Getting a council house may be more time-consuming for some applicants than for others. Through this blog post, we aim to learn whether one can get a council house if they have savings. We will also explore whether savings will impact your claim for Housing Benefit; should you be claiming it to make rental payments for your council house. Additionally, we will also review some priority guidelines for council housing based on which some applicants are able to get a council house quicker than others.

Can I Get A Council House If I Have Savings?

Yes, you can get a council house (or flat) if you have savings below a certain threshold. The option of council housing is intended for individuals with low income and savings. therefore, if you have sufficient savings that indicate that you will be able to afford to pay the rent at a private tenancy, you may not be able to get a council house.

Even if your application for council housing or a housing association is not completely rejected for having savings beyond a certain threshold, you may be assigned a low priority band. 

This means that while you will remain eligible for council housing tenancy, your application will rank low in priority and it will take a more extended time period (sometimes this can take more than a couple of years) until a council house is offered to you.

According to the eligibility criteria shared for council housing on the website for York Council, below is the classification for how income and savings are accounted for when considering an application for council housing by the authorities:

  • If you are applying for a 1-bed council house, your savings should be less than £45,000
  • If you are applying for a 2-bed council house, your savings should be less than £55,000
  • If you are applying for a 3-bed council house, your savings should be less than £60,000

On the other hand, some councils have set the threshold at £50,000. This means that if you have more than £50,000 in savings, you will not be eligible for council housing; irrespective of the number of rooms that you’ve applied for in a council or housing association property for rent.

If, due to any reason, your savings (or income) increase after being accepted for council housing or during the course of your tenancy, you will be required to declare this change in financial status to the council authorities. 

This increase in savings beyond the threshold that determine your eligibility for a council house is considered a change of circumstances that council authorities should be made aware of; even if it means running the risk of losing your eligibility for council tenancy. Failure to do so makes a council tenant guilty of fraud which can lead to sanctions and penalties when the authorities learn the truth.

However, if you are aiming to claim Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction in addition to a council house or flat, you will need to ensure that your savings are below £16,000.

Can I Get Housing Benefit For My Council House If I Have Savings?

Yes, you can claim Housing Benefit for your council house (or even a privately rented property) if you have savings. However, this amount should be less than £16,000 for you to be eligible for Housing Benefit.

When calculating a claimant’s Housing Benefit payments, the authorities follow the below criteria:

  • Individuals with savings of less than £6,000 get the full amount of Housing Benefit
  • Individuals with savings between £6,000 and £16,000 get a reduced amount of Housing Benefit (the amount decreases as savings increase)
  • Individuals with savings above £16,000 do not qualify for Housing Benefit 

In addition to your savings, having any extra room(s) in your council house will also affect your Housing Benefit payments. You will lose 14% of the ‘eligible rent’ if there is a single spare bedroom in the council house (or housing association property) that you live in and a 25% reduction in the amount of ‘eligible rent’ that you can claim if there are 2 or more spare bedrooms.

How Can I Get A Council House Quicker?

If an individual faces any of the below-listed conditions, councils will place them on the highest priority and they will be allotted a council house quicker than others:

  • if someone is legally homeless 
  • if someone’s current residence is not suitable for a serious medical condition or disability that they face
  • if someone has to move house due to hardship (this can include medical treatment, potential danger or change of job)
  • if someone is currently residing in an over-crowded house or under poor living conditions
  • if someone has recently left the armed forces
  • if someone is pregnant or a single mum  without a permanent place to live

Once your council housing application is approved, you can use the below suggestions to get a council house quicker:

  • Communicate with the council regularly to make sure that important changes to your living conditions, income, savings or employment status are shared with your council office. 
  • Confirm your band allotment based on the information that you have provided. If you disagree with your band allotment, you can provide evidence and negotiate with the authorities to increase your priority level.
  • Use your housing bids wisely and only bid on suitable housing. If you need a single bedroom flat, it would not be advisable to bid on a larger property as it would be a waste of opportunity.

Conclusion:

The discussion in this article makes it quite clear that applicants can still remain eligible for a council house if they have savings. However, this amount should not exceed £50,000. Meanwhile, if they plan to claim Housing Benefit as well, their savings should not exceed £16,000.

FAQs: Can I Get A Council House If I Have Savings?

What is the income limit for social housing in the UK?

The income limit for social housing tenants is £40,000 in London and £30,000 in the rest of the UK. This means that social housing tenants earning more than these limits will be charged at the market or near market rent.

Who is the highest priority for council housing?

If someone is homeless or living in unsanitary conditions, they will be considered the highest priority for council housing.

Can you buy a council house on Universal Credit?

Yes, you can buy a council house on Universal Credit. In fact payments from your benefits are added to your income when mortgage payments are being calculated. 

Who is eligible for council housing?

People with a low income and savings are eligible for council housing. In addition to this, if they are challenged with a disability, medical condition or risk of homelessness, they are given priority for council housing.

What does Band F mean in terms of housing?

If someone is allotted Band F for social housing it means that they don’t really have a need for social housing and will be at the bottom of the priority list. It is very rare that individuals who are assigned a Band F actually get a social housing property on rent.

References:

Getting a council home – Citizens Advice

Social Housing – is there a limit to the savings you can have? — MoneySavingExpert Forum

Claiming Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support: Who can claim and how much

Savings and council house

Who can apply for a council house

Who has priority

Housing Benefit: What you’ll get – GOV.UK

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