The process of getting a council house involves a series of verification checks by the authorities. Through this blog post, we aim to learn in detail about these verification checks and the essential documents that an applicant will need to provide as supportive evidence in favour of their council housing application. In addition to this, we will also explore what happens after a verification check is done by the authorities and whether applicants run the risk of being refused council housing despite a verification check.

What Are Council House Verification Checks?

Council authorities must confirm the information shared by applicants once they shortlist them for council house tenancy. This is the primary reason why they perform detailed verification checks so that council tenancy is allocated on a just and fair basis.

For this purpose, they will ask shortlisted applicants to share the following documents; either in a one-to-one meeting or have copies/scans of the documents emailed as per an indicated address:

  • Proof of residence: for this, you may need to furnish council tax or utility bills or a copy of your tenancy agreement 
  • Proof of identity: such as birth certificate, driving licence, medical card, passport
  • Proof of income from earnings and benefits: including candidate’s and partner’s wage slips, a letter from employer benefits book/letter, bank statements showing payments, private/work pension details, mortgage statement, the current valuation of proeprty (if any)
  • Proof of National Insurance number: this may include tax letters, wage slips, P45/60, National Insurance number card
  • Proof of current account deposit and savings: such as bank/building society passbooks/statements/letters, national savings and share certificates.
  • Proof of dependents: for instance, child benefit book, proof of child benefit payments, birth certificate
  • Proof of non-dependents: this includes wage slips and benefit book
  • Proof of discharge papers if you have retired from the British Armed Forces.

Why Do I Need A Verification Check For A Council House?

Council authorities perform verification checks on shortlisted applicants for council housing mainly due to the following reasons:

  • To confirm the identity of the applicant
  • To confirm that the information shared by the applicant is correct
  • To learn whether the applicant has applied for council housing previously
  • To know whether the applicant has rent arrears
  • Whether the applicant or a family member owns a property (or a part of it)
  • To learn whether the applicant has ever been evicted from a tenancy
  • To confirm the applicant’s citizenship and immigration status (whichever is applicable)
  • To confirm that the income stated by the applicant is correct
  • To confirm the medical condition of the applicant (if their council housing application is based on medical grounds)

What Happens After A Council House Verification Check?

Once your verification check is complete, you will get feedback from the authorities regarding whether or not you have moved to the next stage in getting the council house. If your verification check was successful, you can expect to receive an offer soon. However, if there were missing documents, you may be asked to furnish them before the council makes any decision. In case your verification check is unsuccessful, you may lose your priority rank for council housing or if you have been found with false claims, you may be banned from applying for a council house altogether. 

Assuming that the verification check has been successful, the council will then invite the applicant for an in-person visit to the council property; starting with the applicant with the top bidding queue position in the highest priority band. This is followed by an offer made by the council (or housing association; as the case may be). 

Should you accept the offer, you will be asked to sign an acceptance slip that mentions the following information:

  • your name
  • the address of your new council house
  • the date your tenancy starts

After that, a tenancy agreement will be drawn up and you will be informed of the rent deposit amount as well as the monthly rental payment.

Can I Be Refused Council Housing After A Verification Check?

Yes, it is possible that you may be refused council housing if the authorities are not satisfied with the documents that you have provided during your verification check. It is also possible that after a one-to-one meeting with you or reviewing the documents that you submit, they may find your circumstances to be less severe than others and feel the need to reduce your priority ranking. If this happens, you might be skipped from a council house offer temporarily; however, you will remain on the waiting list, just in a reduced priority band.

Council housing can also be refused by the council office or social housing landlord (whichever option applies to an applicant’s situation) after an offer has been made. Some of the most common reasons are discussed below:

  • The applicant is unable to make the first rental payment: Council housing rent is paid in advance (as is generally the case for tenanacies). You may be asked to pay the first month’s rent as part of your verification check or on the day of signing the tenancy agreement. Failure to do so may result in the council housing offer being revoked.
  • You have Housing Debt: Applicacants faced with housing debt will have to face a refusal from council housing until their debt is cleared.
  • The previous tenancy record is not positive: If you have been known to break tenancy rules or there is a record of antisocial behaviour, you may lose on the council house offer despite a successful verification check.
  • Change of circumstances: if an applicant experiences a change of circumstances that do not qualify them for council housing over the course of time, the council housing offer will be refused.

However, if you believe that you have been refused a council housing tenancy in error, you should inform your local council with evidence to support your claim.

Conclusion:

Council house verification checks can best be summarised as a foolproof method applied by the authorities to assure that the claims made by applicants can be confirmed with supportive evidence and that the most deserving of applicants are allotted council housing tenancy. This is the reason why these verification checks are detailed enough to demand proof of identity, residence, benefits and even income of the applicant, their joint applicant as well as their dependant and non-dependant household members.

FAQs: What Are Council House Verification Checks?

What does under review mean on council bidding?

During the bidding process for council housing, the term “under review” means that the landlord or council authority is in the process of assessing the current status of the property and will update it as soon as the review is complete.

Why has my bid skipped?

A bid may be skipped due to rental debts, antisocial behaviour, excess income or capital or inability to afford rent on the part of the tenant. It may also be skipped if the property has been adapted to meet specific medical or disability needs which do not apply to the bidder. 

How long does it take to hear back after bidding on a house?

Generally speaking, it takes between 1-3 days to hear back after bidding on a house. However, even if it gets later than that, there is no reason to give up. A delay can indicate that there were other applicants prioritised before you and you can expect to hear back once they have responded to the housing offer.

How many bids can you make on a house?

Generally speaking, registered applicants can make 3 bids per bidding cycle while they select a council house for tenancy. In the case of a limitation on this number, the council makes sure to inform bidders before a bidding session starts.

What happens after your offer is accepted for a council house?

Once your offer is accepted for a council house, you will be asked to visit the property in person. Should you and the council authorities or social housing landlord find mutually agreeable terms, a tenancy agreement will be drawn up and signed by both parties. 

References:

Housing verification checks | Harlow Council

What happens once you have applied for housing | Islington Council

After you’ve made a bid | How our choice-based letting system works | Swindon

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What To Expect When Offered A Property

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