Where can I live in the UK once I arrive?

Accommodation in the UK

Refugee Info Bus have made this fact sheet to give you information about when you are eligible for and how you can get accommodation in the UK.


What accommodation you can get in the UK and the rules on this are different if you

  1. Have refugee status

  2. Are an asylum seeker

  3. Have been rejected for asylum


1. Accommodation if you have refugee status


This applies if you have been granted asylum, humanitarian protection or are part of a resettlement program or you have come to the UK under the Dubs Amendment (section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016).

If you have refugee status you are eligible for:

  • An allocation of housing from the council

You will have higher priority to get housing if you are homeless.


The amount of time you will have to wait for a property and the level of choice you get in which property you are allocated depends on which council you apply in. 

  • If you are renting accommodation, an allocation of money from the council to help pay for rent (housing benefits or universal credit) 


  • Help from the council if you are homeless or will be homeless within 8 weeks

The council will provide advice and information on how to access housing and may refer you to other homelessness services


The council might give you housing if you are homeless but priority is given if:

  1. You are under 18 or if one of your family members is under 18.

  2. You are pregnant or one of your family members is pregnant

  3. You are not “intentionally homeless” which means you cannot have reasonably continued stayed where you were previously living. 


IMPORTANT: you have to leave the accommodation you were provided as an asylum seeker 28 days after you are granted refugee status. If you have or will have no accommodation you can get help from the council. (Shelter England, 2018)


  2. Accommodation if you are an asylum seeker


This applies if you have applied for asylum and are waiting for a decision on whether you have been granted asylum, this includes if you are waiting on a decision of an appeal.


You can rent or buy your own accommodation (you cannot rent accommodation in an area with immigration checks). You do not get help from the government to pay your rent or mortgage. 


If you are an asylum seeker you are eligible for:

  • Accommodation from the UK government

You do not get to choose your accommodation.

Your accommodation could be anywhere in the UK though it is unlikely to be in London or the South-East. 

The accommodation will be basic housing in a flat, house, hostel or bed and breakfast. 

You will often be given poor quality housing which tenants in the UK do not want.


  3. Accommodation if you have been refused asylum


This applies if you have been given a final negative decision on your asylum or humanitarian protection application (but not if you are appealing a negative decision).


If you are rejected for asylum or humanitarian protection but cannot travel home immediately you can apply for the same accommodation as an asylum seeker while you wait to return.


If you have been refused asylum and been told to leave the UK but have not left you are not entitled to accommodation. The government and other charities can provide support if you want to return to your home country.

This page is run by the UK registered charity, Refugee Info Bus - for more info on our work, check out our website. 

PO BOX:  Po Box 28652, Edinburgh, EH4 9EX

Registered UK Charity Number: 1168538

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