Reviewing a council's decision

If you think the council’s decision about your homeless application is wrong, you can normally ask them to review it.

The council should let you stay in your temporary accommodation while the review is carried out.

How to request a review

You have to ask the council for a review within 21 days of getting your decision letter. The 21 days start from the date that you receive the letter.

You can request a review verbally or in writing. If possible, make the request in writing and keep a record of it being made within the correct timeframe.

Councils still have to consider any requests made after 21 days but they do not have to carry out a review.

Decisions that can be reviewed

Most decisions that the council make in connection with a homeless application can be reviewed. This includes:

  • whether you’re eligible for assistance

  • whether the council has a duty to help you

  • whether you’re homeless or threatened with homelessness

  • whether you’re intentionally homeless

  • whether you should be referred to another council

  • the suitability of accommodation provided after the council has completed its inquiries

If the offer of permanent accommodation is unsuitable

The council has a duty to make an offer that meets the needs of your household, such as any health and disability requirements. You can ask the council to review its decision if you’re offered permanent accommodation that is unsuitable.

Get advice from Shelter Scotland before you turn down an offer that you think is unsuitable.

If you refuse a final offer that the council thinks is suitable for you, they may not have to give you any more help. The offer might be withdrawn and you will have to leave your temporary accommodation and find your own place to stay.

If you have accepted an offer that you believe is unsuitable, you should still get advice from us — we may be able to help.

The council might make an offer that is suitable but does not meet all your preferences. If this happens, it can be better to accept the offer because you may be able to request a transfer or exchange your home with another social tenant.

What happens during the review

Once the council receives a request for a review, they have to acknowledge your request and inform you of the procedure that will be followed.

Procedures vary from one council to another but you will normally be able to put your case in writing or in person.

If you make your case in person you should be able to bring someone with you for support or representation, such as a friend or a housing adviser. You have a right to an interpreter if you need one.

The review has to be carried out by a council officer who wasn't involved in the original decision and who is superior in rank to the person who made the original decision.

The review decision

The decision date varies between councils. You can ask your homelessness officer for an estimate for the council’s review decision.

Once a decision is made, the council must let you know in writing. The letter must be sent to you or made available at council offices for you to collect. The letter must explain:

  • what decision the council has made on your review

  • how the council has come to this decision

  • which parts of the original decision (if any) have been changed

Can I ask for another review?

You cannot ask the council to review a decision it has already reviewed.

If you think the council’s review decision is wrong, you may be able to challenge this. Get in touch with Shelter Scotland to discuss your options.

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

In special circumstances, you may be able to take legal action against the council. This is called a judicial review, and it challenges the way a decision was made. An application for judicial review must be submitted within three months of the council’s review decision. You will need to get expert advice from a solicitor for this type of legal action.

You may be able to complain to the Ombudsman if you think the council did not act correctly or follow all the correct procedures.

Last updated: 5 July 2021

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This content applies to Scotland only.

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