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Temporary accommodation

FAQs in temporary accommodation

How long will I be in temporary accommodation? Toggle accordion

We know that this is the biggest question you might have but unfortunately it’s very difficult to answer.  There isn’t a limit for how long you might stay.  It will depend on:

  • What happens with your homeless application.
  • How many people are in your family and what size property you need.
  • What properties the Council has available. 

What support can you give me? Toggle accordion

We want to make your time in temporary accommodation as stress free and comfortable as possible.

The Housing Support Team are available to advise and assist you and to discuss any difficulties or problems you may be having.  We have a good knowledge of local services and can help you to access other sources of advice and help.

We can offer you advice on settling into your new home, dealing with money worries, getting furniture, and moving on out of your temporary accommodation (together with the Housing Options Team).

We can offer you help to find a job, getting back into education or training, meeting new people and getting involved in local community activities.

We can offer you practical help with claiming your benefit entitlement, finding schools, nurseries and child care.

If we cannot help you, we will be able to put you in touch with someone who can. Please contact us at and ask!

What sort of temporary accommodation will I be given by the Council? Toggle accordion

The Council has a limited amount of temporary accommodation and at times demand for this accommodation is very high.  We will always try to put you in accommodation which is suitable for you. 

However, sometimes the only accommodation available may be outside the St Albans District or in a room in a hotel.  We realise that this is not ideal and will only use this accommodation if there are no other alternatives.  At all times we will discuss what your needs are and what accommodation is available with you.  

We will only keep families in hotel accommodation for as short a period as possible.  

Some of our temporary accommodation has shared bathrooms. Temporary accommodation may be smaller than more permanent accommodation would be, for example we may ask you to use a living room to sleep in.

You may also wish to look at:

Our policy on how we allocate temporary accommodation is here:

Will the temporary accommodation be furnished? Toggle accordion

Most of our temporary accommodation is owned by the Council and will have beds, a cooker, fridge and floor coverings provided. All other furnishings are your responsibility.

There are a few Housing Association temporary accommodation properties we may place you in which are fully furnished.

Can I get help to pay for the accommodation? Toggle accordion

Paying the charges for your temporary accommodation is your responsibility.  If you make a claim for Housing Benefit to cover the charges you must provide all the information needed as quickly as you can.

More information on claiming Housing Benefit

I’m in arrears - what do I do? Toggle accordion

If you are having trouble paying the fees and charges for your accommodation please contact us as soon as possible.  

We will make every effort to contact you, and to come to an arrangement so that you can make regular payments to decrease your arrears.  We will also offer support to make sure that you are claiming all the help you can to pay your rent.  

If you have debts we can offer advice and assistance with this.  It is always easier to deal with arrears early on, so please do contact the team as soon as you fall behind with your licence payments.  

If you remain in arrears we will take action to end your licence.  If you are evicted from temporary accommodation, our duty to secure you alternative accommodation comes to an end and this may affect your homeless application.  This means that we will not offer you another property if you are evicted for rent arrears.  

You may also want to contact the following for free debt advice:

  • Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Credit Union 

Can I bring my pet with me into temporary accommodation? Toggle accordion

Please contact the team to discuss this, however you are unlikely to be able to bring a pet with you.  You may need to discuss whether a friend or family member can foster your pet.  We would not consider being unable to take your pet with you as reason to refuse an offer of temporary accommodation.

What happens when I get a permanent home? Toggle accordion

If your homeless application is accepted and the Council have a duty to house you, we may offer you a social housing tenancy or a private rented property.

When you are made an offer of permanent accommodation you may be asked to pay rent in advance.  It is important to know that if you are offered a social housing property it will not be furnished and will probably not have floor coverings provided.  You will not be allowed to stay in temporary accommodation while you decorate or lay floor coverings in your new property.

Once you are made an offer you will also be asked to move very quickly.  You may find out that you have been offered a property and then have to view it and move a few days later.  You will have to move out of your temporary accommodation as soon as you have the keys and tenancy agreement for your new property.  

Can I have overnight guests? Toggle accordion

No overnight guests are allowed.  It is important to know that you are responsible for anyone who visits you in your temporary accommodation, and if they cause problems we will take action to end your licence. 

Can I go away while I am in temporary accommodation? Toggle accordion

If you are going away overnight you must contact us to tell us. If you do not and we think you are not staying in the property we may take legal action to end your licence.