Social housing is housing that is let at low rents and on a secure basis to people in housing need. It is generally provided by councils and not-for-profit organisations such as housing associations.

If you rent from a council or housing association, you are generally referred to as a 'social housing' tenant. Rents are generally lower than if you rent privately, but this gap is narrowing.

Social housing tends to offer long-term, secure tenancies and in the majority of cases, you can't be asked to leave unless you have broken one of the terms of your tenancy agreement. This could be because you haven't paid your rent or if you have been a bad neighbour.

A social housing landlord will normally have written standards for the services they provide and their tenants are encouraged to get involved in setting those standards. Bodies such as the Homes England, Regulator of Social Housing and the Housing Ombudsman Service are there to make sure tenants get a good service. 

Allocation of social housing

Your local council is responsible for the allocation and administration of of Council Housing.

Unfortunately, the demands for social housing is very high, with more demand than supply in most areas. Social housing tends to be let to people in the highest housing need so it can be difficult to access for some people.

Local authorities must have an ‘allocation scheme’ setting out the procedure they follow when allocating social housing and how they prioritise applications. A summary of the scheme must be published and you can request a copy from your local authority free of charge.

You can find out how to check your Local Council's allocation policy at this link.

Schemes will vary between local authorities. By law certain groups of people must be given ‘reasonable preference’ for housing, but authorities can set their own rules to determine the relative position of different applicants with regards to additional preference such as urgent need and to reflect local priorities.

Some councils operate a Choice Based Letting schemes (CBL) which allow you to make choices about where you want to live and what type of home is most suitable for you. You can to ‘bid’ (express an interest) for properties advertised in local newsletters or websites. There may be restrictions on who can bid for a specific property such as homeless applicants or a household of a certain size. Suitable bidders will be invited to view the property which will then be formerly offered to the bidder with the highest priority who wants the property.

A guide to Choice Based Letting schemes is avialble from

Allocations of social housing can be a slow process, and unfortunately many people who join the register may never be allocated a property.

A comprehensive guide to Local Authority Housing allocation is available from

Applying for Social Housing

To apply for council housing in your area follow this link.

Further information on applying for Council/Housing Association Housing can be found at these links:

Social Housing Tenancy Agreements

For information on Social Housing Tenancy agreements follow the folling links:

Detailed guides to all aspects of Social Housing can be found at the following links:

Repairs to Council and Housing Association Houses

Your council orsocial housing landlord is responsible for the maintenance of the building structure/shared areas and the safety of electric and gas appliances.

Full details of all responsibilities are available at the following links:

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