Housing and Homelessness Advice

If you are threatened with homelessness or want to apply to join our housing register, we will assess your housing application to determine what assistance or advice we can provide

Based on the information that you provide, we will investigate your circumstances and provide general advice and assistance.

If you are threatened with homelessness, we can take an application and assess your situation to determine whether we have a duty to offer your rehousing. 

Despite the serious housing shortage in this area, we are determined to do all that we can to help find you a home. We will try to help you regardless of whether we accept that you are homeless. 

We appreciate this is a difficult time for you and we will do all we can to help. Our duties towards homeless people are set out in law. We have to consider whether we have a legal duty towards you, and: 

  • If so, how we will fulfil that duty 
  • If not, how else we can help you 

Please remember that, even if you think you are homeless or threatened with homelessness, we might not have a legal duty to find you a home. And even if we have a duty towards you, we might not be able to give you the type of home you would prefer.


Homeless Reduction Act 2017

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 was implemented on 3 April 2018, signalling the most significant change to homelessness law for a number of years. The new legislation placed a duty on Councils to help prevent the homelessness of all who are eligible and threatened with homelessness, regardless of priority need.

Key measures in the Act include

  • An extension of the period in which the authority should treat someone as threatened with homelessness from 28 to 56 days
  • A new duty to prevent homelessness and a new duty to relieve
  • A requirement for public services to notify the Council if they come into contact with someone who may be homeless or threatened with homelessness
  • A duty on the applicant to co-operate with the authority in resolving their housing issue


Duties to prevent and relieve homelessness:

South Staffordshire Council has a duty to help people if they are at risk of losing their suitable accommodation within 56 days. Steps taken to relieve homelessness are that the Council will help all those who are homeless to secure suitable accommodation regardless of whether they are ‘intentionally homeless’ or priority need. Eligible households are given help to find accommodation. If neither of the first two steps work and the household remains or become homeless, then those clients in priority need retain their rights be housed but those who are non-priority are not entitled to any further help. 

There is also a requirement for Councils to make sure that everyone can get free information and advice on preventing and relieving homelessness, particularly vulnerable groups including victims of domestic abuse, persons suffering from mental ill health and prisoners on release.

If you are threatened with homelessness or are homeless, or would like to find out more about the Homelessness Reduction Act, you can contact The Housing Team on 01902 696504 or email: homes@sstaffs.gov.uk We aim to respond within one working day of you contacting us.


Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service launched

The government has launched the Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service (HLPAS), which offers government-funded legal advice and representation (legal aid) to individuals facing possession proceedings which could result in the loss of their homes.

Individuals who receive a written notice for possession (e.g. an email from a landlord or a letter from a creditor) will be eligible to receive free legal assistance under this scheme. 

The HLPAS will be delivered by housing law experts and provided in two stages. The first stage will involve the provision of legal advice on housing, welfare benefits and debt issues to individuals facing home possession proceedings, with the aim of resolving problems early and avoiding court proceedings where possible. The second stage will provide in-court legal representation during possession hearings for those individuals whose cases cannot be solved out of court.

Individuals can find their nearest Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service provider by typing in their postcode and ticking the box ‘Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service’ on GOV.​UK.

To ensure people facing the loss of their home are aware of the support they are entitled to, councils are encouraged to share this information and the website with stakeholders and on their guidance pages.

For further information or if you have any questions, please contact: Chris.bone@justice.gov.uk


Reasons for Homelessness

Rough Sleeping and StreetLink

We are committed to ensuring that there is a practical approach to supporting rough sleepers in the area and are working with StreetLink to do this.  Therefore, if you are sleeping rough or come across someone who is sleeping rough, please contact the Housing Team by emailing homes@sstaffs.gov.uk or calling 01902 696000 or contacting StreetLink on 0300 500 0914.

StreetLink is a national rough sleeping website that enables the public to alert local authorities in England about rough sleepers in their area. The Service offers the public a means to act when they see someone sleeping rough and is the first step someone can take to ensure that rough sleepers are connected to the local services and support available to them. The service is part funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government and is part of their commitment to end rough sleeping in England. 

Rough Sleepers and members of the public can contact the StreetLink service about people sleeping rough in South Staffordshire


Severe Weather

Good practice guidance from the Department for Communities and Local Government recommends that all local authorities have emergency provisions in place to prevent the loss of life of rough sleepers in severe weather conditions. Provisions should be triggered when the night time temperature is predicted to be zero or below for three consecutive nights.

South Staffordshire Council ensure that during freezing temperatures anyone sleeping rough has access to shelter.

If you, or someone you are aware of, is facing the prospect of sleeping rough during severe weather, please contact the Housing Team by emailing homes@sstaffs.gov.uk or calling 01902 696000 or Emergency Out of Hours number 01384 679027.

Relationship Breakdown

If you are living with family, friends or a partner and the relationship breaks down, you will need to decide what to do about your home when you separate. 

