Apply for council housing

Impact of coronavirus

We are currently receiving substantially higher volumes of housing applications than normal.

We are assessing applicants’ housing needs as quickly as we can. However, we currently have a three-month backlog of council housing applications.

Please do not chase your application unless you are threatened with homelessness. If you are threatened with homelessness, please email:

A council home is only one of the housing options available to you. Please be aware that demand for a council home significantly outstrips supply, as approximately 700 households out of a current 6,500 plus on the waiting list, are housed each year.

Renting in the private sector is another housing option. If you would like help seeking a private let or you are threatened with homelessness, you can contact our Housing Prevention Team at

If you can potentially afford to purchase a home, then look into low cost shared home ownership.

Existing social housing tenants can also apply for a transfer however, you also have the right to exchange homes with another social tenant through HomeSwapper.

Please note: in most circumstances existing social housing tenants will not be offered a property unless their rent account is clear. You will also not usually be considered for other accommodation if the management of your current home is not satisfactory or if you are under notice for a breach of condition of tenancy.

If you want to move because of problems with anti-social behaviour, problems with repairs or because you need your property to be adapted, a transfer may not be the best option and you should speak to your own landlord for advice. Swindon Borough Council tenants should contact their Neighbourhood Housing Officer.

Who can apply

You can apply for a council home in Swindon if you are over 18 and have lived in the borough for the last two years.

You can also apply if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have close relatives (parents, adult children, grandparents or siblings) who have lived here for two years or more
  • You are employed in Swindon for more than 24 hours a week
  • You are a member of the Armed Forces or have served in the last five years

We will consider applications from other family members (other than the relationships stated above) if support is provided to a vulnerable family member.

You must also be:

  • a British citizen or a person who has been granted leave to remain in the UK
  • a permanent resident of the UK (this excludes people serving in the British Armed Forces) 
  • in a reasonable preference group (see section four of the social housing allocation policy) or meet our housing needs banding criteria (see section five of the social housing allocation policy) (this excludes people serving in the British Armed Forces)

There are other criteria that may make you ineligible for council housing. These are listed in section three of the housing allocation policy.

If you are an EU, EEA or a Swiss national, you and your family may need to consider applying to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.

EEA nationals who move to the UK from 1 January 2021 will not be eligible for an allocation of social housing or homelessness assistance. Such persons will generally not become eligible until they apply for – and are granted – indefinite leave to remain (typically after 5 years continuous residence in the UK).

Housing bands and banding dates

We allocate housing according to the urgency of the applicant's need. When you apply for the housing waiting list, we will assess the reason for your need and place you into one of two bands – band A or band B. Band A applicants take priority over band B applicants.

An applicant is placed into band A when they have an exceptional need for a move. This would most typically be on emergency medical grounds, where an applicant’s current accommodation is completely unsuitable for their needs.

An applicant is placed into band B when they are in need of a move, but the need is not deemed exceptional. The majority of council housing applicants are placed in band B.

There is more information about our banding criteria in our social housing allocation policy.

Applicants are successfully housed according to their time on the waiting list within their band. The date when the applicant is placed on the waiting list in their current band is called their banding date.

Making your application

You make an online application to be on the council housing waiting list. You can do this:

The first stage of the application is an eligibility check. This checks your circumstances against our housing allocations policy.

If you pass the eligibility check and complete the application form, this does not necessarily mean you have been accepted onto the waiting list. We will contact you with our decision.

When we will contact you

We would usually aim to contact you with our decision within 40 working days of your application. However, when application volumes are high, the waiting period may be slightly longer.

Please be patient with us and do not re-apply, as we will be assessing applications in date order. You will be registered from the date of application, so the time will not be lost. If you are accepted onto the housing waiting list, your banding date will be the date of your application.  

We will give priority to applications where a household is in emergency need.

If you are applying because you've received a notice to quit from your landlord, you should email to discuss your housing options. Social housing is in high demand, waiting times are long, and you will not be successfully housed within the notice period given by your landlord. 

What's in our decision letter

You will receive a letter of confirmation or rejection. The letter will be sent by email if you have provided an email address. A confirmation letter will tell you:

When you have received confirmation by letter that you have been accepted on to the waiting list, you will be able to bid for a council property using your application reference number. You will not be able to bid until you receive this eligibility letter.

What to do if you fail an eligibility check

If you fail an eligibility check, it means you do not meet the criteria set out in our social housing allocation policy. This means you won’t be considered for a council home.

If you are at risk of losing your home or have been served notice on your tenancy, this does not automatically make you eligible for social housing.

How to apply

There are four steps involved in applying to live in a council home:

  1. If you feel that you meet the criteria to apply for council housing, you can make an online application to be on the waiting list for council housing. You can access the application form on this page.
  2. We will process your application. If it is successful, we will send you an eligibility letter.
  3. Once you receive your eligibility letter, you can register online for our choice-based lettings system.
  4. You can then login to our choice-based letting system and bid for one suitable council property in each weekly bidding cycle. Read how our choice-based letting system works.

You will need the following information for all applicants to complete the application:

  • National Insurance number
  • Date of birth
  • Full address for your current accommodation and previous addresses in the last six years. You must complete your address history for the last six years in order for us to assess your application
  • Name and contact details of your current landlord (if applicable)
  • Name and address of your employer (if applicable)
  • Gross Annual income (if employed)
  • Your entitlement/award for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) (if applicable)
  • Name and contact details of any agency workers you are involved with

When completing an application form, ensure you answer all the questions fully.

All information will be treated as confidential, although information may be shared if we need to check against fraud or follow up information about your housing needs.

We will take action against anyone found to have been fraudulently applying for accommodation or not giving full details of their circumstances.

At present, we are assessing applicants’ housing needs for admission to the Housing Register as quickly as practicable however, we currently have a 3-month backlog of social housing applications.

If you have a change in circumstance to your current active housing application, kindly complete the change in circumstance form. When you have completed the form, you should send to:

Get started - apply for the council housing waiting list

You do not need to register or login to start a new application.

Your application will be saved as you complete it, this can be retrieved from the same link above at any time before final submission. In order to retrieve this you will need your surname, date of birth and National Insurance number.

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