When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Temporary accommodation

You may be able to get temporary accommodation while you wait for a new home. The Housing Executive has to give you temporary housing in certain cases.

Your right to temporary accommodation

The Housing Executive must give you temporary housing if

  • you've asked for help because you are homeless and you seem to be vulnerable, or
  • you've passed all 4 tests for homelessness.

Some people do not have a right to temporary housing because of their immigration status. 

Temporary housing if your immigration status means you can't get help

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Housing Executive can find you temporary housing if

  • you're not able to get help because of your immigration status, and
  • you are sleeping rough.

Type and location of temporary housing

The Housing Executive uses different types of temporary housing, including

  • hostels for homeless people
  • properties rented from private landlords (single lets)
  • specialist hostels for people with high support needs
  • bed and breakfasts and hotels.

There is temporary housing across Northern Ireland. But, it can be difficult to find temporary housing in rural areas. You may have to go to a nearby town. 

Suitability of temporary housing

Your temporary housing should be suitable for you and anyone you live with. 

It might not be suitable if

  • you have to live apart from each other
  • you have to travel a very long distance to schools or work
  • you have special reasons why the accommodation does not suit.

The Housing Executive will offer you a place and you'll have to decide whether to take it or not.

You can still argue that the temporary housing is not suitable after you move in. Contact our helpline for advice on how to do that. 

You don't have to take the temporary housing that the Housing Executive offers. But, they may not be able to offer you a different option. 

It is often very hard for the Housing Executive to find temporary housing. Think carefully before you say no to an offer.

Finding your own temporary accommodation

You can find your own temporary housing. 

You could

  • contact homeless hostels to see if they have any spaces
  • stay with friends or family
  • try to find a short-term rental with a private landlord.

The Housing Executive may decide you are no longer homeless if you sign a tenancy agreement. Contact our helpline if you are thinking about renting a place as temporary housing. 

Paying for temporary housing

You have to pay to live in temporary housing. You can apply for Housing Benefit to help cover this cost.

You may have to pay a service charge on top of your rent. You won't usually get benefits to help with this. 

Your rights in temporary housing

You may have to sign a contract when you move in. This will explain your rights and responsibilities. 

Staff in temporary housing can ask you to leave if you break your contract.

Contact our helpline if you've been told to move out of temporary housing.