Council housing is an affordable means of living for UK citizens who are unable to afford privately rented property. While the eligibility criteria for council house allotment remains uniform across councils, there are certain factors that determine whether an applicant can be placed on a priority list to get a council house earlier than others. Through this article, we will explore the details of how a council house may be attained earlier by applicants and what are the different criteria that may help them step up on the priority list for council housing.

How Can I Get A Council House On Priority?

From having their application approved for a council house to actually being assigned one to live in is a process that may take months and in some cases, years. To be able to get a council house on priority, applicants may follow the tips given here:

  • Remain open and flexible: If you have requested a three-bedroom council house in your application while you are being offered a two-bedroom one, do consider it. If your children are younger, perhaps they can share a bedroom for some time and as they grow up you may re-apply for a larger space. 
  • Communicate with the council regularly: If there are changes to your living conditions or employment status, an increase in the health needs of your family members, or someone from your household has decided to move out or move in with you, do share these changes with your council office as it affects your housing needs as well as the council hosing priority allotted to you by authorities. 
  • Confirm your band allotment: Depending on the personal circumstance stated in the council housing application, councils assign priority bands to applicants with some of them being assigned a higher band for higher priority and a lower band for lower priority. While these bands are assigned by local councils, you must check if you have been assigned the correct band 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: Once your council housing application is accepted, you will be allowed to bid online on available properties. Applicants can bid thrice per advertising cycle. You must make the best use of this window of opportunity to bid on suitable properties so that a higher number of bids lead you to more options to choose from. At the same time, 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.

In addition to this, applying for a suitable property according to the number of household members that an applicant has will also play a major role in increasing their priority level. For a clearer picture, refer to the table below:

Preferred household size of applicantsType of council property
Single people/couplesSingle bedroom flat/house
Single people/couples with part-time access to children (meaning they must stay overnight for at least 2 nights a week)Two bedroom flat
Disabled family member with a medical housing recommendation for adaptations such as a through floor lift or a stairlift.Adapted properties
Households with primary care of dependent children (generally referring to children up to 18 in full-time education) or a household with a medical recommendation for a houseHouses (with two or more bedrooms)
People aged 60 years old, or younger applicants with an appropriate medical housing recommendation (e.g. ground floor accommodation)Bungalows
People aged 60 and over needing an alarm call system and warden service, as well as younger applicants with a medical housing recommendation for sheltered accommodation. Retirement Life

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, Cherwell District Council: Foster parents and key workers to get higher priority for housing | Oxford Mail 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 I Get A Council House Quicker On Medical Grounds?

Yes, you can get a council house quicker if your application is based on medical grounds. Serious medical conditions that qualify for a high priority allotment for council housing include the following:

  • the applicant’s condition is expected to be terminal within twelve months and they need re-housing for appropriate care
  • the applicant’s current place of residence is contributing to their life-threatening condition and it cannot be resolved within a short period of time (or at all)
  • the applicant is living in an overcrowded property due to which there is risk of life-threatening infection
  • They are housebound due to a lack of wheelchair access in the house
  • They can not be released from hospital in their current home due to lack of required amenities

Can I Get Council House Quicker If I Have A Disabled Child?

Yes, applicants with a disabled child will be put on priority so that they may receive council housing at the earliest possible. 

The general claim in such cases is that the parents’ previous home becomes unsuitable for a child with disabilities or they can no longer afford it due to reduced income (in case one of the parents had to leave their job to tend to their child), thus, they are in need for council housing.

In addition to council housing, you will also be eligible for the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to tend to your child’s care and mobility needs. Depending on the extent of care and their individual requirements, claimants may receive anything between £23 to £89 for the Care Component and between £23 to £65 for the mobility Component.

Can I Get Council House Quicker If I’m Pregnant?

Yes, you can get a council house quicker if you are pregnant. During this transition, the council will arrange temporary residence for you until suitable and permanent living arrangements are made.

