How do I get a Council or Housing Association Home?
Councils must ensure priority for social housing goes to those in the greatest need. Some councils do this by using a points system. Points are awarded according to the circumstances and level of housing need.
What are points?
The law states that in allocating housing 'reasonable preference' must be given to certain categories of persons. These categories are:
In addition, councils may give additional preference to people in the above categories who are considered to have more urgent housing needs. A points system must take these factors into account.
What other factors are taken into account?
Other factors which a points system may take into account could include:
You can request a leaflet from your council that details how it allocates its housing points.
The points system is based on your present circumstances. If your requirements change, if you are expecting a child for example, you must contact your council as soon as possible. You will need to fill in a new application form as you may be reassessed.
You have important rights as a secure council tenant.
You also have important responsibilities.
This is a summary of housing law, and may not cover all circumstances. It should also be considered as a guide and not completely definitive in itself.
We'll give you the overview but after that and if you want to know more or confirm things, your council's housing department will be able to help you. Your council may have produced its own leaflet or newsletter to let you know what is going on in your area. There are also many government leaflets about council housing. You will find details of some of these, and a list of addresses of organisations that may be able to help you, at the end of this article.
Your council may operate what is known as an Introductory Tenancy Scheme. This scheme would apply to all new tenants and last for twelve months, after which the tenancy would become secure. Your Council can ask the courts to extend your introductory tenancy for a further six months if you behave antisocially.
Your rights as a secure tenant
In general, as long as you keep to the rules of your tenancy agreement, pay your rent and are not involved in anti-social behaviour:
Your responsibilities as a secure tenant:
Anti-social behaviour is taken very seriously and may result in the loss of your tenancy.