Renting from a council or housing association

This page is about renting your home from a council or housing association.Social housing is property that you rent from the council or from a Housing Association (sometimes called a Registered Social Landlord).

What type of property is it?

Council housing is usually part of a large estate.

Housing Association property is usually part of a smaller estate, or a house on a street.

These homes can be for one person, or for people sharing.

You can have support in your home if you choose to rent in social housing.

How do I get social housing?

To get housing from the council or a housing association, you need to join a waiting list. There is usually just one list for both types of housing.

To join the list you have to fill in a form about yourself, to tell the council what your needs are and how you are living now.

Once the council has looked at your form, they decide how important it is for you to get a house. They will give you a letter - A, B, C or D.
A is for people who have the most need.

A learning disability or medical need often means someone has a higher priority - this means the council thinks it is important to find them somewhere to live.

Every week there is a list of homes that are available. This list is usually on the council’s website, in a newsletter and in a file in the housing office.

If you are on the housing list, you can look for a house that you like, and tell the council that you want it. This is called 'bidding'.

The council looks at the people who have bid on the house. They ask the people who most need a house to come and look at it.

If one of those people likes the house, they get it. If more than one person wants it, it will be given to the person who has been waiting the longest.

You might need someone to support you with:

  • Filling in the form - it is important that you tell the council as much as you can so that they know about your needs.
  • 'Bidding' for a house.
  • Going to look at a house.
  • Deciding if you like it. You might have to decide quite quickly.

If a Housing Association has some properties for disabled people, you might be able to get them through Adult Social Care instead of the housing list.

Your Adult Social Care team might have their own housing.

In some areas you can still get a house through from the Housing Association instead of the council list.

What is good about social housing?

There are some good things

  • It is a secure way to rent - councils and housing associations are usually happy for you to stay there for a long time.
  • If you get housing benefit, this will usually meet the cost of renting social housing.
  • They must make sure your home is kept in good condition and do any repairs that are needed. They are checked on to make sure that they do this.

What is not so good about social housing?

There are some things that aren't so good:

  • The waiting lists for social housing are often very long - you might have to wait a long time to get somewhere to live.
  • There might not be any properties that meet your needs.
  • Some larger estates might not feel safe or welcoming

More information

Click here to find out more: 
Choice based lettings guide
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Learning Disability England
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Learning Disability England
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