Getting your homeless decision letter from the council

Once the council has made a decision about your homeless application, they must send you a letter explaining the reasons behind the decision and what happens next.

If the council will not help or you're not happy with the decision, you may be able to challenge it.

Decisions the council can make

When the letter will arrive

The council should come to a decision within 28 days of making your homeless application.

The letter must be sent to you or made available for you to collect from the council office.

If you have not heard anything in 28 days, ask for an update from your homelessness officer.

The decision letter must:

  • be clear, easy to understand and in a format that is accessible to you

  • state what decision the council has made

  • list the reasons why the council made that decision and how it made the decision

  • state why the council has decided whether or not you have a local connection and if you will be referred to another council

  • explain what happens next

  • explain that you have the right to ask for a review of the decision within 21 days and how you can do so

  • explain what other options are available to you if your application has been turned down

  • provide information on other local agencies where you can get help

If English is not your first language, you should be sent a translated version.

Get in touch with your homelessness officer if you do not understand your letter or if it has missing information.

Challenge the council’s decision

Contact Shelter Scotland if you think the council’s decision about your homeless application is wrong. We can help you challenge the decision.

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.

Find out more about reviewing a decision

Other ways to challenge a decision

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.

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: 15 July 2021

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England

Get homeless help from the council

The council must help if you are homeless or likely to become homeless in the next two months.

Get emergency help from the council