Finding a suitable place to live will be one of your main concerns upon your arrival in Wales. Housing is a devolved issuewhich means that the Welsh Government is responsible for this issue in Wales. However, housing for asylum seekers is still controlled by the UK Government (the Home Office).
This section of the website explains the Housing system in Wales and who can receive support.
The cost and availability of housing differs across Wales. The cost of accommodation is likely be one of the major costs to you each month.
If you rent a property, you will have a landlord. Landlords have a legal duty to provide you with written details of your rights and responsibilities. This will include details about rent, when you can be required to leave the property and responsibilities for repairs to the building.
Your right to housing will depend on whether you are an asylum seeker, refused asylum seeker or refugee. Please select the information below which matches your immigration status for relevant information.
If you are considered to be ‘destitute’ and have no where to live, the UK Government will give you somewhere to stay at no cost. This is often called ‘asylum accommodation’. You will have no choice about where the UK Government decides to accommodate you. Within Wales, this accommodation is managed by a company called ‘Clearsprings Ready Homes’.
Friends and Family
If you have family or friends who you can live with whilst your asylum claim is being decided, you may not qualify for UK Government accommodation. You will not be able to access private housing until your asylum application has been decided.
Many asylum seekers will be moved to ‘Initial Accommodation’ in Cardiff. Then within a matter of days they will be moved to ‘Dispersed Accommodation’ in another part of Wales. Currently, this could be Cardiff, Swansea, Newport or Wrexham. The UK Government could ask ‘Clearsprings Ready Homes’ to move you at any time. This could be to another nation within the UK or another part of Wales. You are unlikely to be given more than a week or two to prepare for this change. Asylum seekers can ask not to be moved but the final decision will be taken by ‘Clearsprings Ready Homes’ and the UK Government. Sometimes there are very good reasons why you may need to stay in your current accommodation. You may be able to Find Help with this issue from a local organisation.
The accommodation you are provided with will only meet a basic standard but it should be free, safe and secure. You may be required to share your accommodation with other asylum seekers who you do not know.
If there are any problems with the accommodation you can ask for these to be fixed by notifying ‘Migrant Help’. ‘Migrant Help’ is funded by the UK Government to support asylum seekers who are awaiting a decision. If the problem has not been fixed, you may be able to Find Help from a local organisation.
After your decision
You should be able to continue living in your accommodation at no cost until your asylum application has been considered. If your asylum application is granted, you will be given 28 days to find a new place to live. The Welsh Government funds the Welsh Refugee Council to help newly granted refugees to find somewhere else to live. If your asylum application is fully refused, you will be given 21 days to leave the accommodation. You will also be asked to return to your country of origin by the UK Government.
If you are under 18 years of age, you should be entitled to different support whilst you are applying for asylum. You should not be housed by ‘Clearsprings Ready Homes’. You should be 'looked after' by the local authority and placed into a foster home with a family. Some young asylum seekers may be offered supported independent accommodation. Part of the local authority’s role is to provide you with suitable accommodation, care and support. This includes helping you to claim for asylum and providing for your needs. The UK Government may not believe that you are under 18 years of age if you are unable to provide a document which proves your date of birth. Your age may need to be assessed by the local authority to ensure you receive the correct support. The purpose of an ‘age assessment’ is to establish, as far as possible, your age. This will involve listening to any information you can provide about your childhood. It is not your responsibility to prove your age but any evidence you can provide could help.
An ‘Age Assessment’ will lead to you being considered a child or an adult. If you disagree with the outcome, you can challenge the decision. You may be able to find help with this issue from TGP Cymru.
If your asylum application has been approved, you will be recognised as a refugee by the UK Government. At this point, you will have the right to access housing anywhere within the United Kingdom. The UK Government will expect you to leave the ‘Clearsprings Ready Homes’ accommodation within 28 days. Finding another affordable place to live within such a short period may be difficult. It is important that you start looking as soon as possible.
