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How long can you stay in supported housing?

How long you can live in supported accommodation depends on:

  • the type of scheme it is

  • the type of tenancy agreement you have

Some supported housing is meant to be for emergencies. For example, domestic abuse refuges or homeless hostels. But most offer support to move on to more settled housing.

Some supported housing schemes have a time limit on how long you can stay. For example, 6 months or 3 years.

Sometimes support is provided for as long as you need it. You can live there as long as you pay your rent and do not break any rules in your agreement.

Mencap easy read advice

Find out about supported housing on the Mencap website if you have a learning disability.

Check your agreement

When you move into supported housing, your support worker or landlord should give you a tenancy agreement or licence agreement which sets out your rights and responsibilities.

Always check what the agreement says about:

  • rent and service charges

  • what happens if the landlord wants to end your agreement or evict you

Tenancy agreements and licence agreements give you different rights.

Moving on from supported accommodation

A few months before you're expected to move to other housing your keyworker should start working with you to look at options. For example:

  • a council or housing association home

  • a private tenancy

  • another type of supported housing

In most cases you will not have to leave supported housing until there is a safe and suitable home for you to move to.

Eviction from supported accommodation

You might have to leave supported accommodation if:

  • you do not apply for benefits or pay your rent

  • you break any rules in your tenancy or licence agreement

In most cases you will get notice before you have to leave.

If your home is self contained, your landlord needs to get a court order before you can be evicted. Only bailiffs can carry out an eviction.

In some types of supported housing you could be evicted more easily and your landlord might not need to go to court. Your agreement might say you have an 'excluded licence'.

Speak to your keyworker if you have problems with rent, benefits or other residents while you live in supported housing. They should help you to sort out problems.

Domestic abuse refuges

You probably have an excluded licence if you stay in a refuge and share a kitchen with other residents.

Refuges are safe houses for people who have experienced domestic abuse.

You can usually stay as long as you need to. But you could be evicted without a court order if you break the refuge rules.

You must not share the address with others as this puts people who live there at risk.

Find out more about staying in a domestic abuse refuge.


You probably have an excluded licence if you stay in a hostel owned by a council, housing association or charity and you either:

  • get meals as part of the agreement

  • share a kitchen with other residents

Check your agreement to find out when you could be evicted.

You could be asked to leave if you stay longer than the hostel rules allow or you break the rules in your agreement. For example, rules about visitors, staying away overnight or smoking.

Find out how to get a place to stay if you're homeless and on the streets.

Self contained housing with support

This is housing where support workers visit to give you support or check that you are okay.

If your landlord is a housing association you might have:

You probably have a licence agreement if support staff are allowed to come into your home as a condition of the agreement. For example, if they have not seen or heard from you and need to check you're okay.

You probably have a tenancy agreement if support staff cannot come in unless you invite them in. It might still be a condition of your agreement that you accept support that is offered.

If your landlord is a council you might have:

Most supported housing tenancies offered by councils are non secure tenancies.

With all these tenancy and licence types, your landlord has to give you a notice and get a court order before they can ask bailiffs to evict you. 

If you get a notice to leave supported accommodation

Speak to your keyworker or other support staff to find out why.

Get free legal advice if you're told you must leave.

Sheltered housing for older people

Sheltered housing usually has a warden to help if you need it or an emergency alarm system. Sometimes, there are shared areas where you can meet. There can also be social activities.  

Most sheltered housing for older people is run by councils and housing associations.

Tenancies and agreements

If you got your sheltered housing from the council's housing waiting list, it's likely to be:

Your landlord has to take the right steps before they can evict you.

Last updated: 28 March 2024

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