How councils allocate housing
Council housing allocation schemes set out who can get a council or housing association home.
What a housing allocation scheme says
Each council has a scheme which sets out the rules for how the council allocates housing in their area.
A council's housing allocation scheme should tell you:
who can apply to go on the council's waiting list
who gets priority for housing
if you need a connection to the area
the size of property you could get
Where to find your council's allocation scheme
The allocation scheme should be on your council's website.
You can usually find leaflets explaining the scheme at the housing office or local libraries.
Who gets priority for housing
Councils must give some priority for housing to people who:
live in unsanitary or overcrowded housing
need to move for medical or welfare reasons
need to be near specialist medical or educational facilities
How council homes are allocated
Councils usually allocate council and housing association homes through:
Your council might use one or both systems.
Ask the council if any local housing associations have a separate waiting list. Sometimes you can apply directly to a housing association list.
How long you will wait for a home
Council and housing association homes are in short supply in most areas.
Your chances of getting a home depend on:
if housing is available in your area
your priority on the waiting list
the type and size of home you want
if other people on the waiting list have more priority
You may have to wait years for a council or housing association home. People with less priority may not get a home.
How to challenge an allocation decision
You can ask for a review if you disagree with a decision that the council has made - for example, if you think you should be given higher priority for council housing.
Last updated: 6 May 2019