Councils can provide residents on low-income or those who are struggling with making ends meet to provide basic life essentials. From the arrangement of interest-free loans to a fast-track processing of your benefits application, councils can provide assistance in many areas to help residents struggling with living costs.

Can Council Help With Furniture?

Yes, the council can help with furniture by giving vouchers to residents to purchase furniture through certain schemes or charities. Sometimes this furniture is available at extremely low-cost; while at other times, charities may pay for them while residents claim to use it. 

This means that while councils may not directly pay for the furniture 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. 

Some social housing providers provide council homes that are furnished. In the case of any changes or repairs needed for the furniture, they are also willing to offer to repair or replace the items without any additional cost to the tenants. However, the furniture may be preloved and not brand new.

In addition to furniture, local councils may also help you in providing hot meals and other household equipment such as a cooker. This is called a “welfare scheme”. Since each council runs their own welfare scheme you may need to connect with your own council office to learn specific details of it applies in your area Find your local council It is not necessary that you need to claim benefits to qualify for a welfare assistance scheme.

In some cases, the council may be able to offer you an interest-free loan to purchase household essentials. Although you will only be required to pay back what you have received, you must pay back the loan within 2 years. 

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

If you are struggling with living expenses, you can try Reducing your living costs through your council’s assistance.

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 council housing, we will try to answer the following questions through this article:

  • Can I Get A Council House If I Work?
  • Can Someone Live With Me In My Council House?
  • Who Is Eligible For Council Housing?
  • How To Apply For Council Housing?
  • How To File An Application For Council Housing?
  • Can Applicants Choose Their Own Homes?

Can I Get A Council House If I Work?

Yes, whether you are in full-time employment or are working on a part-time basis, you remain eligible for a council house. One of the key factors that make an individual eligible for council housing is low income and little or no savings. 

In fact, considering the economic conditions of social renters, recent data gathered and analysed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government indicates that in 2019-20, nearly 45 per cent of them were working. 

According to the English Housing Survey of 2019-2020 (a nationwide analysis of people’s housing conditions), nearly 45 per cent of social renters were employed; with 31 per cent working full time and 14 per cent working part-time. They also constitute the majority of the social rented sector which accounts for 4.0 million households. The data from this survey further suggests that 25 per cent of social renters were retired, while 24% were in full-time education who were inactive. This relates to being out of work either due to a disability, long-term illness, or having to look after a family. 

Can Someone Live With Me In My Council House?

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?

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.

Other 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 Apply For Council Housing?

To apply for council housing, candidates are required to apply to their local council (mostly online), who will then consider it based on their criteria for awarding priority to those from certain demographics and or social classes. To find out details about your local council click on this link Find your local council

Even if the local council accepts and prioritizes the application, it does not mean that the applicant will be provided with occupancy rights immediately. They will simply be confirmed to be eligible and added to a waiting list. The time between application and occupancy varies from council to council and may also depend upon the size of the waiting list.

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
  • savings 
  • 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.

Conclusion:

Councils and social landlords may provide tenants of council houses with furniture; in fact, in some cases, social houses come fully furnished. However, one cannot be certain as the facility comes at the discretion of those providing the housing.

However, councils can guide you and connect you to grants, charities or furniture sellers who offer pre-loved furniture at affordable rates or even instalments. 

In some cases, they may also be able to arrange an interest-free loan for you to purchase the essentials to meet your basic household needs.

FAQs: Can Council Help With Furniture?

What is furniture poverty?

The inability to purchase basic household essentials including white goods is termed furniture poverty. A person or a family living in empty housing, unable to purchase items to furnish their home is in furniture poverty.

Can I get help paying for carpets?

Yes, you may get help in paying for carpets; as well as basic household furniture in equipment such as a cooker and washing machine. If you are on benefits or social housing, your council can connect you to charities or sellers who offer such items on a second-hand basis at low rates.

Who is entitled to a Community Care Grant?

Anyone above the age of 16, claiming benefits such as Income Support, Jobseekers’s/Employment Support Allowance Pension Credit or Universal Credit can qualify for a Community Care Grant. If the applicant has savings of less than £700, they are more likely to qualify.

What is classed as low income?

According to government estimates, household income which amounts to less than 60 per cent of the median pay is classed as low income. 

Who is eligible for the 25k grant?

Individuals with earnings of $125,000 per annum and couples with earnings of £ 200,000 are eligible for the 25k grant.

References:

Finding Furniture & White Goods

Local welfare assistance | Local welfare assistance

If you’re struggling with living costs

Can someone live with me in my council house?

Getting a council home

Council housing

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.