Getting help and advice
Getting help and advice at an early stage can often prevent you becoming homeless. This section gives suggestions about what agencies you can go to for help and advice, what they do and how to contact them.
Housing advisers have knowledge of a wide range of housing issues. They can go through your housing options with you to see which is the best solution taking your personal circumstances and housing situation into account. If you need legal advice or someone to represent you, some of the following organisations can provide it free or at a reduced cost.
Shelter Cymru Live
Contact Shelter Cymru for expert housing advice:
- Go to a local Shelter Cymru advice surgery (see below),
- Phone Shelter Cymru’s expert helpline on 08000 495 495 and speak to an adviser. The helpline operates between 9.30am – 4.30pm. If appropriate, you may be asked to make an appointment at your local Shelter Cymru advice surgery if you need further help,
- E-mail Shelter Cymru and an adviser will respond to your emails within five working days,
- Audio call or web chat from our get advice page. For the audio chat you will need to be using an up to date version of Chrome or Firefox as your browser. These buttons will only be operational if there is an adviser available to help you.
Shelter Cymru advice surgeries
Shelter Cymru runs advice surgeries in community-based locations all over Wales. Click on advice near you to find details of your nearest surgery.
Each surgery has advisers with knowledge of housing law and housing issues.
- Tell you your rights
- Explain your options and help you to take action
- Work with you to negotiate with your council, landlord or lender
Advisers have local knowledge of how councils in their area operate. They have information on the housing options that are available locally. They can offer legal representation to some clients and can refer your case to Shelter Cymru’s legal team of solicitors if appropriate.
Law centres provide independent legal advice services. They tend to cover a number of areas of advice, including housing and benefits. They provide free legal advice and representation. As they employ solicitors they can take action at every level of court.
Citizens Advice offers free, confidential, impartial and independent advice on a number of issues, including housing and benefits. Visit the Citizens Advice website for more information.
Council housing departments
Every council in Wales must operate a service providing advice and information to people who are in housing need. The service must be free and should include advice about homelessness and how to prevent it. The type of service will vary. Some councils may give the advice itself, others may ask another agency to do it on its behalf. Contact your local council’s housing or homelessness department for more information.
Many councils also employ tenancy relations officers to help any tenants who are experiencing harassment from, or are threatened with illegal eviction by their landlord.
If you are having problems getting your landlord to carry out repairs or you have a noisy neighbour, the council’s environmental health department has the power to take legal action on your behalf.
Social services have duties to assess and, if appropriate, provide care and support to people in need, of any age.
- People who need help because of a disability, ill health or old age
- People under 18 in need
- People in need of support who care for someone who is disabled, ill or elderly.
For more details about what help social services can provide click here.
Solicitors and other advice agencies
Some solicitors and advice agencies have contracts with the Legal Aid Agency to provide housing advice under the legal aid scheme. Legal aid helps with the cost of legal advice and representation in court.
Whether you get legal aid depends on your financial situation and the type of case.
To find solicitors who can give advice under the legal aid scheme:
- Contact the Civil Legal Advice helpline on 0345 345 4 345. The lines are open Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm and Saturday 9am to 12.30pm. Calls cost 4p per minute from a BT land line (more from a mobile)
- Text ‘legalaid’ and your name to 80010. An adviser will call you back within 24 hours
- Use the Civil Legal Advice callback service to ask that an adviser calls you back
- Visit Gov.UK to search for a local legal adviser.