Sharon Hodgson

Disclaimer: As an election has been called, there are currently no MPs.

Housing advice

Housing advice for constituents

Housing advice

Homelessness and Emergency Accommodation:

Should you find yourself facing homelessness, you must contact your Sunderland Local Authority Housing Options Team as soon as possible.

You can contact Sunderland City Council’s Homelessness Team on: 0800 234 6084 (Monday – Friday 8.30am to 5pm).

(You are able to contact the above number outside of their opening hours should you or someone you know require assistance.)

Email the Team at: [email protected]

Residents who are experiencing domestic abuse and violence can access help and advice locally through Wearside Women in Need (WWiN). (https://www.wwin.org.uk/copy-of-contact)

Call: 0800 066 5555 (24-hour helpline).  If you are in immediate danger, please dial: 999.

Renting advice

Your rights as a tenant depend upon the type of tenancy that you have.

> Housing charity Shelter’s tenancy checker can help you establish what type of tenancy you have. (https://england.shelter.org.uk/professional_resources/legal/renting/tenancy_status_checker)

Always check your tenancy agreement to understand your landlord’s responsibilities, and your responsibilities as a tenant.  Your tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your landlord; therefore, it is important that you both adhere to the terms of the agreement.

For the most part, your landlord is responsible for most repairs in your home.  This applies to private landlords, councils, and housing associations (Registered Social Landlords).  Your landlord should also redecorate if needed once the repair work is completed. Your landlord must carry out repairs within a reasonable time frame, this is dependent on how serious the problem is.  If you are unsure who is responsible for a repair, please check your tenancy agreement.

If you have reported a problem to your landlord and they have not done anything about it, there is action that you can take. Tenants in privately rented accommodation and housing associations could contact the Local Authority’s Environmental Health department, depending on the issue. It may also be possible to take your landlord to court, please note that taking court action can be costly and time-consuming and should only be taken as a last resort.

Please note, some private landlords may decide to evict a tenant rather than do repair work – this is known as ‘retaliatory eviction’.  It is important that you know where you’re at risk of eviction before taking action against your landlord. You may be able to challenge a revenge eviction. Contact your nearest Housing Advice organisation for further support: www.advicelocal.uk

As an MP, Sharon is limited in the action she can take regarding housing problems. Housing welfare falls under the responsibility of the Local Council; therefore, it may prove helpful to contact your local Councillors directly (using your postcode) about a housing problem via: www.writetothem.com

If you rent your property from a Registered Social Landlord (RSL, such as Gentoo) or the Local Authority (Sunderland City Council), you can discuss your complaint/s with the Housing Ombudsman * (see below) on: 0300 111 3000.

Please be advised, should you wish to lodge a complaint to the Housing Ombudsman, they will insist that you have exhausted the relevant complaints procedure first, before they will investigate.

- > Sunderland City Council complaints procedure
(https://www.sunderland.gov.uk/media/25019/SHS-Complaints-and-Compliments-Policy/pdf/SHS-ComplaintsAndComplimentsPolicy.pdf?m=637810447166270000)

- > Gentoo complaints procedure.
(https://www.gentoogroup.com/contact/complaints-procedure/#! )


Should you need to discuss your housing matter with a specialist, you can contact Shelter via telephone (Helpline: 0808 800 4444), or webchat: (https://england.shelter.org.uk/get_help/webchat)

* The Housing Ombudsman Service

The Housing Ombudsman Service deals with complaints made about housing associations and local authorities (Some managing agents and private landlords are also members of the scheme).

The Housing Ombudsman Service provides a website that explains the process you need to take when dealing with a housing issue. You can read more here > The Housing Ombudsman



Support for homeowners (on qualifying benefits).


As a homeowner, you are wholly responsible for the upkeep of your property.

In some instances, your Local Authority may be able to provide support with home improvements to owner-occupier properties.

There are various energy efficiency schemes and grants available to homeowners.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is the main government energy efficiency scheme to help tackle fuel poverty and help reduce carbon emissions (for people on qualifying benefits).  For further information on the scheme follow this link: > Energy Company Obligation Scheme
(https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/environmental-and-social-schemes/energy-company-obligation-eco/homeowners-and-tenants)


For details of other energy grants that may be available to you, follow this link: > Energy Grants Scheme.
(https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/find-energy-grants-for-you-home-help-to-heat)


For more information about local Home Improvement Agencies, follow this link > Home improvement Agencies (HIAs) can help people repair or adapt their home.
(https://www.foundations.uk.com)


The Property Ombudsman

The role of the Property Ombudsman is to reach a resolution concerning disputes with estate agents, letting agents, residential managing agents, valuers, auctioneers and other property professionals.

The Ombudsman will investigate complaints about registered firms who have gone against your legal rights, treated you unfairly, or been found guilty of maladministration.  It must be noted that all estate agents must be members of the scheme. There is currently no requirement for other property professionals to register as members.

To start the process, you must write a formal complaint to the registered firm to start their internal complaints procedure. If, at the end of this process, you are not satisfied, you can contact the Property Ombudsman. You must do this within six months of the firm completing their internal complaints procedure.

To process a complaint with the Property ombudsman, you can write to them at Milford House, 43 – 55 Milford Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP12BP, call them on 01722 333 306 or email them at [email protected].

Further information is available on The Property Ombudsman website here

Ombudsman Services website

 


Gov UK advice pages

Generally, you can access the UK Government's advice on housing by using the gov.uk website > UK Government housing options advice. (https://www.gov.uk/browse/housing-local-services)


Disclaimer - While reasonable efforts have been made to supply credible organisations' websites, Sharon Hodgson is not responsible for their content and their use is entirely your own decision.

If you are able to provide any updated information on these resources, Please email: [email protected]


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