What Is The Council House Bidding System?

The council housing bidding system is part of the process of finding a council house that meets your needs and budget. While we will analyse the council house bidding system in detail through this blog post; in addition to discussing the steps involved in the bidding process, we will also gain an understanding of what it means to have a queue position and review some suggestions on how an applicant can improve their position in the bidding system.

What Is The Council House Bidding System?

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. This is an online viewing of properties that you may use to select council homes that you think are appropriate for you so that once offers come in you are able to shortlist them and choose the best option. Some councils simply find homes that meet your needs (based on the application form that you have submitted) and assign an appropriate property.

The council house bidding 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. 

It is advisable to remain open in one’s selection during the bidding process so that if the most preferred option of council housing is not offered to you, there are subsequent choices to consider before a decision is made.

In addition to actual pictures of the property, applicants will find the below information regarding the property during the bidding process so that they may have a better understanding of the facilities being made available to them:

  • the amount of rent being asked for
  • the type of property such as flat, house, maisonette
  • the number of bedrooms being offered
  • the floor level of the property
  • whether or not there is a garden 
  • details about the landlord (whether it is the council or a social housing landlord)
  • the type of heating system
  • the degree of accessibility of the property
  • the ideal number of people that the council property is suitable for
  • the availability of a parking space

Once you bid on a council property there is no guarantee that you will be able to get it as there may be other applicants who rank higher than you in 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. 

This is one of the main reasons why it is best to select a few options during the bidding process. However, you may also not want to bid on a council house just to receive an offer as rejecting too many council properties after placing a bid on them may remove you from the council house bidding system temporarily which means that it will take more time for you to get a council house. 

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

What Is A Bidding Queue Position For Council Housing?

Depending on the Band assigned to you in your council housing confirmation letter, you will be assigned a bidding queue position that determines your level of priority to be considered during the bidding process as well as your banding date. 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.

Individuals with emergency needs such as medical conditions or disabilities will have a higher bidding queue position for council housing and will be allotted Band A. Meanwhile, those who may have less extraordinary circumstances will be assigned Band B.

How Can I Improve My Bidding Position For Council Housing?

To improve their bidding position, applicants may follow the tips given here:

  • If you have requested a three-bedroom council house in your application while you are being offered a two-bedroom one, do consider it by remaining open and flexible. If your children are younger, perhaps they can share a bedroom for some time and as they grow up you may re-apply for a larger space. 
  • 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. 
  • Depending on the personal circumstance 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. While these bands are assigned by local councils, you must check if you have been assigned the correct band based on the information that you have provided. If you disagree with your band allotment, you can provide evidence and negotiate with the authorities to increase your priority level.
  • Once your council housing application is accepted, you will be allowed to bid online on available properties. Applicants can bid thrice per advertising cycle. You must make the best use of this window of opportunity to bid on suitable properties so that a higher number of bids lead you to more options to choose from. At the same time, bid on suitable housing. If you need a single bedroom flat, it would not be advisable to bid on a larger property as it would be a waste of opportunity.

Since guidelines and offers for council houses vary across councils, applicants should visit the website of their local council to learn more about the specific instructions that apply to their area. 


The council house bidding system is an online facility to screen council properties on offer but it is only accessible to approved applicants who are placed on a housing register (or a waiting list). Applicants can screen council properties being offered, review their details such as rent, rooms, facilities etc and express their interest in selected properties through the bidding system.   

FAQs: What Is The Council House Bidding System?

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 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.

What is Band B in housing?

Band B for council housing is assigned to those applicants who are in urgent need to move into a council property either due to a prevailing medical condition that is being worsened by their current living conditions.


Getting a council home – Citizens Advice

Bidding and offers – Shelter England

Bidding for a property – Apply for council housing

Bidding for a council property | Finding somewhere to live

Bidding Process – Homeseekers

How our choice-based letting system works | Swindon Borough Council

Crawley-Homechoice – Frequently Asked Questions