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Temporary accommodation

Find out how we can help those in need of emergency or temporary accommodation.

Temporary Accommodation - FAQs

What type of temporary accommodation will I be offered?

We will provide emergency accommodation, which is likely to be in a hotel, or hostel and longer term temporary accommodation should your application be accepted.

Why can’t my temporary accommodation be in Westminster?

The council has temporary accommodation in various locations. Although we do have temporary accommodation within Westminster the demand for this is very high and therefore we have to find accommodation in other areas.

This means we have to think carefully about how we allocate temporary accommodation. How we allocate accommodation is often based on a number of factors including:

  • the accommodation we have available at the time of making you an offer
  • your needs and the needs of your family compared with the needs of other families who also require accommodation on that day
  • how much rent you can afford to pay

Officers at the Housing Solutions Service take into consideration what you can manage and how far you and your family can reasonably travel.

It may be reasonable for you to commute to work, travel to your medical appointments, or take your children to school on the bus or tube.

In some cases it might be reasonable to register with schools or medical services that are more local to your temporary accommodation.

Westminster City Council's temporary accommodation placement policy

What happens if I refuse an offer of temporary accommodation?

We will discuss offers of temporary accommodation with you and listen to your concerns. However if we still think the accommodation is suitable for your needs we will expect you to accept the offer.

In these circumstances, we will advise you to accept the offer but also advise you of your rights to review the offer. 

If you refuse the offer, we may decide to bring our housing duty to you to an end.

How many times will I have to move homes before I am permanently rehoused?

Whilst you are waiting to be rehoused you can expect to remain in your present temporary accommodation. Unless we have agreed to move you or if you have approached us for a move out of temporary accommodation. 

Why is my tenancy agreement important?

When you move into temporary accommodation, you will receive a tenancy agreement. 

It is important that you read the information provided to you and if you require help please speak to your landlord.  If you break your tenancy agreement, you will be evicted. 

This can happen if:

  • you do not pay your rent
  • you sub-let the property
  • you allowed the condition of the property to deteriorate
  • you have caused a nuisance or annoyance

If this happens, it is unlikely that we will give you another home and you will have to find somewhere to live yourself. 

If you become homeless as a result of this and then re-apply for help with housing, it is very likely that you will be classed as intentionally homeless.

What facilities and services can I expect to receive?

If you have been accepted onto the council’s housing list as homeless you will be placed in temporary accommodation while you wait for your new home.

This can be emergency accommodation or  self-contained (long term) temporary accommodation also known as ‘stage 2'.

You will have a tenancy agreement and whatever type of tenancy you have, the housing association or letting agent is responsible for the day-to-day management of your property.

Self-contained accommodation - all stage 2 accommodation is self-contained, which means that you will have your own kitchen and bathroom and do not have to share with anyone other than your own family. 

Fully furnished - All flats are fully furnished, but you will have to provide your own bed linen and cooking utensils.

Laundry services and breakfast are not provided.

When will I be eligible to bid for permanent housing?

Once you are accepted for re-housing you will be place on the housing register.  You will be given a bidding reference number and will receive information on the types of properties that you can select.   

How long will I have to wait for a move out of temporary accommodation?

Westminster has a severe shortage of permanent homes.

Most households spend a considerable length of time living in temporary accommodation before they are re-housed in the long term.

Current average waiting times for re-housing

Currently there are around 2,600 homeless applicants living in temporary accommodation. 

Half of our temporary accommodation is now outside the borough because we cannot find affordable properties in Westminster. 

In some cases homeless applicants have been placed in temporary accommodation outside of Greater London.

We want to make sure that you have all the housing options available to make an informed decision about your next move.

Housing officers may contact you about other housing options, which may include an offer of a private rented sector property.  This will be suitable in terms of size and location and affordable for you.


Published: 30 December 2020

Last updated: 13 September 2023