Skip to main content
Shelter Logo

Ask for a review of a homeless decision

You can ask for a review if the council decide you:

The council's decision letter

The council writes to you each time they make a decision about the help you can get.

You can ask for a review of any decision the council makes if you think it is wrong.

You might get more than one letter while the council look into things and help with a personal housing plan.

If you're still homeless after 8 weeks of help, the council should write and tell you if they accept the main housing duty.

If the council say you cannot get longer term help, the letter should explain why.

You have 3 weeks to ask for a review from when you get the letter.

Get legal help with a review

Get advice if you want to challenge a council decision.

A legal adviser can:

  • look at your case and help you prepare

  • tell the council to give you a decision letter if they have not done this

You could get free legal help with a review if you're on a low income.

You can ask for a review before finding a legal adviser if you need to.

How to ask for a review

Phone to ask for a review if the 3 week deadline is soon.

Keep a note of the call time and date, and who you speak to.

Tell them that you:

  • want a review of your homeless decision

  • will send more evidence

  • want a copy of your housing file

  • need an email address to confirm your request in writing

Write to the council

Copy our letter template into an email to your council's homelessness team.

[Use the subject: Section 202 homeless review request]

I would like to ask for a review under s.202, Housing Act 1996.

The council made a decision about my homeless application on [date of decision]. I received the decision letter on [date received].

The council decided that [include information about the decision].

Please provide me with a copy of my housing file. This request is made under s.106(5), Housing Act 1985 and s.45(1), Data Protection Act 2018.

I am seeking urgent legal help with the review.

When you send my housing file, please allow another 4 weeks for my legal adviser to send more information in writing.

Please let me know the latest date to send more evidence and delay your final decision until after that date.

[Delete if not needed] Please give me emergency housing until you make a review decision. We have nowhere else to stay.

You can also send the letter as an email attachment or through the post:

Supporting information

You do not need to give reasons when you first ask for a review.

You can send supporting information later. For example, after you've found a legal adviser.

Ask the council to:

  • agree a latest date for you to send more evidence

  • delay a final decision until they have all your information

Housing suitability reviews

Any housing you get under homeless help must be suitable for your household.

For example, it must be:

  • be safe and affordable

  • meet the needs of disabled family members

The council must try to offer housing in their area. If they cannot do this, they must look at if it is close enough to your workplace or children's schools.

When to ask for a suitability review

You have 3 weeks to ask for a review of an offer of temporary or longer term housing.

You should still accept the offer. The council could stop helping if you refuse the offer and your review is not successful.

Temporary housing must be suitable for as long as you live there.

You can tell the council it's not suitable anymore. For example, if your children cannot share a bedroom because of their age, or conditions in the property get worse.

You cannot ask for a review if it's emergency housing.

Find out how to ask for a suitability review.

Ask for a review with our letter templates.

Emergency housing during a review

Ask for emergency housing if you need it.

Councils can give emergency housing during a review, but they do not have to.

They must look at your situation, any new information and what will happen if they refuse.

If you're told to leave emergency housing

You should get 'reasonable notice' to leave.

This means the council should give you a chance to find somewhere else before you have to leave. But they do not need an eviction order to make you leave.

If you have children, the homeless team will ask you if they can tell social services about you.

Social services can sometimes help if the homeless team decide:

  • you're intentionally homeless

  • you cannot get homeless help because of immigration rules

Social services could help with money or housing.

Find out about housing support for families with no recourse to public funds.

Social services should keep children safe and support families.

They should help you stay together unless your children are at risk of serious harm.

Social services should not say they will take your children into care if their main concern is that you're a homeless family.

What happens next

The review can take up to 8 weeks. The council might ask for more time.

It's usually a good idea to agree to a longer review. It means the council are looking at the decision carefully.

You or your legal adviser should send any information that shows why the decision is wrong.

Ask for a meeting

If the council think your review will not be successful, they must send you a letter before they make a final decision.

You can ask for a meeting at this stage if you want one.

The council's review decision

The council must write to you with a review decision.

If the council decide you cannot get longer term help, the letter must say why not.

If the council accept the main housing duty

This means the council must find you somewhere suitable to live.

You usually have to stay in temporary housing until the council make a final offer of housing.

A final housing offer could be a:

  • housing association or council home

  • private assured shorthold tenancy for at least 1 year

Find out more about final offers of longer term housing.

If the letter says you will not get longer term help

The letter must say why.

You can appeal to court if:

  • the council's review decision is legally wrong

  • you do not get a final decision in the agreed time limit

You must appeal within 3 weeks of getting your review decision, or the time limit passing.

You need a solicitor. Check if you can get free legal help.

Last updated: 22 March 2024

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

Get help