In addition to council housing, you will also be eligible for the following state benefits:

  • Universal Credit: This is applicable if the applicant is pregnant and also without an income
  • Housing Benefit: This will help you with rent and housing costs
  • Discretionary Housing Payment: This is a non-refundable one-time payment to help with rent/deposit/advance
  • Sure Start Maternity Grant: This is a £500 grant to help expecting mothers with the expenses of their first child
  • Free NHS dental care and prescriptions  
  • Child Benefit: These are regular payments made after the child is born up until they are 16 years of age (in some cases it may be up to 20 years if the child is in full-time education)

Can I Get Council House Quicker If I’m A Single Mum?

If you are a single mum with a dependant child or children, you will be considered on high priority for council housing. The council will also provide you with temporary shelter while it makes permanent living arrangements for you. Find your local council for immediate help.

In addition to this, if the applicant is a teenage single mum especially between the ages of 16-17, or they have fled domestic abuse, they will be assigned a higher priority band for council housing and will be responded to on an urgent basis.

Can A Letter Of Support Help For Priority Housing In The UK?

Yes, a letter of support can help you get priority for council housing. It is usually written by doctors to help those claimants of council housing who file an application on medical grounds. The purpose of such a letter is to state the claimant’s health challenges in their current residence; which may be life-threatening in some cases. With the support of such recommendations, claimant’s are expected to get a higher priority band for council housing so that their living conditions may be improved.

If you or a family member are faced with a medical condition that is being worsened due to the house you currently live in or the medical condition is a disability and your current house does cannot provide for disability needs (despite possible modifications) you can apply for council housing. Depending on the severity of the condition, you will be allotted a band to indicate your position on the priority list for council housing.

In case of a non-serious medium-range medical condition, you will be awarded a Band 3 while serious conditions elevate the applicant to Band 1. In case of community work done by the applicant or their family members, a Band 2 might be assigned by the council; however, there is no confirmation on the allotment unless an application is filed along with supportive evidence.

It is essential to submit a Medical assessment form along with other supportive documents (as per the guidance of your local council) when you apply for council housing on medical grounds.

Conclusion:

While it takes some time between your council housing application’s approval, finding a suitable house as well as the bidding process, applicants who fulfil the criteria for being provided with a council house on an urgent basis must declare all the required information in their application so as to benefit from the early allotment facilitated towards them. However, it is not advisable to either attempt a shortcut route or declare false information in one’s application simply to speed up the due process.

FAQs: How Can I Get A Council House On Priority?

What makes you a priority for housing?

Claimants who are either legally homeless, or have had to move homes due to a serious medical condition or disability or due to hardship-anything from medical treatment or potential danger to changing jobs or are currently residing in an over-crowded house or under poor living conditions are expected to be higher on priority for council housing.

Can you be refused council housing?

Yes, if you fail to meet the desired eligibility criteria for council housing, the local office can reject your application and refuse council housing. However, should your find such a decision to be made in error, you can appeal for reconsideration by providing suitable evidence to support your claim.

Is mental health a priority for housing?

Yes, mental health is a priority for council housing. Anyone changed with such an issue will be high on the priority list. Additionally, claimants who are either legally homeless, or have had to move homes due to a serious medical condition or disability or due to hardship-anything from medical treatment or potential danger to changing jobs or are currently residing in an over-crowded house or under poor living conditions are expected to be higher on priority for council housing.

What is Band B in housing?

Band B for council housing is assigned to those applicants who are urgent need to move into a council property either due to a prevailing medical condition that is being worsened by their current living conditions.

What does Band 3 mean in housing?

Band 3 is a low priority classification for council housing applications. This is generally allotted to individuals who are on low income and the impact of their current home is minimal with regards to their health.

References:

How To Get A Council House Quicker: Our Top Tips And Tricks | PPO

Qualifying and priority criteria for social housing – Wandsworth Borough Council

Getting a council home – Citizens Advice

The housing register: Medical assessment | LBHF

People who need to move on medical or welfare grounds

A Guide to Benefits for disabled children – Working Families

Who has priority

Getting a council home

Pregnant and Homeless: A Guide to Pregnancy Support | Centrepoint

Support for Homeless Single Parents | Housing | Information | singleparents.org.uk

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