Are you homeless or at risk of becoming homeless?
In this section you will find out what to do if you are homeless, help to prevent homelessness, what to do if you are sleeping rough.
If you are living in private rented sector accommodation and have been given a notice requiring possession of your accommodation, known as a section 21 notice, please contact us to seek housing advice as soon as possible.
We will work with you to ensure your notice is valid, and where possible negotiate with your landlord to prevent you from becoming homeless.
In the meantime, read the following information to understand the process and what you need to do.
Section 21 Notice
Your landlord does not need a reason to end your assured shorthold tenancy (AST), but the section 21 notice must:
- be on a Form 6A
- follow certain rules to be valid
How much notice must you be given?
A section 21 notice must give you at least two months' notice. If your rent is due quarterly or every six months, you’re entitled to three or six months' notice.
What does the notice look like?
The notice must be on a prescribed form, known as Form 6A. An example of Form 6A form can be found at GOV.UK.
How to check a section 21 is valid
- Check the form and the dates:
- your landlord can’t give you a valid section 21 notice during the first four months of your original contract
- the notice must be on a Form 6A
- Find out if your deposit is protected because a section 21 notice is invalid if either:
- your deposit is not protected in a scheme
- it was protected more than 30 days after your most recent contract started
- Check your tenancy related documents
- gas safety certificate
- energy performance certificate
- a record of any electrical inspections within the past five years
- How to rent: the checklist for renting in England
Your section 21 notice may be invalid if you receive these documents after being issued with a notice.
What happens after the notice expires?
Your landlord can apply to a court for a possession order if you stay past the date given on your notice. Your landlord must do this within six months of giving you the section 21 notice.
What happens if I am taken to court?
After your landlord applies to the court, the court will send you papers and a defence form. The papers will inform you which type of possession proceedings your landlord is using.
You should complete and return the defence form to the court if you want to challenge the eviction or ask for more time to stay.
The court can decide to:
- dismiss the case if the section 21 notice is not valid
- order you to leave if the notice is valid
If the court orders you to leave, it usually gives you two weeks to leave the property. You will probably also have to pay your landlord’s court costs.
If you don’t leave by the date set out in the possession order made by the court, your landlord can apply to the court bailiffs to evict you and you will receive an Notice of Eviction, which states a time and date upon which a court appointed bailiff will execute the eviction.
Helping to prevent homelessness
It is important that you seek advice from us as soon as possible, so that we can work with you to prevent you from losing your home. If you think you may become homeless and are currently living at home with parents or carers, remaining in the family home while you plan a move is usually the best solution, providing it is safe for you to do so.
We can speak to your family and friends to explain that whilst we can provide help to assist you in finding somewhere else to live, it is likely to take quite some time to do so, so the longer you can stay at home, the better.
We can contact landlords on your behalf to discuss tenancy issues, so that we can help you to avoid eviction.
If you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, our online homelessness assessment tool can provide you with guidance about your next steps.
What to do if you are homeless
If you are homeless and have nowhere to stay tonight, you need to contact the council as soon as you can.
The Amelia Scott
Mount Pleasant Road
Royal Tunbridge Wells
Monday to Friday: 9.00am to 4.00pm
Mosaic Resource Centre
From Monday 27 September 2021 Tunbridge Wells Churches will be serving a lunchtime meal for those in need from the Mosaic Resource Centre, 46 Quarry Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 2EZ. This will be open from 12.30pm to 1.30pm, Monday to Thursday and most of the food that is served is given as donations.
Porchlight will also be operating a drop-in service from the Mosaic Centre for anyone who is rough sleeping from 12 noon to 2pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You do not need to be registered with the Porchlight helpline to attend this drop in.
Porchlight’s provides homelessness and Live Well Kent and Medway services. They also provide an Outreach service in Tunbridge Wells working directly with people sleeping rough or who are without accommodation. For more information please visit Porchlight’s website.
Live Well Kent & Medway - mental health referral line
Hours of operation are weekdays 9am to 5pm.
Porchlight - homelessness referral line
St Augustine’s church
The church is on Crescent Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 2LY opposite the entrance to the car park.
A bag of food can be provided on request. Please contact the parish office on 01892 522525 Monday to Friday, 10am to 1pm.
The Salvation Army, Tunbridge Wells Corps, is based on Bayhall Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4UT (near the Royal Oak Pub).
On Wednesdays and Thursdays before midday they offer hot meals, clothing and toiletries and they also have a shower that can be used.
Shelter is a national charity that campaigns for homeless people’s rights. They have a free phone advice line and can advise people on issues regarding housing.
Citizens Advice is a national organisation that gives independent advice on a wide range of issues such as welfare benefits and housing. If you disagree with a decision that the council has made regarding your homeless application they may be able to help you to request a review of the decision and give you legal advice.
What happens after I make an approach for housing assistance?
We will look at your housing circumstances and why you may be homeless or facing homelessness.
We will ask you to tell us about:
- why you are homeless or at risk of homelessness
- details of where you are currently living and your tenure
- any details relating to your immigration status
- any special needs relating to disability or ill health
We might decide that you don’t qualify for further assistance because there is no reason to believe that you are homeless or at risk of homelessness within 56 days If this is the case, you will still be given information and advice relevant to your housing circumstances.
To help us assess your circumstances please upload to your Kent Homechoice account the following information:
- birth certificate, passport or ID card for every family member
- eviction letter or evidence to show why you are homeless or threatened with homelessness
- tenancy agreement
- letters from a doctor about your health
- proof of pregnancy
- proof of income for example bank statements, wage slips or proof of benefits.
Housing Options Appointment
Following your triage assessment, if we have reason to believe that you are homeless or at risk of homelessness within 56 days, your case will be passed to a Housing Options Advisor, who will aim to make further contact with you within 5 working days.
We will discuss with your in more detail your housing circumstances, what your housing needs are and whether you have any support needs to secure or sustain accommodation. We will also assess whether there are any restrictions on the assistance we can provide to you due to your immigration status.
You will receive a letter informing you on any duty the council may owe you to assist to remain within your existing home or to find an alternative home. If a housing duty is owed to you, you will also receive a Personalised Housing Plan, which sets out the steps we will take to assist you and the steps we require you to take.
If you complete our assessment tool and proceed to submit a referral for housing assistance the information you provide will be used as part of research being carried out by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) for statistical analysis, to help understand more about what causes homelessness and how homelessness services can meet people’s need.
Find out more information about the H-CLIC research study.
To find out more information about how the Housing Service uses your data please see the Service Level Privacy Notices.