Lodging schemes

You may be able to find a place to live through a local lodgings scheme. These schemes are usually run by the council or a local voluntary organisation or charity, and can put you in contact with someone who has a spare room for rent.

If you are 16 to 25 years old, there may be a 'Nightstop' or other supported lodgings scheme in your area. These operate in a very similar way to lodging schemes and can often find you a place the same day.

How do supported lodgings work?

Lodgings schemes put people who need a place to stay in contact with people who have a room to rent out. They can often find a place the same day. In most areas, it is much cheaper than staying in a hostel or bed and breakfast. You usually get a room to yourself and access to a bathroom or shower. Some hosts also provide meals.

You may be able to stay for a few days, a few weeks or until you are ready to move into your own place. It usually depends on how long the room is free for and how well you and the host get on. The scheme's staff will usually keep in touch and help you sort out benefits or other problems. They can also help you to find a more permanent place to live and may be able to help you raise money for a deposit and/or rent in advance. 

How do you get a place on a lodgings scheme?

Most lodgings schemes are run by the council or a local voluntary organisation or charity. Contact the housing department of the council or use our directory to find your local Shelter advice centre or other advice centre. They should be able to give you details of any lodgings schemes in your area.

You will normally meet the householder before you move in, to talk about basic ground rules and to see if the arrangement suits you. You and the householder can then decide whether you think you will get on.

What rights would you have in another person's home?

You can be evicted very easily if you live in another person's home rather than having your own place. In most cases, you will be classed as an excluded occupier or an occupier with basic protection, which means you have limited rights if the landlord wants you to leave.

How much do lodging schemes cost?

Lodgings schemes usually work out cheaper than renting privately or staying in a hostel or bed and breakfast. If you are on benefits or have a low income, you may be able to claim housing benefit to help pay the rent. However, housing benefit won't cover the cost of things like meals, cleaning or bills, even if these services are included in the cost of your stay, and you will have to pay for these extra items yourself.

Last updated: 1 January 2014