Temporary housing when homeless
The council might give you emergency housing when you first ask for homeless help.
If they have to give you longer term help, you might then move to temporary housing.
How long you can stay in temporary housing
It can take a long time for councils to make a final offer of housing.
You may have to stay in temporary housing for months or even years in some areas.
You might have to move from one place to another during that time.
Types of temporary housing
Temporary housing could be a:
room in a shared house
flat or house from a private landlord
short term council or housing association tenancy
hostel, refuge or other housing with support
Families with children should get self-contained accommodation where possible. You do not have to share a kitchen or bathroom with anyone else in this accommodation.
Where your temporary housing might be
Tell the council if you need or want to live in a certain area.
The council usually have to try to find housing in their area.
But they could offer you somewhere in another area if there's not enough suitable housing in your area.
Things the council should consider about the location
The council must usually consider things like your:
travel time to work
caring responsibilities and support networks
safety – for example, if you are at risk of violence or domestic abuse
If you arrived in the UK in the last 2 years, the council only has to make sure the location is:
not too far from any caring responsibilities
Problems with temporary housing
Temporary housing could be unsuitable, for example, if:
you cannot afford it
you are overcrowded
it is in need of repairs or in poor condition
it is hard to access because of a health condition or disability
it is too far to travel to your workplace or your children's schools
you are at risk of things like domestic abuse or racial violence
Get support to talk to the council if you're homeless because of domestic abuse.
The council should not ask you to move somewhere you are not safe.
What to do if temporary housing is not suitable
Tell the council if your temporary accommodation is no longer suitable and explain why.
Your temporary housing must be suitable for as long as you live there.
The council must offer alternative housing if it's no longer reasonable for you to stay there.
For example, if your situation changes and you can no longer afford the rent.
Help to pay the rent
Temporary housing must be affordable.
If you have a low income, you could get help with rent from:
housing benefit - if you rent from the council or a housing association
universal credit housing element - if you pay your rent to a private landlord
You might not get enough money to cover your rent. This leaves you to pay the rest.
Ask the council for a discretionary housing payment if you cannot pay the rest.
Some service charges in temporary housing are not covered by benefits.
Responsibility for repairs
Your landlord is usually responsible for repairs in temporary housing.
You are usually responsible for small jobs such as changing light bulbs and fixing plugs.
You're also responsible for any damage you cause.
If you're told to leave temporary housing
This could be because the council want to:
move you to other temporary housing
give you somewhere long term to live
end their homeless help
They should write to explain why they are asking you to leave.
Get legal help to see if you can change the council's decision.
Eviction from temporary housing
Your council can take steps to evict you from temporary housing if you:
do not stay at the property
have rent or service charge arrears
refuse a final offer of suitable longer term housing
break accommodation rules or the terms of your agreement, for example, if you cause nuisance to neighbours
The council usually have to go to court to evict you.
They do not have to offer longer term housing if they decide it was your fault you were evicted.
Make a new homeless application
You can make a new homeless application if you are evicted from temporary accommodation and you are still homeless.
The council must look into your situation and may need to provide emergency housing.
The council might decide you are intentionally homeless.
Last updated: 27 November 2023