The housing and homelessness charity

Shelter Scotland / England


Sample letters

This page has examples of letters you can use to help you put it in writing.

How to use Shelter's sample letters

Downloadable letters

Shelter's sample letters are downloaded as Word documents. This means you can save them to your computer, make any necessary changes then print them out. Make sure you fill in all the 'blanks' (for example, your name and address and your landlord's name and address) - these are indicated in red. If you are using a colour printer, you'll need to make sure you change the text to black before you print the letter out. You can do this by highlighting the red text with your mouse, then selecting the font colour tool in Word and choosing 'automatic' or 'black'.

Online letters

If you don't have Word or are unable to download files, you can use the online letters, at the bottom of the page. Simply fill in the details required and a letter will be generated for you. You can then print the letter out, and also email a copy to yourself for your records.

Help with Shelter's letters

Some of the letters may require you to fill in more information about your situation. If you need any help writing to the council or your landlord, talk to an adviser at a housing aid centre or Citizens Advice Bureau. Use the Advice Services Directory to find help near you.

Claiming housing benefit

Changing your circumstances

If your circumstances change, this may affect the amount of benefit you receive. Use this sample letter to notify the housing or council tax benefit department immediately.

Requesting a payment on account (interim payment)

If 14 days have passed since you have made your claim for housing benefit/local housing allowance, which was submitted with all the required information, and the claim is yet to be processed you will be entitled for a payment on account. Normally a payment on account should have automatically, but if it has not send this letter to request the payment.

Requesting a statement of reasons

When the housing benefit department has made a decision about your claim, they send you a letter to let you know. If there's anything you don't understand, you can ask the housing benefit department to provide an explanation in writing, called a statement of reasons.

Requesting backdated housing benefit

If you want to ask for your benefit to be backdated, you will need to state this when you fill in your housing or council tax benefit claim form. You will also have to include a letter or statement with your form, which states the reasons that you could not have claimed any earlier. Enclose any evidence you have to back this up.

Requesting housing benefit for two homes

Normally you can only get housing benefit for one home at a time. However there are special circumstances where it may be possible to have housing benefit paid for more than one home. Payments for two homes are not given automatically, so you will have to write to your housing benefit department and ask.

Deposit letters

Disputing the amount of the deposit

Use this sample letter to write to your landlord if you think all or part of your deposit has been withheld unfairly. Alternatively, you can create a letter online (see below).

Letter requesting tenancy deposit registration details

Use this sample letter to write to your landlord requesting your tenancy deposit registration information.

Requesting a breakdown of damages

Your landlord or letting agent should give you reasons for refusing or delaying the return of your deposit when you move out of a rented property. If they don't, you can write to ask for an explanation and a breakdown of specific expenses.

Threatening court action

If your landlord or letting agent still refuses to return the money, use this letter to explain that if you don't get your deposit back, you will be forced to take action in the small claims court.

Getting repairs done

Asking for repairs to be done

If your rented home needs repairs carried out, it's always best to report the problem to your landlord in writing. If the problem is urgent, you may wish to phone them as well. Alternatively, you can create a letter online (see below).

Complaining about repair work not done

If your landlord does not carry out the repairs, you can write to them again, explaining that if repairs are not carried out within a certain time frame, you will take further action. Alternatively, you can create a letter online (see below).

Doing repairs yourself 1

If your landlord is refusing to carry out repairs or is being unreasonably slow in getting the work done, you might be able to do the repairs yourself and pay for them out of the rent. However, you must follow the correct procedure and use all the letters in order.Letter 1 explains that you are going to do the work yourself unless the repairs are done within a reasonable time.

Doing repairs yourself 2

Next you need to send your landlord three quotes for the work, with a letter explaining that you are going to go ahead with the cheapest quote unless your landlord arranges for the repairs to be done within a certain time.

Doing repairs yourself 3

You'll need to pay for the work yourself and send your landlord the receipt - use letter 3 for this.

Doing repairs yourself 4

If your landlord does not give you back the money, send letter 4 to explain that you are going to deduct the money from your future rent.

Letter to send before contacting the PRHP

Use this letter to notify your landlord that you are about to contact the private rented housing panel (PRHP) about a disrepair issue. Your landlord may then deal with the issue to prevent the matter going further.

Warning your landlord that you're contacting the council

If the state of your home is affecting your health, the environmental health department of your local council may be able to help you take action. Before contacting them, write to your landlord to let them know - this may spur them into action.

Mortgage arrears

Letter to send to your mortgage lender

If you are having difficulties paying your mortgage, you should contact your lender at the earliest possible opportunity to arrange an appointment to discuss the situation with them. If you don't want to phone or can't get through to the right person, use this letter to write to your lender instead. You can also create a letter online (see below).

Online letters

I'm homeless letter

This tool helps you generate a letter to take with you when you go to the council to make a homeless application.

Letter asking for repairs to be done

It's up to you to let your landlord know if any repairs are required in your rented accommodation. Use this tool to generate a letter to send to your landlord asking them to carry out repair work.

Letter complaining that repairs have not been done

If you have asked your landlord to carry out repair work but they have not done so, use this letter to let them know that you are unhappy with the situation and need the work to be done.

Letter requesting the return of your deposit

This tool will allow you to generate a letter to send to your landlord asking them to return your deposit.

Letter to send to your mortgage lender

Use this tool to generate a letter to send to your lender if you are struggling to pay your mortgage.

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Speak to a Shelter Scotland adviser

Call Shelter Scotland's free housing advice helpline

0808 800 4444*
9am-5pm, Monday to Friday

Email an adviser

You can also email a housing adviser. We aim to respond within three working days.

*Our advice line is free to call from landlines and all six of the main UK mobile networks, Virgin, Orange, 3, T-mobile, Vodafone and O2, but charges may apply from any other network

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