There are many ways in which a person or their family can become homeless, or find themselves at risk of losing their home.
We try to prevent homelessness wherever possible so we offer advice and support about housing options to those that are homeless, those who may be at risk of losing their home, have other urgent housing needs, or who simply want to know more about the options that are available to them.
Worried About Losing Your Home?
If you need to find alternative accommodation the information and links will provide you with some general advice and also includes information that is specific to the Dudley Borough.
Always try to obtain advice as soon as you can. Don’t leave it until it is too late. Please do not give-up your existing accommodation before seeking advice unless it is absolutely necessary.
Whether you own your home, rent, or living with family and friends, if you have lost your home, or are worried about losing your home.
If you have lost or are worried about losing your home the Homelessness Prevention and Response Team at Dudley Council can offer assistance to help you resolve your housing problems whether you are a homeowner, renting, or living with friends and family.
The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017
The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 imposes a legal duty upon local Councils to help anyone who may become homeless. They work with them to try to prevent their homelessness, but if that is not possible they will then help them to secure alternative accommodation.
The legislation requires that the Council help those seeking assistance to complete a personal housing plan. This will identify the housing solution that is best for them, and any reasonable steps that the applicant must take to either prevent the loss of their current home or to secure alternative accommodation.
The new legislation also requires the Council to collect more information about you, your household, personal circumstances and the reasons why you need assistance. Your data will still be processed in accordance with the law.
For more information or housing advice contact us between 9am-5pm, by calling 0300 555 2345. Your enquiry will be passed to an advisor and you can expect to be contacted within 3 working days. In an emergency your enquiry will be directed to our duty team for same day help.
Please visit Dudley’s Street Support Network for a range of help and advice from local agencies.
Ending a relationship, or managing a relationship after separation can be difficult. Deciding who keeps the home can be one of the issues that you have to resolve. The options you have will differ depending upon your circumstances, such as the contract of your accommodation, the status of your relationship, if you have children, and your ability to fund the accommodation. It is really important that you get advice before you make any decisions.
If your relationship has broken down and you are worried about how it will affect where you live please contact the homelessness prevention team and we will be able to advise. You can contact us on 0300 555 2345.
If you are a victim or survivor of domestic abuse then the most important thing is to stay safe.
If you are at risk of violence, or are frightened and need to leave your home because of violence or a threat of violence then call 999.
Once you are safe contact the homelessness prevention team on 0300 555 2345. We will be able to give you the help and advice you will need in order to stay safe in the first instance, and then will be able to advise you of your longer term options.
If you are experiencing violence or abuse please contact us and we will be able to help you to access support and advice.
There are also other organisations that can help you.
CHADD New Beginnings provide a range of services in Dudley for people who are suffering or have suffered as a result of Domestic Abuse.
Their services include:
• 24 hours staffed refuge accommodation for women and children.
• Satellite 'safe' houses for female and male victims with families.
• Outreach support services at your home or in a safe neutral place.
• Specialist support groups to gain awareness of the signs and effects of abuse. They will also help you to make choices for the future.
Alternatively you can contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline, open 24/7 by calling 0800 2000 247.
The Helpline can give support, help and information. It is staffed 24 hours a day by fully trained female helpline support workers and volunteers. All calls are completely confidential and there are translation facilities for callers whose first language is not English, and a service for callers who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Should you find yourself without housing or accommodation outside of office hours, including weekends or Bank Holidays, you can call our emergency housing team on 0300 555 2345 for advice. They will direct you to the most appropriate help in your particular circumstances.
Alternatively, you can call Shelters Helpline on 0808 800 4444, open 365 days a year, 8am - 8pm weekdays, and 8am - 5pm at weekends, for help and advice.
Other sources of help:
The rights of tenants can be complicated and will depend on individual circumstances.
As a homeowner you cannot be evicted from your home unless your mortgage lender takes court action, obtains a possession order and a warrant for your eviction. However, providing you have not actually been evicted and the locks changed, it may not be too late to get help.
If you are evicted from your home it will be too late to get help. Don’t wait and don’t ignore the problem - seek help as soon as possible. If your lender has taken court action against you then it is vital that you get advice quickly and you may be able to stay in your home.
It is the Court's decision whether you can stay in your home or not. If you have tried but failed to reach an agreement with your lender, or if you have broken arrangements previously agreed, you should still seek independent advice before deciding to give up your home.
The following web pages and sites provide information for homeowners:
- Court action - Steps to Repossession
- National Homelessness Advice Service
- Can I get help from the DWP to pay my mortgage?
Mortgage Arrears Advice Locally
If you are behind with mortgage payments, or your circumstances have changed and you know that this might mean you will be unable to keep up with payments, don’t wait. Get advice.
Free mortgage arrears advice is on offer to homeowners in the Dudley borough who fear they may lose their home or are worried about mounting debts.
The advice, which is available to anyone who lives in the borough, is the result of a service developed by the Dudley Council’s Homelessness Prevention and Response Team, and the Dudley District Citizens’ Advice Bureau. It is aimed at anyone who is having difficulty keeping up their monthly mortgage payments. You do not have to be behind with payments in order to use the service - if you are worried please get in touch.
There is a free, impartial advice service available to homeowners which can be accessed by calling the National Debt line on 0808 808 4000.
Help at County Court
All County Courts in England operate a Help at Court Scheme. Free advice is available to homeowners and to tenants in difficulty and is provided either by a local solicitor or advice agency.
