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Applying for council housing while in debt

You can apply for a council house if you have housing debts, but your application will depend on your level of your debt and if you’ve agreed to repay it.

To apply to join the housing register, we require a rent arrears check for former tenants. This lists all the housing-related debts the applicant owes.

You can get this information by completing the Former tenant arrears check form linked above.

Rent arrears

Rent arrears are any housing-related debt owed to us, social landlords or private landlords. Arrears includes non-payment of rent, court costs, water rates, chargeable repairs, and compensation owed to landlords where a tenancy has been ended and the tenant has failed to leave.

This debt applies to current and former tenancies. Debts from former tenancies with private landlords will not affect your application, if they are from two or more years ago.

Rent arrears also include any money we have paid to a landlord to cover non-payment of rent, or damages caused by a tenant.

Non-property related debt will not affect your application. This includes any property related debts which are covered by a bankruptcy order.

Criteria for re-housing

If you are in arrears and are re-applying for housing, your case will be considered based on your housing need.

The four council housing bands ensure the people most in need get housing first, with band one being the highest level of need and band four the lowest level of need.

  • Applicants in band one, with a housing related debt under £300, will be considered for re-housing after agreeing to repay their debt, and meeting the minimum repayments for 12 consecutive weeks
  • Applicants in band one, with a housing related debt above £300, will be considered for re-housing after they have reduced this debt to below £300. They will then also have to agree to repay the debt, and meet the minimum repayments for 12 consecutive weeks
  • Applicants in bands two, three, four and five will be required to pay any outstanding housing related debt in full before they will be considered for re-housing.