Apply to your local authority. You can find a directory of local authorities, with contact details here.
Your local authority will provide you with an application form. The application form will ask what kind of social housing support you are applying for. You should consider applying for both local authority and housing associations in your area to maximise your opportunities of an offer. To do this, tick the boxes marked ‘Rented Local Authority Accommodation’ and ‘Voluntary/Co-operative Housing’ on this form (Voluntary/Co-operative Housing means housing associations.)
The form will also ask you to select the areas in which you want to live. It is important to consider all relevant issues when making this decision, such as transport, schools, access to services, where family and friends live etc.
In assessing your application, the local authority will consider such factors as household income (see here for income levels), your present accommodation (if any), the condition of that accommodation, and any special circumstances including age, disability, medical circumstances etc. In general, you must already be living in the area covered by that local authority or have a local connection with the area – though a local authority may agree to waive this requirement.
You should be aware that in most areas there is a shortage of social housing. It is worth checking this carefully when you apply as for some areas the waiting time might be several years and for other areas it may be much shorter.
If you are eligible for social housing, the local authority will place you on its waiting list. Housing is usually allocated to applicants in order of priority, taking all circumstances into account. However in practice, priority is generally given to families and older people rather than single people or couples without children. You should ask the local authority to give you an estimate of the waiting time and your position on the waiting list if you are accepted. Your position may go up or down depending on the circumstances of other people on the waiting list and as your own circumstances change.
When a vacancy arises in Clúid, potential tenants are nominated to Clúid by the local authority (from the local authority housing waiting list).
Vacancies arise in Clúid when new properties are added to its portfolio or when a tenant moves out of an existing property. The latter is very rare as most of Clúid’s tenants remain in their home for life. The quantity of houses Clúid has available will usually be small in relation to the number of houses provided by the local authority. This is because local authorities have about 5 times as many properties as housing associations. However, housing associations are now the main providers of new social housing across the country. Clúid and other housing associations are working very hard to deliver as much good quality affordable housing as they can for people on housing waiting lists.
If an applicant is forwarded by the local authority, Clúid will ring or write to you about the vacancy. If you are interested in it Clúid will invite you for an interview. Clúid then decides in conjunction with the local authority which applicants will receive an offer of housing.
Click here for more information from Citizens Information.