Can I go on the housing register?

I'm single and have no children but I'm having real problems affording housing. I'd really like to be able to put my name on the housing register but how do I go about it? And how long am I likely to have to wait before I get somewhere to stay?

Unfortunately it’s hard to say how long you’ll have to wait on the housing register as it will depend on your individual circumstances, the kind of property you want and the area you are applying in.

To apply to go on the housing register you can fill in a form at your local housing advice centre. When you fill out the form, tell the council as much as you can about your situation, as this could increase your chances of getting help.

When deciding how to allocate properties, your local council must give preference to certain groups of people. These include:

  • Homeless people (including those in temporary accommodation arranged by the council);
  • People living in poor conditions;
  • People who need to move urgently for health reasons;
  • People who need to move to a particular area;
  • People who are victims of violence or threats of violence.

Once you’ve applied for housing, let the council know immediately if your situation changes, for example if you move, or have a baby. Your new situation might mean that you get more priority for housing.

Many local councils have arrangements with housing associations, to suggest people to fill their vacancies. If your name is on the council’s list, it may suggest your name to a housing association when a vacancy comes up. This is called ‘being nominated’ to a housing association. If your council does this you could ask to be nominated to housing associations when you apply for housing.

In addition, some housing associations will accept direct applications. To find housing associations in your area you can ask a local advice agency, or look on the You can get more information about applying for council and housing association homes from the Shelter website.

Answered by Shelter on 06-Mar-2014

Next Steps