How to move up the waiting list

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 it

Check if you should be in a priority group on the housing register.

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:

If the council has made a mistake

You can ask for a review of the council's decision if you think they have got things wrong.

For example, if you think you should have more priority or points but the council have:

  • ignored your housing conditions

  • failed to include 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

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 are 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.

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

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