Council houses can either be offered to registered applicants through a choice-based letting scheme through which they bid on council property as an expression of interest or they may be allocated council houses as deemed fit based on the judgement of the council as well as the requirements mentioned in the applicants’ council housing application. Trought his blog post we aim to learn how to be successful in one’s bid for council housing, explore some suggestions regarding one’s participation in the bidding process and the next steps to anticipate once a council house is offered.

How To Win A Council House Bid?

While there is no guaranteed method for how an applicant for council housing can win the bid to get a council house of their choice, there are ways to improve one’s position in the bidding queue. Some of these are suggested below:

  • By staying updated with your local council’s rules and advice regarding their bidding system applicants can make sure that they keep a regular check on weekly advertisements for council properties that are being offered. They should keep a track of the days, and the start and end time of the bidding cycle per week. 
  • Applicants need to know the number of council properties can they bid on during one cycle. While some councils allow applicants to bid on one property per bidding cycle, some may allow this number to go up to three. 
  • 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 possible by remaining open and flexible. However, it would not be advisable to bid for a council property larger than your entitlement. 
  • 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 by communicating with the council regularly. Certain changes in your circumstances can affect your housing needs as well as the council hosing priority allotted to you by authorities. If your priority rank increases due to a change in circumstances, you may be able to get a council house sooner.
  • Depending on the personal circumstances 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. Keep a check on whether you have been assigned the correct band based on the information that you have provided and update any missing information at the earliest. Band A applicants tend to rank higher in priority for the council and will usually be the first ones to be offered council property when it is available.
  • Do not keep refusing properties when an offer is made to you after the bidding cycle is complete; especially if you do not have a substantial reason for the refusal and when you have placed a bid on the property expressing your interest in it. Refusals to offered properties decrease your priority rank and you do not receive any property recommendations for a certain period of time.

Does Queue Position 1 Mean Winning A Council House Bid?

No, having a queue position 1 on the council bidding system does not mean that you have won a bid or that you will be offered a council house to move in immediately. This is a potentially rotating position that may change at the end of the bidding cycle (which usually lasts four days per week) as more applicants continue to bid for council property that you may have opted for as well.

If your queue position is still 1 at the end of the bidding cycle, you may expect to be shortlisted and anticipate an offer from the council authorities regarding your choice of property. However, this offer will first be made to other individuals who also have queue position 1 but have been assigned a priority band that is higher than yours. 

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

  • Whether applicants have a local connection to the parish or town in which the property is located. This means that if you live or work in the same council area where you are looking for council housing, your bid will be given a higher priority.  
  • Which priority band out of Bands A, B or C does the bidder belong to. These bands are in decreasing order of priority, which means that queue position 1 of Band A has a higher priority versus queue position 1 of Band B. 
  • The effectiveness date of being assigned a band. This refers to the amount of time spent in a priority band and bidding without getting a council house.

What Happens After I Win A Council House Bid? 

If you have won a council house bid, this means that after remaining on top at the end of the bidding cycle, you have also made it to the top of shortlisted individuals across all priority bands. Now, it is up to the council or social housing landlord to invite you to visit the property in person.

Once you have viewed a council house, you are expected to share your expression of interest in the property; while there is no compulsion to do so on the spot. Similarly, if you are not interested in the property after viewing it or it does not meet our household needs, you must inform the council authorities of your decision. However, if you refuse three council properties consecutively without good reason, you may be taken off the council housing waiting list for 12 months.

If you reject the property that you have viewed, it will then be assigned for viewing by the next bidder in line as property viewing is scheduled based on one’s priority level in the bidding queue for council properties. You can continue bidding on properties that interest you and continue with the shortlisting process to acquire a council house tenancy.

However, if you accept the property, a tenancy agreement will be drawn up and you will be asked to visit again to officiate the process. You will also be given a date by which you can move into the council house.

Conclusion:

While it may be quite obvious that there is no sure-fire way of making sure that you win your council housing bid; the facts discussed in this article make it even more clear that applicants can only try their best efforts to get a council house by remaining on top of the bidding system. However, unless they are actually offered a tenancy agreement after going through all the different stages of applying for a concil house and being assessed by the authorities, they cannot be sure of moving into a council house in the near future. 

FAQs: How To Win A Council House Bid?

Who gets the highest priority for council housing?

Applicants faced with a severe illness or disability, homelessness, living in an overcrowded house or one in unhygienic conditions are generally considered to be the highest priority for council housing

What does it mean to be shortlisted for a council house?

Once the bidding cycle completes, a list is prepared in decreasing order of priority (based on the council housing bands assigned to applicants) to indicate the names of shortlisted individuals who will be offered the council property either through allocation or expression of interest.

What does your rank mean on housing bidding?

Your rank on housing bidding means your level of priority for council housing. 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 Band B and had their application approved much later.

What does your queue position mean on council bidding?

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.

What happens if you lie to get a council house?

If you are caught lying to get a council house, not only will you lose your current council housing tenancy; but you will also be banned from being offered a council house in the future as well. In the case of serious fraud, the matter may be taken to court and the guilty party can be charged with a penalty or be sent to prison.

References:

Tips for bidding for a council home | Swindon Borough Council

How_to_apply_for_council_housing/bidding_and_offers

Bidding and Shortlisting – Wiltshire

Bidding Process – Homeseekers

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