What Happens After You Bid On A Council House?

Bidding on a council house is an expression of interest by the bidder; which may be repeated a few times as it is not the guarantee of an offer from the landlord or council office. Through this blog post, we aim to learn what happens after registered applicant bids on a council house. In addition to a detailed review of all the steps involved in the process, which include eligibility and document verification, tenancy offer and contract signing we will also study the list of documents essential during the process.

What Happens After You Bid On A Council House?

After you bid on a council house, the bidding cycle continues until its scheduled time for the week. Once that cycle ends, bidding queue positions are finalised within each priority band and then collectively shortlisted with a compilation of all the bands in decreasing order of priority.

Once the bidding cycle is complete and bidding queue positions are finalised, successful bidders will proceed with the following stages in the process:

  • Eligibility check by the council to verify information provided by the applicant as well as a review o their entitlement towards a council house in comparison to the property that they have bid for. This can take around 5 days for council properties and 14 days for housing association properties.
  • Once a bidder is confirmed eligible for council housing, they are added to a shortlisted pool of applicants who will be invited to view the property in person. At this stage, they become part of the document verification process in which shortlisted applicants are asked to bring copies of their original, official and personal documents during the house viewing so that the details shared in their ap[lication can be verified.
  • After the document verification, you can expect an offer from the council or housing association. Once both tenant and landlord are in agreement, a tenancy contract is drafted and a date is decided for the tenant to move into their council house.

Shortlisted candidates will be prioritised on the basis of starting with the highest priority band and moving towards the lowest priority band in decreasing order. It is in this sequence that the council will contact them for the next stage of the process or nominate their names to housing associations for the needful.

Applicants are shortlisted on the basis of the following criteria:

  • the bidding queue position of an applicant
  • the priority band assigned to the applicant
  • the amount of time spent by the applicant within the priority band

Starting with the applicant with the top bidding queue position in the highest priority band, the council will then invite the applicant for an in-person visit to the council property that they have bid in favour of. 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.

On the other hand, if the applicant with the highest priority position does not find the property to meet their needs, or they are unable to agree to certain terms with the landlord, or they simply refuse the property after viewing it in person, it will then be offered to the next applicant within the shortlisted compilation of top bidders across all priority bands.

Does The Bidding Queue Position Change After You Bid On A Council House?

Yes, the bidding queue position keeps changing over time; after you bid on a council house, during a login session, at the end of a session and even over the course of the duration of the bidding cycle. It will only finalise once the bidding cycle ends and each applicant gets to know their priority rank within the band assigned to them through the bidding queue position. The bidding queue position usually serves as a fair indicator of the time it may take between placing a bid for a council house, being shortlisted and finally receiving an offer.

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. 

How Is The Bidding Queue Position Assigned During A Council House Bid?

As you and other council housing applicants continue to review and bid for council properties over the course of the four-day bidding cycle (which lasts between Thursday and Monday in most cases), all applicants are assigned a bidding queue position during each session that they log in to review and select council housing options. 

If you are in queue position 1 in Band A you will be given priority over applicants belonging to Bands B and C. This means that you will be offered the property first, and asked to come to view it in the presence of a council official or the social housing landlord. 

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

Do All Councils Follow The Same Bidding And Shortlisting Process For Council Houses?

Yes, all councils essentially follow the same process for bidding snd shortlisting for council houses. Additionally, they follow the same priority bands as well with Band A assigned to applicants in the highest priority and Band C assigned to those in the lowest priority for council housing. However, there may be times when certain councils offer different days for the bidding cycle to take place or the rents that they offer may vary from other councils for a similar property.

For instance, after you bid on a council house, the Swindon Borough Council offers an e-learning pre-tenancy course to bidders once they are close to a successful bid. Applicants receive an email from the council with information regarding the following areas:

  • Tenancy agreements in the Swindon Council area
  • Rights of tenants and landlords
  • Rental payments and accepted modes to pay
  • Rules of living in your home
  • Management of repairs and maintenance 

Each course is followed by a short quiz for the council to be sure whether the applicants have understood the essential knowledge they require before moving into a council house in the area.

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.

Which Documents Do I Need To Take With Me For A Council House Viewing?

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.

During this visit, candidates are encouraged to carry the following documents with them:

  • 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
  • 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


To sum up the next steps after placing a bid on a council house; in the case of a successful bid and depending on the priority rank assigned to a bidder, they can then move to the next stages of eligibility confirmation, document verification and shortlisting for council house tenancy. Applicants will then be invited to view the property in person before a formal tenancy agreement is drawn up and a date agreed upon for them to move in.

FAQs: What Happens After You Bid On A Council House?

What does an accepted bid mean?

Accepted bid means that the bidder fulfils the eligibility criteria for their bid to be accepted. They can now expect to be shortlisted for being offered a council house.

What does skipped mean on council bidding?

Being skipped on council bidding means that the bidder’s expression of interest is declined by the council and they have chosen to move on to another bidder’s offer even though the latter may be in a lower priority band and have spent a shorter amount of time in the assigned priority band.

What does it mean by “bid unsuccessful”?

An unsuccessful bid is one that is not accepted by the council. One of the reasons for rejecting a bid may be that the bidder is asking for a larger council house than their entitlement or offering a lower rent than the acceptable rate.

What does Band C mean in council housing?

Band C is the lowest priority rank for council housing with applicants not having an urgent need for council housing yet being eligible for it. It usually includes applicants currently living in an overcrowded house.

What happens after your offer is accepted?

Once your offer for a council house is accepted, the tenancy agreement will be drawn up and a date will be agreed upon between you and the landlord so that you can move into the council property.



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

What happens if we accept your bid – Chelmsford City Council

Viewing and signing up for a council tenancy

What To Expect When Offered A Property