Eviction from hostels

You usually sign a licence agreement when you stay in a hostel for homeless people. A licence means that it's easy for you to be evicted

Rules when you stay in a hostel

When you stay in a hostel, you are usually asked to sign an agreement saying you'll keep to hostel rules.

Find out more about rules when you stay in a hostel.

Most hostels ask you to sign a licence agreement when you move in. 

You could be asked to leave the hostel if you don't follow the rules.

The most common reasons for eviction are unacceptable behaviour, not paying the rent or other charges or staying away without telling the hostel staff.

Eviction if you don't pay your rent

You can be evicted if you don't pay the hostel rent or charges for food, lighting and heating.  

Housing benefit can help pay the hostel rent but won't cover most other charges. You have to pay these costs out of your other benefits or income.  

Paying your rent on time makes it easier for hostel staff to find you longer term or 'move-on' accommodation.

Find out more about claiming housing benefit.

Eviction for unacceptable behaviour

Unacceptable behaviour can include being abusive towards staff or residents or being noisy at night time. The rules for your hostel usually say what behaviour is unacceptable.

Hostel staff tell you what you have to do to be able to continue to stay at the hostel. Hostels don't want to evict you and usually give you support to help you keep your place. You are likely to be given one written warning before being evicted.

Some hostels may temporarily exclude you from the building or from communal areas until your behaviour has improved.

You can be evicted immediately if you are dealing drugs in the hostel, are violent or threaten violence towards others.

Eviction for not staying in the hostel

You could lose your place in a hostel if you don't use your room and haven't told the hostel you'll be away.

Check what the hostel rules say about staying away.

If you can, tell the hostel if you:

  • had an unavoidable absence, for example if you had to go into hospital
  • know you'll be away for a period of time 

When a hostel asks you to leave

You are likely to be given at least one written warning before being evicted.

If you have received a warning, it doesn't mean you will definitely be evicted. You may be given more time to put things right.

If the hostel wants to evict you, sometimes you are given four weeks' notice but usually you only get reasonable notice. How long is considered reasonable varies from hostel to hostel and because of the reason you're evicted.

You should be given a notice to quit (NTQ). This should include your name, the date, the reason why you are being asked to leave and anything you can do to prevent the eviction.

The hostel doesn't usually need to get a court order to evict you.

Check your hostel's rules on eviction to see if you may be able to challenge the eviction.

Finding somewhere else to stay

If you are evicted from a hostel, you are unlikely to be allowed to stay there again. Other hostels in the area may also not want to offer you a place.

Some hostels help you find alternative accommodation before you are evicted, regardless of why you are being evicted.

The hostel should let local homelessness outreach teams know you are being evicted. If you have to sleep on the streets, they can help you find another hostel.

If you want to leave the hostel

Some people find it difficult to stay in a hostel. Tell the hostel staff if you are having problems, for example if you are sharing a room with someone you don't get on with. 

Talk with hostel staff if you feel like leaving the hostel. They can try to help you settle into the hostel and the surrounding area.

If you don't think the hostel is right for you, the hostel staff could help you find a place that is better suited to your needs.

You may also want to: 

  • contact a local branch of Mind, a charity that can support you with how you're feeling
  • ask someone you trust to offer you support

Get advice

Get help immediately if you are worried about being evicted, if the hostel hasn't followed its rules about eviction or you have been evicted from a hostel with nowhere to stay.

Call Shelter's helpline on 0808 800 4444 .

Get independent legal advice from a housing adviser. Use Shelter's directory to find an adviser in your area.

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