Getting a local council owned rental property

Can a single person get a council flat?

Anyone who is eligible can apply for council housing, but homes are normally offered to the people who your local council consider need them the most, so in all reality single people in normal everyday circumstances are highly unlikely to be offered a Council home. (When you apply they may suggest you contact your local Housing Association). 

Councils have criteria setting out who is eligible to apply for council housing. (This includes British citizenship and the right to reside in the UK). You can check your local council’s housing policy to see if you meet the criteria to go on your area’s housing list or register.

Each Council uses its own ‘points’ or ‘banding’ system to work out the order in which they offer housing to people, helping them identify their top priorities on the housing waiting list.

Applying to your local council for housing. How and when to apply

Local councils have two systems for allocating council housing. Some councils use a waiting list and others use a bidding system called ‘choice based lettings’. Some councils use a combination of both. If your council uses a waiting list, you have to wait until the council notifies you that a home is available.

So if your council uses the choice based lettings system then you are invited to bid for homes that you are eligible to apply for. In both cases the council allocates housing to those in priority need first, and then to those with lower priority.

How is the priority of you application for a council home decided?

How quickly you get a property depends on a number of things, including:

  • the number of points you have or
  • what ‘banding’ you are in
  • the size of property you need
  • the number of people on the waiting list wanting a similar property
  • and the number of properties that become available. Your choice of accommodation will depend on local circumstances, such as how much and what type of housing is available. In many areas there is a shortage of local council housing.

The types of things a council looks at when it works out (or ‘awards’) points includes your current living conditions through to any relevant medical conditions you may have. The more points you have, the greater your chance and the higher you go on the waiting list.

Can I apply for council housing if I own my own home?

Councils should consider your housing application in the same way as other applicants even if you own and live in your home. You could still be at risk of homelessness if, for example, your home is no longer affordable, or if you have to sell your home following a relationship breakdown and about to become single on a sole income. You can also apply if you are living in poor conditions and would not raise enough money from the sale of your home for alternative accommodation.

If you’re a single person your chances of getting a council place are very slim, but as every area is different you will need to contact your local Council to find out what the situation is in your area and either way, get on the waiting list.

If you are homeless, or about to be made homeless the process for applying for a place is different and you can apply to your local council for housing. Shelter are expert in helping people through this, check out their website for more information.



Tell us your experiences

Have you tried to get a Local Authority home? How did you get on?
Do you have any tips you could pass on that may help other single people looking to get a council flat?  Leave a comment below.