This is when you rent from either your local council or a housing association, a private, not-for-profit organisation. The rent for a council property is usually lower than a housing association home, which in turn is lower than renting privately.
Most councils have one register for both council housing and housing association homes. Some housing associations have an open register and you can apply directly to them. But most will only take people who have been nominated by the local council.
Local councils have different systems for allocating social housing. It might be:
- A waiting list: the council will tell you when a home is available
- Choice-based lettings: you can bid for homes that you’re eligible to apply for
- A combination of both systems
The council will always give housing to people with the highest need (called priority need) first. This includes people with children and at risk of domestic abuse.
Moving into a new property can be quite expensive. You might be able to get financial help from your council to help with things like the deposit, your first month’s rent or moving costs. See our page on help with rent for more.