Your legal right to remain in your property will depend on a number of factors including: 

  • The legal status of your relationship 
  • Whether you are a joint or sole tenant or owner of the property 
  • Whether you have dependant children residing in the property 
  • Whether you can enforce any rights you have through the courts. 

If you have a legal right to occupy a property, you may not be eligible for further assistance to find another property. We will assess each case on its circumstances. 

If you approach the Housing Team for advice and assistance regarding your rights to a property after a relationship breakdown, we will ask to speak to the other party so long as it is safe to do so. We may arrange for you to stay in the property temporarily whilst we work with you to help you find somewhere else to live.

Ending of a Private Sector Tenancy

Landlords are entitled to evict tenants, but must do so legally and must follow the proper legal procedure to require a tenant to leave their home.

One of the main reasons for a legal procedure being in place is to provide due time for tenants to find other accommodation.  We will check that a landlord has followed the correct repossession process.  The process starts with a notice to end your tenancy.  If you have received a notice contact the housing advice team as soon as possible for advice and assistance. There are steps that can be taken to prevent you from becoming homeless. Our housing team will speak to the landlord on your behalf.

For a Section 21 notice to be valid, you must have received the following documents before the notice was issued:

  • Tenancy agreement
  • Current gas safety certificate
  • EPC
  • Proof that your deposit is in a protected scheme 
  • Copy of the How to Rent booklet. 

So that the housing team can check if your notice is valid, you must include these documents on your housing application. 

If the notice is valid and the landlord wants to repossess, finding somewhere else to live is often difficult.  It is worth trying to work with the landlord to try to resolve any problems so they do not continue possession.  Eviction and re-letting can be expensive for a landlord.

  • Speak to your landlord as soon as possible. Do you know the reason why they have given you notice? If not, ask them.
  • If the reason is rent arrears and you are struggling to pay your rent or have other debts that affect your ability to pay your rent, you should seek money and debt advice from your local Citizens Advice.
  • Offer to do what you reasonably can to address the problems
  • If you need help to manage your tenancy, agree to accept on-going support either from the landlord or from a support service
  • If the landlord agrees that they no longer have to leave, ask them to confirm this in writing

It is legal for tenants to stay past the end date of a section 21 notice. If you need to stay you should discuss this with your landlord. You should continue to pay rent and seek advice as soon as possible. Your landlord may prefer not to pay the fees to start court action, even though they can usually recover the cost from tenants later. A landlord may agree not to apply to the court if, for example, you are doing everything you can to look for alternative accommodation and addressing rent and problems in the meantime.

For more information and advice for all types of tenancies visit The Shelter website Eviction notices from private landlords - Shelter England

Ending your Tenancy Agreement

If you rent your property from a Housing Association or a private landlord it is important you check with them the procedure for ending your tenancy. 

You should also check if you are a joint tenant at the property as this may entitle you to additional rights to the property. In order to end a tenancy agreement the tenant or tenants would be required to ‘give notice’ to the landlord. This is normally required in writing and dependant on the situation in which you are ending the tenancy, may require a signature from you and your partner. 

Make enquiries with your landlord directly for further information. 

It is important to obtain the correct information relating to your tenancy before you consider ending it, as to do so may cause you to be considered ‘intentionally homeless’. 

If you are a joint tenant and move out of the property, you will legally remain liable for any breaches in the tenancy agreement such as rent arrears.

If your partner is the sole tenant and formally ends the tenancy by giving legal notice to their landlord then this will end the tenancy for both of you, even if you do not wish to move out. 

You should not end a tenancy until you have found somewhere else to live.

Home Ownership

If you’re both on the title deeds, it means that you both own the property and will need to decide jointly what decisions are made regarding it. It is important that you seek legal advice if you are considering selling your home. If your name isn’t on the title deeds but you can prove that you have contributed to the property in other ways such as paying the mortgage, then you could be considered as having a ‘beneficial interest’ in the property and therefore legal rights. 

Married Couples

If your partner is the sole tenant but you are married, you have the right to: 

  • Occupy the matrimonial home, and not be excluded, except by a court order. 
  • If you are not occupying the home, you can apply for a court order to regain entry to the property and live there. If you are married and divorce proceedings have begun then you can ask the court to transfer the tenancy into your name. The court will consider both your situations before deciding whether to do this. Please seek suitable legal advice before applying to court. 

Housing rights in a relationship breakdown can be complicated and you may need to seek legal advice. Many law firms offer fixed fee interviews where you can get comprehensive advice on your legal rights to remain in the property and how the matter can be resolved longer term. 

You may consider applying for an Occupation Order which is issued by the family court under Part IV Family Law Act 1996 and sets out who has the right to stay at the family home, who can return and who should be excluded.

