This articles explains about the legal help you can access when living in private housing.

If you have a housing problem that you need help with, occasionally you may need legal advice to help resolve it. A Student Housing Officer can help you decide whether you need to take further action perhaps using the small claims court, speaking to a solicitor or simply some free legal advice might just be what you need.

Why you might need legal advice for housing issues

Your first port of call to find out whether legal advice is needed for issues you are experiencing in relation to accommodation is the Student Housing team.

Here are just some of the examples of when you might consider seeking legal advice in relation to accommodation:-

  • Severe disrepair issues in a property (including compensation)
  • Illegal eviction
  • Harassment (be it from a landlord, agency, housemate, neighbour etc.)
  • Deposit disputes
  • Rent arrears
  • Financial issues (your housemate owes you large sums of money)
  • Contractual disputes (including whether you can legally end your tenancy early)
  • Small claims court procedure

The Student Housing Officers are not legally trained, but have a wealth of experience and accommodation-related training between them so they can go through the issues you are experiencing to help and advise you as you might be able to resolve the issue yourself without having to take it further.

What legal advice is available and how to access it

If the Student Housing Officer feels you would benefit from some legal advice, you access the following services for free:-

  • University of Portsmouth School of Law legal advice clinics - for more information, please check out their website here.
  • Nuffield Centre - a practising solicitor visits the Nuffield Centre every Tuesday (term-time only) to provide 15-20 minute free appointments. You have to book your session and this can be done at the MyPort Information Hub reception on the Ground Floor of the Nuffield Centre in person or email
  • Citizens Advice Bureau - Alternatively, you can access the Portsmouth branch of the Citizens Advice Bureau should you require advice outside of term-time or cannot make the sessions at the University. For more details, check out their website.

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