About West Suffolk
At the time of the 2021 Census, housing in West Suffolk looked something like this:
- The population of West Suffolk was 179,948 making up around 78,746 households.
- 16% of households or around 12,735 were renting social or affordable housing from a housing association.
- 22% of households or around 17,681 were renting privately from a landlord or letting agent, or were living “rent free”.
- 61% of households or around 48,331 owned their own homes including those with a mortgage, owned outright, including 942 households in “shared ownership”.
I need advice, am homeless or might be…
Local authorities have a duty to advise and assist any resident with a housing problem. If a person is homeless, threatened with homelessness, being harassed or thinks they are being illegally evicted; if they cannot afford housing in a suitable location etc. they can approach the district housing for advice and assistance. The council teams will try to help the customer find a suitable solution.
For Forest Heath residents, this service is provided across West Suffolk. This link takes you to a page on the West Suffolk website where you can find contact information for the homelessness service, here West Suffolk homelessness page
The Suffolk Coordination Service is an access point to supported housing for homeless people. The Suffolk Coordination Service is delivered by West Suffolk council working in partnership with Suffolk County Council. It helps agencies working with people experiencing homelessness to access supported housing. You can find out more here The Suffolk Coordination Service
The Duty to Refer
Partner organisations can refer someone who you believe is homeless, or threatened with homelessness, using this duty to refer email address: Dutytorefer@westsuffolk.gov.uk
You can find guidance, a referral form and national directory of contact emails for the duty to refer at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/homelessness-duty-to-refer
Who to contact if a homeless person is preparing to leave hospital
This note sets out who to contact if someone preparing to leave hospital is homeless or has housing issues: How to get help if someone preparing to leave hospital is homeless 040923
I need to find a new home
Apply for social housing: Home-Link
Home-Link is a system to help people choose the social housing they’d like to live in, rather than being ‘allocated’ a home by the local authority. It’s known as a “choice-based lettings” system which seven local councils use to let newly built social and affordable housing, and to let homes which become empty because the previous tenant has moved out.
- Council tenants who need to transfer from one property to another if their needs change – for example they might need a smaller home, a larger home, need to move for work or need specialist housing.
- Private renters and home owners who need social or affordable housing, and qualify for it (there is an application process).
You can apply to Home-Link online. You need to be registered to have the chance to bid.
Home-Link covers seven districts, while Peterborough has a similar but separate system. Please visit Home-Link website
I need supported housing
Supported housing is accommodation for people who require additional support to learn the skills to help them live independently. People that live in supported housing will have support workers who can help with everyday issues and offer advice whilst teaching valuable skills such as budgeting and applying for jobs. Find out more here West Suffolk supported housing information
Renting from a private landlord
How to rent
This link takes you to a government checklist, published October 2023 : How to rent – the checklist for renting in England (pdf).
This guide is for tenants and landlords in the private rented sector to help them understand their rights and responsibilities. It provides a checklist and more detailed information on each stage of the process, including:
- what to look out for before renting
- living in a rented home
- what happens at the end of a tenancy
- what to do if things go wrong
The checklist can be found on this page of the .gov.uk website.
Buy your own home
How to buy a home
This government leaflet sets out How to buy a home including working out what you can afford, and the various freehold options available.
There is a separate leaflet on how to lease, here How to lease
There are a number of government schemes available to make buying a home more affordable. You can use the “own your own home” on-line tool to find out which scheme is right for you by answering some simple questions. The schemes include:
- The mortgage guarantee scheme
- Help to Buy (equity loan)
- Shared ownership
- The right to buy
- … and others.
To find out more, please visit https://www.ownyourhome.gov.uk/
Build your own home
Councils in England have to keep a register of people who are interested in self build or custom build in their area. This register helps the council know the level of demand for such plots, so it can develop a strategy to match people to plots in their area.
You can find out more about the West Suffolk approach here.
