Direct offers from a council waiting list

Some councils allocate council and housing association homes using a direct offers system for people on the housing waiting list.

How direct offers work

If your council allocates housing using a direct offers system, it means you must wait for the council to offer a home to you.

Homes are offered to people with the most priority on the waiting list as suitable housing becomes available.

You may only get one offer if your council makes direct offers.

Some councils use a combination of choice based lettings schemes and direct offers.

If your council uses a choice based lettings scheme, you bid for properties that become available.

Your council's allocation scheme sets out how housing offers are made

How long you wait for council housing

Council and housing association homes are in short supply.

Your chances of getting an offer depend on:

  • the amount of housing in your area
  • your priority on the waiting list
  • the type and size of home you want
  • the number of people on the waiting list with higher priority than you

In many areas you have to wait for years for housing. If you have low priority, you may not get a council or housing association home

You may need to consider other options such as:

What housing the council may offer

When deciding which housing to offer you, the council considers issues such as:

  • the location of the property and its condition
  • if the property is the right size for your household

You should not be offered a property in an area that puts you at risk of domestic abuse or racial harassment

The council must also consider whether the accommodation is:

  • close enough to any support services you need or special schools
  • accessible if you have mobility problems

The council will check that the information you put in your application is still correct before it offers you a tenancy.

Challenging an unsuitable offer

You can challenge the council's decision if you think the property you've been offered is unsuitable.

Get advice before you challenge an offer. You may not get another offer of housing.

Turning down a housing offer

You may be suspended from the council housing waiting list if you turn down housing that is suitable.

Get advice before you refuse an offer. Ask the council to keep the offer open while you seek advice

If you are in temporary accommodation following a homeless application your temporary accommodation could end if you refuse a suitable property.

You could accept the offer and ask for a review of suitability instead.

If your review is successful the council should make you another offer. This may take time.


Last updated 05 May 2019 | © Shelter

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