How we assess your housing application and allocate housing

After you apply for council housing, we assess your housing application.

If you are accepted onto the housing register, we assign you:

  • a band (1, 2, or 3, with 1 being highest priority and 3 being lowest)
  • a priority date within your band (this is usually based the date you joined the housing register)

This later informs how we allocate housing to suitable applicants.

What we assess

We consider the below factors when assigning a priority band to your application.

Type of applicant

There are three types of applicants. You may be:

  • an existing council tenant who wants to transfer
  • a homeless household for whom our full housing duty has been accepted
  • a general homeseeker who does not fall into one of the above groups

Number of bedrooms

The number of bedrooms you need but do not have. We use the government’s bedroom standard to decide how many bedrooms you need.

Type of property

The type of property you need. For example, due to a medical condition or disability.

Reasonable preference category

Whether you fall into any of the reasonable preference categories or the local priorities of the council. Reasonable preference categories include people who:

  • live in overcrowded or unsatisfactory housing
  • do not have a home at all
  • need to move for medical or welfare reasons.

Downsizing or giving up adaptations

We give priority to existing council tenants who are moving to smaller homes or giving up properties that have adaptations that are no longer needed.

There is more information how we prioritise applicants in the full housing allocations policy.

How we allocate

When a council or housing association property becomes available, we match it to suitable applicants on the housing register.

We then place applicatants in priority order based on:

  • the band they are in
  • their prority date within that band

How we match applicants to properties

We match suitable applicants to properties according to:

  • type of property (house, flat or bungalow)
  • size (number of living rooms and bedrooms and suitability of bedrooms for more than on person)
  • whether any age restrictions apply (for example, sheltered housing is only suitable for people aged 60 or over)
  • accessibility (if the property is particularly suitable or unsuitable for people with mobility needs)
  • adaptations (if the property is particularly suitable for people who need adaptations)
  • affordability (based on weekly rent charged)
  • location (to ensure it's not in an area that would put the applicant at risk)

There is more information how we allocate housing in the full housing allocations policy.

If you're the top priority matched applicant

We will contact you to let you know we plan to offer you a suitable property.

Hopefully, this will result in a formal offer of tenancy. However, this may not happen if:

  • we cannot verify your circumstances or the cirumstances of people included on your application. For example, if you cannot produce up-to-date identification, address or income documents
  • your circumstances, or the circumstances of people included on your application, have changed. (While on the housing register, you should always tell us about any change in your circumstances.)
  • you owe money to the council
  • you do not turn up to view the property

If you refuse an offer

Our single direct offer system means we offer applicants a property which matches their assessed housing needs. This means we can act quickly to match properties to applicants with the highest need.  

If we offer you a property, we actively encourage you to accept it. Occasionally an offer may be withdrawn, or a refusal considered to be reasonable, if the details of the property offered are incorrect or your circumstances have been recorded incorrectly. 

If you refuse a reasonable offer you may be suspended from the housing register for 12 months. This would mean no further offers would be made during this time.

If you refuse a reasonable offer when we have accepted a homelessness application from you, we may end our housing duty to you. This could result in your eviction from any temporary accommodation.

You can ask us to review decisions made about whether an offer is reasonable, along with other decisions made in accordance with our housing allocations policy.

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