What Does Queue Position 1 Mean On Council Bidding?

The process of being approved for council housing involves a bidding process to allow future council tenants to be able to choose their council homes. Through this blog post, we aim to learn more about what it means to be in queue position 1 for council house bidding. In addition to this, we will also explore the bidding system, the steps involved in it, how it works and what happens after the bidding cycle completes.

What Does Queue Position 1 Mean On Council Bidding?

Queue position 1 for council housing means that during the ongoing bidding cycle (this is usually a four-day cycle that occurs on weekly basis to offer available council homes through adverts under the choice-based letting scheme), you are on top of the queue within the priority band that is assigned to your for council housing applications.

To understand this, one must remember that:

  • the priority bands for council housing range from A, B and C (Band D is now only for individuals eligible for Sheltered Housing); with A being the top priority, 
  • there can be different individuals with a queue position 1 in each of these bands; making them on top of the list of the band that they belong to, 
  • a claimant with queue position 1 in a higher priority band such as Band A has more chances of being shortlisted for the next step in the process of being offered a council house; 
  • while another claimant with a queue position 1 in a lower priority band such as B or C will have to wait until Band A claimant refuses the council property being offered or it is deemed unfit for them.

It is also important to note that the queue position at the end of a session or a day is not the final priority ranking for claimants in the same band. This queue position can change during the course of the bidding cycle as different applicants place their bids during the specified time period. 

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 with a queue position 1 who have been assigned a priority band higher than yours. 

Therefore, it does not matter whether you have bid first at the start of the bidding process as placing an early bid will not guarantee you a higher position in the queue for bidding. Whether or not you will be shortlisted for the next stage in the process of getting a council house will depend on:

  • the band assigned to you by council authorities 
  • your queue position with the assigned band
  • your effective date for being assigned the priority band

This means that the length of time that you have spent in a higher priority band increases your chances of being offered a council house.

Applicants who have a queue position 1 at the end of the bidding cycle and are also in the top priority band for council housing may not have the option of refusing a property once they have placed a bid, they are shortlisted and offered the property as they are considered to be in dire need of council housing. Should they still refuse a council property despite bidding on it earlier, their property rank may be reduced or they may not be offered another council property for the next 12 months. They will, however, still remain listed on the housing register and part of the waiting list for council housing.

What Happens During The Bidding Process For Council Housing?

The bidding process for council housing is an online viewing of properties that registered applicants use to select council homes that are available during the bidding cycle. 

In addition to actual pictures of the property, applicants will find information such as the amount of rent being asked for, the type of property such as flat, house, maisonette, the number of bedrooms being offered or the floor level of the property.

Once an applicant finds an appropriate property, they may click on it to bid so as to show an expression of interest. 

Therefore, applicants must make sure of the following when they place a bid on council homes:

  • express interest in a property that you are sure of moving into if it is offered
  • bid on a property that meets your bedroom entitlement (this is mentioned in the registration letter from the council) 
  • place your bids before the closing time of the bid (usually, the bidding time is Mon-Fri)
  • follow your council’s lead on the number of homes you can bid on per cycle

How Does The Bidding System For Council Housing Work?

The council house bidding system is part of the choice-based letting scheme that allows approved applicants for state housing to start viewing and expressing their interest in council properties that are available and meet their needs.

The system is only made available to those individuals whose application for a council housing claim has been approved by the authorities. Once they have confirmation in writing, applicants will be indicated towards an internet link where weekly updates regarding available council housing properties will be posted. Applicants can click and express their interest in the properties that interest them and wait for an offer to be made to them. 

Once you bid on a council property it is merely considered an expression of interest by the council. There is no guarantee that you will be able to get it as there may be other applicants who rank higher than you on the property list for council housing and if their circumstances are comparatively more challenging and their need is considered to be more severe, the property may be offered to them first. 

What Happens If I Am Still On Queue Position 1 At The End Of The Bidding Cycle?

If your queue position still remains on top at the end of the bidding cycle, you can expect to be shortlisted for the next stage. However, your position on that shortlist will depend on the priority band assigned to you by the council and the effective date of that band.

If you are in queue position 1 in Band A, you will be offered the property, and asked to come to view it in the presence of a council official or the social housing landlord. You will also be asked to bring some personal and official documents that support your claim. Should you agree to the terms discussed after the viewing, the council authorities (or landlord; whichever the case may be) will offer you a tenancy agreement to be signed so that you can move into your council home at the earliest.

However, upon viewing, should you find the property unable to meet your needs, you have the authority to refuse it only as long as you can provide a substantial reason or evidence to support your refusal. In the other case, you lose your priority rank or future offers will be temporarily halted.

A refusal from a higher priority band will then make the council property available for subsequent priority bands of B and C. However, the individual holding queue position 1 in Band B will be the next in the shortlisted candidates. Therefore, the next offer for viewing the property will be made to them and if both parties come to a mutual understanding, a tenancy agreement will be drawn up.

What Happens During The Shortlisting Process 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 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 bands 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

After the application is approved, candidates are asked to visit the property in person. It is then up to the council authorities or social housing landlord to make an offer to the prospective council housing tenant. 

Once you are offered a council house, the council will also inform you of a date by when they will need a response before they offer the house to someone else. Usually, there is a two to three-day window during which applicants are required to visit the council house that they have been offered and let council authorities know of their decision of whether or not they intend to move into the premises.


The above discussion fairly concludes that a queue position 1 on council house bidding is an indicator of one’s position in the priority ranking for being offered a council house among those that are offered and considered by the applicant as an option through an expression of interest. However, this top position in the queue applies to all priority bands; which makes a Band A queue 1 position holder higher in priority as compared to a queue position holder in subsequent Bands. 

FAQs: What Does Queue Position 1 Mean On Council Bidding?

What is a bid position?

A bid position is an indicator of how applicants rank in order of priority for council housing. Once their council housing application is approved, claimants will still have to stay on a waiting list and bid on recommended properties until they are allotted one to meet their needs.

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.

How does council house bidding work?

If a candidate finds a suitable home and prefers it as their residence, they may inform the council of their intent by applying for it online. This is called “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.

What happens when you get shortlisted for a council house?

When you get shortlisted for a council house, you will receive a notification stating this once you log in to the council housing website that you have been bidding for properties on. Additionally, you will also receive a text message, phone call or email (as per your indicated preference during the application process).

Who gets the highest 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 hardship due to potential danger or a change of jobs, they are currently residing in an over-crowded house or under poor living conditions, they will get the highest priority for council housing.


Bidding and Shortlisting – Wiltshire

Frequently Asked Questions – Homechoice

Frequently asked Questions – Gedling Home Search

Shortlisting and offers – Birmingham City Council