When you get shortlisted for a council house, it means that you have successfully been placed in the leading positions at the end of a bidding cycle. Through this blog post, we will learn more about what happens when someone gets shortlisted for a council house. In addition to this, we will also explore the steps that go beyond this stage until an applicant is eventually handed over a council house to move into.

What Happens When You Get Shortlisted For A Council House?

When you get shortlisted for a council house, you will receive an email/SMS alert and a phone call from your council authorities that you have been shortlisted for council housing. This means that your bid for a council property of choice is being considered by the authorities and you have made it to the highest ranking in terms of priority for council housing. 

Once the bidding cycle completes and bidding queue positions are finalised for registered applicants, the council prepares a shortlist of all those candidates that rank highest in priority for the allocation of a council house tenancy.

The priority bands for council housing are based on the severity of circumstances faced by applicants. Therefore, the more severe their circumstances the higher will be their priority rank. Applicants who are in top positions while councils shortlist them will be offered council property for tenancy earlier than others.

If you have made it to this shortlist, you can expect to receive a call from the council authorities in which you can either be asked for an online interview and a separate viewing of the property or an in-person meeting during which you can view the property and present your personal and official documents for a verification check.

The council authorities will now perform verification checks on shortlisted candidates to gain proof of:

  • residence details
  • identity of the applicant and their household members
  • income from earnings and benefits (candidate and partner both) 
  • national insurance number
  • current account deposit and savings
  • dependents and non-dependents
  • discharge papers (if you have retired from the British Armed Forces)

Successful verification checks are followed by an offer made by the council (or housing association; as the case may be). 

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 let council authorities know of their decision of whether or not they intend to move into the premises.

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.

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.

How Is Shortlisting Done For Council Housing?

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.

If you are in queue position 1 in Band A you will be given priority over applicants belonging to Bands B and C during the shortlisting process. 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. 

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

What Happens After Being Shortlisted For Council Property?

Shortlisted applicants usually hear from council authorities within a week of the completion of the bidding cycle. Usually, the top 3 to 4 bidders are contacted by councils and offered a viewing of the property. Since this is mostly done in decreasing order of priority, the opt bidder in the top band of priority will be asked to view the property first as they have the first right of refusal. They may be given between 3 to 5 days of notice for the viewing.

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.


The discussion in this blog post highlights the steps to being allotted a council housing tenancy once you have been shortlisted. Being shortlisted means becoming part of the top priority list for council housing. Once you have been informed of this, you can expect to be asked to come and view council property while a verification check is carried out by local councils to confirm your claim. When you complete this stage successfully, you can expect to be offered a council house to live in.

FAQs: What Happens When You Get Shortlisted For A Council House?

What does it mean to be shortlisted for housing?

Being shortlisted for council housing means that out of all the applicants who have placed bids on the property, some of them have been selected on the basis of their rank on the priority list and how far back their council housing application is dated. These selected candidates will be considered as being shortlisted to be assessed on personal and financial grounds before being assigned council property to live in.

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

It generally takes 24 to 72 hours for an agent, landlord or your local council office to inform you if they have accepted your bid. However, it may take a little more time than this if there are other applicants in a higher priority band as compared to you.

What does your queue position mean on council bidding? 

Once you bid on a council housing property, you will be shown your queue position. This is an indicator of your ranking on the priority list for council housing. Your queue position can change at the end of the bidding process and even due to a change in your circumstances over a period of time.

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 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.


Chance to view your council house

Shortlisting & Offers – Homechoice

Shortlisted for a council house

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