Can I Get A Council House If My Partner Works?

Getting a council house depends on a range of eligibility criteria. The aim of this blog post is to explore whether you can get a council house if your partner works. In addition to this, we will also explore some key areas regarding council housing eligibility and matters relating to tenancy with a partner.

Can I Get A Council House If My Partner Works?

Yes, you can get a council house if your partner works; whether it is a full-time job or a part-time or even if they are self-employed. As long as your household income is less than £50,000 per year, you remain eligible for council housing; irrespective of any of the following situations:

  • One partner works and the other stays at home
  • Both partners work
  • One partner works and the other claims benefits
  • Both partners claim benefits

This means that eligibility for council housing is not affected by whether one or both partners work or if one or both of them are unable to work and are on benefits. To be able to get a council house, the total household income needs to be below the median income for the year and currently, having an income above £50,000 is what disqualifies someone from council housing eligibility; irrespective of the employment status that they or their partner hold.

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. 

This includes 31 per cent in full-time jobs and 14 per cent in part-time work. The report further indicates that 25 per cent of social renters were retired. Irrespective of their employment status, social renters remain part of low-income households; a vulnerable part of the community.

However, if you are claiming a Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit to get financial support for housing expenses, your partner’s income will be taken into account as part of a means test. If your partner works, it may affect the benefits you claim if their income is above a certain threshold. This means that their income can reduce your benefits payments.

Will I Have To Add My Partner To The Council Tenancy Agreement?

No, your partner does not have to be on the council tenancy agreement to continue sharing your residence. Being on the tenancy agreement means that the nature of the tenancy will be a joint one and all the individuals named on the agreement are equally responsible for performing the duties of a tenant with the main one paying the rent on time.

There are certain situations, especially in the case of unmarried couples where landlords insist on the tenancy to be a joint tenancy; with both partners listed as tenants. This serves as a matter of assurance for them that in the case of a relationship breakdown, the remaining tenant will automatically become responsible for rental payments. 

How Can I Get A Council House?

To learn whether you can get a council house, you should contact your local council office and share your circumstances to learn whether you are eligible to apply.

Generally speaking, you can qualify to get a council house if you are:

  • a British citizen living in the UK,
  • equal to or more than 18 years of age (although some councils may allow 16 years old to apply for council housing),
  • low on income and savings,
  • having a local connection to the area such as home or work located within the council premises.

How Can I Get A Council House On Priority?

While council authorities have individual criteria for assigning council homes to certain applicants on a priority basis; as a general understanding, council housing applicants faced with any of the below challenging circumstances will find themselves being given a priority by all council authorities:

  • legally homeless or at very high risk of becoming homeless in the next few days/weeks
  • having a disability, a severe (or terminal) health condition or a mental illness
  • faced with severe financial hardship
  • living in cramped, unhygienic or overcrowded conditions

In addition, individuals who have suffered or are at high risk of suffering from domestic abuse, are unsafe in their current homes, are pregnant, are single parents or have retired from the armed forces will also be given priority for council housing.

How Are Means Tested For Council Housing Eligibility?

Assets and income assessment is a means-based test conducted by local councils to assess a claimant’s financial status and eligibility for council housing.  

For this purpose, the income, savings and capital of the claimant and their partner will be taken into account. This includes monthly wages, savings, property, stocks, shares and government bonds.

State Benefits such as Attendance Allowance and Pension Credit will be counted as income. However, in the case of Disability Allowance, there will be no accountability for the same.


From the discussion in this article, one may be able to safely conclude that it is not the employment status of a council housing claimant or their partner that affects their eligibility for council housing; rather it is their cumulative household income that determines whether or not they will qualify to get a council house. This means that you can get a council house if your partner works; as long as your household income is not more than £50,000 per year.

FAQs: Can I Get A Council House If My Partner Works?

Can my boyfriend live in my council house?

There should be no problems with your boyfriends living with you in your council house as long as you have permission from your council office or housing landlord. You will not need to add him to your tenancy agreement in this case; however, if you were living alone before, you will lose your single-person council tax discount.

Can anyone live in a council house?

Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria for a council house can live in one. This means that the applicant must essentially be a British or Irish citizen who is 18 years old (16 or 17 in exceptional cases) and on low income or savings.

Who is the highest priority for council housing?

Anyone who is facing homelessness, is at risk of being homeless, living in cramped or unsanitary conditions or fleeing domestic abuse will be at the highest priority for council housing.

How long can a guest stay with a council tenant in the UK?

How long a guest is allowed to stay with a council tenant in the UK will depend on the terms of their agreement. However, generally speaking, guests can stay up to 14 days within a six-week period before they are counted as a co-tenant.

Who counts as a lodger?

A lodger is someone who shares your living space with you but pays you to rent space. In most cases, lodgers may share the bathroom or kitchen area but have separate bedrooms.


Eligibility and qualification criteria | Housing allocations policy summary | London Borough of Hounslow

To rent a Council House what is the max Salary you can earn?

Are you eligible for social housing? | The Tenants’ Voice

Getting a council home – Citizens Advice