Requesting a review of a homeless 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 makes 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 have a local connection
the suitability of accommodation provided after the council has completed its inquiries
If you need help to review a homeless decision, get advice from an adviser at Shelter Scotland.
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 The offer might be withdrawn and you will have to leave your temporary accommodation and find your own place to stay.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.
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 can make a complaint to the council if you think they did not act correctly or follow all the correct procedures.
Last updated: 5 January 2023
Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.