Once your application for council housing is approved, it can take a few months until you are offered a property to move into; depending on the priority band assigned to you. Through this blog post, we will learn in-depth how a council housing applicant can attain maximum housing points to rank high on the priority list for council housing. We will also learn about the bidding process and the importance of your queue position; as well as what happens when someone is shortlisted for council housing.

How Can I Get 140 Housing Points?

To get 140 housing points in favour of your council housing application, you need to be assigned a higher priority band once your application is approved.

For instance in East Herts, council housing claimants are awarded the most number of points if they have a medical condition. The banding starts from 5 points for priority and can go up to 75 points for urgent priority.

If an applicant falls into any of the following criteria, they can expect to be awarded up to 50 points on the basis of additional preferences:

  • Armed Forces
  • Fosters and Adopters
  • No fixed abode
  • Temporary housing
  • Welfare grounds

You can be awarded 50 points for having a local connection to the area, 30 points for having a job (for at least a year) in the council area, 20 points for being statuary overcrowded, between 5 to 15 points for living under poor housing conditions and 2 points each year for being on the waiting list. 

On the other hand, if you are in the Stockport Council area, you can expect to be awarded points for council housing on the following basis:

  • High level of treatment for depression/anxiety & evidence from a mental health professional – 50 points
  • Severe and escalating harassment/ actual violence/threat to life – 50 points
  • Serious Hazard (serious disrepair or lack of facilities) – 30 points
  • Overcrowding – 15 points per bedroom
  • Unintentionally threatened with homelessness – 25 points
  • Unintentionally homeless and in priority need – 50 points

How Long Does Shortlisting Take For Council Housing?

Shortlisting of council housing applications can take up to three weeks once bidding completes on a property. If an applicant bids for more than one property and gets done accepted, they will be asked about their preference out of the two (or more) options before their offer is accepted.

Applicants who bid for council housing properties are prioritised on the following basis:

  • Whether applicants have a local connection to the parish or town in which the property is located
  • This is followed by band 1, 2, 3, 4 and Open Market Register 
  • And in the end, the date applicants are placed in the band or on the Open Market Register

Once the application is approved, candidates are asked to visit the property in person.

What Is Bidding Queue Position On Council Homes?

Once your council housing application is approved, you will receive a letter from the council office confirming your position to be on the waiting list for council housing. This means that you will not be allotted a council property immediately and will be part of a bidding queue.

Each week, there will be council properties advertised on the housing website (details of which will be shared with you by your council authorities). If you find a property according to your needs, you can place a bid on it. Similarly, there may be other bidders offering their interest to avail the property.

Depending on the Band assigned to you in your council housing confirmation letter, you will be assigned a bidding queue position that determines your level of priority to be considered during the bidding process as well as your banding date. This means that a council housing claimant who is assigned Band A and was approved earlier will be allotted a council house based on their bid earlier than someone who is assigned a Band B and had their application approved much later.

Individuals with emergency needs such as medical conditions or disabilities will have a higher bidding queue position for council housing and will be allotted Band A. Meanwhile, those who may have less extraordinary circumstances will be assigned Band B.

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, 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

As per a recent news report, foster parents and frontline workers will also get priority for council housing in some areas. Foster parents and adoptive parents are being assigned Band 1 to extend the maximum benefit to their children. In recognition of their work during the pandemic, key workers have been assigned a Band 2 (The total number of bands is 4 with Band 1 being the highest on the priority list).

Can One Person Live In a 3 Bedroom Council House?

No, legally speaking, one person cannot live in a three-bedroom council house as it does not fulfil the Bedroom Standard criteria. In addition to this, having spare bedrooms in the house which are unoccupied reduces the Housing Benefit that the resident is claiming from local council authorities. 

As per council guidelines, below is the bedroom allocation of the council house as per the number of residents occupying the property:

Number of roomsThe maximum number of people allowed
12
23
35
47.5
510

Councils assign spaces or bedrooms as per the below criteria:

  • Residents who are aged 10 or over count as 1 person
  • Children who are aged 1 to 9 count as 0.5 (thus expected to share a room)
  • Children who are under 1-year-olds don’t count

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.

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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Joint Tenancy: 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. 

Conclusion:

After getting to know the details about housing points, it becomes apparent that while most applicants would prefer to attain higher points and a higher rank on the priority list for council housing, this also means having to endure severe circumstances. It is usually in cases of serious medical conditions or fear of homelessness that an individual can get more points for council housing and at times even be offered temporary shelter until they are allotted a council property.

FAQs: How Can I Get 140 Housing Points?

How does the point system work for housing?

When someone applies for council housing, they are awarded points that determine the severity of their need for council housing as well as the priority that they will be assigned while they wait to be assigned a council house.

What makes you a priority for council housing?

If someone is legally homeless, they have to move homes due to a serious medical condition or disability, they are facing potential danger, they are currently residing in an over-crowded house or under poor living conditions, it will make them a priority for council housing.

How many points do you get for overcrowding?

Depending on the level of overcrowding and your living conditions, you can get 50, 100 or at times 200 points for living in an overcrowded house.

What is classed as overcrowding in social housing?

As per Section 325 of the Housing Act 1985, if two or more people of opposite sexes, aged 10 years or above have to share the same room, this is considered overcrowding.

What does Band 3 mean in housing?

Band 3 in housing means being assigned a low priority. Even though the claimant remains eligible for a council house, their circumstances are not considered as urgent as those in Bands 1 and 2.

References:

Stockport Council Allocation Policy

The Housing Executive – The points system

Summary_table_of_housing_register_points.pdf

Shortlisting & Offers – Homechoice

Your choice your home

Shortlisting and offers – Birmingham City Council

Bidding Process – Homeseekers

How our choice-based letting system works | Swindon Borough Council

Getting a council home – Citizens Advice

Council housing – GOV.UK

Council housing: Types of tenancy

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