Choice based lettings

You can bid for council and housing association properties in some areas using choice based lettings.

What are choice based lettings schemes?

Choice based lettings schemes allow you to bid for council and housing association properties that the council advertises.

You can bid if you are on the housing waiting list.

Existing tenants may be able to use the scheme if they want to transfer.

Not all councils use choice based lettings. Some make direct offers of council housing instead. Some use a mixture of choice based lettings and direct offers.

How to find a home

Vacant properties are usually advertised on the council's website. They may also be listed in leaflets and newsletters in housing offices, libraries and community centres.

The listings explain who can bid for each property. For example, the advert may say the property is for:

  • an older person
  • a family who need 2 bedrooms
  • a household with a disabled family member

How to bid

In most areas, you can bid online, by phone, by text or by post. Check with your council.

Some councils limit the number of properties you can bid for at once.

You must meet any criteria for the property.

If you're homeless

Your council might bid for suitable properties on your behalf if you're legally homeless.

This is called proxy bidding. You may have to take the property the council offers.

Get advice before you turn down an offer. The council may end your temporary accommodation and not offer you another property

If you're disabled 

The council must make sure you're not disadvantaged by choice based lettings.

If you require support, the council must:

  • support you with the bidding process
  • provide information in an accessible format such as Braille or audio

The council should give you additional priority if you need a property that is suitable for adaptations.

If you need a large home

Bid for any large homes that are advertised. Large properties are rare.

Homes next to each other are sometimes let together. This can be useful for large extended families who need to live close together.

How the council offers a tenancy

The person with the most priority on the housing register usually gets first refusal on a property they have bid for.

If they turn it down, it will be offered to the next highest bidder and so on.

Several applicants may be invited to view a property at the same time.

The council usually checks your application information is still correct before formally offering you the tenancy.

Still need help?

Get advice about choice based lettings and housing allocations.


Last updated 29 Apr 2019 | © Shelter

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