local Housing Allowance Rates.
The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 means that we have duties to prevent and relieve homelessness.
It also means that you must take action to prevent you from becoming homeless or to end your homelessness, and that you must co-operate with any efforts we make to help you.
We have a duty to provide advice and assistance if you are:
- Eligible for assistance, which means you have the right to claim benefits and housing in the UK.
- At risk of becoming homeless within 56 days (eight weeks).
This is called the prevention duty, and it means we must take reasonable steps to help prevent you from becoming homeless. This duty lasts for 56 days.
If we can’t prevent you from becoming homeless during the prevention duty period, we will take steps to find you suitable accommodation that will last for at least six months. We have 56 days to find you accommodation during the relief duty period.
Personal housing plan
We will provide a dedicated officer who will work with you to prevent and relieve your homelessness. We will undertake a detailed assessment of why you are threatened with homelessness, your support needs and the type of housing you require. This assessment will form the basis of your personal housing plan.
Your personal housing plan is an important document, as it sets out all the reasonable things that you need to do and that we will do to help you. You need to co-operate with the steps set out in your personal housing plan to end your homelessness or the threat of homelessness.
If you are still homeless when the relief duty period ends, we will make a decision about whether we owe you any further housing duty. We will usually only accept a full duty to house you if you:
- Are eligible for assistance,
- Are in priority need,
- Are not intentionally homeless,
- Have a local connection to Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
Refusal to co-operate
If we think you are deliberately or unreasonably refusing to co-operate with steps agreed in your personal housing plan, we can end any prevention or relief duty. We will tell you before we do this, and if you disagree with our decision you have the right to ask for a review.
What to do if you disagree with our decision
If you are not happy with a decision we have made, you can ask us to look at it again. This can include a decision about the steps we think are reasonable to prevent or relieve your homelessness, or that you have deliberately or unreasonably refused to co-operate over your personal housing plan.
Completing a self-referral
If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness, we ask you to complete an online self-referral.
To register, you will need a valid personal email address. If you have already registered on the website to be on the Council’s Housing Register, then you do not need to register again. You can log in using your current information.
Once you have completed a self-referral the Housing Options Team will contact you to discuss your current situation.
I don’t have a computer, what do I do?
The above link is designed to work on your mobile phone. If you’re reading this on a mobile, you can click on the link and it will work. If you do not have access to a mobile phone or tablet then you can contact the emergency duty telephone number: 01628 683803.
How will I be contacted?
The housing options team will contact you as soon as they can and in most circumstances within 10 days. The team prioritise households who have nowhere to stay or who are due to lose their accommodation in the coming days and individuals who are experiencing or who are at risk of domestic abuse.
The housing options team will contact you by telephone. You will need to make sure that you provide contact information that the housing options team can contact you on. If the team cannot reach you on first attempt, they will continue to try to contact you for five working days, however if they cannot contact you, they may close your approach.
Ending the duty owed by offering private rented sector accommodation
The demand for social housing in the Royal Borough far exceeds the supply of available properties. We can discharge our duties to homeless applicants through suitable private rented sector offers.
Help us to help you. Be prepared.
So that we can assess your situation more effectively, you will be asked to upload some or all of the following documentation:
- proof of your identity,
- birth certificate,
- a document confirming your national insurance number,
- photo driving licence,
- details of your income, recent statements of all bank and building society accounts (including current and any savings accounts) held by you and, if relevant, your household,
- if you are employed, payslips for the last five weeks or two months, depending on whether you are paid weekly or monthly,
- proof of all benefits you get.
If you have a child or are expecting a child:
- a full birth certificate for any child who is to be included in your application for housing,
- any divorce or separation papers that show arrangements concerning children,
- a maternity certificate or hospital notes confirming your pregnancy, which should clearly show your estimated due date.
If you are renting a home:
- the tenancy agreement that you were given at the start of your tenancy,
- any other contract that you were given later,
- if you do not have a written tenancy agreement, a rent book or letter from your landlord confirming the tenancy,
- the notice issued by your landlord to vacate the property,
- if your home is to be sold, confirmation from your solicitor of the sale of your property detailing the value of the property, the amount of mortgage still outstanding and the amount of capital you are likely to receive when the property is sold.
Legal action to repossess your home:
- the court summons for possession with details of the application for possession,
- any court order for possession,
- any bailiff's warrant for possession.
To understand the impact of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will use the information you provide to us when you ask us to help you. This information will be used to research what causes homelessness and how well homelessness services meet peoples’ needs.