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Challenge a council housing register decision

You can ask for a review if:

  • the council say you cannot join the waiting list

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

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

The council's decision letter or email should tell you how long you have to ask for a review.

You usually have 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 stop helping you.

You should accept the offer and ask for a review if you think it's not suitable.

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

If the council say you cannot apply

The council might not let you join the waiting list if they think you do not meet:

  • the rules in the council's policy

  • immigration and residence conditions

Councils sometimes get things wrong.

The council must write to you and give reasons for their decision. The letter must say you can ask for a review.

Your council's rules

The council might say you're not a 'qualifying person'. This means they do not think you meet the local rules about who can join the housing register.

Check your council's housing allocations policy to see if they've made a mistake.

For example, the council should not say you have to live in an area for a set time if you are escaping domestic abuse.

Immigration conditions

The council might say you are 'ineligible for an allocation' or 'not habitually resident'.

This means they do not think you are settled in the UK, or that your immigration status means you cannot apply.

Check the immigration and habitual residence conditions.

Check if you could get more priority

You could get more priority if:

  • your situation changes, for example you have a new health condition

  • the council made a mistake with your application and gave you the wrong band or points

Find out how to move up the waiting list.

Challenge an overcrowding decision

You can ask for a review if:

  • your application for housing or a transfer is refused

  • you have the wrong priority in the housing register

  • you get an offer of housing that is too small for your family

Use our letter templates to challenge an overcrowding decision.

Ask for a review of unsuitable housing

You might be able to ask for a review if the council offer you somewhere that is not suitable.

Ask the council to make another offer.

Tell the council why you think the property is wrong for you. For example:

  • there are not enough bedrooms

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

  • the property needs to be changed so a disabled person can live there

Unsuitable housing offers after a homeless application

Read our guide and use our letter templates.

Ask the council how long the review will take

Give the council 2 months to do the review.

The council might offer a meeting to talk about your case.

The council should write to tell you what they decide.

They must give reasons for their decision.

Make a complaint

You can complain to the council if you're not happy with:

  • the way the council has treated you

  • how they dealt with your application or review, even if the review was successful

You can complain to the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) if you're not happy with the council's final response.

Last updated: 1 April 2024

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