How to apply for council housing

How to apply

Most councils have online application forms.

You can usually find the online form on the council's website. Sometimes it will be on a different website but you can find it through the council's website.

You can also ask your council for a paper application form or for help to fill in the form.

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

What to say on the form

Your council uses the information you give to decide if you can join the housing register and where to put you on the waiting list.

Make sure you explain problems like:

  • overcrowding

  • poor conditions or repairs

  • no adaptations for medical problems or disability

  • violence or harassment

If you are disabled, have mobility issues or any medical or welfare needs make sure you include details. Get letters from your doctor or health professional to support your application.

Choose more than one area to live

The application form may ask you where you want to live in the local area.

If you only choose one area it may be harder to get a home. Choosing more areas gives you a better chance.

ID and references

Councils often ask for ID and a reference. They may ask you to bring these documents to a council office after you have sent in your application.

When you should hear back

There's no set length of time in which the council must get back to you.

Most councils will have their own target time in which to respond.

It's worth contacting the council if you've not heard back within a month.

The council's decision

The council should contact you by letter or email when they've looked at your application.

If you're accepted onto the housing register

The council will tell you what priority you have if they accept you onto the register.

Councils use bands or points based systems to decide who gets priority for a council or housing association home as they become available.

Find out how long it could take to be offered a home.

If your application is refused for immigration reasons

If the letter or email says you are 'ineligible for an allocation' this means the council doesn't think you qualify under the immigration conditions.

Check the immigration conditions and what to do if the council makes a mistake.

If your application is refused for other reasons

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

If you're unhappy with their decision and think they've made a mistake or overlooked something you can ask for a review.

You should ask for a review within the time limit set by the council. It's often 21 days from when you get a written decision about your application.

Last updated: 9 September 2021

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