In Dudley, the Help at Court Scheme is operated by Wolverhampton Citizens Advice Bureau. You can contact them on 0800 144 8848 or alternatively contact the Homelessness Prevention and Response Team, at Dudley MBC, on 0300 555 2345 if you are worried about losing your home and are facing court action.
It is likely that you have a shorthold tenancy if:
- You are renting your home from a private landlord.
- You do not share any part of the accommodation with your landlord.
- You began renting after 28 February 1997.
This is the most common form of tenancy to have if you rent from a private landlord. Most private landlords will be happy to continue to allow you to rent their property providing you adhere to the tenancy conditions.
However, sometimes things don’t work out and the landlord may ask you to leave. If you are behind with your rent your landlord cannot evict you from your home unless:
- They have served you with a valid notice stating why they require their property back.
- Have taken court action to obtain a possession order.
- The court has issued a warrant of eviction.
Depending upon the reasons for the landlord’s action you may find that you are able to keep your home or that you don’t have to leave at the date the landlord has specified .This is because in some circumstances we may be able to help you to negotiate with your landlord to agree that you remain in your home, or it may be that in some circumstances the landlord has not complied with rules in regard to the protection of tenancy deposits, has served notice using the wrong forms, or has not completed repairs that he has been ordered to carry out. All of which would mean that the notice you have been given may be invalid.
Therefore you should always get advice if you have been asked to leave your home.
If you have paid a deposit, and it has not been protected in an authorised scheme, then your landlord may not be able to take action against you until your deposit is returned. You can check whether your deposit has been protected by using Shelters deposit checker.
Only the Court’s bailiff’s can evict you, so if your landlord has evicted you from your home without a court order you may have been illegally evicted. Please click the following link to contact our private rented sector team. Contact Private Sector Housing or see gov.uk on Private Renting for Tenants: Evictions.
More information about private renting, notices and deposits, can be found by clicking the links below:
If you rent your home from Dudley Council and find that the Council have begun action to take back your home, then you should contact your rent arrears officer to discuss any problems you may have immediately. You should also contact the Homelessness Prevention Team for help and advice. Please don’t leave it too late. Dudley Council will work with you to try to keep you in your home wherever possible.
Before the Council can evict you from your home a court order must be obtained and the 'Rent arrears' protocol and procedure must be followed.
If you are in arrears with your rent then contact the Income team directly on 01384 811689.
If you are aged 18-24 and are worried about losing your home or want to know more about your housing options then advice is available at the Project First Step Youth Hub at Dudley Council Plus. The Hub team are all trained staff who will be able to give you advice about housing and homelessness and who can also help with things like benefits and money issues and much more. All services are available on a drop in basis.
Other useful information for young people can be found at:
- St Basils - help for 16-25's
- Streetlink - help for rough sleepers
- YMCA - help for young people
- Housing advice for homeless 16 and 17-year-old
Project First Step
If you are aged 25 and under and looking for advice, Project First Step is full of information about getting and remaining in your first home.
From 1 October 2018 there will be a duty imposed upon all specified Public Authorities to refer people that they think may be homeless or threatened with homelessness for assistance to a local authority providing that the person gives their consent to the referral.
Who does this duty apply to?
This duty applies to “Specified Public Authorities” within the The Homelessness (Review Procedure etc.) Regulations 2018 and these are detailed to be as follows:
- Prisons (public & private).
- Youth offender institutions.
- Secure training centres.
- Secure colleges.
- Youth offending teams.
- Probation services (community rehabilitation companies and national probation service).
- Jobcentre Plus.
- Hospital A&E Services.
- Urgent treatment centres.
- Hospitals (when providing in-patient treatment).
- Social service authorities.
- The Secretary of State for Defence (in relation to members of):
- Royal Navy
- Royal Marines
- Army (regular)
- Royal Air Force
How can a public authority make a referral?
A referral can be made by completing this form.
Public authorities are not expected to conduct housing needs assessments as part of the section 213B duty to refer and all that is asked is that the referring authority gather as much information as is reasonably practicable.
Please note that a referral made by a public authority to the housing authority under section 213B will not in itself constitute an application for assistance under Part VII Housing Act 1996 (the homelessness legislation).
As a consequence of the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, in April 2018, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) wants to learn more about the help provided to people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.
Therefore MHCLG wants to study the information you provide to us about how you have become homeless or threatened with homelessness, about your housing history and the sort of things that you need help and support with to help them to improve services.
MHCLG also wants to look at how you use other public services and at the benefits you receive.
Your personal details, such as your name, will be needed for this, but the researchers will not know whose information they’re looking at.
Any information you provide will not affect the services or benefits that you receive now or in the future, or used to identify fraud.
Your information will be kept safe and confidential, and handled with care and in accordance with the law.
What’s the aim of this study?
By carrying out this research, MHCLG aims to find out whether:
- Housing services prevent homelessness
- People return for help and/or move regularly
- Homelessness programmes, such as Housing First, reduce homelessness
- There are other causes of homelessness and outcomes, such as poor health.
To do this, MHCLG wants to link information about you and others in your household together with other information, including your homelessness application and past and future information on your use of services and benefits.
For more detailed information please see the Draft Privacy Notices document
Change into Action
Change into Action is an alternative giving scheme that supports local specialist charities and street teams to change the circumstances of rough sleepers and those at risk of becoming homeless. Your donation to Change into Action will help to change the way in which we help the homeless.
The Change into Action website can also be used to report the location of anyone you think is sleeping rough so that they can be connected to local support services.
For more information visit the Change into Action website.