Factsheet: Council and Housing Association Bidding
Written By
Team Nucleus

This factsheet intends to give an overview of applying for social, how it works and the different processes that you may encounter depending on your circumstances.

Applying for Social Housing

You can apply for social housing through your local council. Each council has its own system and rules for it.  

You will have to join the housing register for the local council as the first step. Most councils have online application forms, or you can directly contact the council about an application form.  

It is possible to apply to more than one council and be on their lists. It is worth keeping in mind when deciding on which council to apply to that some areas may have shorter waiting lists, and some may require a local connection to the area.

Making the application

Fill out your application form in as much detail as you can. Explain any difficulties you or your family are having while living in your current property.

Your local authority might require documentary evidence to support your application. This can be to show:

  • Long-term health and medical conditions
  • Job history
  • Income, including benefits
  • Savings and assets  
  • Where you’ve lived for the past few years and why you left
  • Immigration documentation if you are not a British citizen

Decision on application

It is important to note that if the local council approves your application, you will join a waiting list and you’re not guaranteed a house. Your council will assess your priority for housing needs based on your application. This is based on a ‘points’ or ‘banding’ system. You may receive higher ‘points’ or be placed in a higher ‘band’ based on:

  • Homelessness
  • Cramped living conditions
  • Disrepair
  • Violence or harassment
  • Medical condition that is made worse by living in current property

Even if you have been assessed to have high priority, you may still have to wait a long time. It is best to ask the council how long the waiting list in your area is.

Either the council or a housing association may offer you housing.  

You can ask for your application to be reviewed if you think that you have not been given the correct priority or if your application is refused.

Change of circumstance

If there is a change in circumstances, it is best that you inform the council as soon as you can as it might change your position on the waiting list. These can be:

  • Pregnancy  
  • New medical condition or change in medical/health needs
  • Change in income, including benefits
  • Facing violence or harassment at your current property
  • Moved to a new house or have new contact details

If you do not inform the council about the change, you could be accused of being dishonest on your application and evicted from any home you get through the housing register.

Council house bidding

Some councils will have a bidding system. There may be an online system where you can look for a home in the area.

If you find a home that you like, you can apply for it online i.e. you can ‘bid’ for it. Bidding on a house does not automatically mean that you will get it.  

There will also be a limit in the system to the number of houses you can bid for and how often.  

After the deadline for the bidding on that particular property, the council will look through all the applications and assess priority levels and how long an applicant has been waiting. Offer of the home will usually go to the applicant with the highest priority.

What to do when offered a council home

When you accept an offer, you will then sign a tenancy agreement with the council with all of the information about when you can move in and rent payments.

Usually, the local authority will offer you a fixed-term contract or a long-term tenancy.  

There is usually a time limit by when you have to accept an offer, so it is best to check with the council how much time you have to make a decision about the offer.

If you decide to refuse an offer for a council house, it is important to bear in mind that some councils may remove you form their waiting list.

If you are experiencing issues related to notice periods, Get In touch.

Disclaimer: This blog is for general information only.
Nothing on this blog constitutes formal legal advice or gives rise to a solicitor-client relationship.
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