Housing advice services
Find help and legal advice for housing and homelessness problems.
Get homeless help from the council
If you have nowhere safe to stay, make a homeless application to the council. You should be given accommodation on the day you need it.
They must help if you are homeless or likely to become homeless in the next two months.
Shelter Scotland's free housing advice
If you need advice and help in an emergency and you are not sure what to do, contact Shelter Scotland to talk to a housing adviser who can:
explain your rights
tell you your options
tell you what help is available in your area
help you to take action
Ongoing housing support from Shelter Scotland can include:
drop-in sessions (where you turn up and wait to see an adviser)
sessions with specialist advisers who have expertise in a particular area
Law centres provide independent legal advice services. They tend to cover a number of areas of advice, including housing and benefits, debt, discrimination and immigration law. They provide free legal advice and representation. As they employ solicitors, they can take action at every level of court.
Citizens Advice (CAB) offers free, confidential, impartial and independent advice on a number of issues, including housing and benefits. Find out more on the Citizens Advice Scotland website.
Council housing departments
Each council must provide advice and information about homelessness, and how to prevent it. The type of service will vary. Some councils have a separate housing advice service, while others give advice as part of their services for homeless people. The council may do this itself or ask another agency to do it on its behalf.
Advice from the council
The council should offer advice on:
the availability of housing from the council, housing associations or housing cooperatives, including information on application procedures and waiting lists
getting temporary accommodation from the council, a housing association, a private landlord or a voluntary agency
finding accommodation using an estate agent or letting agency
renting in the private sector
owning your own home
Other council services
Each council must operate a homelessness service for people who are homeless or who are about to be homeless.
All councils should operate a 24-hour service for people in emergency situations. Details of this service can be found on your council's website.
Many councils also employ tenancy relations officers to help any tenants who are experiencing harassment or are threatened with illegal eviction by their landlord
If you are applying to the council as homeless, it's a good idea to put your name on the council housing waiting list at the same time. You will need to make a separate application to do this.
Make sure the person you speak to understands that you need help because you are homeless but that you want to go on the waiting list as well. The fact that you are homeless will give you extra priority on the waiting list but in areas where there is a housing shortage, you may still have to wait a very long time.
The council's social work department has duties to assist some people in certain circumstances. This includes:
people under the age of 18 in need
people who have been looked after by the local authority
people who have children in need living with them
people who are elderly, physically ill or have mental health problems, or are disabled
The police can offer help and advice if you are in danger or if you are facing harassment, domestic abuse or homophobic or racist abuse. You can contact the police on 101.
Last updated: 9 April 2018