Where I live now
I rent from the council
In 2005 Forest Heath District Council transferred its housing to Flagship Homes (housing association) which is part of the Flagship group. So there is no council housing any more in Forest Heath, it’s most likely you are renting from another social landlord.
In 2003 St Edmundsbury Borough Council transferred its housing to Havebury Housing Partnership. So there is no council housing any more in St Edmundsbury, it’s most likely you are renting from another social landlord.
I rent from Flagship Homes
- Flagship’s website is found here Flagship Homes
- This link takes you to Flagship’s “contact us” page Flagship Homes – contact us
I rent from Havebury Housing Partnership
- This link takes you to Havebury’s home page Havebury Housing Partnership website
- Here is a link to Havebury’s contact us page
- This page gives maps of Havebury’s office location maps
I rent from another social landlord
Housing associations and other registered providers own and manage social rented and shared ownership homes in West Suffolk. This can be general needs housing, supported housing or housing for older people including sheltered and extra care.
This link takes you to a page listing all housing associations who own or manage stock in (former) Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury (we are in the process of updating to provide West Suffolk information) and which are registered with Homes England, with a link to their websites here.
I rent from a private landlord
There is useful guidance on how to make sure your rented home is safe, here How to rent a safe home
You can also use this link to check how to get repairs done in your rented home
West Suffolk Lettings Partnership offers generic advice about housing benefit queries, tenant and landlord matters as well as being able to find tenants for you from the Councils’ housing registers. The Partnership’s aim is to bring together landlords and agents with tenants who need accommodation, including those waiting for social housing.
If you are a private renter, the Partnership offers help and advice about your rights, about types of private renting agreements, the costs of private renting and about your rights as a private renting tenant.If you are a landlord, the Partnership offers help and advice about your obligations and rights, the types of private renting agreements, landlord responsibilities, letting rooms in your home and a landlord’s guide to gas safety and electrical safety.
For more information please follow this link where you can find e-mail and phone contacts for the West Suffolk Lettings Partnership, here West Suffolk private housing page.
I own my own home
West Suffolk offers a range of grants to home owners on low incomes, including:
- Decent homes grant
- Disabled facilities grant, for home owners who need to adapt their homes because an occupant is disabled.
- Empty homes grant
- Thermal comfort grant
- Healthy homes grant
Please follow this link to find a page of further details about these grants, here West Suffolk housing grants
I need some support to stay safe & well
Home improvement agencies
Home improvement agencies are local organisations dedicated to helping people of all ages who are vulnerable, have a disability or a limited life expectancy (including older people, babies and children) to live safely and with dignity in their homes.
Services focus on making sure that housing is fit for purpose and that vulnerable people can continue to live independently for as long as possible.
Orbit Care & Repair provides a home improvement agency service across Babergh, Ipswich, Mid Suffolk, West Suffolk and Waveney districts. This link takes you to the Orbit Care and Repair web page.
Work & money matters
Each district administers or oversees administration of benefit applications and payments.
Follow this link to find a page of useful information about benefits and eligibility for residents of West Suffolk: West Suffolk benefits and support page
Making Money Count
Making Money Count offers everyday help with
•universal credit.All the information is reliable, practical and easy to follow. It is brought to you by organisations working across Cambridgeshire, West Norfolk and Peterborough who want to help make life fairer for everyone. You can find out more here.
Building Better Opportunities
Three are four linked projects covering Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, which work hard to help people get into, or get back into, work.
You can find out more on this page.
I have a different issue…
Contact the council
West Suffolk’s home page is here www.westsuffolk.gov.uk
West Suffolk’s “contact us” page provides details of office locations, phone numbers and opening hours, here www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/contact-us
Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
The CAB is a charity that gives free, confidential information and advice to help people with their money, legal, consumer and other problems. The service aims to provide the advice people need for the problems they face, and to improve the policies and principles that affect people’s lives. Trained advisers help write letters, make phone calls, negotiate with creditors and represent clients at tribunals and courts. Find out more here Suffolk West CAB and Newmarket CAB