According to English Housing Survey: headline report there were 4.0 million households occupying social housing or council houses between 2019-2020. Out of these 10 per cent (2.4 million) of the households have rented out properties through housing associations while 7 per cent (1.6 million) have rented them through local councils.
Considering the data analysed in this report over a 10 year period, there appears to be a downward trend in social renting with fewer people claiming council housing. Meanwhile, there appears to be an increase in the number of private renters; which is an indicator of improved living standards and economic health.
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 on Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, any changes to the number of people in your home might have an impact on the amount of benefit you were receiving prior to them moving in especially if they are expected to contribute towards the rent. Even if the additional occupants are not expected to contribute towards the rent, the council expects them to share your rent and taxes if they are non-dependants. This means that you will face a reduction in your benefits if someone who is classified as a non-dependant comes to live with you.
If you are not on benefits, you only have to inform your landlord of the addition of occupants to your household especially if they are expected to share the rent with you. There is a possibility that your tenancy agreement will need to be changed to adjust for joint tenancy.
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.
Through this article, we will explore some details about council housing; which include the following:
- The different types of tenancies for council housing
- Whether someone who is employed can get a council house
- Eligibility criteria for council housing
- Priority criteria for council housing
- The application process for council housing
- Choice of council homes
What Are The Different Types Of Tenancies For Council Housing?
A tenancy agreement serves as a legal agreement bound by terms and conditions that the undersigning parties agree to while a living space is rented out. Tenancy agreements for council housing may be classified as below:
- Introductory Tenancy: This is considered to be a 12 month trial period for tenants during which their rights to exchange property or make modifications to it are limited. Unless the tenant is evicted or the agreement extended for another 6 months, these will automatically convert to secure or flexible agreements once the trial period is over.
- Secure Tenancy: This form of tenancy secures your occupancy in the council house for life; unless you break any tenancy rules stated in the agreement. In this case, you may sub-let rooms in the property but not the entire premises. You may also transfer the tenancy to someone else, exchange the premises or even apply to purchase the property.
- Flexible Tenancy: This type of tenancy is usually for a fixed term of 2 to 5 years; at the end of which the council may decide to offer you a renewed contract on similar terms, offer a secure tenancy or not renew at any terms at all. You continue to enjoy all the privileges of a secure tenant under such a contract; however, it remains time-bound.
- Joint Tenancy: This is a contract that comes into place after a secure or flexible tenancy as a result of the addition of a spouse/partner/joint tenant to your home. Under this contract, you and the joint tenant both become liable for rent payments and become eligible for all the privileges under secure tenancy jointly.
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.
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.
While local councils follow an “allocation scheme”; according to which each council establishes its own set of rules to determine their individual eligibility criteria to provide council housing, chances are that applicants facing the following conditions may be considered earlier than others for being provided of this residential facility:
- low income or low savings
- cramped living conditions
- deteriorating medical condition due to living conditions
Council housing is available to those individuals who may have a job and are working. However, to rank higher as an eligible candidate, the above factors will remain a priority for local councils considering applications.
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.
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
- 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 the addition of dependant family members to a council house does not raise any concerns, however, in the case of non-dependant, non-family household members (whether or not they are expected to contribute towards the rent) tenants may be required to discuss the situation with their landlord/local council. There may also be amendments needed in their tenancy agreement.
If someone who is on council housing is also claiming benefits, they run the risk of facing a reduction to their benefits if there is an addition of a non-dependant member to their household. Whether or not they are expected to contribute to the rent by the existing tenant, the council expects such members to share rent and taxes.
Therefore, it is advisable to consider all options before the addition of a member to your council house. In some cases, you must inform your landlord/local council in advance and refer to your tenancy agreement as well.
FAQs: Can Someone Live With Me In My Council House?
Can someone else live in my council house?
This depends on whether or not you intend to continue to live in the council house as well or not. However, if your tenancy agreement is of Secure Tenancy or Flexible Tenancy, you may allow someone else to live in your council house with or without your presence. However, you must inform the council authorities of any changes to the living arrangements in your council house.
Can I add someone to my council tenancy agreement?
Under secure or flexible tenancy terms, you can easily add someone else to your tenancy agreement. However, it may require a new tenancy agreement to be made and you may need to take into consideration the terms of your existing agreement as well. In such cases, it is best to consult the housing authorities prior to any action.
Residents living with partners who are are expected to share the rent usually undertake a joint tenancy agreement. If you haven’t done so already, you can discuss the modifications to your tenancy agreement with your landlord and proceed. If your partner is not expected to contribute towards the rent, they don’t have to be on the tenancy agreement and may continue sharing the premises with you.
Yes, someone can live with you without being on the lease if they are not expected to contribute towards the rent. However, if you are claiming benefits such as Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, you may experience a reduction in the amount you claim due to the addition of a non-dependant member to your household.
What defines a lodger?
A lodger is someone who shares living space and household bills with their landlord. This means that the property is occupied by the owner at the same time as a non-owner who pays for certain household expenses including rent.