Emergency housing if you’re homeless: bed and breakfasts (B&Bs)

Find out about B&Bs – what they're like and how much they cost.

What they're like

When you apply to the council for housing when homeless it may put you in a B&B as a temporary place to stay.

B&Bs offer basic temporary accommodation. Most are run as private businesses and what they offer varies. In a typical B&B you might get:

  • a private furnished bedroom (your children may have to share this room)
  • rooms for families and single people in the same building
  • a shared bathroom
  • a shared kitchen
  • a shared washing machine

Some provide food like breakfast, but in others you need to cook for yourself.

How much they cost

B&B prices vary. If you get housing benefit this can cover all or some of the rent. 

Housing benefit doesn't cover charges for things like heating or food.

Who they're for

B&Bs are sometimes used for families as well as single people.

Moving into other housing

The council should only place you in a B&B when no other emergency accommodation is available. It should try and move you to more suitable housing as soon as possible.

You can only be housed in a B&B for a maximum of 6 weeks if you're pregnant or have children.

If you break the rules

You may be asked to leave if you break the rules, for example, by:

  • not paying rent or other charges
  • drinking or taking drugs
  • going into other guests' rooms uninvited

Still need help?

Contact a Shelter adviser online or by phone

Last updated - 03 April 2018

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