'I definitely think that society needs to be made more aware of homelessness – and how it affects people from all walks of life'.

'I definitely think that society needs to be made more aware of homelessness – and how it affects people from all walks of life'.

Louise never imagined that she’d one day be facing the prospect of homelessness – but when that day arrived, she described it as a high-speed train, travelling so fast it gave her no time to plan her next move. 

Having sold their house for £500,000, Louise and her husband moved into a privately rented home with their three children while they looked for somewhere new. But when Louise’s marriage broke down, she was left with nothing but a section 21 eviction notice from her landlord, who didn’t want her to remain in the property without her husband. 

Then, on Christmas Eve in 2019, Louise received court papers telling her of her landlord’s accelerated possession order. 

Luckily, on New Year’s Eve, Louise’s thorough completion of defence papers led to some good news. A court had ruled that the landlord was not entitled to use the accelerated possession procedure, as he had not provided a gas safety certificate before the section 21 notice was served.  

Her revised possession papers arrived with a new date of 2 March 2020, and she was offered a housing association property – but it wasn’t available until 6 March, leaving her for five days without a home.  

Louise was exhausted. She described it as the most stressful time of her life – worried sick that bailiffs would evict her and her family. She just didn’t know how to go about finding a place to live in between the move.  

That was when Shelter stepped in. 

She contacted the helpline and one of our advisers, Madeline, helped Lousie to prepare for her court appearance, and submitted written representations to help her request more time. 

At a time when I felt desperate, alone and close to ending it all, Shelter were the only ones that came through to me at a moment’s notice. Thanks again to Shelter for all your help and support during a difficult time in my life.

At the hearing, the court considered her request, and it was agreed that Louise would be given a further two weeks to manage her move. 

Louise and her family – and their dog! – are now settled into their new home, and are already looking forward to a much less stressful Christmas this year.  

‘After the awful experience of receiving an eviction notice last Christmas Eve, we’re looking forward to this year’s Christmas – and have already earmarked a space for the tree!’ 

If you need help dealing with a section 21 notice, visit our online advice pages, or speak to a Shelter adviser.