Living with Friends and Family

You may be living in a property owned or rented by friends and family, including parents or other relatives. If you do not pay rent, or do not have exclusive use of the property, then it is likely that you will not have any legal rights to remain there if the owner or tenant asks you to leave. 

In these situations, we will negotiate with the excluder to see if there is an option for you to remain at the property so long as it is safe and reasonable for you to do so. We will consider whether changes in behaviour, payments of board and lodge or mediation would help the situation so you have somewhere to stay immediately. We will then work with you to find longer-term accommodation if you wish. 

If you want help in finding your own permanent home, the person you are living with does not have to ask you to leave for you to be eligible for this. We can still provide you with advice and assistance, and help you with a planned move in accordance with our Allocation Policy, even if the person you are living with allows you to stay with them on a temporary basis. You can speak to the Housing Team for more information regarding this.

Substance Misuse

If you feel that your ability to keep your own house is being impacted by drugs or alcohol it is important that you ask for help and support. You can do this by contacting Staffordshire Treatment And Recovery Services (STARS) on 01785 270080 for specialist advice and support. The Housing Team will work closely with STARS to help you find suitable accommodation. 

You may also feel that your mental health is impacted by substance misuse. It is important that health professionals working with you provide you with advice and assistance that address both your mental health and substance misuse together (known as co-occurring or dual diagnosis).

The Housing Team can provide you with a full housing need assessment and advice on options in the district. 

Homes Plus own the majority of social housing stock in the district and you can register directly with them via their website. 

Housing providers, including supported accommodation and emergency accommodation providers, will not allow you to take drugs where you live. It is important that you have help to manage this if you feel it will impact on your ability to live somewhere. 

Substance misuse can also be the cause of anti-social behaviour or problems with noise, nuisance, and neighbours when you live in your own accommodation. This could lead to you losing your accommodation and it may be difficult to find somewhere else to live. It is important that you receive support for your alcohol or drug use so it does not impact on your home. 

Mental Health

The Housing Team works closely with mental health support services to prevent you from becoming homeless and to ensure you receive the advice and support to help you improve your health and sustain housing.

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis you should contact The Access Team on: 0300 555 5001 which is an urgent mental health helpline.

If you are homeless, and experience poor mental health, the Housing Team will take this into consideration when providing you with housing advice and assistance. We may ask questions about any support or medication that you receive for your mental health and we may ask to speak to other professionals who are supporting you.

If you are homeless, we will consider whether you are vulnerable and in ‘priority need’ as a result of your mental health when assessing our duty to provide you with emergency accommodation.

We will provide information about the advice and advocacy services available to you and provide detail of outreach support services and supported accommodation options according to your needs through your Personalised Housing Plan.

You may also feel that your mental health is impacted by substance misuse. It is important that health professionals working with you provide you with advice and assistance that address both your mental health and substance misuse together (known as co-occurring or dual diagnosis).

You can apply to the Housing Register on our Housing Jigsaw portal and with Homes Plus directly who own the majority of the housing stock in the district.

Useful Contacts


Shelter has produced a guide for people who have experienced a relationship breakdown and what their housing rights are after splitting up
Tel: 0344 515 1944. 
Website: www.england.shelter.org.uk


Citizen’s Advice

Support with general and legal advice and help
Tel: 0808 278 7874



Services include Relationship Counselling and mediation for individuals and couples. Support can be provided face to face with licensed local counsellors or via phone, email and live chat.    
Tel: 0121 643 1638 
Website: www.relate.org.uk/


Staffordshire Family Mediation Service

Helping families in conflict, especially those divorcing or separating.
Tel: 01827 314020 
Website: www.staffsmediation.co.uk


Access Team, Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust   

Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline

Tel: 0300 555 5001

For those feeling concerned, worried, stressed or low, they offer a call service evenings and weekend to offer support when other services are closed on 0808 800 2234, 7pm - 2am weekdays, 2pm - 2am weekends 



Supported Accommodation for people affected by mental illness

Tel: 01785 610555

Email: SAHMS@rethink.org.uk


Stafford and Cannock League of Hospital Friends

Supported accommodation for people affected by mental illness

Tel: 01785 413233

Website Housing Services - Stafford and Cannock League of Hospital Friends



Free counselling, anger management, befriending and parent support

Tel: 01782 262100 (Mon-Fri, 9am - 5pm)



Provide telephone and online support

Tel: 116 123 (Open 24/7)


STARS (Staffordshire Treatment and Recovery Services)

Telephone and in person services for people who need help with drug or alcohol misuse

Tel: 01785 270080

Email: humankind.starswest@nhs.net


Rehab 4 Addiction

Helpline offering immediate assistance for people struggling with addiction and mental health

Tel: 0800 140 4690

Email: info@rehab4addiction.co.uk

Website: www.rehab4addiction.co.uk


Young Minds

Helpline for young people, parents or carers with mental health concerns

Tel: 0808 802 5544

Website: www.youngminds.org.uk

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