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How to challenge a council housing decision

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last updated: 28 May 2016 report a problem

how to challenge a council housin decision if they refuse your housing application

In this article

  • The grounds for asking the council to review their decision
  • Things to consider before asking for a review
  • Who to contact if you want support and advice


TTV understands that it will be disappointing for people if their application for council housing is turned down. But you should know that if you are unhappy with the decision you are allowed to challenge it and ask for the council to review your case.

You can appeal against the council housing decision on the following grounds:

  • You have been given a low priority rating when you believe you should have had a higher one
  • In your view the council took too long dealing with your application or you believe they processed it badly
  • You believe the council has discriminated against you unfairly or treated you badly

If you are granted a review someone else will take a look at your application and this person is usually a senior officer of the council with more experience and knowledge.

It is also possible that the council got some things wrong when assessing your application and didn’t take some factors into account properly, such as:

  • The facts about your housing request and personal needs
  • They deemed you ineligible when in fact you are eligible
  • They missed the fact that you are homeless

They might also have made an error in deciding:

  • That the home they offered you was suitable when it clearly wasn’t
  • The council’s medical assessor made a mistake in grading you
  • The council got your priority rating wrong

TTV recommends you seek advice before requesting a review and be aware that you need to make the request to the council within 21 days of receiving the council’s notification of its decision not to offer you housing.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that a decision isn’t necessarily wrong just because you happen to think it is. If you do ask for a review be aware that the original decision might not be overturned.

Other routes to take to challenge a council housing decision:

  • Follow the official council complaints procedure
  • Contact your local MP or local authority Councillor
  • Write to the Ombudsman – either Local Government Ombudsman or Housing Association Ombudsman Service
  • Apply for judicial review through the courts (though this can be very costly financially)
  • Sue for damages – a possibility if you believe the council has discriminated against you (racially/sexually or concerning your disability)

Where to go for further help and advice

Your local Citizens Advice office will be able to assist you with advice about challenging a council decision about the allocation of housing.

In summary

  • Sometimes a council can make mistakes when making a decision to refuse someone housing, so you may want to consider asking them to review your application
  • You should be aware that just because you don’t like their decision, it doesn’t mean the decision will be reversed if you do ask for a review
  • There are various people and organisations that might help your cause, especially if you believe you have been discriminated against
  • Asking for a review can backfire and result in you being expelled from the waiting list or have your priority points docked

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