Direct offers from a council waiting list

Ask the council if you have a realistic chance of being offered housing and how long you might have to wait.

Offers of council housing

Each council has its own allocations policy which sets out how and when vacant properties are offered to people on the waiting list.

If your council allocates housing by making direct offers to people on the waiting list, you must wait until the council says a home is available for you.

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

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

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

Waiting times for council housing offers

Council and housing association homes are in short supply.

Your chances of getting a home depend on:

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

You may have to wait for years in many areas. If you have low priority, you may never get housed through the council waiting list.

You may have to consider other options such as renting privately or applying to your council as homeless.

How the council decides what housing to offer you

The council decides if it has property suitable for you. It looks at practical 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

Before it offers you a tenancy, the council will probably check that all the information you gave in your application is still correct.

Challenging an unsuitable offer

You may be able to challenge the council's decision if you think the property you've been offered is unsuitable.

Remember that council housing is in short supply. There is no guarantee you'll be offered something better.

Turning down an offer

You may only get one offer. If you turn down housing that is suitable for you, you may be suspended from the council housing waiting list for a period.

If you are in temporary accommodation following a homeless application then 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 but this may take time.

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

Get help from a housing adviser

Get advice if you want to challenge an offer or if you think your priority or needs haven't been properly assessed.

Last updated 03 Nov 2016 | © Shelter

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