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Housing

Frequently Asked Questions


Council houses are now owned and managed by Aspire Housing (01782 635200)

What is the Council's role in Housing in Newcastle?

In 2000, the Council transferred its housing stock to Aspire Housing to ensure that homes would be of a decent standard and that the families living in them would receive high quality services. As a result the Council no longer owns properties of its own.  Aspire Housing can be contacted on 01782 635200.

 

How can I find a home to rent in Newcastle?

Application Forms are available from NHA who can be contacted on 0345 850 9698  or email nha@midlandheart.org.uk  Anyone accepted on to the Housing Register is assessed for housing need and given a banding, which reflect their priority need. 

 

What help can I get with my housing related problems?

Newcastle Housing Advice offers advice on a range of housing issues from homelessness to advice on applying for social rented properties. They are also able to refer you to specialist debt and legal advice where this is appropriate.  For further information contact 0345 850 9698.

 

I need advice on my housing situation, where can I go?

NHA is a free service to assist you with any housing related problems, whether you own your own home, are a tenant or lodger. The NHA service is managed by Midland Heart and based at 61-63 Lower Street, Newcastle.

Advice can be given over the telephone on 0345 850 9698 or you can ask for an appointment to see someone if you’d prefer.  In most cases you will be advised directly but in some instances you may be referred to other services for specialist advice.

 

 What sort of advice is available?

The NHA service offers free, confidential and impartial advice covers a range of issues:

  • help with finding accommodation
  • help with housing and welfare benefits 
  • help to understand your legal rights.

NHA can also advise on:

  • rent and mortgage arrears 
  • what to do if you are threatened with eviction or repossession 
  • what to do if your present accommodation is unsuitable due to medical needs 
  • what to do if your property needs repair by your landlord
  • what to do if you are being threatened or harassed by your landlord

In addition NHA publishes a number of advice leaflets, related to some of the above topics.

 

 Housing Options (PDF 77Kb)
Full contact detals of all local housing organisations

Advice and Support Services (PDF 116Kb)
Contact details of local services from refuges to solicitors

Dealing with Mortgage Arrears (PDF 124Kb)
An outline of your options and arrears

Managing your money (PDF 129Kb)
How to budget and avoid getting into debt

What can I do if I am homeless or threatened with homelessness?

You can contact Newcastle Housing Advice service who will be able to advise you of your best course of action, on 0345 850 9698

Newcastle Housing Advice may be able to help prevent you becoming homeless, or help you to find new accommodation.


If I become homeless due to an emergency and the office isn’t open, what do I do then?

If I become homeless due to an emergency and the office isn’t open, what do I do then?

If you become homeless outside of normal working hours you should contact the NHA, Emergency Out Of Hours service on 01782 615599. Please remember this is for emergency homelessness cases.

 

Am I eligible for housing assistance?

NHA has a duty towards people who are or soon will be homeless.  Everyone is entitled to help and advice.  How much help we can give you will depend on your circumstances?

A full housing duty is owed to homeless people who are:

  • eligible 
  • homeless or threatened with homelessness in 28 days 
  • in *priority need 
  • homeless through no fault of your own (unintentionally homeless) 
  • have a local connection with Newcastle Borough.

Most people are ‘eligible’ for assistance but you will not be if you are:

  • an asylum seeker 
  • from abroad and have limits to your right to remain in the UK 
  • not entitled to claim ‘public funds’, such as benefits 
  • not normally resident in the UK or are living here illegally

I’ve been told I may not be in priority need, - what is *priority need?

Under the Housing Act (1996) as amended by the Homelessness Act (2002), priority need categories were defined.  You are considered to be in priority need if:

  • you are responsible for dependent children 
  • you are pregnant, or someone you live with, is pregnant (but not if they are ‘not eligible’) 
  • you are homeless because of a fire, flood or other disaster 
  • you are vulnerable because of old age, disability, learning difficulties, being in prison or the armed forces or have mental health issues 
  • you are aged 16 or 17 
  • you are vulnerable due to having been looked after by Social Services 
  • you are vulnerable as a result having to leave accommodation because of violence or threats of violence which are likely to be carried out 
  • you are vulnerable for other special reasons

What happens if I need emergency accommodation?

This will depend on your personal circumstances.  If you have family or friends that you can stay with, you would be expected to stay with them.

In the first instance, Newcastle Housing Advice check if there are any hostels that can accommodate you.  If there is space, we will place a booking.

If you are in *priority need, every effort is made to provide temporary accommodation within Newcastle under Lyme; however, sometimes it may be outside of the Borough, in bordering areas such as Stoke on Trent.

Sometimes we are unable to find a place in a Hostel or refuge and in those circumstances we will provide a room in a bed and breakfast, until a hostel becomes vacant or your housing needs can be addressed.

How long will it take to sort out my homelessness application?

NHA will make enquiries regarding your application and a decision on your case should take no more than 33 working days.

