Temporary accommodation: Licenses, rights and responsibilities

  • When you first move into temporary accommodation you will have a licence or common law tenancy
  • If you have a licence in temporary accommodation you can usually be evicted easily
  • You should be given reasonable notice if your landlord wants to evict you

This page explains your rights if you made a homelessness application and are living in temporary accommodation under a licence or common law tenancy. It covers rights and responsibilities about repairs, eviction among other things. It also explains how you can end your contract and when your landlord can evict you. 

It does not explain your rights and responsibilities if you are living in temporary accommodation under a standard occupation contract. Please see our advice about temporary accommodation standard occupation contracts. If you live in temporary accommodation and aren’t sure what kind of renting  agreement you have, the information here should help you. 

Living in temporary accommodation can sometimes leave you feeling isolated and stressed. We’ve put together a few tips that can help you in our Temporary Accommodation Survival Guide. Click to download your copy in either English or Welsh: 

English | Cymraeg

I am in temporary housing. Do I have a licence or common law tenancy?  

You will have a licence or a common law tenancy in temporary accommodation if:  

  • the council is your landlord and are assessing your homelessness application, or have decided that you are owed a ‘relief duty’  
  • your landlord is a housing association  and it has been less than 12 months since the council notified you of their homelessness decision 
  • your accommodation is not classed as Bed and Breakfast, you have a private landlord and it has been less than 12 months since the council notified you of their homelessness decision
  • you have been placed in privately owned and managed Bed and Breakfast by the councils homelessness team.

You should check your agreement to see if it is a licence agreement or a common law tenancy. If your landlord or support provider might need to move you to other accommodation (e.g. within the same building) you probably have a licence. If your agreement gives you the right to exclude others from entering your accommodation, then you could have a common law tenancy.   

What information should my landlord give me? 

When you move in to temporary accommodation, you will probably be given a written licence or tenancy agreement. You should check the agreement so that you are aware of your rights and responsibilities. There may be rules about visitors or a curfew. If you are unsure about the terms of your agreement get help.

Can I be evicted? 

Yes. Your landlord could evict you if you breach your agreement or if the council make a decision to end their homelessness duty to you.

If you are being asked to leave your temporary accommodation, it does not necessarily mean that the council will not have to help you in other ways. It will depend upon whether the council has other duties to you following your homeless application. 

For more information, see our advice about eviction of licensees and common law tenants from temporary accommodation.

Get help immediately if you are threatened with eviction for any reason. It may be difficult to find anywhere else to live if you don’t take action quickly. 

What are the rules on rent and rent increases? 

If you have a licence or common law tenancy your landlord can increase the rent at any time. However, if your licence or tenancy is for a fixed term your landlord cannot increase the rent during the fixed term.   

Paying your rent should always be your top financial priority as you could lose your home if you get into rent arrears. If you are claiming benefits or have a low income, you may be able to claim housing benefit or Universal Credit housing costs to help with the rent. It is a good idea to talk to your support provider if you have any concerns about paying rent. 

Can my landlord change the agreement? 

If you have a periodic licence or tenancy (this means that it rolls from one rental period to the next) then your landlord may be able to change the terms of your agreement. They should inform you of any changes they are making.  

If your agreement is for a fixed term, then the terms of the agreement can only be changed if you agree to it. 

Who is responsible for repairs? 

Your landlord is responsible for ensuring that the property is kept in good repair. This includes dealing with: 

  • problems with the roof, guttering, windows, doors and brickwork  
  • plumbing, gas and electricity. 

 Your landlord should give you information about what repairs you are responsible for. 

If your home needs repairs, report the problem to your landlord straight away. They should have a 24-hour service for emergencies and proper procedures for carrying out any work involved.  

Find out more about who is responsible for repairs and what you can do if your home needs repairs here. 

When will I get longer-term accommodation? 

If the council has accepted a ‘relief duty’, they should take reasonable steps to help you find longer-term accommodation. If, after 56 days, you have not found longer-term accommodation, the council will make a decision about whether they have a duty to secure accommodation for you.  

If they do not have a duty to secure accommodation, they may not have to give you any further help. You can ask for a review of their decision. If you are in this situation, get help. 

However, if the council decides that they do have a duty to secure accommodation, there is no limit as to how long you can stay in the temporary accommodation so long as: 

  • it remains suitable for you 
  • you stick to any conditions that are included in your occupation contract 

For more information about how the council should help you, please see our advice about getting help from the council 

Can I take in lodgers or sublet the accommodation? 

While you are in temporary accommodation you do not have the right to take in a lodger or sublet part of your home, unless your landlord gives you permission. If you do so without permission, both you and the person you rent to can be evicted very easily. 

Can I add someone else on to the agreement?

You probably don’t have the right to add other people on to your renting agreement if you have a licence or common law tenancy in temporary accommodation. Check your agreement to make sure. Even if your landlord agrees to it, always speak to the council’s homelessness team first because it might affect your homelessness application. Get help if you are in this situation.

Can someone else take over my agreement when I die? 

If you have a licence or common law tenancy, only someone who is also named on the agreement jointly will be able to continue with the agreement if you die. This is called ‘survivorship’. 

Can I get a transfer or exchange? 

Not while you are in temporary accommodation. You will have to wait until you get settled accommodation. Even then, it will only be possible to exchange your home  if you are given a secure contract with a community landlord.  

What if the temporary accommodation is unsuitable? 

If you don’t think your accommodation is suitable, you should tell the council. If the council doesn’t offer you anything else, get help. An adviser may be able to help you to convince the council that you should be offered something more suitable for your needs. Find out more about unsuitable temporary accommodation here. 

Where can I get help and support? 

If you’re having problems in temporary accommodation for any reason, get in touch with an adviser. Don’t wait until things get really bad. If you end up homeless again, it may be more difficult to get help from the council in future. 

Advisers may be able to offer: 

  • practical help (for example if you have mobility problems) 
  • mediation services to help sort out disagreements with others 
  • treatment and support to help you with drug or alcohol problems 
  • advice on how to deal with money problems such as rent arrears or other debts 
  • help with mental health problems or learning disabilities. 

For more details of how to get help and advice click here. 

How can I end my renting agreement? 

If you want to end your renting agreement and leave your home you should give the landlord the correct notice in writing. The minimum length of notice you should give your landlord is 4 weeks.

What if I have a complaint? 

If you disagree with any decision the council has made on your homelessness application, it may be possible to challenge the decision and get it overturned. 

If you feel that the council isn’t treating you fairly or has failed to fulfil its other responsibilities, you can also complain using their official complaints procedure. If you’re not happy with the response you get, you can complain further to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. 

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.