The Team provides advice to those living in the private rented accommodations as well as local landlords and lettings agents. The team promotes and supports the private rented sector in Southwark to ensure that private rented accommodation is of good quality, secure and operating within the law. Along with our role we aim to support clients who are struggling to pay their rents such as referring clients to the financial inclusion team, jobcentre. We also encourage our clients to seek further support from citizen’s advice bureau, housing ombudsman, and shelter.
Our aims are:
- To provide comprehensive homeless prevention advice and support to residents who rent privately within Southwark.
- To provide an effective private sector tenancy advice and undertake Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 assessments and investigation of homeless approaches and applications in line with the Councils’ statutory duties under Housing Act 1996 Part 7 and relevant case law for applicants that approach from the private sector.
- Assist in implementing the Council’s private sector strategy with regard to improving housing conditions for tenants in the Borough by providing an advice service to landlords with regard to their rights and obligations.
- To work in partnership with other enforcement teams with Planning and Regulatory Services dealing with the private rented sector and assisting with the development of Council wide strategies and policies to improve standards and management of private sector housing in Southwark.
- To deliver outreach surgeries, online platforms and other information to named public bodies and other key interested parties or potential partners to deliver cross cutting prevention work for Housing Solutions.
- To provide innovative and creative solutions to the prevention of homelessness and increase the local supply available through triangular activities. This could include moving a tenant out and another tenant into accommodation in landlord and tenant disputes
To this end, their areas of expertise include:
- Yourprivate landlord/agent has illegally evicted you, or is harassing you in order to force you out of your home
- Yourlandlord/agent has served you with notice or is asking you to leave
- Youare having problems getting your deposit back or repairs done
- Yourlandlord/agent is increasing your rent
- Yourtenancy rights
- Whathelp is available if you owe rent to the landlord/agent.
Within the Private Rented Sector Team, we also have specialised Prevention Officers who will:
- Provide a comprehensive tenancy relations service, advice and assistance to private sector residents including tenants, sub-tenants, licensees, owner occupiers and housing association tenants.
- Determine whether a Notice served on a private tenant is valid and take a proactive role to help resolve the reason for any threat of eviction.
- Address and resolve customers’ needs at first contact in the Private Rented Sector Team.
- Provide a day to day, effective customer-friendly and efficient service to clients presenting housing problems with regard to harassment and illegal eviction from their landlords and/or landlords’ agents.
- Ensure that all work is carried out in accordance with the current relevant legislation and any central government or Southwark policies, procedures and performance measures.
- Provide personal housing plans for all customers that are owed a prevention or relief duty as set out in the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017
- Recommend incentive and other homeless prevention payments to landlords and agents.
- We become the private sector local intelligence and community link for the key areas of homelessness presentations within Southwark and outside of London.
This number is available for advice and assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week.