Social housing application process | The Tenants' Voice
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Social housing application process

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last updated: 28 May 2016 report a problem

social housing application process

In this article

  • The selection process
  • Where to get application forms for council housing
  • The information you need to include on an application form


A council uses an ‘Allocations Scheme’ (or Housing Register) to determine who is eligible for council housing and where they are positioned on the waiting list. Each council has its own particular criteria to work with based on the area of it services, but there are some general rules all councils must stick to in the social housing application process.

The Allocations Scheme criteria include:

  • Who can apply for housing from within the council’s area
  • Who can apply from outside the council’s area
  • Who gets priority for housing

Each council’s Allocations Scheme is available to the public so TTV advises people looking for social housing to consider looking at a few areas to apply in as the criteria does vary and you may be able to apply for housing in more than one location. It might also be that you are not eligible in one area, but would qualify somewhere else, so it is worth checking.

Asking a council about their rules

Most councils have detailed instructions about how to apply for social housing on their websites. If you have limited access to the internet, you can find information in the local library or alternatively go and talk to someone in person at the council.

If you need help with your application all you need to do is contact the council as they are legally obliged to provide certain information to you, such as how to make the application and how they decide between each applicant.

Where to get an application form

Application forms are available from a council’s housing department, or alternatively you can make an application via your local council’s website. You should find all the information you need to make an application with the form.

TTV recommends you read the council’s check-list thoroughly to make sure you are eligible to apply and what your chances might be, otherwise you may be left disappointed. Applicants need to provide as much detailed and accurate information as possible in order for the council to make a proper decision. Remember to include any special needs you or a family member may have as this might make all the difference between you securing a place or being told you do not qualify.

When you have completed the form TTV suggests you double-check it and get someone else to read it to check if you have missed anything important.

Where to go for further help and advice

If in doubt, have a word with someone at Shelter or your local Citizen’s Advice. Both organisation have excellent advisers.

In summary

  • If you require help to complete your application form the council is required by law to provide assistance
  • Consider applying to more than one council to increase your options
  • Each council has its own criteria so remember to check each Allocations Scheme to see how they decide who is eligible for social housing
  • When filling out an application form make sure you include as much information as possible and any personal details that might help your case

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