Eviction if you’re staying in temporary accommodation

This page explains what happens if you are evicted from temporary accommodation that was provided by the council when you made a homeless application.

What is temporary accommodation?

If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness, you can apply to the council to help you find somewhere to live. Before it decides what kind of help to offer you, the council will need to look into your situation. It will offer you somewhere to stay (called temporary accommodation) while they are doing this if:

  • it believes you are homeless and eligible for assistance, and

  • you have nowhere else where you can stay.

Find out more about what temporary accommodation is like

When can I be asked to leave temporary accommodation?

If the council wishes you to leave your temporary accommodation, you should be given at least four weeks' notice in writing.

You may be evicted from temporary accommodation for any of the following reasons:

  • because you've broken a condition of your tenancy agreement

  • because the council no longer has a duty to help you

  • because the council has found you a permanent home.

Eviction for breaking your tenancy agreement

If you are staying in temporary accommodation, you will probably be a common law tenant, or, if you are staying for longer than six months, a short Scottish secure tenant. If a private landlord provides your accommodation, you may have a private residential tenancy.

You can therefore be evicted from your accommodation for breaking your tenancy agreement, for example, for not paying your rent or for behaving in an antisocial way. Read the pages on eviction of short Scottish secure tenants and eviction from your private tenancy to find out the legal process the council or your landlord will need to follow to evict you.

If you have one of these tenancy agreements, you cannot be evicted without a court order. However, if you are staying in a hostel, you can be evicted without a court order. See 'what if I'm staying in a hostel' below.

Does the council still have to help me?

If you are evicted from temporary accommodation before the council has decided what kind of help it must offer you, it must continue its inquiries into your case. It cannot find you intentionally homeless and decide not to offer you any more help. In addition, the council must find you other accommodation until the decision is made. If the council then decides that you are entitled to permanent housing, it must offer you temporary accommodation until a suitable home is found for you.

What if the council doesn't offer me new accommodation?

If the council asks you to leave your temporary accommodation because you have broken a condition of your tenancy agreement but does not offer you anywhere else to stay, get advice immediately. An adviser can tell you what your rights are and help you deal with the council.  

Eviction because the council no longer has a duty to help you

The council only has to offer permanent accommodation to people who:

  • are homeless according to the legal definition of homelessness, and

  • are not intentionally homeless.

The section on homelessness tests explains these criteria in more detail.

If the council finds you are not homeless, or that you are intentionally homeless, you will eventually have to leave your temporary accommodation. However, you should be able to stay until you've found somewhere else to live. Read continued temporary accommodation to find out more.

Eviction because the council has found you a permanent home

Once the council has found you a permanent home, you are no longer entitled to remain in temporary accommodation.

If you're not happy with the permanent home the council offers you, you can turn it down or ask the council to review its decision. However, if you turn down an offer of permanent accommodation, the council will probably ask you to leave your temporary accommodation.

In theory, if you turn down the offer of a permanent home because it is not suitable for your household (for example, because it's too small and would be overcrowded) you shouldn't be considered intentionally homeless if you then apply to the council again. In practice, however, it's best not to turn down permanent offers - read the page on permanent accommodation and get advice if you are in this situation.  

What if I'm staying in a hostel?

At present, if you are staying in hostel accommodation, you can be evicted without a court order. If this is the case, you must be given reasonable notice before you have to leave. The law does not specify how long 'reasonable' is so this will vary from hostel to hostel. If you feel you've not been given enough notice, get advice.

If you need housing advice, contact us for free.

Last updated: 20 May 2020

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