Temporary accommodation

If you have been accepted onto the Council’s housing list as homeless you will be placed in temporary accommodation whilst you wait for your new home. This can be Bed & Breakfast Accommodation or Self-Contained (long term) Temporary Accommodation also known as ‘Stage 2 ‘

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

1. Bed and breakfast

If we are unable to stop you from becoming homeless or to find you a flat to move to we may need to give you temporary accommodation.

In the first place this is likely to be hotel-type bed and breakfast accommodation. This will not be in Westminster.

On 1 April 2004, the Government made it illegal for local authorities to house families with children or pregnant women in bed and breakfast (b&b) accommodation, where they share kitchen and/or bathrooms except in emergencies and then, for no longer than 6 weeks.

Once we have investigated your homeless application, if we have a duty to find housing for you we will give you longer term temporary accommodation while we find you a home with a private landlord, or while you wait for a flat with a social landlord, This depends on what we decide will be suitable for your household.

2. Stage 2 temporary accommodation

'Stage 2' temporary accommodation is self-contained temporary accommodation.

Stage 2 flats are usually leased from the private sector and managed by a housing association or letting agent. Most are outside Westminster, where there are more homes available.

3. Length of your stay

Although stage 2 is temporary accommodation, you will be living there for some years before you move to another home. You can live in the stage 2 property until your landlord needs the property back or until you are re-housed. If the landlord needs the property back before you are re-housed you will get plenty of notice and we will find you a new temporary home elsewhere. 

Westminster has a severe shortage of permanent homes, so most families spend several years living in temporary accommodation before they are permanently housed.

The average waiting times for homeless households re-housed during 2006 were:

  • Studio / 1 bedroom: 19 months
  • 2 bedroom: 36 months
  • 3 bedroom: 33 months
  • 4 bedroom: 88 months
  • 5+ bedroom: 81 months

Currently there are around 2400 homeless applicants living in temporary accommodation. Half of our temporary accommodation is now outside the borough because we cannot find affordable flats in Westminster. In some cases, homeless applicants have been placed in temporary accommodation outside of Greater London and this is likely to increase.

If we decide that we will offer you social housing we can't say exactly how long you will wait, but it important to get a realistic idea of how long you might have to wait if you join the list now.

4. Your tenancy agreement

If you break your tenancy agreement, you will be evicted. This can happen if:

  • you do not pay your rent
  • you sublet the property
  • you have 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 for 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. 

5. What facilities and services will I get?

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 and breakfast

Laundry services and breakfast are not provided

6. Costs and charges

Stage 2 accommodation is leased from the private sector. This makes it very expensive. You will be told at the start of your tenancy how much your rent is. 

Housing benefit

We understand that most people cannot afford to pay this themselves, so before we book you in to a bed and breakfast room, we will ask you to complete a Housing benefit application form.

Click here for more information on housing benefit.

If you are not working, housing benefit normally covers most of your rent.

If you are a worker you may have to pay more yourself and this can be expensive. If you are worried about this please contact the Housing Options Service.

7. Rent information

How do I pay my rent?

This depends whether the council or a housing association is your landlord. You can check this by looking on your tenancy agreement or if you are not sure, contact us and we will tell you. 

If the council is your landlord, you will be given a book of bank giro slips which you should use to pay your rent.

If a housing association is your landlord you will pay your rent directly to them. 

I have rent arrears. How does this affect me? 

Everyone has to pay something towards the cost of their home, even those who get full housing benefit. Sometimes people stop paying and end up with rent arrears. 

If your rent arrears rise above £1000 you will not be offered a social housing tenancy until this has been cleared/reduced. If you need a transfer to a different temporary home, we may not move you until your arrears are paid off. Finally and most importantly, remember you will be evicted if you do nothing about high rent arrears. If this happens it is unlikely that Westminster or any other local authority will offer you another home. 


Having debts can be scary. But we are here to help and will offer support and assistance to get you through your debt problems. Remember, with the right advice, you can get yourself out of trouble.

8. Problems with your accommodation

Your housing association or managing agent is responsible for the day-to-day management of your stage 2 accommodation. You should have been given details of who to contact when signing the tenancy agreement

Please contact your housing association if you have a problem such as:

  • something in the property needs repairing
  • you have a complaint about noise or other low level nuisance from your neighbour

Contact HOS

Sometimes it is not right for the housing association or managing agent to deal with your query. Please contact us:

  • if you feel that the housing association or letting agent has not dealt with your query properly
  • if you wish to complain about a member of the housing association or letting agent's staff

If you feel that your stage 2 accommodation is unsuitable please contact your housing association or letting agent and ask for a transfer. Usually someone from the housing association or letting agent will visit you and will complete a transfer request form to send to HOS for assessment.

Last updated: 30 January 2017
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