Staying in a Bed and Breakfast (B + B)

If you need a place for the night, you may be able to find a place to stay in a guest house or bed and breakfast (B + B). When you apply to the council for housing when homeless it may put you in a B + B as a temporary place to stay.

What is a Bed and Breakfast like?

Most B + B’s that accept homeless people are run by private owners or the local council.

You may get a private bedroom, but you might have to share bathroom facilities.

There are usually no cooking facilities, so you may have to rely on takeaway food. If there’s a kitchen, you will probably have to share it with others.

Some B + B’s don’t allow residents to stay in their rooms during the day.

How do I get a place?

Most B + B’s will accept people at the door but others only accept people who have been sent by the council or social services. It’s always best to telephone first to check that they have room, or you might be turned away when you get there.

You should also check whether they have any rules. For example:

  • do they accept homeless people?
  • do they accept people on housing benefit?
  • do they accept people who are under 18?
  • how long can you stay?
  • will you have to leave your room during the day?

If you need help to find B + B accommodation and you are homeless or about to become homeless then contact your local council‘s housing department. The council has legal duties to help homeless people and they may have to find you emergency accommodation, depending upon your circumstances. They may put you in B + B emergency accommodation while they decide what other help they can give you. For more information on what help the council can give, click here.

How much will it cost?

Staying at a B + B is usually more expensive than staying in a hostel and you will probably have to pay some rent up front before you can stay.

If you are on benefits or have a low income, you may be able to get housing benefit. It may not cover all the rent and you will have to make up any shortfall.

There are often service charges on top of the rent to cover things like breakfast, gas and electricity. Housing benefit does not cover costs like these.

The council should not put you in a B + B that you cannot afford. If this happens get advice immediately.

What rights would I have?

People living in B + Bs can be evicted very easily, even if the reason the landlord wants you to leave is not your fault. You probably won’t have a legal right to stay if you are asked to leave.

If the council has put you in the B + B whilst it is considering your homelessness application, be aware that it might decide, after looking at your case, that it cannot help you any further. If this happens you will probably have to move out. Take a look at our advice pages on the rights of people living in temporary council accommodation.

Being placed in temporary accommodation by the council can leave you feeling isolated and stressed. We’ve put together a few tips that can help you. Download our Temporary Accommodation Survival Guide.

If you are asked to leave your B + B for any reason, ring our helpline for urgent advice.

What about long term accommodation?

Staying in a B + B can give you time to look for longer term accommodation.

Get advice to find out what your options are. An adviser can look into your situation and may be able to:

  • check whether the council’s housing department have a legal responsibility to house you because you are homeless or at risk of homelessness
  • check whether social services can help
  • tell you what benefits you may be entitled to and help you to claim them
  • put you in contact with a local scheme that can help if you don’t have money for a deposit
  • explain how to apply for a budgeting loan or budgeting advance to cover rent in advance
  • tell you if there is any other specialist help available in your area.

Call Shelter Cymru’s expert housing advice helpline on 0345 075 5005. Email our housing advice team, or, if you prefer, visit advice near you to find a local Shelter Cymru advice surgery where you can talk to someone in person.

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 0345 075 5005.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
0345 075 5005

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us

This page was last updated on: September 26, 2018

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.