Rights in temporary council accommodation

Your council may place you in temporary housing after you make a homelessness application.

What counts as temporary housing?

You may live in temporary housing if you made a homelessness application and the council:

  • decided you qualify for longer term housing but hasn't made a final housing offer

  • placed you in emergency housing but hasn't moved you after deciding you qualify for longer term housing


The council sets the rent if your temporary accommodation is in council housing.

The council sends you rent statements that show how much rent is due and how much has been paid.

if your temporary housing is in a housing association home or a private flat, your rent will be set by a:

  • housing association or 

  • private landlord

You could be evicted for rent arrears if you don't pay the rent.

Help with the rent

If you have a low income, you may be able to claim housing benefit to help cover your rent.

You may be able to claim Universal Credit if you are placed in a private flat.

Repairs and poor conditions

You're usually responsible for small jobs such as changing light bulbs and fixing plugs. 

You're also responsible for any damage you cause.

If you are in council housing, the council is usually responsible for other repairs. This includes problems with the:

  • doors

  • brickwork

  • roof and  guttering

  • windows.

The council must also make sure that the plumbing, gas and electricity are working safely.

How to report repairs

Report repair problems to the council

The council should have a 24-hour service for emergencies and set procedures for carrying out any work involved.

Report repair problems to your:

  • housing association if you are in a housing association home

  • private landlord if you are in a private rented home

Taking in lodgers or subletting

You do not have the right to take in a lodger or sublet part of your home while you are in temporary accommodation, unless your landlord gives you permission.

If you sublet your home or take in a lodger, both you and the person you rent to can be evicted very easily.

What to expect when you move in

Find out what to expect when you are offered temporary housing.

If you want to move out

Get advice from a Shelter adviser if you are thinking of leaving your temporary accommodation.

You may be able to ask for a review if you think your accommodation is unsuitable or has become unsuitable.

You can choose to move out of your temporary accommodation, but if you do it is likely you may:

  • no longer be entitled to accommodation from the council

  • lose priority on the council waiting list if you've applied for council housing

  • be treated as intentionally homeless if you apply as homeless again in future

You must give proper notice if you want to leave your temporary accommodation.

Usually, you'll need to either:

If you don't, you are still responsible for paying the rent even after you leave.

Complaints about temporary accommodation

You can use the council's official complaints procedure if you feel that the council isn't treating you fairly or has failed to fulfil its other responsibilities.

If you disagree with any decision the council has made on your homelessness application, you may be able to challenge the decision.

Your legal status

Most people living in temporary housing have basic protection from eviction. 

This means that the council must give you at least 28 days notice and get a court order if it wants to evict you.

You might count as an excluded occupier if:

  • you live in a hostel that is owned or managed by the council

  • the council hasn't made a decision about your homelessness application yet

If you are an excluded occupier the council does not need to get a court order if it wants to evict you.

Different rules may apply if you are in temporary housing and your landlord is a private landlord or a housing association.

Last updated: 24 December 2018

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