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Housing Advice

We understand that affordable and sustainable housing is not always easy to find. Our advisors are available to assist with any housing issue regardless of tenure.

We understand that affordable and sustainable housing is not always easy to find. We welcome enquiries from council or private tenants, home owners and those just looking for general housing options. 

What We Do

  • Advice on housing options available to you
  • Help dealing with rent or mortgage arrears
  • Assistance to resolve disputes with your landlord
  • Help to access the Mortgage to Rent Scheme
  • Assistance with arrears cases being taken to Court
  • Housing Benefit checks and help to claim

If you are facing court proceedings because of rent or mortgage arrears the Court Advice Project can help. 

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) is changing

SMI - or otherwise known as Help with Housing Costs - as a benefit is ending on 5 April 2018, and will be replaced by a loan that is secured on your home.

If you currently get SMI as a benefit, you'll get a letter by February 2018 telling you about the loan and other options available to you. You will also receive a phone call from Serco (who are working on behalf of DWP).

What this means for you:

  • Although SMI benefit will end on 5 April 2018, you will still have a responsibility to pay interest on your mortgage/secured loans.
  • You will not automatically switch from SMI benefit to SMI loan, you need to choose to carry on getting the help as a loan
  • SMI loan will continue to be paid based on the average interest rate for new mortgages - at present this is 2.61%. 
  • Interest will be charged on the sum of the loan payments - at the moment this forecast for 2018is 1.7%. 
  • You can repay the loan, or part of it, at any time, with a minimum repayment of £100. Otherwise, the loan will be repayable when your house is sold or transferred to someone else, or on death. If there isn't enough equity, the remaining balance will be written off, so this can't become a problem for your children.

If you need any further advice or assistance, contact the Advice Shop on 01506 283000 (option 3) or email advice.shop@westlothian.gov.uk to discuss the options available to you.