Tricks To Get A Council House

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19 Feb 2024

Finding a suitable and affordable housing option can be a challenging task, especially when it comes to council houses. The waiting lists for council properties can be long, making it difficult to secure a home in a timely manner.

However, there are tricks and strategies that can help you navigate the process and increase your chances of getting a council house quicker.

In this insight, we will explore various tips and techniques that can expedite your journey towards securing a council home. Keep reading to find out what the council isn't telling you.


Key Takeaways

  • Council housing, or social housing, provides affordable accommodation to individuals and families in need. Eligibility criteria vary by local council and may include factors such as homelessness, low income, overcrowding, and local connections.
  • Applications for council houses are placed on a waiting list and prioritised based on urgency. Factors such as homelessness, unsanitary living conditions, medical needs, and fleeing violence can increase priority status.
  • Waiting times for council houses vary depending on demand and availability. Waiting lists are divided into different bands, with higher bands having shorter waiting times. Being open and flexible, keeping the council updated on changes, and maximising bids can help shorten the waiting process.
  • Be open to different properties, keep the council updated on changes, bid actively, consider different areas, adhere to bedroom entitlement criteria, explore housing exchange platforms, maintain a positive tenancy record, seek financial assistance if needed, seek professional advice, and stay persistent in your pursuit.

Tricks To Get a Council House

If you're on the waiting list for a council house, here are some tips and tricks you can try:

  • Be Flexible with property choice.
  • Keep your council updated with any changes in circumstances. 
  • Apply early.
  • Maximise all your bids.
  • Consider different areas.
  • Understand your entitlement.
  • Join Housing Exchange platforms.
  • Maintain a positive tenancy record.
  • Explore financial assistance programs.
  • Seek professional advice.
  • Be persistent with the council.

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Understanding Council Housing

Council housing, also known as social housing, is a form of public housing provided by local authorities in the UK. These properties are intended to provide affordable accommodation to individuals and families in need. Council houses are owned and managed by the local council or housing associations.

To be eligible for a council house, you must meet certain criteria set by your local council. Each council may have specific requirements, but common eligibility factors include being legally homeless, living in overcrowded or unsuitable conditions, having a low income, and having a local connection to the area.

Council Housing Priority List

Once you have applied for a council house, your application will be placed on a waiting list. The council will prioritise applications based on the urgency of housing need. The priority list is determined by various factors such as homelessness, overcrowding, medical conditions, and other welfare reasons.

Being on the priority list increases your chances of being offered a council house sooner. Factors that can give you extra priority include being homeless, living in unsanitary or overcrowded conditions, needing to move for medical or welfare reasons, or fleeing violence.

It's important to keep your local council updated on any changes in your circumstances that may affect your priority status. This includes changes in your housing situation, medical conditions, or any other relevant factors.

How Long is the Council House Waiting List?

The length of the council house waiting list can vary depending on various factors, including the demand for housing in your area and the availability of council properties. Waiting times can range from several months to several years.

The waiting list is typically divided into different bands, with each band having a different estimated waiting time. The higher the band, the shorter the waiting time. Factors that can affect your waiting time include the band you are placed in, the number of households on the register, the number of available properties, your location preferences, and any essential requirements you may have.

Here is a rough estimate of waiting times for each band:

Band 3 applicants:

  • Studio and 1 bed: 11 to 16 months
  • 2 bed: 38 to 50 months
  • 3 bed: 50 to 67 months
  • 4 or more bed: 50 to 70 months
  • Sheltered: 15 to 26 months

Band 2 applicants:

  • Studio and 1 bed: 11 to 15 months
  • 2 bed: 18 to 44 months
  • 3 bed: 22 to 60 months
  • 4 or more bed: 32 to 70 months
  • Sheltered: 11 to 32 months

Band 1 applicants:

  • Studio and 1 bed: 11 to 13 months
  • 2 bed: 12 to 16 months
  • 3 bed: 12 to 25 months
  • 4 or more bed: 36 to 70 months
  • Sheltered: 12 to 14 months

It's important to note that these waiting times are estimates and can vary depending on your specific circumstances and location. Keeping in touch with your local council and regularly updating them on any changes can help ensure that you are considered for available properties as they become available.

Tricks to Get a Council House Quicker

While there is no guaranteed way to jump to the top of the waiting list, there are several tricks and strategies that can increase your chances of getting a council house quicker. By following these tips, you can optimise your application and bidding process, making the journey towards securing a council home more efficient.

