Help if you are homeless

If you think you are homeless or about to be made homeless, contact the Homelessness Team:

Please do not wait until you have nowhere to stay, as we may be able to prevent you becoming homeless.

If you need help, a trained officer will interview you. They will assess your housing circumstances, and explain the outcome of the assessment and the help we can provide.

Our homeless service standards explain what you can expect from our service.

Out of hours assistance

If you have nowhere to stay and need help when our office is closed, contact the out of hours service:

  • 0131 201 0450

They will arrange emergency accommodation for you.

If you are given accommodation outwith our normal office hours, we will ask you to complete a full homeless assessment the next working day.

Your homeless rights

Midlothian Council has legal duties to help people who are homeless or threatened with becoming homeless. Our duties are laid down in law by the Housing (Scotland) act 1987 as amended.

We must also take into account the Homelessness Code of Guidance. The code of guidance sets out how local authorities should interpret the legislation.  

If you are homeless, or about to become homeless you have the right to be:

  • Interviewed and have your housing situation assessed against a set of legal criteria
  • Offered temporary accommodation if you are 'roofless'
  • Offered permanent accommodation, depending on the outcome of an assessment
  • Given advice and information free of charge.

The homeless interview

When you request a meeting to discuss your homeless situation, we will arrange for a trained member of staff to interview you.

Depending on your circumstances, the interview should take around an hour.

You may wish to bring a friend, relative or other appropriate person to support you at the appointment.

It is important you bring as much information as possible about your situation to the interview. This includes:

  • Identification - such as a passport, birth certificate or driving licence
  • Your National Insurance Number
  • Confirmation that you have been asked to leave your home
  • Proof of any income or benefits you receive.

After your interview, we will allocate you a Homeless Officer.

Homeless assessments

When carrying out a homeless assessment your case officer will look at the following:

Are you homeless?

You may be considered to be homeless for a variety of reasons including:

  • You are roofless and have nowhere to stay
  • You have no permanent housing of your own
  • You are experiencing domestic abuse at your home
  • You have been asked to leave by your landlord, or the person you are living with
  • You have no right to occupy your current accommodation
  • You are going to lose your accommodation in the next two months.

Are you intentionally homeless?

A person is considered to be intentionally homeless if they have deliberately done, or failed to do something, resulting in them becoming homeless.

Do you have a local connection to the Midlothian Council area?

A person has a connection to the area if they:

  • Have lived in the area for six out of the last 12 months, or three of the last five years
  • Are in permanent employment, or self-employed in the area
  • Have a close family member who has lived in the area for at least five years.

If you do not have a local connection to Midlothian, we will investigate if you have a connection to another local authority in Scotland, England or Wales.

Notification of decision

It can take up to 28 days for your case officer to fully assess and and make a decision on your homeless application. Once a decision has been made, your case officer will confirm this in writing.

In rare circumstances it may take longer for a decision to be made, depending on the information you give us. If this happens, your case officer will keep you informed of the progress of your application.

Right to appeal

You can ask us to review our decision if you do not agree with it - for example if we have said you are intentionally homeless. Your homeless decision letter will explain how you can appeal our decision.

Our homeless duties to you

If you are found to be unintentionally homeless and have a local connection to Midlothian, we have a legal duty to provide you with permanent housing.

If you do not have connection to Midlothian, and your only other connection is to another Scottish local authority area, we also have a duty to provide you with permanent housing.

Permanent housing includes:

  • a Council or Housing Association tenancy
  • or a Private Residential Tenancy.

If you have nowhere else to stay, we will arrange temporary accommodation for you while you wait for an offer of housing.

In some cases where we are not required to provide permanent housing, we will give advice and assistance to help you find alternative secure accommodation.

Temporary accommodation

If you are assessed as homeless, we will provide temporary accommodation for you. This will also be provided while we assess your application. Your case officer will explain the temporary accommodation options available to you.

What housing options are available to me?

Our Housing Options page provides more information on the range of options available in Midlothian.