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How to get a council home

Bidding and offers

Councils offer homes to people on the housing register through choice based letting schemes or direct offers.

Choice based letting means you have to tell the council about properties you are interested in.

A direct offer means the council finds a property for you.

Ask your council which scheme they use. Some councils use both.

How to bid with a choice based letting scheme

Look at properties on the council or housing association's website. Or ask for help at the council's housing office.

Tell the council if you're interested in a property. This is often called 'bidding'.

You usually do this through your online account. You can also call or email the council.

Sometimes you can only bid on a few properties at once.

You must meet any criteria for the property.

Other people usually bid on the property too.

If you're homeless

Some councils give you the highest priority if you're homeless. This could be for a set time, and you might have to bid on a set number of properties each month.

Your council might bid on suitable properties for you. This is sometimes called 'proxy bidding'.

They could also make you a direct offer instead.

If you're disabled 

The council must:

  • help you with the bidding process if you need support

  • provide information in an accessible format, such as Braille or audio

After you bid for a tenancy

The council looks at everyone's banding or points to decide who to offer the home to.

They offer it to the person with the most priority first.

If they turn it down, the council offers it to the person with the next highest priority.

Direct offers

You have to wait for an offer if your council uses direct offers.

Some councils only make one offer. Check your local council's policy.

The council should not offer you a home in an area where you are at risk. For example, because of domestic abuse or racist harassment.

Refusing an offer of council housing

It's risky to turn down an offer of a council or housing association home, even if it is not suitable.

The council could:

  • take you off the list

  • stop you from bidding for a time

  • give you less priority if their policy allows this

Accept the offer first then ask the council to find you somewhere else.

Find out how to challenge an offer that is not suitable.

Last updated: 8 April 2024

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