What is Council Housing?

Council housing is housing that is owned by the local authority and is intended for those with the highest need. Councils have a duty to house those in need under housing law. There is a criteria that needs to be met for those who are accepted for council housing. Each individual council will have it’s own allocation scheme with categories which you will need to fall into to be able to rent a council property.

What is a Housing Association?

A Housing Association is a not-for-profit company which provides housing for those on low income or who need extra support. These will also have their own allocation criteria to be able to help those who most need it.

Who qualifies for council housing?

Those who qualify for council housing are those who have the highest housing need. Those who have this ‘priority need’ include those who;

  • if you have dependent children
  • if you or a member of your family is pregnant
  • 16 to 17 year olds who are not looked after by Social Services
  • 18 to 20 year olds who have been in care between 16 and 18

You can also be classified as having priority need due to;

  • old age
  • physical or mental disability
  • being a victim of harassment or violence
  • having being in the armed forces
  • having lived in an institution
  • being over 21 and having been in care

Your level of housing need will be assessed and then it will be decided whether or not you qualify for council housing.

*Information from wirral.gov.uk

Who qualifies for housing association properties?

The requirements needed to qualify for housing association properties differ from council housing requirements. However, you do still normally apply through your council but some housing associations do this directly. Normally Housing Association homes are offered to those who do not match the criteria for Council Housing but still need help and support. However, the criteria is similar in the way that it is designed to help those who need extra support.

How do Housing Associations and Councils differ?

Council houses tend to be cheaper to rent than Housing Association properties on average as housing associations tend to set their rents at either social or affordable rates which class as;

  • social rent – around 50% of local market rent
  • affordable rent – around 80% of local market rent

You are sometimes able to claim housing benefit or universal credit to help cover the rent.

Do Housing Associations and Councils only offer rental properties?

No, they do not. Although councils mainly offer rental properties, they also can offer ‘right to buy’. This means that if you are currently living in a council home, you could be eligible to buy your property off of the council. Not every council offers this and it is not available on every property so you should ask the local authority which you rent from directly.

Housing Associations offer a range of other schemes that differ from traditional renting. These include, Shared Ownership, Help to Buy and Equity Loan properties. You can search for Shared Ownership properties that are currently available on our site. These schemes are still affordable, they just make it easier and more financially feasible for people to buy their own properties and get onto the housing ladder.