Greenwich

Housing Aid Centre

Where to get housing advice

The Housing Aid Centre helps people to resolve disputes with landlords or mortgage lenders, including problems with arrears, maintenance issues, harassment and illegal eviction.

We offer help and advice to:

  • private rented tenants
  • housing association tenants
  • homeowners with mortgage arrears and other problems.

Private and housing association tenants

Housing Aid Centre staff can give you advice on:

  • what to do if your landlord has served you with a notice or if you are facing eviction
  • your rights as a tenant and security of tenure
  • rents and claiming Housing Benefit, for example we can help you to:
    • negotiate an agreement to make payments towards rent arrears
    • resolve problems with your Housing Benefit claim
    • resolve disputes over your deposit
  • how to tackle disrepair - working with the Royal Borough's environmental health teams to ensure landlords carry out any repairs that are needed.

Housing Aid Centre officers also represent private and housing association tenants at county court hearings.

Homeowners

Advisers at the Housing Aid Centre can help if you are a homeowner who is in mortgage arrears. We can sometimes negotiate with lenders on your behalf.

You should contact the service as soon as there are problems, as the earlier negotiations start the more successful they are likely to be.

The Housing Aid Centre can also represent you in possession proceedings at the local county court. There are usually advisers available at the court when possession hearings are taking place.

Harassment and eviction 

Staff from the Housing Aid Centre deal with disputes between private tenants and their landlords.

Landlords must not harass a tenant to force them to leave their home. Generally, only court-appointed bailiffs can evict a private tenant.

Proper legal procedures

The law says that as a private tenant you are entitled to:

  1. notice - written paperwork asking you to leave, with set time limits
  2. a possession hearing - a judge decides if you must leave
  3. a bailiff's warrant, warning you that the bailiffs are going to evict you.

If your landlord harasses you or tries to evict you without following the proper legal procedures above, the landlord is committing a criminal offence punishable by up to two years in prison and an unlimited fine.

Sharing with a landlord  

There is an exception to the above legal rights. If you share a kitchen, bathroom or living arrangements with a landlord you are entitled to 'reasonable notice'. This is generally a week if you pay rent weekly, or a month if you pay monthly. This notice may be given verbally.

What is unlawful eviction or harassment?

The law makes it an offence for your landlord, or anyone acting on your landlord's behalf, to:

  • do things that are likely to interfere with your peace or comfort
  • persistently withdraw or withhold services that you reasonably need to live in your home
  • force you to leave your home, or to stop using part of it
  • do anything that stops you doing the things you could normally expect to do
  • take your home away from you without following the proper legal procedures.

If you believe your landlord is trying to force you out of your home, or is harassing you or your family, contact the Housing Aid Centre as soon as possible.

If you feel physically threatened, you should phone 999 and ask for the police.

What will the Housing Aid Centre do?

The Housing Aid Centre officer:

  • will investigate complaints and try to sort them out informally
  • may be able to help you get back into your home if you have been unlawfully evicted
  • can also help you to bring a prosecution against your landlord under the Royal Borough of Greenwich's powers.

Housing Aid Centre officers also investigate complaints of:

  • racial harassment in private housing
  • harassment on grounds of disability, religion, sexuality or gender.

They can give you help and support if this is affecting you.

Contact the Housing Aid Centre

Our drop-in advice centre is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm at the Woolwich Centre.

Housing Aid Centre,
FREEPOST RSSR-SYAH-SLZS,
Upper ground floor, Woolwich Centre,
35 Wellington Street,
Woolwich SE18 6HQ

020 8921 2863

020 8921 2636

Contact Housing Options and Support Service

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

020 8921 2863

The Woolwich Centre,
35 Wellington Street,
Woolwich SE18 6HQ

Out of office hours, call 020 8854 8888