Be Open and Flexible

hen considering a council house, be open to accepting properties that may not meet all your preferences. Being flexible, especially regarding the number of bedrooms, can significantly shorten your waiting time. For example, if you have children who can share a room, consider accepting a smaller property instead of waiting for a larger one.

Apply Early

If you believe you're eligible for social housing, don't delay, apply as early as you can to get on the waiting list.

Keep Your Local Council Updated

It's crucial to inform your local council of any changes in your circumstances that may affect your priority status. This includes changes in your housing situation, such as overcrowding or worsening living conditions, as well as changes in medical needs or welfare reasons. Keeping your council informed will ensure that your application is accurately assessed and that you are placed in the appropriate priority band.

Maximise Your Bids

Once your application is accepted, you will have the opportunity to bid on available council houses. Make sure you utilise all your bidding opportunities during each advertising cycle. Familiarise yourself with the bidding system and the specific rules set by your local council. By actively participating in the bidding process, you increase your chances of being offered a property sooner.

Consider Different Areas

If your local council has a long waiting list, consider applying for homes in other areas as well. Some councils allow applicants to be on multiple waiting lists simultaneously. Exploring different areas can increase your chances of finding a council house quicker, especially if there is a higher availability of properties or shorter waiting times in those areas.

Understand Your Entitlement

Familiarise yourself with the criteria for bedroom entitlement set by your local council. Your entitlement is determined by the number of people in your household, their age, and gender.

Make sure you bid for properties that match your entitlement to avoid being offered a property that is either too big or too small for your needs.

Join Housing Exchange Platforms

Consider joining housing exchange platforms or local Facebook groups where council housing tenants and housing associations advertise available properties. These platforms facilitate mutual exchanges, allowing you to bypass the waiting list altogether.

By finding someone who is willing to swap homes, you can potentially secure a council house more quickly.

Maintain a Positive Tenancy Record

If you are currently renting a property, make sure to maintain a positive tenancy record. Having a history of good tenancy can improve your chances of being offered a council house sooner. Pay your rent on time, keep the property well-maintained, and adhere to any tenancy agreements or regulations.

Explore Financial Assistance

If you are struggling with financial constraints, consider exploring financial assistance programs that can help cover the cost of renting a council house. Some councils offer financial support schemes or rent deposit guarantee schemes that can alleviate the financial burden of securing a council property.

Seek Professional Advice

If you are facing challenges in the council housing application process, consider seeking advice from housing specialists or professional advisors. They can provide guidance tailored to your specific circumstances and help you navigate the complexities of the system.

Be Persistent

Finally, remember to be persistent in your pursuit of a council house. The process can be lengthy and sometimes frustrating, but by staying proactive, regularly updating your local council, and actively participating in the bidding process, you increase your chances of securing a council home more quickly.

What Can I Say To Get a Council House Faster?

While there's no guaranteed way to expedite council house allocation, extreme circumstances like homelessness, unsafe living conditions, domestic violence, or severe medical needs may receive priority. However, being truthful is crucial.

While extreme cases like homelessness or safety concerns may speed up the process, dishonesty hurts genuinely vulnerable people. Accurate applications ensure fairness and help those who truly need housing.

Is Mental Health a Priority for Housing?

Yes, mental health can be a priority for housing, especially when it demonstrates greater vulnerability in comparison to the general population. If you or someone in your household has mental health problems, a physical or learning disability, and these conditions would make you more susceptible to harm if homeless, you may be considered in priority need for housing assistance.

What Isn't The Council Telling You?

While it might seem like getting a council house is a straightforward process, there's a whole world of secret strategies and valuable insights that can greatly improve your chances. Beyond the basic steps that everyone knows, there are hidden techniques that can completely change your approach.

These tricks are meant to give you an advantage, helping you stand out and get a council house faster than you might expect.

Final Thoughts:

Securing a council house can be a lengthy process, but by implementing these tricks and strategies, you can increase your chances of getting a council house quicker. Be open and flexible, keep your local council updated on any changes in your circumstances, maximise your bidding opportunities, consider different areas, understand your entitlement, explore housing exchange platforms, maintain a positive tenancy record, explore financial assistance options, seek professional advice if needed, and above all, be persistent in your pursuit.

By taking these steps, you can navigate the council housing system more effectively and find a suitable home in a timelier manner.

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ABOUT THIS AUTHOR - STUART CRISPE

Stuart is an expert in Property, Money, Banking & Finance, having worked in retail and investment banking for 10+ years before founding Sunny Avenue. Stuart has spent his career studying finance. He holds qualifications in financial studies, mortgage advice & practice, banking operations, dealing & financial markets, derivatives, securities & investments.

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