Bed and breakfasts
If you need a place to sleep tonight, you may be able to find a place to stay in a bed and breakfast. You can get details of cheap bed and breakfasts in your area from the Housing Executive or an advice centre. The Housing Executive has a legal duty to give housing advice and information on preventing homelessness to anyone who asks in Northern Ireland.
Tell your local Housing Executive District Office if you have moved into a bed and breakfast on an emergency basis.
What will the bed and breakfast be like?
In most bed and breakfasts you get your own bedroom but you may have to share. The quality of the rooms can be basic. You will usually have to share a bathroom. Most bed and breakfasts have no cooking facilities so you may have to rely on takeaways.
How do I get a room in a bed and breakfast?
Most bed and breakfasts will accept people at the door. However, it is a good idea to telephone ahead to check that they have room. You should also check whether the bed and breakfast has any rules. For example:
- do they accept homeless people?
- do they accept people on housing benefit?
- do they accept people who are under 18?
- how long can you stay?
- will you have to leave your room during the day?
How much will it cost?
Staying at a bed and breakfast is usually more expensive than staying in a hostel. You will usually have to pay some money up front before you can stay. If you are on benefits or a low income you may be able to claim housing benefit to help you pay for your accommodation. You can apply for housing benefit at your Housing Executive District Office.
Some bed and breakfasts won't accept you if you are claiming housing benefit. If your bed and breakfast does accept people claiming housing benefit you should remember that housing benefit may not cover all your rent. You may have to cover the rest of your rent from your wages, other benefits or training allowance.
What rights will I have?
You can only stay in the bed and breakfast while you pay your rent. If you don't pay your rent you can be evicted very easily. You probably won't have a legal right to stay in the property if you are asked to leave, but you should still get advice.
Can I still get permanent accommodation?
Staying in a bed and breakfast can give you time to look for permanent accommodation. You can still apply for permanent accommodation from the Housing Executive as a homeless person if you are staying in a bed and breakfast. The Housing Executive may have to place you in a bed and breakfast if you are homeless as an emergency measure.
An adviser can examine your personal circumstances and may be able to:
- check whether the Housing Executive have a legal responsibility to house you,
- tell you what benefits you may be entitled to,
- put you in contact with a local scheme that can help you raise money for a deposit, or rent in advance,
- tell you if there is any other specialist help available in your area.
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