Applying for a waiting list transfer

If you have an occupation contract with a community landlord and need to move to a new community landlord home because your housing needs have changed, you might be able to apply to the waiting list to be transferred to a more suitable property. This is known as a ‘waiting list transfer’.

A waiting list transfer is different to a transfer between secure contract-holders, where you arrange to swap your home with another secure contract-holder.

How to apply for an waiting list transfer

Contact your community landlord to apply for a waiting list transfer. You will be asked to fill in a form or register online.

Every council or community landlord should provide free information about how to apply for a waiting list transfer and how this scheme works.

You will be asked for information about why you need to move. Explain in detail any special needs, difficulties or problems you or your family have – for example a health condition that makes your current home unsuitable. Enclose copies of any evidence that you have (such as photographs, letters from your doctor etc.)

If your application is accepted onto the waiting list, you will usually be on the same waiting list as other households applying for community landlord housing. This is often referred to as the housing register. Your level of priority is usually assessed in the same way. You can find out more information from our general advice page about community landlord waiting lists.

Your chances of getting a waiting list transfer will depend on:

  • the reasons you want to move
  • whether your landlord has accommodation of the right size – larger homes are usually in short supply
  • whether you need a home that has been adapted – in this situation you may have to wait longer.

Who qualifies for an waiting list transfer?

You should check with your council or community landlord to see if you are able to apply for a waiting list transfer. Some housing list policies might require you to have a secure contract.

You probably can’t apply for a transfer if you:

Get help if your housing needs have changed and you have been told you can’t apply for a waiting list transfer. An adviser may be able to help you get accepted onto the waiting list. You may be able to make a homelessness application if it is no longer reasonable for you to live in your home.

Priority for a waiting list transfer

You may be entitled to priority for a waiting list transfer if:

  • you are living in very poor conditions (for example, your home is in serious disrepair or lacks basic washing / cooking facilities)
  • your family has grown and your home is now overcrowded
  • your current home is no longer suited to your needs because you are ill or have a disability
  • you need to move to a particular area to avoid hardship (for example, you suffer with a mental health illness and you need to be close to people who support you).

In some cases, you may also get priority if:

  • your home is now too big for your household, for example because your children have left home
  • you are under-occupying your home, and since the introduction of the bedroom tax you can no longer afford the rent.

Your application for a transfer should be dealt with using the same rules that apply to other people applying for a community landlord home. See our page on Who gets priority? for more details.

How long will a waiting list transfer take?

Waiting list transfers can take a long time. There is no guarantee that you will get the home you want. There is a shortage of property in most areas.

To speed up the process, you may need to be flexible about what you are prepared to accept.

Waiting list transfers to a different area

You may be able to transfer to an occupation contract in another area, for example to be near a special school or other service.

If you have been accepted for a waiting list transfer by your local council, ask them whether they can put your application to a community landlord in a different area. This is often referred to as being ‘nominated’. Councils sometimes have ‘nomination agreements’ with community landlords in different areas.

It might also be possible to apply directly to a council or community landlord waiting list in a different area. However, some councils may give you less priority if you do not have a local connection.

You can be on the waiting list in different areas at the same time, but if you are homeless, only one council will deal with your homelessness application.

What can I do if I am unhappy with the decision about my transfer application?

If you are unhappy about a decision that has been made about your application for a waiting list transfer, you might be able to ask for that decision to be reviewed.

Transfer applicants should be treated in the same way as people who are applying for community landlord accommodation for the first time, so they should be given the same rights to challenge any decision. Take a look at our page on Challenging allocation decisions to see what you can do.

If you need help challenging a decision then get help from Shelter Cymru as soon as possible. You usually have to ask for any review within 21 days of receiving the decision so make sure you don’t delay.

Swapping homes with another secure contract-holder

You might have a better chance of moving home if you consider an transfer with another secure contract-holder with another community landlord contract-holder.

Get help from Shelter Cymru if you are not sure whether to apply for a waiting list transfer or to swap homes with another secure contract-holder.

Did you find this helpful?

Rydym yn ymddiheuro na fedrwn ddarparu’r wybodaeth yma yn Gymraeg, ond os hoffech siarad ag ymgynghorydd yn Gymraeg yna cysylltwch ar 08000 495 495.
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.

This page was last updated on: April 20, 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.