Rights in temporary accommodation

  • Temporary accommodation is provided by the council if you make a homelessness application and are in ’priority need
  • Most households living in temporary accommodation have a licence or common law tenancy
  • In some circumstances you might have a standard contract in temporary housing, which gives you stronger rights

If you moved into your home before 1 December 2022 the information below does not apply to you. Please visit our converted contracts advice section. 

If you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless you can apply to your local council for help. The council may provide you with temporary accommodation. Temporary accommodation can sometimes be referred to as ‘emergency’ accommodation or ‘interim’ accommodation’.  

There are different kinds of temporary accommodation. It can be provided by community landlords and private landlords although the council has the responsibility for arranging it. 

If you are living in temporary accommodation and not sure whether you have a standard occupation contract, licence or common law tenancy, the information below should help you work out which kind of renting agreement you have. 

What kind of renting agreement do I have in temporary accommodation? 

You will have either a licence, common law tenancy or a standard occupation contract. When you are first provided with temporary accommodation you will probably be given a licence or a common law tenancy. 

When you have a licence or common law tenancy, you might become a standard contract-holder later on. This depends on what type of landlord and accommodation you have, and what decisions the council make about your homelessness application,  A standard occupation contract gives you stronger rights. 

Please use the information below to work out what kind of agreement you have. 

The first stage of temporary accommodation

In certain circumstances the council must provide temporary accommodation as soon as you make a homelessness application. Find out more about how the council decides whether to give you temporary accommodation here. At this stage, you will be given a licence or common law tenancy 

What happens next depends on whether your landlord is the council, a housing association or private landlord. 

If your landlord is the council

If your landlord is the council you will remain with a licence or common law tenancy until the council have to make a decision about whether they have a duty to secure housing. If the council accepts a duty to secure housing, then your agreement will become a standard occupation contract when the council notify you of their decision 

If the council make any other decision about your homelessness application, you will remain a licensee or common law tenant until you leave.  

If your landlord is a housing association or private landlord

If your landlord is a housing association or private landlord you will have a licence or common law tenancy until 12 months after the council has notified you of their initial homelessness decision. At this stage your agreement will become a standard occupation contract. 

If you are in B&B accommodation and you have a private landlord

If you are in Bed and Breakfast accommodation that is owned and managed by a private landlord, then you will have a licence. Your agreement will not become a standard occupation contract even if you live there for more than 12 months.

If you are challenging a decision in the county court

If you have asked for a review or are appealing the review decision in the county court, then your agreement will become a standard occupation contract 12 months after the final decision is made about the review or county court appeal. 

Did you find this helpful?

Rydym yn ymddiheuro na fedrwn ddarparu’r wybodaeth yma yn Gymraeg, ond os hoffech siarad ag ymgynghorydd yn Gymraeg yna cysylltwch ar 08000 495 495.
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 08000 495 495.

This page was last updated on: December 4, 2023

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.