Access to Council Housing or Housing Association homes

To access council housing, you must normally apply to be placed on the council’s housing register. 

To qualify to be placed on the housing register, you must meet certain immigration criteria. Whilst some councils operate open registers, others will require you to meet certain conditions which are set locally. This might also include a council giving priority to certain groups, including those with a local connection to the area. 

Arrangements for making applications vary across different local authority areas. In some instances, the council maintain the housing register. In other areas, the application process is managed by a third party, such as a housing association. You are not limited to applying for housing in one council area only. In some instances, the council (or their third party partner) might operate a “Choice Based Lettings” scheme. This will require you to actively make bids on properties that come available for renting. 

You can access details on individual council arrangements for accessing council housing here.

When you make an application, you can do this alone or jointly. 

Applications should include details about your current housing situation, as this is likely to influence the priority that you are given, relative to other applicants, and therefore influence how successful you are likely to be in securing a home. This might include details relating to overcrowding, health conditions you or people in your household experience, or circumstances which involve you facing violent or harassment related situations. 

You are likely to need to keep your application details up to date as changes in your circumstances are likely to impact on your priority status. 

If you are offered a property and you refuse, it is possible that you may face a period of time when other potentially suitable properties are not offered to you, or you might be removed from the waiting list altogether. This will be determined by locally set policies. Most housing associations allocate most of their housing to people on local housing registers through nomination arrangements with local councils. However, some housing associations will operate their own waiting lists alongside this. You may therefore wish to also approach individual housing associations to identify what their arrangements are for allocating properties that become available for renting.