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New legal support service for tenants at risk of losing their home

The new Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service gives free legal support to tenants if their landlord is seeking possession of their home.

Words by: Ellie Isaac

Senior Editor

The government has today updated its How to Rent Guide with information about how to get free support if you are at risk of losing your rental home in England or Wales.

The new Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service means you can get government-funded legal advice and representation as soon as you receive written notice from your landlord or a creditor.

The update to the How to Rent Guide comes after a string of changes in March 2023, including a mandatory requirement to have smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in rental homes with combustible gas appliances.

What is the Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service?

The Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service offers legal advice and representation if you are at risk of losing your rental home.

The new service replaces the previous Housing Possession Court Duty Schemes (HCPDS).

You can apply for legal help from the moment you receive written notice that your landlord (or a creditor) is seeking possession of the property. It does not matter what your financial situation is and you will not need to pay for the service.

A housing expert will work with you to find a potential solution. They can advise you on:

  • illegal eviction

  • disrepair and other problems with housing conditions

  • rent arrears

  • mortgage arrears

  • welfare benefits payments

  • debt

If you’re asked to attend a court hearing as part of the eviction, the housing expert can give you free legal advice and representation at the court. 

How to apply

Find your nearest Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service provider. Type in your postcode and tick the box for the service.

You’ll be shown all the providers nearest to you, along with their websites and contact details.

To apply, you’ll need to:

  • Contact a provider directly

  • Have the written notice from your landlord or creditor ready to show you’re facing losing your home

There’s no government guidance on which provider you should choose, but we recommend contacting the closest ones to you first. Some firms may only support those in their local area, plus it’ll be more practical if you need them to represent you in court.

The service is only available to tenants living in England or Wales. If you live in Scotland, there are other ways to get help with a rent dispute.

What is the How to Rent Guide?

The How to Rent Guide is a government document that outlines the rental process in England.

It details your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, as well as what your landlord is legally responsible for. 

When you start a new tenancy, your landlord must provide you with a copy of the latest How to Rent Guide. They’ll normally send you a link to the government website rather than provide a printed version.

If they don’t provide you with the latest How to Rent Guide, they lose the right to evict you using a Section 21 notice.

What should I do if I receive a Section 21 notice?

There are different guides if you are:

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