The purpose of this blog post is to answer the question of how can someone find council houses in their area. While the following content will mainly focus on ways to identify and explore council houses, we will also assess how to find council houses based on one’s need; that is if the individual looking for a council house intends to apply for tenancy or ownership rights.

How Do I Find Council Houses In My Area?

How you can find council houses in your area will depend on the reason(s) for which you are looking for a council house in the first place.

If you are looking for a council house to rent, you will first need to qualify for the eligibility criteria that come with a council housing tenancy. The most important factor, in this case, is the income level of the applicant and their current housing conditions. 

Should you choose to apply for council housing, you will need to contact your local council office, file an application for council housing (along with the necessary documentation) and wait to get a response from them. 

While you may find details of potentially available council property (this includes council houses and flats) from your local council office, you will only be able to get formal access to council property that is currently being offered for tenancy once your application is approved.

If your application for council housing is approved, you will be assigned a priority rank; based on which you will be offered viewings of council property.

Otherwise, you can search for council houses by going through local newspapers, on the council websites, on listings posted in council offices or by gathering information from local libraries. 

Then there are some independent websites such as Homefinder UK and UK Social Housing Database that you can use to get details of council houses; whether they are located in the area that you live in or any other area of your choice.

If you are searching for council houses in your area with the aim to purchase one, you will have to seek this information from your local council office. However, not everyone can buy a council house as in the case of private property that is listed on the open market. You would have to meet the eligibility criteria for buying a council house; which in most cases favours buyers who have previously been council housing tenants.

If you need to find a council house in your area to learn about its ownership details, you will need to contact the Land Registry office or website. If you know the postal code or street address of a property, you can simply type it in the search bar of the website to get details about whether it is owned by the council, a social housing landlord or a private owner. 

How Do I Find A Council House To Rent In My Area?

You can find a council house to rent if you meet the eligibility criteria for a council tenancy. This requires an applicant to be at least 18 years of age, on a low income and have low savings. Some councils also require a “local connection” of the applicant to the area. This means that either they have lived in the council district for a number of years or they have a family or job in the area.

To apply for council housing, candidates are required to apply to their local council (mostly online), which will then consider it based on their criteria for awarding priority to those from certain demographics and or social classes. 

Depending on the priority rank assigned to an applicant, the council will offer them housing options to choose from and make an offer to rent. This is followed by a shortlisting and verification process which can lead to finding a council house to rent.

It must be kept in view that even after a claimant’s council housing application is accepted, it may take anywhere between 12 to 16 months to find a 2-bed council house and between 36 to 70 months to get a 4-bed house.

However, if an applicant faces any of the following situations, they will be placed on high priority for council housing and will be able to rent the property immediately or on an urgent basis. Until then, the council will place them in temporary housing or a shelter especially if they are homeless:

  • someone is legally homeless 
  • they have to move homes due to a serious medical condition or disability
  • they are facing hardship for reasons such as medical treatment, potential danger or change of jobs
  • They are currently living in an over-crowded house or under poor living conditions

How Can I Find A Council House To Purchase?

The most common way to find a council house to purchase is by meeting the basic eligibility criteria. This includes:

  • the applicant is a secure tenant of council property 
  • they have lived in a council house for a minimum period of three years 
  • the council house is their main home 
  • the council house (or flat) that they intend to buy is a self-contained property

If you live in England, you may opt for the Right To Buy Scheme to buy a council house. However, this scheme only allows council tenants to purchase the property that they are living in and not any other council house that they may be interested in. 

Then there is another scheme titled “Preserved Right To Buy”; which allows you to purchase a council house that you lived in but the council sold it to a housing association landlord. Meanwhile, Voluntary Right To Buy allows you to purchase a council house that you may not have lived in.

Conclusion:

The above discussion has provided many details regarding how one can go about in their search for a council property. However, the reason(s) why an individual is looking for a council house will determine the option(s) available to them in their search. If one is merely looking for ownership details of a particular property, one may find the information available on the Land Registry website. However, if someone is looking to rent, purchase or gather information regarding council houses in an area, they will need to contact the local council office.

References:

Council housing: Apply for a council home – GOV.UK

Getting a council home – Citizens Advice

How to apply for council housing – Shelter England