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Accommodation when you're homeless

If you have nowhere to stay, the council should offer you temporary accommodation.

Temporary accommodation

You should be offered temporary accommodation if:

  • you make a homeless application to the council, and
  • the council believes you are homeless and eligible for assistance, and
  • you have nowhere to stay.

Temporary accommodation once a decision is made

Whether you can stay in temporary accommodation will depend on what decision the council has made.

  • You are intentionally homeless - You should be allowed to continue to stay in your temporary accommodation long enough to give you a reasonable opportunity to find somewhere to stay.
  • You don’t have a local connection – The council will have to refer you to another council where you do have a local connection and you can stay in your temporary accommodation until the new council can move you to its own temporary accommodation.
  • You are entitled to permanent accommodation – You can remain in temporary accommodation until a suitable offer is made.

What will the accommodation be like?

The council could offer you temporary accommodation in a:

  • flat
  • house
  • bedsit
  • hostel
  • bed and breakfast hotel (although this should only be a last resort)

The accommodation has to meet certain standards and should:

  • not be overcrowded
  • be wind and watertight
  • be in a state of good repair
  • meet the special needs of you or your family.

If you are pregnant, or have children, you should not be placed in a bed and breakfast, unless it's an emergency, and then for no longer than 7 days.


Permanent accommodation

Only certain types of accommodation count as 'permanent'. These are:

  • council tenancies
  • housing association tenancies
  • assured (i.e. long term) tenancies with a private landlord.

Permanent accommodation must:

  • not be overcrowded
  • not be a danger to your health (for example, too cold or damp)
  • meet any special needs you or your family may have (for example, it may need to be wheelchair accessible)
  • be reasonable for you to live in (for example, it shouldn't be in an area where you are at risk of violence).

You should consider any offer you receive carefully. If you are not happy with the offer or are unsure of your rights, get advice immediately. You may be offered a choice of more than one home, but this is not guaranteed.

You can call Shelter Scotland's free housing advice helpline 0808 800 4444.

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