Challenge a council waiting list decision

You can challenge a housing waiting list decision if you think a mistake was made or relevant information wasn't considered.

Decisions the council can review

You can ask the council to review its decision if you:

  • are told you're not allowed on the waiting list
  • disagree with the priority you've been given

You may think the council made a mistake with your application. For example, if they:

  • ignored your health and medical information
  • left out members of your household in their assessment
  • didn't consider your connection with the area

A review may lead to the decision being changed.

How to request a review

The council should give you a deadline for requesting a review.

This is usually 21 days from when you receive a written decision about your application.

Ask for the review in writing. You may need to provide new medical or supporting information

Include any information that shows the council has made a mistake.

If the deadline is close, phone the council and say you are requesting a review. Follow up with a written request. Include the time, date and details of your phone call.

Ask the council how long the review will take. Eight weeks is considered reasonable.

The council may want a face-to-face meeting to discuss your case.

If you're not allowed on the waiting list

Ask the council to review their decision if they say that you do not qualify for the waiting list.

Local connection

The council may say you don't meet the local connection rules set out in their allocations policy.

Give the council any new or overlooked evidence to prove your connection.

This could include evidence of you or a family member living or working in the area for the required time.

Immigration eligibility

The council may say you are not eligible to join the waiting list because of your immigration or residency status.

Eligibility rules are complex. Councils sometimes make mistakes.

Get advice if the council says you are not eligible.

Health, disability and welfare needs

If the council didn't properly consider your health, disability or welfare needs, ask for support letters from:

  • health professionals
  • support workers
  • probation officers

Your child's school may be able to supply information to show special education needs.

Excluded for rent arrears

The council may not allow you onto the waiting list if you are have previous rent arrears.

A money or debt adviser may help you put a plan to the council for repaying arrears or persuade them to write off the debt.

If you think you should have more priority

You can challenge the council's decision if you think the council hasn't given you enough priority because they have:

  • wrongly assessed your health and welfare needs
  • not included everyone in your household
  • unfairly penalised you for rent arrears or antisocial behaviour
  • made a mistake about your local connection to the area

These factors can affect your priority for housing and the size or type of property you can be considered for.

Help with your review

Get advice about preparing for your review.

An adviser could help with information to get the council to change their decision.

This could include helping you:

  • get medical information or
  • proof you're paying rent arrears

Outcome of your review

The council writes to tell you the outcome of its review.

They should give reasons for their decision.

In most cases there is no further right of appeal.

Other ways to challenge a decision

Judicial review

Some council decisions can be challenged by court action. For example, if the council's allocation policy is unlawful or discriminatory.

This is called judicial review. You will need legal help from a solicitor.

Make a complaint

You can make a complaint if you're unhappy with the way the council treated you or processed your application.


Last updated 11 Apr 2019 | © Shelter

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