Generally, each council has their own rules for the provision of council homes. This is called an “allocation scheme”; according to which applicants’ eligibility criteria and priorities are assigned. However, as a basic rule, anyone who is above 18 years of age, low on income and savings can apply for council housing. Some councils also require a “local connection” of the applicant. This means that either they have lived in the vicinity for a number of years or they have a family or job in the area.
Can Council Help With Carpets?
No, councils do not help with the provision of carpets for residents of council houses. However, if you inform your local authorities that you need carpets for your council house, they will be able to connect you to certain charities to help you find grants for furniture and carpets, while some of them may offer preloved items including carpets at reasonable prices.
However, local authorities can assist with household essentials for their tenants. While councils may not directly pay for the furniture or home equipment that a council house resident requires, they can connect them to charities who can either offer the pay for the furniture while the resident pays them back in instalments or sometimes they may simply make the payment on behalf of the resident(s) who is not expected to make any payment at all.
To be eligible for an interest-free loan you must be on benefits including the following:
- Income Support
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Pension Credit
Residents who are on low-income and unable to afford living essentials such as furniture, household equipment may be able to find help in the following ways (in addition to council’s assistance):
- Social landlord
- Grant giving organisation
- Second-hand furniture seller
- Affordable credit
To learn more about how councils help their tenants, we will discuss the following topics in this article:
- Council help with moving costs
- Council help with rent arrears
- Eligibility criteria for council housing
- Sharing of a council house
- Process of council housing application
- Choosing a council house
Can Council Help With Moving Costs?
Yes, councils can help with moving costs. They have certain allowances available with them to extend financial aid in the form of grants or loans to those who are in need and qualify.
At times, they may be able to arrange a Discretionary Housing Payment; which is a one time grant extended to cover the costs of housing. Local authorities will consider the following factors in this regard:
- Conditions that make the applicant’s circumstances critical, exceptional or different.
- Whether or not a one-time payment will provide real help for their situation.
- Whether one-time assistance is required or it will be repeated due to financial constraints.
- Possible long term solution for the applicant’s financial assistance.
- The amount that they will receive.
Applicants claiming Universal Credit may apply for a “budgeting advance”. This is an interest-free loan that aims to cover the costs of advance rent, removal or moving costs.
Find your local council to learn about the offers that they may be able to make depending on your circumstances.
In addition, to help with moving costs, councils can also help with payments of your tenancy deposit, rent or rent arrears; as well as with household essentials such as furniture and household equipment including white goods. It is advisable to Work out your budget by using this online calculator that you may be able to manage your finances better.
Your local Citizen’s Advice centre can prove to be a useful guide in connecting you to charities who help people with rent and moving costs.
Can Council Help With Rent Arrears?
Yes, councils can help with rent arrears in many ways such as repayment plans of easy instalments. Additionally, claimants who are also on benefits in addition to availing a council house will find it easier to seek easy payment plans from their councils or social housing landlords. For instance, if you are on Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, you may simply have your payments transferred to for payment of your rent through Direct Debit or a Standing Order.
If this is not a workable solution as Housing Benefit or Universal Credit do not account for the entire amount of your rent, you may apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP). This is extra money provided by your local council to meet your rent payments or arrears (if you have any). You are not required to return this amount to the council. If you are on Housing Credit or Universal Credit, you can ask your local council for a DHP form. Find your local council here.
You can also reassess your situation to see if you are living in a council house beyond your needs. If you have a spare room, you may consider moving into a smaller council house to reduce your rent expense or taking in a lodger to increase your income so you may be able to make rent payments on time.
If you are not on benefits Check if you can get Universal Credit to make rent payments easier.
If you are struggling with living expenses, you can try Reducing your living costs through your council’s assistance.
Yes, someone can live with you in your council house as they are generally intended for eligible candidates and their families; whether they are dependants or non-dependants. However, if you intend to ask someone to live with you as a carer or a joint tenant, or you intend to sublet your council house, you must consult your tenancy agreement and discuss with your landlord/local council office prior to making any commitments.
If you are under a Secure Tenancy or Fixed Tenancy agreement with the housing authorities, you may sub-let rooms in your council house; however, subletting of the entire council house is not allowed. You will find a clause in your tenancy agreement that confirms the same. Therefore, it is advisable not to add someone to your council house with the intention of subletting the premises.
Who Is Eligible For Council Housing?
Key criteria for council housing eligibility include the following:
- the applicants hold British or Irish citizenship
- they have indefinite leave to remain
- they fall under settled status (under the EU settlement scheme)
- they are refugees or under humanitarian protection
- they are a Commonwealth citizen with a right of abode
- Who Gets Priority For Council Housing?
While each council has an individual allocation scheme to follow in terms of assigning priority to council housing applicants, those claimants who fulfil any of the following criteria are expected to be higher on priority:
- if someone is legally homeless
- they have to move homes due to a serious medical condition or disability
- due to hardship-anything from medical treatment or potential danger to changing jobs
- currently residing in an over-crowded house or under poor living conditions
How To File An Application For Council Housing?
Candidates are advised to share as many relevant details as possible in their application and also include any supporting evidence to back up their claims. This may include medical reports or doctor’s notes, in case the application is being raised on medical grounds.
Details of the following may be required:
- income and/or benefits
- employment history
- long-term medical conditions or disabilities
- assets in possession such as automobile
- visas or immigration documents (if the applicant is not from the UK)
These details not only determine whether or not a candidate is eligible; but may also increase their rank in a list of priority applicants. Furthermore, they also help to determine the size of housing that may be required by them.
Can Applicants Choose Their Own Homes?
Applicants will need to check with their local councils whether a place of residence will be chosen and assigned by the council or the residents be given the option to choose. In the case of the latter, once the application is approved, the local council may share an online platform where the process of “bidding” takes place.
If a candidate finds a suitable home and prefers it as their residence, they may inform the council of their intent by applying for it online. This is called “bidding”. The council may then direct them on how to proceed with the next steps in the bidding process.
A bid is merely a show of interest from the candidates’ side and does not guarantee that they may be assigned the premises. Depending upon the priority band and the time taken as part of the waiting list, the council decides whether the property is to be assigned as a housing facility to the bidding candidate or not.
In some cases, should candidates not approve of the housing facility assigned by the local council, they have the option of refusing it. However, too many refusals may lead to removal from the waiting list.
While councils may not be able to help with the cost of carpets for their tenants, some social housing landlords do provide them. However, they are not obliged to and may only do so of their own free will.
Meanwhile, there are a host of grants and charities available for individuals on low income who would be interested in preloved items at affordable prices or a one-time financial aid to help meet their needs for home furnishings.
FAQs: Can Council Help With Carpets?
Can the Council help with white goods?
Sometimes local councils may be able to help tenants with the provision of white goods especially if they are on low income or claiming benefits. Even if they cannot do so or the applicant does not qualify for low income or benefits, councils will be able to connect applicants to charities or organisations that can provide grants for household essentials such as white goods.
What can you claim for on a community care grant?
You can claim furniture, household equipment, travel costs, removal expenses and storage charges on a community care grant. This is a grant that aims to help individuals establish themselves in the community after returning from hospital care or prison.
What is classed as low income?
When the household income is 60 per cent lesser than the median income, its is classed as low income. Generally, people on low income are eligible for council tax reductions and may claim certain benefits.
What benefits can I claim on a low income?
Some of the benefits that you can claim on low income include Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction and Jobseeker’s Allowance.
How can I get free appliances?
If you are on low income (60 per cent less than the median income) you may be able to get free appliances through charities and non-profit organisations.