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Social housing allocation

social housing

If you’re living with HIV and would like to know more about accessing social housing and learn more about the process, then THT Direct will be able to talk you through your situation and offer advice and direction.

There is a severe shortage of affordable accommodation in the UK, and whilst this can vary from area to area it can still be difficult to secure decent and affordable accommodation. This shortage includes private rented accommodation and social housing.

What is social housing?

Social housing is accommodation let by local authorities and other social landlords, e.g. housing associations, known generally as 'registered social landlords' (RSLs).

Who is entitled to social housing?

To apply for social housing you need to complete the application form and include details of any medical problems. It’s important that you complete a separate medical assessment form for each member of your household with a medical problem as this may increase your priority on the housing register.

Most local authorities will not consider your HIV status as significant in any application for social housing, unless there are substantial, debilitating health issues associated with your condition.

The Localism Act 2011 which came in to force in November 2012 allows individual local authorities to decide who is a 'qualifying person' and able to apply for housing allocation. This is a change from any one being able to apply to any local authority for housing.

A housing authority can define who the 'qualifying person' is. It can do this by applying qualifying criteria that an applicant must meet.

For example, a housing authority may decide that to join its waiting list an applicant must have lived in its area for three years, or that they must not be guilty of any serious anti-social behaviour.

What happens when I file my social housing application?

After registering you should be told what band or group you have been placed in and the level of priority you have.

Housing authorities use different systems to distinguish between applicants’ housing needs and level of priority. For example, some authorities award points for things such as medical and welfare needs. A high number of points generally indicates urgent housing need and a low number, non-urgent housing need.

Another approach is to place applicants in ‘bands’ which reflect the different levels of housing need or relative priorities within an allocation scheme. Prioritising between applicants in each band may be by sub-bands, points and/or the date of the application. Bands are more commonly used in a choice based lettings allocation scheme.

If a local authority decides you're not a 'qualifying person' and so you're unable to apply for housing allocation, they must notify you in writing with the reason.

Am I likely to be housed if I'm in need?

Unfortunately being on the housing register does not mean you'll be housed, nor is there a duty on the local authority to ever house you. Most local authorities, particularly those in London and the South East of England, have a much greater demand than they have housing stock.

Most people who apply are unlikely to ever be housed and for those who are given extra priority, the wait can still sometimes be several years. Some of the housing registers in London have over 22,000 people waiting, and additional people applying each week.

Where can I find more information?

Each local authority should publish its own allocations policy, which you should be able to find on their web site.

There is a right of review for decisions about eligibility and of the facts taken into consideration in making allocation decisions. 

More information on Shelter's website.

If you have any questions about social housing allocation you can contact THT Direct on 0808 802 1221 or talk to one of our Online Advisers.



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  • I have had HIV for two years now, and it takes me a long time to get to work, especially walking 30 minutes to a train station, and then a train journey, working 9 hours and then travelling back, it never used to get to me, but over time now, i am constantly struggling, the thought of doing it in snow again is a killer, wonder if I could get somewhere closer to work, or more town based.

    Posted 21:12 Sat 15 Sep 2012
  • Im lving with HIV since 2008. I live with my husband who is an EEA National and is HIV negative in a one bedroom council flat. Last month my 2 kidS here into UK to live with us. My son is 15 and isalso HIVpositive and my daughter 12 and negative.
    We art having to sleep on the couch while the children share the bedroom. We dont know whether we can get a bigger house/flat because my right to to live is as a family member of an EEA national.
    What kind f help is available for people in our sircumstances?

    Posted 19:10 Wed 19 Jun 2013
  • i have been told that i am hiv positive, i live with my wife and daughter and she wants me to move out because of this. she is scared for herself and my daughter and so much stigma attachted to this disease. can my doctor help me get social housing ? who, what organisations in northern ireland can help me with housing , benefits etc . thankyou

    Posted 11:49 Thu 24 Oct 2013
  • Please call THT Direct between 10am and 8pm from Monday to Friday on 0808 802 1221. They will be able to point you in the right direction.

    Posted 11:11 Thu 07 Nov 2013
  • Im British and live in Vancouver Canada and I have been diagnosed with post traumatic encephalomalacia. This is permanent brain damage and my memory loss is horrible. Im wanting to move home for many reasons , however I want to know what the procedures are and levels of urgent or considered urgent as I cannot come to my family. Will it be long to be housed as ive been in Canada 15 yrs as theres a huge meth problem here and kinda scares the shit outta me.

    Posted 09:42 Mon 05 May 2014
  • Hi Britlad. You can find out more about benefits and social housing by contacting our Online Advisors through the 'My Account' area on this site. You can also contact THT Direct between 10am and 8pm from Monday to Friday on 0808 802 1221.

    Posted 11:42 Mon 09 Jun 2014

The Information Standard: Certified member

This article was last reviewed on 8/11/2016 by Anna Peters

Date due for the next review: 8/11/2019

Content Author: Gillian Arrindell

Current Owner: Donatus Anyanwu

More information:

Astin, Diane. Housing Law: an advisor's handbook 2008

Chapter 16

Allocation of social housing p615