Apply for council housing
A council home is only one of the housing options available to you. Approximately 700 households out of 3,600 on the waiting list are housed each year.
Renting in the private sector is another housing option. If you'd like help seeking a private let or you are threatened with homelessness, you can contact our Housing Prevention Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to apply
There are four steps involved in applying to live in a council home:
- You make an online application to be on the waiting list for council housing. You can access the application form on this page.
- We will process your application. If it's successful, we will send you an eligibility letter.
- Once you receive your eligibility letter, you can register online for our choice-based lettings system.
- You can then login to our choice-based letting system and bid for one suitable council property in each weekly bidding cycle. Read more: How our choice-based letting system works
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.
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.
- Not sure you live in Swindon borough? Check which council area you live in
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
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:
- on your own smartphone, tablet or computer
- at your local library
- at our customer services drop-in centre
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 20 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 email@example.com 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:
- your housing band and banding date
- the size of property you are eligible for
- your application reference numbers
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. For information about alternative housing options, visit Swindon’s HomeGuide website.