Challenge a council housing register decision

If you want to challenge a council housing register decision, you can ask for a review in the following situations:

  • the council refuses your application for council housing

  • you think you should have more priority or be in a higher band

  • you're offered a tenancy but you do not think it's a suitable home

The council's letter or email should set out the timescales for asking for a review. It's often 3 weeks from when you get the decision or offer.

Do not turn down a council or housing association tenancy if you're homeless. The council could end any temporary housing and may not offer you another property.

You should accept the offer and ask for a review if you think it's unsuitable.

Find out about final offers of housing if you're homeless

What happens if your application is refused

The council can refuse to allow you onto the housing register if they think that either:

  • you do not qualify under the council's local policy

  • you do not meet immigration conditions

They must write to you and give reasons for their decision. The letter must tell you that you have a right to ask for a review.

Refused because of the local policy

If the letter or email says you're not a 'qualifying person' it means the council do not think you meet their local rules to go on the waiting list.

Check your council's housing allocations policy to see if they've made a mistake. For example, if the council has applied local residence rules when they should not because you're in a refuge.

You can find the allocations policy on your council website. The council must also provide a summary of the rules if you ask for them.

Find your council's website on GOV.UK and search for 'housing'.

Refused because of immigration conditions

If the letter or email says you are 'ineligible for an allocation' it means the council do not think you qualify for council housing under the immigration or habitual residence conditions.

Check the immigration conditions and what to do if the council gets things wrong.

If you think you should have more priority

You can ask for a review of your band or points if you think the council have not given you enough priority. For example, if 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

Find out how to move up the waiting list.

If you're offered a tenancy but it's not suitable

You only have a right to ask the council to review the suitability of an offer if the council has accepted the 'main housing duty'. This means the council is responsible for finding longer term housing for you because you're homeless.

Find out about final offers of housing when homeless.

Many councils also offer a review to people on the waiting list who are not homeless.

You can ask the council to withdraw the offer and make another one. Set out why you think it's unsuitable. For example:

  • you're at risk of racial harassment in the area

  • the property needs adaptations

  • there are not enough bedrooms

Challenge an overcrowding decision

You can ask for a review if you do not agree with your council's decision on overcrowding.

Use our templates to ask for a review.

How long a review takes

8 weeks is usually seen as a reasonable timescale for the review.

The council writes to tell you the outcome of the review and the reasons for their decision.

In most cases there is no further right of appeal but you can make a formal complaint.

Last updated: 27 June 2023

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