If we accept that you are eligible for assistance, in priority need, and homeless through no fault of your own, and have a local connection, you will be nominated for re-housing to a Registered Provider or alternatively a private tenancy may be obtained if appropriate.

The time it takes to be permanently re-housed will depend on the size of property required, where you wish to live, the demand for accommodation in that area and your support needs. Please note that you are responsible for meeting the costs of any temporary accomadation made available to you.

How can accommodation be accessed by victims of Domestic Violence?

There is a residential refuge offering temporary accommodation to women and children fleeing domestic violence within the Borough.  If you would like advice please contact NHA on 0345 850 9698 or Arch North Staffs on 01782 204479.

In an emergency please always contact the Police.

What should I do if I find a private tenancy?

Completing a pre – tenancy determination form will help you decide if the property you have found is affordable. It will look at your income, the rent level and calculate whether you would be entitled to help with your housing costs.  Contact the Benefits Service at the Borough Council on 01782 715500 for more information.

Most private landlords require rent in advance and a deposit.  NHA  can, in certain circumstances provide help with this. For more details on whether you are eligible for help, please contact NHA on 0345 850 9698.

I am having problems paying my rent because of debt, who can I talk to about this?

It is really important that you make contact with NHA before the situation escalates.  Advisors can assist and provide you with an appointment with an experienced Debt Advisor.

Alternatively, the Citizens Advice Bureau offer their own Money Advisory Service and they can be contacted on 0844 9944115.

I am a young person living at home and have been asked to leave, but don’t want to, what can I do?

Mediation may help in this situation.  Contact NHA on 0345 850 9698 particularly if you are under 18, they may be able to get in touch with your parents to arrange a meeting where you can discuss your difficulties and come to a mutually satisfactory solution to enable you to stay or return home.

I am splitting up with my partner, how can I avoid becoming homeless?

NHA have a range of tools to help prevent your homelessness including access to legal advice and debt advice.

I am living with friends, but they have asked me to leave, what can I do?

You will probably have to leave unless the person agrees to let you stay longer. It is usually worth asking if you could stay a little longer while you try to find somewhere else to live.

NHA may be able to assist in helping you with this arrangement if you find it difficult to ask, for further information please contact the Team on 0345 850 9698

My landlord has asked me to leave, what can I do?

You do not have to leave just because you’ve been told to.  A legal process must be followed which varies depending on the type of tenancy.  A verbal notice is not usually valid.

If your landlord harasses you by making threats; cutting off services or changing the locks contact NHA immediately on 0345 850 9698.

The Citizen’s Advice Bureau on 08444 994115 will also be able to offer you legal advice.

I am thinking of leaving home for the first time, what advice can you give me?

Leaving home can give you more freedom, independence and space, but it’s not guaranteed to be a positive experience. It isn’t always easy to find a suitable place and living on your own can be expensive. Preparing properly makes the process easier and can help to avoid being homeless.

Find out about your rights, talk to your family and friends, work out your finances and find a place to live before you leave.

For housing advice from an experienced Advisors please contact NHA on 0345 850 9698

If you are under 16 and concerned about your personal safety at home, you should contact First Response on 0800 1313 126, available 8am – 6pm, Monday to Friday; or in an emergency outside office hours call 01785 354030. Childline are also available on 0800 11 11 11.

                                    

Homelessness - what you need to know (PDF 83Kb)
Advice, information and an outline of the help available

If you require advice on maintaining your home and adaptations the Council’s Private Sector Housing Team may be able to assist. This includes advice for people renting in the private sector where the Council may be able to enforce the landlord to repair the property.  For further information contact 01782 742543.

There are a number of Registered Providers / Social landlords (non-profit-making organisations) operating in the Borough who provide affordable accommodation which they rent according to individual’s housing need.

 

There are also a number of private rented properties to rent in the Borough, further details can be found by contacting local letting agents.

The Council is now developing its strategic responsibilities in line with Government objectives, addressing all housing types and tenures to identify problems and devise solutions.  However, the Housing Act (1996) as amended by the Homelessness Act (2002) places a general duty on local authorities to ensure that advice and information about homelessness and preventing homelessness, is available to all residents in their district free of charge.  The legislation also requires local authorities to assist individuals and families who are homeless or threatened with homelessness acquiring appropriate accommodation.

 

Newcastle Housing Advice (NHA) is a service delivered by Midland Heart under contract for the Borough Council to deliver homelessness, housing advice and housing register services to residents in the Borough and to discharge any homelessness duties.

 

The Council also has a Private Sector Housing Team who provides information and assistance to private tenants and landlords on issues to do with property standards.  The Private Sector Housing Team is able to provide advice to landlords on responsible management of their properties and encourages landlords to join the North Staffs Landlord Accreditation Scheme.

 

The Private Sector Housing Team can also advise on housing standards in private rented properties and assist private tenants suffering harassment from a landlord.  For further information contact 01782 742543.

 

The Council’s Benefits Department can be contacted on 01782 715500 to assist with Housing Benefit or Council Tax queries and advice on paying your rent.

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