A mother-of-two who said she was terrified when a landlord added eviction proceedings to his physical threats has urged people in similar situations to seek help as early as possible.
Sonia Zoref said she was "rescued" by the Shelter helpline when a dispute with her private landlord turned nasty.
Ms Zoref, 46, explained that when she complained about the poor conditions in her home in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, her landlord issued an eviction notice, leaving her worried about the future of her and her two daughters, aged 11 and 18.
She said she contacted the helpline, after a recommendation from a friend, and they immediately put her in touch with a lawyer who took on her case.
"I actually felt rescued," she said.
"I really felt like I was cornered and I didn't see any other options.
"It offered me a way forward - a light at the end of the tunnel."
Ms Zoref said her troubles began last year when, following a divorce and losing her job, she decided she would not put up with the damp and heating problems in her home any longer.
But, when she reported the matter to environmental health officers, her landlord went from being threatening to serving her with an eviction order, using a small amount of rent arrears as an excuse.
Freelance writer Ms Zoref said Shelter's helpline found her a lawyer who stayed with her through the process which ended when she moved into a new property seven weeks ago.