Housing has always had a close association with refugees but despite this, the knowledge base about housing and its impact in the lives of refugees lacks cohesion. The accommodation of refugees tends to be connected with broader neo-liberal trends, alongside a general animosity towards refugees, culminating in an overt, or implied, ‘hostile environment’. This paper synthesises the available evidence to understand several key issues in the settlement of refugees, including: the role and impact of housing systems and policies, the impact of housing quality, tenure, housing support workers and how the diversity of the refugee population is reflected in the evidence. We also point towards gaps in the knowledge base and call for housing studies scholars to focus on the plight faced by refugees in order to help challenge the wider structural inequalities which constrain their lives. In this discussion, our focus is the United Kingdom (UK), although the paper draws on literature from a wider international perspective.