Community landlord waiting lists

This section explains who is eligible for housing with a community landlord, how to apply, and how decisions are made about who to house first. Community landlord homes are in short supply, so it can be difficult to get one and you will probably have to wait for some time.

If you are homeless you should tell the council that you want to apply as homeless as well as applying for a permanent home.

In most council areas, the council holds a ‘common housing register’ and applications need to be made to the council. Housing registers are often referred to as ‘allocations schemes’ or ‘housing lists’.

If your local council doesn’t have a common housing register, you will probably have to apply to each community landlord directly. Check with your local council’s housing options team or get help from Shelter Cymru if you are unsure about how to apply.

You can find out more about applying for a community landlord home by clicking on the options in the table below or at the bottom of the page.

Accessible housing

Some areas have separate Accessible Housing Registers. These registers aim to :

  • identify people who might need an adapted or accessible property
  • identify potential accessible properties in their area
  • match the person with a suitable property.

Finding a suitable property can be difficult. Make sure you explain what your access needs and other requirements are so that you can be matched with something suitable. Be prepared to wait as there is a shortage of accessible housing.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission have published a guide Your rights to accessible and adaptable housing in Wales which might give you some tips and help on applying for accessible properties.

Not all areas operate Accessible Housing Registers so it is best to check with your council’s housing options team. Have a look at our page on Housing for people with special requirements for more advice.

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

What if I need help with my application?

You can ask the council for information and advice on how to apply. All councils are required by law to provide free information on:

  • how to make an application
  • who is eligible to be considered for housing
  • how priority between applicants will be decided
  • the procedures it will follow when it looks at your application
  • what will happen when a suitable property becomes available.

Most councils and community landlords will provide a leaflet explaining how their system works.

Councils also have a legal responsibility to help you if you find it difficult to apply. This could be, for example, if English is your second language or you have reading difficulties. They should provide you with an application form in a different format if you request it (for example, in braille, large print or by audio). If they refuse to do this, or you are not happy with the way the council, or any other community landlord, deals with your application, get help from a Shelter Cymru adviser.

What information should I include?

The information you include on your application form helps the council or other community landlord to decide:

The application form should allow you to explain in detail any special needs, difficulties or problems you or your family have. For example, if you have mobility problems.

You should also be able to include relevant information about overcrowding, disrepair, medical problems or disability, violence or harassment.

Most application forms will ask for:

  • the name, age and gender of everyone in your household, and how they are related to you
  • your income, and the income of any joint applicants
  • where you currently live, and what facilities and conditions are like there
  • where you have been living (usually over the past 5 years)
  • whether you have any connections with the area, such as living, working or having family in the area
  • the type of housing you need, including size, location and facilities.

Although some of the information may seem private, it is worth including as it may mean that you get extra priority. Enclose copies of any evidence that you have (such as photographs, letters from your doctor or other health professionals, or police incident reports) and take photocopies of everything before you hand it in.

Can I apply jointly with someone else?

It is normally possible for two or more people to apply jointly, for example, if they are a married couple, civil partners, or living together. Applying for a joint occupation contract has its pros and cons, so you should get advice before deciding whether to do so. If you are offered a joint contract it would mean that:

  • if you split up, neither of you can be forced to leave without a court order. You would have equal rights to live in the property until the court decides what should happen to your home
  • each of you would be individually responsible for paying the rent and not breaking the occupation contract. This means that you could be held liable if the other joint contract-holder doesn’t pay her/his share of the rent, or causes nuisance to the neighbours.

How will I know about the council’s decision?

If the council decides not to accept your application to go on its waiting list, it must write to you and explain the legal reasons for its decision. If you don’t have an address (for example if you are sleeping on the streets), you can collect the decision letter from the council’s offices.

You should get help immediately as it may be possible to:

  • ask the council to review their decision (there is a time limit to do this)
  • reapply when your circumstances have changed (for example if you have a history of rent arrears but you have since paid them off).

Can I choose where I live?

The application form may ask you to select which parts of the area you want to live. Choosing more areas gives you a better chance of getting a community landlord home.

You can apply to any council area you choose. You do not have to be living in their area to apply. However, councils are allowed to give extra priority to people who already live in their area.

Some councils run ‘choice-based lettings schemes’. This means that properties are advertised and you can bid for the property if it suits your needs and is in an area you want to live.

Other councils or community landlords offer properties directly. Take a look at our page on Getting an offer for more details.

Bear in mind that there is usually a longer wait in popular areas.

Keeping your application up to date

In most areas, the council will send you a letter each year, asking if you still want to be considered for housing. If you don’t reply, your name might be removed from the waiting list.

You should also inform the council if your circumstances change, for example if you have a new child or have moved home. Changes in your circumstances may affect how much priority you get.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us

Who is eligible to apply?

Most people who are living in the UK permanently are eligible to apply for community landlord accommodation, but there are some exceptions.

Who gets priority?

By law, priority for community landlord housing must be given to certain groups of people.

Getting an offer

This page explains how councils housing teams and community landlords make offers of accommodation.

Challenging allocation decisions

If you are unhappy about a decision that has been made about your application for community landlord accommodation, you may be able to take action.

Occupation contract transfers

If you are already a community landlord occupation contract-holder, you might be able to apply for a transfer to a different property.

Occupation contract exchanges

If you are already have a community landlord home you might be able to swap your home with another community landlord contract-holder.

Did you find this helpful?

This page was last updated on: April 11, 2023

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.