Priority Council Housing


In accordance to the law, councils are made to give some priority for social housing to particular groups of people, and in addition to this, councils can also decide if anyone else in their individual areas should be made a priority.

Today we are going to be looking into this in more detail so that people can gain more knowledge.

How councils decide priority for social housing

In order to decide how much priority is given to an individual for social housing in their area, the council have to look into whether said person is eligible to apply for council housing and whether they are a qualifying person.

When applicants are eligible and qualify they are then able to join council’s waiting lists or house registers. People on these lists are then put in priority order to ensure that social housing can be allocated fairly.

To decide how much priority an individual person should be given councils have to look into how much their housing allocation policies apply to them. Every council has their own allocation policy so this can differ from location to location. It is however law for all councils to give priority to certain groups of people.

Many councils use points or banding systems when looking to determine priority.

Who’s eligible to apply for council housing? 

Eligibility for council housing depends on nationality, immigration status and if applicants have lived abroad in recent years.

British citizens – British citizens that are living in the UK and have not recently lived abroad are eligible to apply.

British citizens who have bene living abroad – The council are only able to provide social housing for British people if they live in the UK. People in this situation must take a habitual residence test to determine eligibility. However if not straight away eligible to apply, these people are advised to check again once they have been back for a few months.

People with a long-term or indefinite right to stay – Some people that normally live in the UK are able to apply for council housing if any of the following apply:

  • They are a worker from the European Economic Area
  • They are a self-employed EEA worker
  • The have indefinite leave to remain in the UK
  • They have refugee status

People with a short term of limited right to stay – People that are not from the UK are not eligible to apply for housing of this kind. Asylum seekers do not qualify for council housing.

People with no right to stay – People that have entered the UK unlawfully cannot apply for social housing.

People from abroad applying for a transfer – Regardless of nationality or immigration status those with secure or introductory tenancies or assured or starter housing association tenancies are eligible to apply.

Please note that the above is just a general guideline and even if you think that you may not be eligible to apply it could be worth you getting in touch with your local council and asking them to look into your case further.  

Find out about your local council’s allocation policy

If you are interested in social housing and what to check the rules in your individual area please see a and give your local council a call who should be more than happy to help you.