The first step to securing an affordable rented home is to register with your local authority (or council) in the area where you wish to live. All housing associations and local authorities let this way in what is known as the choice-based lettings scheme.
A list of local authority websites across our area of operation can be found in our Useful links section.
All the councils we work with give the same consideration to housing families or individuals regardless of whether you are already living in social housing (with us or another housing provider).
Each council has their own method of assessing housing applications but each system is based on housing need. For example you may be assessed as having a higher need if you are overcrowded or have medical problems which are made worse by your current home.
The council will therefore assess your situation from the information you give them. However, most councils now require you to have a “local connection” to their area in order to give you any priority. In some areas you will not be able to go on the council’s housing register (list) unless you have a local connection.
Usually this means that you live in the council area, you have close family living there or that you work in the area.
For some councils, you need to have lived in the area for a set amount of time (for example for the last three years or two years out of the last five) in order to be able to apply to that council for a move. Similar rules will apply to how long your family has lived in the area or how long you have worked there. You should check the council’s website or give them a call if you need more information on their “local connection” rules.
If you already live in social housing the best way to move to an area in these circumstances is to find another social housing customer to swap with.
All the councils we work with operate the the choice-based lettings system we described above. This means that they advertise all the rented properties available in their area. These properties may belong to us, another housing association or to the council themselves.
This will depend on what sort of property you want to move to and the area(s) where you wish to live.
Generally, you are likely to get a move more quickly if you look at exchanging your property as there are usually far more people on council waiting lists wanting to move than there are properties available. You can look for an exchange at the same time as being registered with the council for a transfer.
If you are on a council waiting list you are more likely to get a move if you are willing to consider flats as well as houses and if you are prepared to consider different areas. Most choice-based letting systems allow you to bid for up to three properties each time. A council will not offer you a property if you do not bid for it so remember to check the website regularly.