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Getting a Council House in 2023: A Comprehensive Guide

Council houses offer a practical housing solution for individuals who struggle with high rents. However, obtaining a council house can be a challenging process. In this article, we will explore why you should consider getting...

Council houses offer a practical housing solution for individuals who struggle with high rents. However, obtaining a council house can be a challenging process. In this article, we will explore why you should consider getting a council house and provide valuable insights on how to increase your chances of success.

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Council House: What Is It & Should You Get One?

A council house is a housing option provided by local authorities to individuals who cannot afford to rent or purchase a property. The allocation of council houses is based on eligibility and need, with the rent determined by the applicant's ability to pay, commonly referred to as 'differential rent.'

If your income is low, the rent for a council house will also be low. However, as your income increases, so will the rent. It's important to note that the income of all adults in your household is included in the rent calculation, with deductions available for children and dependents.

The Road to a Council House

The primary objective of council housing is to provide affordable housing to families in need. However, due to the implementation of the Right to Buy scheme in 1980, many council houses were taken off the market. As a result, the waiting list for council houses has grown, making approval more challenging but not impossible. In the following section, we will discuss the application process and requirements for obtaining a council house.

Did You Know? Rent prices in England have risen by 95% over the past 20 years, making council houses an even more crucial housing option.

How to Get a Council House

To apply for a council house, you must submit an application to your local council. Each council has its own allocation policies, so it's important to familiarize yourself with these before applying. You can submit your application online or directly to the council. However, it's essential to understand that being added to the housing register and waiting list does not guarantee the acquisition of a council house. Let's take a closer look at the complete application process.

How to Apply for a Council House

The council house application can be found online, but be prepared as it requires extensive and detailed information. It usually takes approximately one hour to complete the application. If needed, don't hesitate to ask for assistance. The following information must be provided in your application:

  • Income from employment and benefits
  • Health conditions and disabilities
  • Savings and assets
  • Previous and current living situation
  • Employment history
  • Visas and immigration documents (for non-UK residents)

Completing the application in full and meeting all the requirements is crucial for getting on the council list. You may also be asked to provide additional documentation to prove your eligibility for council housing. The application will include a checklist of documents, such as proof of identity, address, income, and any medical documentation or proof of disability.

Once you submit your application, the council will review it along with the attached documents. They will then determine if you meet the conditions to be placed on the waiting list and prioritize your position based on need and the size of the home you require.

How to Get the Council House You Want

In some cases, councils will allocate a property they believe is suitable for your circumstances. However, if you are not satisfied with the property assigned to you, you have the option to refuse it. It's important to be cautious when turning down a property, as it could result in the council removing you from the waiting list.

Certain councils have a Choice Based Letting (CBL) scheme, allowing applicants to bid on properties they are interested in. To participate in the bidding process, simply apply for a specific home on the council's website. Properties cater to various needs, including single individuals, families, and individuals with disabilities.

To increase your chances of securing the council house you desire, it is important to bid before the closing date. However, it's crucial to note that there is no guarantee of success.

Did You Know? Most recent rent and tenancy agreements require new tenants to provide a rent guarantor, especially if they are unemployed, low-income workers, or have poor credit histories. The guarantor ensures that the landlord does not suffer financial loss due to missed payments.


Council houses provide an excellent housing solution for individuals facing financial difficulties. However, due to high demand and limited supply, the process of acquiring a council house can be challenging. By understanding the eligibility requirements and following the application process, you can increase your chances of securing a council house. Remember to stay flexible, ensure you qualify for the correct band, and update the council on any changes to your circumstances. While it may take time, with determination and patience, you can find a council house that suits your needs.

Did You Know? If you have purchased a council house, you are considered a homeowner and have certain responsibilities, such as paying ground rent, service charges, council tax, and other related expenses.