How to move up the council housing waiting list
You can take action if you think the council has given you the wrong band or points for council housing.
If the council has made a mistake
You can ask for a review of the council's decision.
For example, if you think the council has:
ignored your housing conditions
not included everyone in your household
wrongly assessed your health and welfare needs
made a mistake about your local connection to the area
unfairly penalised you for rent arrears or antisocial behaviour
Check if you should be in a priority group on the housing register.
How to ask for a review
The council will usually write to you and confirm that you have been placed on the housing register and should explain how much priority you have.
Email or write to your council to ask for a review. The council should tell you about any time limits for asking for a review. It's often about 3 weeks.
Check the allocations policy
Ask for a copy of the council's allocations policy or a summary of the rules.
Make sure the council is following the law and their own rules. Point out any mistakes
Provide follow up information
You can ask for a review first and then provide follow up information. The council may set a deadline for you to provide the information by.
If you live in overcrowded or poor housing conditions
If you're renting privately, contact the environmental health team at the council. An inspection and report from environmental health could increase your priority.
If you should have more priority for health or welfare reasons
Provide letters from health professionals, social workers or support staff.
Your priority on the housing register could change if:
your circumstances change and your need becomes more urgent
the council made a mistake with your application and you challenge i
If your situation changes
Let the council know if there is a change in your income, health or housing situation that puts you in more urgent need.
You should let the council know immediately if:
your home is overcrowded or in very bad condition
you need to move for medical reasons or because you're disabled
Reduced priority due to rent arrears
Many councils reduce priority on the waiting list if someone has a history of rent arrears, especially if the debt is owed to a council or housing association.
Sometimes you can get your priority increased if you make a repayment arrangement and stick to it for an agreed period of time. Check your council's policy.
Find out where to get help with debts.
Reduced priority due to antisocial behaviour
Many councils reduce priority on the waiting list if you or anyone in your household has a history of antisocial behaviour.
You might be able to get your priority changed in some situations. For example:
the person responsible for the behaviour no longer lives with you
your behaviour was caused or made worse by a mental health condition and you're now getting support or treatment
How long the review takes
Ask the council how long it will take. Guidance suggests 8 weeks is reasonable.
You might be offered a meeting to discuss your case.
The council writes to you with the outcome of the review. They must give reasons for their decision.
Make a complaint about the process
In most cases there is no further right of appeal.
You can make a complaint if you're unhappy with the way the council has treated you or dealt with your application or review regardless of the eventual outcome.
If you're unhappy with their final response you can complain to the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman.
Last updated: 9 September 2021