Eviction from hostels

Hostels try to avoid evicting residents, but they may be forced to ask you to leave if you break the rules.

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.

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

Reasons for eviction

The most common reasons for eviction from a hostel are:

  • not paying the rent
  • unacceptable behaviour
  • staying elsewhere without telling hostel staff

If you don’t pay rent

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

Unacceptable behaviour

Unacceptable behaviour can include being:

  • noisy at night
  • abusive towards staff or residents
  • smoking, drinking or taking drugs in the hostel

The hostel rules usually say what behaviour is not acceptable.

Hostel staff will tell you what you must do to be able to continue to stay at the hostel.

Hostels don't want to evict you and may give you support to help you keep your place. You could   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.

If you don’t use your hostel place

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

Check what the hostel rules say about staying elsewhere, even if it is only for one night.

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 more than a day or two

When a hostel evicts you

You are likely to be given at least one written warning before being evicted. This could give you time to put things right.

If the hostel wants to go ahead and evict you, you are normally given four weeks' notice, but you may get less. How long depends on the hostel and the reason for your eviction.

You could be evicted immediately if you are dealing drugs, are violent or threaten violence towards others.

You should be given a written notice to leave the hostel. 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.

Get advice to see if you can challenge your 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 offer you a place.

Some hostels will try to help you find alternative accommodation before you are evicted.

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

Search for another hostel

Look for hostels or night shelters on Homeless Link and find out how you can be referred.

If you want to leave a hostel

Some people find it difficult to stay in a hostel.

Tell hostel staff if you are having problems, for example if you are sharing a room with someone you don't get on with.

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 may be able to help you find a more suitable place.

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

Still need advice?

Get help immediately if you are worried about being evicted or you’ve been evicted from a hostel with nowhere else to stay.

Contact a Shelter adviser online or by phone


Last updated 31 May 2018 | © Shelter

If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help

Get help

Was this advice helpful?

Email a link to this article

Thank you - your message has been sent.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.

Please contact #########

Was this advice helpful?

Thank you - your feedback has been submitted to the team.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.