"Speed Up Your Council House Application: Expert Tips and Tricks"

Are you tired of waiting for a council house that seems like it will never be available? We understand your pain, which is why we're here to help. In this article, we'll provide you with some valuable tips on how to expedite the process, as well as a clear explanation of the council house waiting list and the 'Right to Buy' program.

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First, let's start with the basics. Council housing was originally created as an affordable housing solution for families in need. However, since the introduction of the 'Right to Buy' rule, the waiting list for council houses has grown longer, making it increasingly difficult to secure a property.

photo of Millie Archer

If you're on the waiting list and searching for a quicker way to secure housing, we've got you covered. In addition to offering tips, we'll also explain what a council house is and who may be eligible to apply. Each local council has its own set of criteria, so be sure to check their website for specific details. However, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind:

  • - Legally homeless people
  • - Those living in overcrowded or substandard accommodation
  • - Individuals who require a move due to disability, medical, welfare, or hardship reasons
  • - Those with low income and minimal savings
  • - Residents with a strong local connection, such as a job or family in the area
  • But what if you need priority housing? In this case, your local council's allocation scheme will need to confirm that you meet one of the following criteria:
  • - Homeless or at risk of homelessness
  • - Living in unsanitary or overcrowded housing
  • - Needing to move due to medical or welfare reasons
  • - Requiring proximity to specialist medical or educational facilities
  • - Fleeing violence
  • There are also certain cases in which you may be given additional priority, moving you closer to the top of the waiting list.

Are you ready to take the next step towards securing your council house? Whether you have questions about eligibility or want to learn more about the 'Right to Buy' program, our newsletter and the menu prompts above will help you find the answers you need.

If you want to receive extra priority for council housing, there are two conditions that must be met: either you have served in the armed forces or you have urgent housing needs.

If you meet the requirements for extra priority housing, the council will take into account the following criteria:

  • - If you have served in the regular armed forces
  • - If you have an illness, injury or disability due to your service
  • - If you have to leave forces accommodation following the death of your spouse or civil partner
  • In case of urgent housing needs, the council may give you extra priority if you are facing any of the following situations:
  • - Life-threatening illness or sudden disability
  • - Overcrowding or dangerous disrepair that poses a significant risk to your health
  • - Violence, threats or harassment, including domestic abuse, witness intimidation or serious antisocial behaviour

The council maintains a housing register, also known as waiting list, that is divided into different bands, each with varying wait times. The highest-priority band has the shortest wait time due to the urgency of the applicant's needs.

The waiting time to obtain council housing can range up to 10 years, after which you will need to reapply. There is generally always a waiting list, as the demand for affordable housing is much greater than the supply available.

The location you apply for will also affect how long you will have to wait to be allocated council housing, as some areas have more available properties than others.

Here is an approximate estimation of the waiting times for each band:

  • Band 3 applicants: For priority housing needs where rehousing is recognized as necessary by the council.
  • Property Type Estimated Waiting Time
  • 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: For priority housing needs for those who have made a community contribution and provided evidence of it.
  • Property Type Estimated Waiting Time
  • 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: For the highest priority housing needs for those with an urgent need to move.
  • Property Type Estimated Waiting Time
  • 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
  • All information and figures have been sourced from the Hammersmith and Fulham government website.

The timeline for your council house application to be approved is dependent on a number of factors. These include the duration you have already waited, your priority band classification, the current number of households on the register, the availability of properties, and your desired location. If you have specific requirements, such as the need for ground-floor housing due to mobility restrictions, securing suitable housing may take longer.

If you have been on a waiting list for a few months or even years, you may wonder how to move up the council house queue and secure accommodation sooner. Unfortunately, there is no magic solution to this, but we have some valuable suggestions to help reduce your waiting time.

To speed up the process of obtaining a council house, consider the following tips:

    1. Be as adaptable as possible. If you require a 3-bedroom house but are offered a 2-bedroom one that your children can share, consider accepting it. Unnecessarily waiting for a 3-bedroom house could mean remaining on the waiting list for years with no available options.

    2. Notify the council of any changes to your circumstances, such as job changes, changes in the number of people requiring housing (especially children), or medical needs. These factors will impact your position on the waiting list.

    3. Confirm that you are positioned in the appropriate priority band. This should be automatically calculated by the council during your application process, but double-checking your classification is critical as it influences the urgency of your case. Higher bands receive priority treatment and thus have shorter waiting periods.

    4. Utilize all three bids that are available to you per advertising cycle. Once your application is approved, you have the option to bid on available council houses. Know when advertising cycles occur and make sure you submit all of your bids to increase your chances of finding suitable accommodation.

    5. Ensure that you are bidding for the appropriate type of property. Your entitlement is typically based on the number, age, and gender of your children, and you will only be offered suitable accommodation that fulfills your household's needs.

    In case you are unsure of which property type you should bid for, we have provided a general guide below. If you need specific details, check your local council website.

    It is critical to know which type of property you will be offered priority for as certain properties are in higher demand:

      1. One-bedroom flat/house: single occupants or couples

      2. Two-bedroom flats: single occupants or couples with part-time custody of children (who must stay overnight for a minimum of two nights per week)

      3. Adapted properties: disabled occupants with a medical recommendation for adaptations (such as through-floor lifts or stair lifts)

      4. Houses (with two or more bedrooms): households with dependent children (typically up to 18-year-olds in full-time education) or those with a medical recommendation for a larger house

      5. Bungalows: people aged 60 years or older or those with medical housing recommendations for ground-floor accommodation

      6. Retirement Life: people aged 60 years or older who require an alarm call system and warden service or those with a medical recommendation for sheltered accommodation. If you are under 60, you cannot bid on Retirement Life properties unless they are considered necessary.

      Ref: Leeds Homes

      How to Buy Your Council House

      When you are first offered a council house, you are provided with the option of renting the property without actually owning it. Nonetheless, the Right to Buy scheme permits you to purchase your council house after a certain duration.

      The eligibility criteria under the Right to Buy scheme include the following:

      • - The council house should either be your main or only residence, and it must be self-contained.
      • - You need to be a secure tenant.
      • - You must have had a public sector landlord for five years, be it a housing association, NHS trust, or council.
      • - The five-year-time frame does not have to be consistent, meaning that even if you have stayed in armed forces accommodation, the period will count towards the five-year requirement.
      • To determine your eligibility, you can also make use of this eligibility calculator.
      • The Right to Buy scheme offers you the chance to buy your council house at a discounted price, with the maximum discount in England being £84,600 and in London being £112,800.
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      Curious about how much discount you can avail of? You can get an answer with the help of the Right to Buy calculator.

      So, now you are aware of what a council house is and how to get one as soon as possible. When you are ready to buy, check your eligibility and discounts to make a calculated decision. If you have any questions or comments to make, please do not hesitate to get in touch!

      Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with the latest trends and developments in the property market. Millie, our passionate writer, researches the best locations and keeps an eye on the latest housing trends. Learn more about Millie here.

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