Private housing advice service

Covid-19 update

The government has introduced measures to protect private renters during the pandemic.

You can find out full details on our Covid-19 housing advice webpage and on the government’s website.

Our team can also advise you by email and phone.

Please contact us at housing.advice@towerhamlets.gov.uk or 0207 364 3558.


What does the service do?

We offer support to people who live in private sector accommodation in Tower Hamlets. Our service is free, confidential and independent.  

Our main role is to prevent homelessness. The earlier you contact us, the more likely it is that we can prevent, or solve, your issue.

Are you homeless or about to be made homeless?

Please contact us as soon as you can.

Email: housing.advice@towerhamlets.gov.uk 

Phone: 0207 364 3558

Who can use the service?

The housing advice service can help you if you are a:

  • tenant of a private landlord
  • tenant of a housing association (also known as a registered social landlord)
  • homeowner (but not council leaseholder)

How we can help you?

These are common issues we can help with. Solutions often depend on your individual circumstances. But we can help resolve these issues and many more.

  • Your landlord has asked you to leave
  • Your landlord lets himself into your property without any permission
  • Your landlord has threatened to throw me out
  • Your landlord is refusing to do repairs 
  • Your landlord has given you a section 21 eviction notice and you need advice
  • Your home has gas appliances which may be dangerous
  • You are worried about the electrical safety standards in your home
  • You cannot get Housing Benefit or other benefits
  • Housing Benefit does not pay the full rent
  • You have a problem paying the rent or mortgage, or service charges
  • You need help to find somewhere to live
  • You don’t have the money for a rent deposit
  • You have debts that might make you lose your home 

What is a section 21 eviction notice?

This starts the legal process to end an assured shorthold tenancy. Most private renters have this type of tenancy.

If it is valid, your landlord must still follow all the rules and allow you the correct notice periods.

Shelter have a guide that helps you check that the section 21 process is valid.

Some landlords use this notice to evict tenants for complaining about disrepair in a property. This is known as a retaliatory or revenge eviction.  

What is retaliatory or revenge eviction?

This is where the landlord/agent evicts a tenant because they have complained of disrepair in the property. 

If you are an assured shorthold tenant, you can be at risk of this.

This is because your landlord can use the section 21 notice eviction. This won't usually need to give the court a reason for the eviction.

How do you protect yourself from a retaliatory or revenge eviction?

Section 21 evictions usually are made after a tenant has complained.

The eviction could be invalid if it happens after you made a written complaint.

Please follow these steps: 

  1. Inform the landlord in writing of the repair issue so they know about it.  Give a reasonable deadline you expect works to be carried out. You can use this repair request template letter to do that.
  2. Send a copy of the letter to the council’s Environmental Health Service. Please email it to environmentalhealth@towerhamlets.gov.uk
  3. If the deadline has passed and they have not given you schedule to fix the disrepair, contact Environmental Health on 020 7364 5000.

If the council serves an improvement or emergency works notice on your landlord, the section 21 eviction will be invalid.

What if your landlord is trying to evict you unlawfully?

It is a criminal offence for a landlord or an agent to unlawfully evict a residential occupier.

Offenders can face large fines or even prison. A residential occupier can only be evicted by the County Court Bailiff enforcing a possession order.

Failure to follow the legal procedure is a crime and the local authority can prosecute.

If your landlord tries to remove you from your home without a bailiff warrant, you can show this letter to the police: 

It also has more details about your rights and the legal process around eviction.

What about evictions for lodgers?

If you live with your landlord, you do not have as many rights as a tenant.

It is easier for a landlord to evict you, though they still have to give you notice.

You can find out more details on our Renters' Charter's Are you a lodger? webpage

Contact us

You can make a quick online request for an appointment.

We will be in touch with you to confirm your appointment time.

You can also contact us by email or phone with any questions.

Email: housing.advice@towerhamlets.gov.uk 

Phone: 0207 364 3558

Further information