Apply for council housing

You can apply for a council home online. We allocate housing according to the urgency of the applicant's need.

We operate a choice-based letting system. This allows you to browse available properties every week and identify ones that are suitable. You can then put in a 'bid' for that property.

Before you make a bid, you must first apply for council housing. You will be accepted onto the housing register if your application is successful.

Please note: You cannot currently make a new application for council housing. This is because we are in the process of moving to a new IT system. We expect this to be available by Wednesday, 22 May.

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.

Housing bands and banding dates

When you apply for social housing, 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 housing register within their band. The date when the applicant is placed on the housing register in their current band is called their banding date.

Making your application

You make an online application to be included on the housing register. 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 housing register.

We will aim to contact you with our decision within 20 working days of your application. Sometimes it will take longer because of a high volume of applications.

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 housing register, 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 confirmation.

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. For information about alternative housing options, visit Swindon’s HomeGuide website.

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