Housing advice

Page updated on: 17/05/2024

The Housing Advice Team provides free housing advice. We aim to prevent homelessness by offering advice and assistance to allow you to remain in your own home or we may be able to help secure alternative accommodation by looking at all housing options. A Housing Officer will work with you to try and prevent you from becoming homeless or to relieve your homelessness.

The Housing Advice Team works in accordance with the Housing (Wales) Act 2014.

‘You may be homeless if you’re sleeping rough, don’t have rights to stay where you are or you live in unsuitable housing. Even if you have a roof over your head you can still be homeless.’ (Shelter Cymru, 2018)

You don’t have to be sleeping on the streets to be classed as homeless. You might also be legally homeless if you are:

  • Temporarily staying with friends or family
  • Staying in a hostel or bed and breakfast
  • Living in very overcrowded conditions
  • At risk of violence or abuse in your home
  • Living in poor conditions that affect your health
  • Living somewhere that you have no legal right to stay in (e.g. a squat)
  • Living somewhere that you can’t afford to pay for without depriving yourself of basic essentials
  • Forced to live apart from your family, or someone you would normally live with, because your accommodation isn’t suitable. (Shelter Cymru, 2018)

If you are considered to be homeless that night, the duty officer may offer you the following options;

  • Temporary or emergency accommodation subject to a risk assessment being done (this may be either within or outside of Pembrokeshire, depending on individual circumstances).
  • Provide you with information so you can acquire a rough sleeper pack.
  • Mediation with your family/friend/partner/landlord etc. to allow you to stay overnight.

Please note: this list is not exhaustive and will depend on your circumstances.

A Housing Officer may be able to help you with:

  • Filling in a Housing Application form to join the Council’s Housing register.
  • General housing advice, including:
  • Advice about renting privately
  • Advice about renting from the Local Authority or Housing Association
  • Advice about what to do if you are having difficulty paying your mortgage
  • Mediation with your family, landlord or mortgage company.
  • Signposting to other agencies who may be able to help.
  • Basic legal advice about housing.
  • Basic financial and debt management advice.
  • Referral to the Council’s Private Sector Housing Team for enquiries in relation to validity of notices and also for defects or potential hazards.
  • Making arrangements to attend the Council Offices for an appointment with a Housing Officer, dependent on your individual circumstances.

The following organisations work alongside the Council and the service it has a statutory duty to provide, and may be able to help or support you with your housing problems.

Referrals can be made to Op FORTITUDE by our online referral form or by Freephone 0800 9520774.

You would need to attend an appointment with a Housing Officer who would help you to fill in a Housing Needs Assessment to assess your housing need – this is a known as Section 62 Assessment as per The Housing (Wales) Act 2014. You can be accompanied to your appointment by a friend, family member, advocate or support worker.

You have either asked to see a Housing Officer or have made an appointment to see a Housing Officer in relation to your housing situation. We appreciate that you may feel anxious regarding this. This leaflet helps to explain what to expect from this meeting.

The meeting may take approximately one hour. During this time, the Housing Officer will need to ask you many detailed questions about your situation. These may include personal questions your health, finances, previous and current circumstances and, where appropriate, any criminal record. We have to ask these questions to establish what help, if any, we can give you. It is important that you answer fully and honestly. Interviews may be conducted in an open interview booth. We have limited access to a private booth so please tell the Housing Officer if you would prefer this. Please note that this may increase the time you will be waiting to see a Housing Officer.

If there is anything that you do not wish to discuss, or if you feel uncomfortable with any of the questions asked, please let the Housing Officer know at the time. Please be aware that if you cannot answer questions fully, this may limit the help we are able to give you.

In order to assist the Housing Officer to have a better understanding of your circumstances, and be able to make a decision more quickly as to what assistance, if any may be given, please bring the following with you to your interview:

  • Proof of Identification e.g. birth certificate, driving licence, passport etc.
  • Details of your income and expenditure e.g. your last three months bank statements.
  • Details of any medication you or a member of your household has been prescribed e.g. repeat prescription, GP’s letter etc.

If you do not have this information with you at the interview, please discuss this with your Housing Officer and if required this information should be provided as soon as possible following your interview.

This will depend on your circumstances. The Housing Officer will be able to give more advice about this when you have discussed your circumstances. Please note any advice given is free of charge, and will be based on the information provided by you. You will also be asked to sign a Declaration that states that the information you have provided to us is correct information and that you have not withheld information or mislead us in relation to your circumstances. Also by signing Declaration you are consenting to the Housing Officer making enquiries, as below, to assist with being able to provide you further advice, and assistance, if appropriate.

The Housing Officer will make enquiries, including where relevant checks with Department for Work and Pensions, other Council Departments e.g. Social Services, Education, GP’s and other Health Care Professionals, previous and current landlords, credit agencies and other government departments e.g. Probation, Police and also any of your support network e.g. family, friends, carers/support workers etc.
Please note that this is not exhaustive, as it will be dependent on each individual customer’s circumstances.

We may also use information held in the public domain, including social media. It is important that you provide any additional information as quickly as possible as a delay may extend the investigation time, or a result in a decision being based on incomplete information. The Housing Officer will then make a decision as to what assistance, if any, we can provide in accordance with the relevant legislation. You will be notified of this decision in writing 10 working days following your original presentation to the Housing Department in relation to your housing situation. You will be given your Housing Officer’s name. Your Housing Officer may also give you a list of further information that is needed, or a list of things you need to do.

You will also be given a Housing Advice Pack, which you should read at the earliest opportunity after your interview. If you have any questions about the information provided to you in the Housing Advice Pack please contact your Housing Officer regarding this. If you are unclear about any of the information, please ask the Housing Officer at the start of your meeting.

Create a Personal Housing Plan with tasks that you and your Housing Officer will need to do in order to help you find suitable, sustainable and affordable accommodation. This will detail the reasonable steps that you would both need to take in accordance with the relevant legislation. These could include:

  • Searching for properties in the private rented sector.
  • Saving for a bond and/or rent in advance in order to acquire a tenancy.
  • Apply for bond assistance for a suitable property in the PRS.
  • Completing relevant, legally required checks to support a bond application e.g. the landlord/agency MUST be registered with rent Smart Wales.
  • Ensuring your Housing application is up to date and the correct banding is awarded to reflect your circumstance.
  • Making relevant referrals to supporting agencies.
  • Engaging with support workers and/or agencies.
  • Proactively attempting to find other accommodation, e.g. making relevant bids on your choice homes application.
  • Receiving a written copy of the help you can expect from the Housing Department.
  • Keeping each other updated of any changes in circumstances.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive and your Personal Housing Plan will be based on your individual circumstances and regularly updated as required.

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