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Homelessness Advice

If you are having difficulties with your housing, whether you are living with family/friends, renting a room or flat, own your own property, we can offer advice and information.

The Council will provide telephone information and advice on your housing options (01462 474000). For most people, the Council cannot offer any accommodation, but we can give you information to help you resolve your housing issues.

There is a very high demand for housing in this area. Renting a house/flat from a housing association is not always a possibility, and there are long waiting lists. However, there are privately rented properties in this area, and many people privately rent.

We will also provide people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness with advice and appropriate information or assistance.

We will always seek to prevent homelessness wherever possible.

If you are homeless or worried about becoming homeless, you should contact us straight away (01462 474000) to discuss your situation, or leave a message and we will call you back. We can normally give you advice and information over the telephone to assist you. However, we may have to ask you to come in to discuss complex housing problems at an appointment.

The advice or assistance we can give you depends on your circumstances:

  • Aged 16-18
  • Aged 18-25 single people
  • Aged 18-25 couples, single people/couples aged 25 or over
  • Anyone who is pregnant or has children living with them, anyone with serious medical problems

Children aged 16-18

You should contact Herts Young Homeless group on 0844 833 0933 for advice. NHDC may be able to assist in an emergency but children under 18 are the responsibility of their parents, and Herts County Council, Children Schools and Families section will be involved in any difficulties with the family accommodating the child.

Single people aged 18-25

Unless you have serious medical issues, it is very unlikely that the Council will be able to offer you any accommodation, even on a temporary or emergency basis. Your housing is your own responsibility, although the Council may be able to help with information and advice about your housing options.

Your housing options are to live with family or friends, to rent a house/flat with friends or to privately rent a property. You may be entitled to help towards the rent from Housing Benefit, depending on your income. Check your entitlement to Housing Benefit (01462 474000/474597) before you make any arrangements. Housing Benefit will only help with the cost of renting a room in a shared house, up to about £78 per week, not the cost of renting a self contained flat. You may need to have a deposit, and the first month’s rent in advance, so you may need to have savings of about £400 before you can rent a room. You may be able to borrow from family/friends if you do not have savings, or apply for a crisis loan/budgeting loan from the Jobcentre if you are unemployed.

Rented rooms are advertised in the local papers, Comet, Advertiser, Royston Crow, and in postcards in newsagents, supermarkets etc.

In the event that you have absolutely no accommodation, you can ring the North Herts Sanctuary: this is a hostel for homeless people 01462 435835. If they are not able to offer you a bed, there are the following alternative hostels:

St Albans: 01727 859113

Bedford: 01234 266085 or 01234 345756

Watford: 01923 256189

You should also apply to join the housing register (you can get a form for this from the Council or local housing association offices). Information is also provided on the Applying for Housing in North Herts web page. Applicants for one bedroom properties in this area normally wait on the housing register for about 3-5 years, for a socially rented flat.

Couples aged 18-25, or single people/couples aged 25 or over

Unless you have serious medical issues, it is very unlikely that the Council will be able to offer you any accommodation, even on a temporary or emergency basis. Your housing is your own responsibility, although the Council may be able to help with information and advice about your housing options.

Your housing options are to live with family or friends, to rent a house/flat with friends or to privately rent a property. You may be entitled to help towards the rent from Housing Benefit (01462 474000/474597), depending on your income. Check your entitlement to benefit before you make any arrangements. Housing Benefit will only help with the cost of renting a one bedroom/studio flat, up to about £550 per month. You normally need to have a deposit, and the first month’s rent in advance, so you may need to have savings of about £1200 before you can rent. You may be able to borrow from family/friends if you do not have savings, or apply for a crisis/budgeting loan from the Jobcentre if you are unemployed. The letting agent may charge a fee of about £150 to run credit checks before they accept you as a tenant. Some landlord or letting agents accept Housing Benefit, others do not. This varies all the time, and there is no list of landlords who accept Housing Benefit who have properties available.

Rented properties are advertised in the local papers, Comet, Advertiser, Royston Crow, and in postcards in newsagents, supermarkets etc. You should also contact the letting agents advertised in the papers, and look at websites eg www.rightmove.co.uk.

You should also apply to join the housing register (you can get a form for this from the Council or local housing association offices). Information is also provided on the Applying for Housing in North Herts web page. Applicants for one bedroom properties in this area normally wait on the housing register for about 3-5 years, for a socially rented flat. If you are aged 55 or over and you have a support need, you may be eligible for supported housing, for which the waiting period may be much shorter.

Anyone who is pregnant/has children living with them/has serious medical issues

If you are at risk of losing your home, you should immediately contact the Council (01462 474000). We may be able to help prevent you losing the accommodation. If this is not possible, we may be able to help you with privately rented accommodation.

Only if we are not able to prevent your homelessness or find suitable privately rented accommodation would we have to consider temporary accommodation for you in a hostel for homeless people, and we would do our best to avoid this for you, in every case.

Homelessness information (28kb) This document is a PDF file and will open in a new window. You will need Adobe Reader to view it.

You should always be looking at resolving your housing problems by staying with family/friends, or privately renting a property. Rented properties are advertised in the local papers, Comet, Advertiser, Royston Crow, and in postcards in newsagents, supermarkets etc. You should also contact the letting agents advertised in the papers, and look at websites eg www.rightmove.co.uk.

You may be entitled to help towards the rent from Housing Benefit (01462 474000/474597), depending on your income. Check your entitlement to benefit before you make any arrangements. Housing Benefit will only help with the cost of renting a one bedroom/studio flat, up to about £550 per month, two bedrooms up to £675 (you would be expected to place 2 children of opposite genders in the same room until the older one is 10), three bedrooms up to £775. You normally need to have a deposit (the Council may be able to assist with the deposit), and the first month’s rent in advance, so you may need to have some savings. The letting agent may charge a fee of about £150 to run credit checks before they accept you as a tenant. Some landlord or letting agents accept Housing Benefit, others do not. This varies all the time, and there is no list of landlords who accept Housing Benefit who have properties available.

You should also apply to join the housing register (you can get a form for this from the Council or local housing association offices). Information is also provided on the Applying for Housing in North Herts web page. Applicants for one bedroom properties in this area normally wait on the housing register for about 3-5 years, for a socially rented flat. Applicants for 2, 3 or 4 bedroom properties may have to wait several years, especially for houses in some locations. Generally, flats and maisonettes are available within 6-24 months. The more flexible you are with your choice of arrears and property types, the quicker you will get a property. If you are aged 55 or over and you have a support need, you may be eligible for supported housing, for which the waiting period may be much shorter.

Please contact us by telephone on 01462 474000 or by e-mail at service@north-herts.gov.uk.

Useful Websites

Details of various organisations across Hertfordshire who can provide information and assistance with homelessness can be found on Hertfordshire County Council's website.

Shelter and the Citizens Advice Bureau also provide valuable information about homelessness and what to do if you are threatened with being homeless.

There is also a lot of free advice and information on housing (and other topics) available from the Community Legal Advice service.