Housing help & advice

Advice and information on buying your home, making repairs and keeping it warm. Also find out what to do if you are threatened with homelessness.

If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness it is important that you seek advice and support as soon as possible.

The duty of public authorities to refer a homeless person to a local housing authority

Before making a referral a public body must have the consent of the individual to make the referral and consent to share their contact details with that authority. The individual should be asked to identify the housing authority in England they wish to be referred to. 

Which public authorities are subject to the new DtR?

The public authorities which are subject to the new DtR include: prisons; youth offender institutions; secure training centres; secure colleges; youth offending teams; probation services (including community rehabilitation companies); Jobcentre Plus; social service authorities; emergency departments; urgent treatment centres; hospitals in their function of providing inpatient care; and the Secretary of State for Defence is also subject to the duty to refer in relation to members of the regular forces which are the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the regular army and the Royal Air Force.

Making a Referral

A DtR referral can be made to Northumberland County Council's Homelessness and Housing Options team by downloading the DtR form and emailing to dutytorefer@northumberland.gov.uk  or by completing an online DtR referral here.

If you have any queries please contact the Homelessness and Housing Options Team The DtR only applies to these specified public authorities in England and individuals can only be referred to a local housing authority in England. However, any other public authority not identified can also make a referral on a voluntary basis.  
Our aim is to work with you to try and prevent homelessness. The homelessness and housing options team have developed a range of services to help you keep your home, or to find a new one whether that is renting from a private landlord or a registered provider.

Please contact us at the earliest opportunity if you are at risk of losing your accommodation so that we can give you appropriate advice and assistance to try and prevent this from occurring. 

If you would like some advice, or would like to make an appointment, please contact the Homelessness Duty Officer by: Out of hours emergency
Our emergency out of hours service will take your call, should you contact us outside of working hours.

Duty to Refer
The Duty to Refer (DtR) is a duty on specified public authorities to refer service users who they think may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to local authorities homelessness/housing options teams. The service user must give consent, and can choose which authority to be referred to. The DtR comes into force on 1 October 2018. 

Click here to make a Duty to Refer referral and to find more information.

Housing advice
Our online advice wizard offers useful information. Simply spend roughly 15 minutes answering a few questions regarding your circumstances and the wizard will provide you with tailored advice about your options and what to do next.

Private renting
You have certain rights and responsibilites if you are a tenant in privately rented property. Follow this link for more information

Illegal evictions
If your landlord is using illegal practices of eviction and/or harassment, please contact us for advice and assistance:

You can find more useful information in the ‘my landlord wants me out’ booklet.

Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP)
When it is predicted to be extremely cold (under 0°C for three consecutive nights) we ensure there is a service in place to help rough sleepers find a bed for the night. View our SWEP protocol here

No Second Night Out
We want to ensure that no-one spends more than one night on the streets. If you are aware of someone sleeping rough, please report this to Streetlink.
  • Telephone: 0300 500 0194
Additional useful contacts:
There are different schemes available to help you buy your home depending on your circumstances.

The government has created the help to buy scheme that helps you buy your own home.

Whether you want to get onto the housing ladder, or move up it, the scheme makes it possible to buy a new-build home priced up to £600,000 with as little as a 5% deposit.

North East, Yorkshire & Humberside is the help to buy agent for Northumberland.
The right to buy scheme helps social tenants in England buy their own council home at a discount.

If you are a council tenant, or were living in your own home when the council transferred it to another landlord, you may be able to buy your own home.
Local lend-a-hand is a partnership between Lloyds Bank and Northumberland County Council. The local authority provides a cash-backed indemnity as additional security for the mortgage.

This extra security means that Lloyds can offer you a mortgage of up to 95% of your first home’s value. 
There may be financial help available for homeowners to fund adaptations, home improvements and repairs.

If you have a disability or illness, making daily life difficult, you may benefit from having your home adapted to help you carry on with life independently.

We can help you access the support and services you need. Please contact adult social care for an assessment:
  • Telephone: 01670 536400
For more information, please view our ‘disabled facilities grant’ booklet, which briefly outlines available help and grant applications.
If you are a home owner struggling to carry out essential repairs, improvements or adaptations to your home, an affordable loan and step-by-step support may be available.
This service is available to homeowners and tenants who are one of the following:
  • over 50
  • disabled
  • a victim of crime
  • at high risk of falling
  • vulnerable in any other way
The service also carries out home safety assessments to look at reducing slips, trips and falls, accidents in the home and also improving home security.
We work closely with partners to promote energy efficiency that helps keep your house warm.

There are various ways to check if your property could benefit from energy-saving improvements: The green deal may be right for you if you think your property could benefit from energy-saving improvements.
Community energy provides information for groups who may want to set up a community energy project. There is support and advice to help available: The Energy Savings Trust focuses on promoting the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. You can find free advice and information on their website, or contacting them:
  • Telephone: 0800 512 012