The Welsh Government understands that many refugees did not choose to come to Wales but we want as many refugees to stay in Wales as possible. The Welsh Government funds the Welsh Refugee Council to support refugees during this 28 day period. This is to help you to find a new place to live and adjust to having the right to work and claim welfare benefits. The Welsh Refugee Council may be able to help you: 02920 489 800. Once you are recognised as a refugee, you can register with your local authority to seek support to prevent homelessness. The Welsh Refugee Council can help you with this or you can contact the local authority yourself. Local authorities operate a ‘Priority Need’ system. This means that people in certain circumstances will receive housing support quicker. Those who are considered more vulnerable are likely to have ‘Priority Need’. More information can be found on the ‘Your Local Area’ page. You can also look for a place to live without help from other organisations. Landlords advertise their properties in local newspapers, shop windows, and with letting agents. There are rules about how many people should live in certain types of properties. If you would like to know whether your home meets these rules, contact the Environmental Health team at your local authority.
When you rent a property you should receive a tenancy agreement. This is the legal agreement between you and the person who owns the house (the landlord). The agreement sets out the rights and responsibilities between the two of you. It should contain information such as the length of the agreement, the rent payable and any restrictions, such as on keeping pets. The agreement will allow you to stay in the property provided you do not break any of the terms. A private landlord may need a reference, a deposit and one month of rent to be paid in advance of you moving into the property.
If your asylum claim is unsuccessful you may be able to appeal the decision or apply for ‘Section 4’ support. More information about appeals can be found in the Asylum Law section.
You will not be provided somewhere to live until your Section 4 application has been decided. These applications should be decided within 5 working days but it may take weeks to actually receive an offer of somewhere to stay. If your Section 4 application is successful you will be given somewhere to live. To be eligible for this support, you must be considered ‘destitute’ or likely to become destitute within the next 14 days. You must also be able to show that you are trying to leave the United Kingdom but cannot do so. You can also show that section 4 support is necessary to avoid your human rights being breached.
If your Section 4 application is refused, the UK Government will not provide you with accommodation. If you have children with you then you may be able to receive support, including somewhere to stay, from the local authority’s Social Services team. The Social Services and Well-being Act 2014 allows for support to be given in particular circumstances. You may be able to Find Help with this issue from a local organisation.
If your Section 4 application is refused and you do not have children with you in Wales, it will be very difficult for you to find somewhere to live legally. The UK Government will not provide you with accommodation and your local authority will not be able to accommodate you by law. A private landlord may also be breaking the law if they rent a home to you. You may be able to find help from a ‘hosting scheme’. There are many small hosting schemes operating in Wales. You may be able to Find Help with this issue from a local organisation.
If you are destitute you may be entitled to some support, known as ‘section 4 support’. You would also need to show that:
- You are taking all reasonable steps to leave the UK.
- You are unable to leave the UK because of a physical impediment to travel or for some other medical reason.
- You are unable to leave the UK because there is no viable route of return.
- You have applied for judicial review of your decision on your asylum claim and you have been granted permission to proceed.
- Accommodation is necessary to avoid breaching your human rights.
More information can be found here.
If you were granted refugee status before you entered the United Kingdom you will not have to live in asylum accommodation. You will not have to await the outcome of an asylum application. In most cases, you will be resettled directly into accommodation by your local authority. This may be a property owned by the local authority, a ‘Housing Association’ or a private landlord. Over time, you will be required to make the rental payments. If you can't find a job then you may receive social security payments (also known as welfare benefits) to help with these costs.
You can register with your local authority to seek support to prevent homelessness. Many Local Authorities operate a ‘Priority Need’ system. This means that people in certain circumstances will receive housing support more quickly. Those who are considered more vulnerable are likely to have ‘Priority Need’. More information can be found on the Your Local Area page.
When you rent a property you should receive a tenancy agreement. This is the legal agreement between you and the person who owns the house (the landlord). The agreement sets out the rights and responsibilities between the two of you. It should contain information such as the length of the agreement, the rent payable and any restrictions, such as on keeping pets. The agreement will allow you to stay in the property provided you do not break any of the terms. Aprivate landlord may need a reference, a deposit and one month of rent to be paid in advance of you moving into the property.