If you wish to apply for council or housing association accommodation for the first time, you should put your name on the housing list for the council area you wish to live.
Most local council areas now operate a common housing register which means you only have to complete one application form for the council and all the housing associations with properties in that area. (Note: eleven councils in Wales no longer have any housing stock of their own).
In Wales, the only people who can be excluded from a common housing register are:
- people from overseas who are not eligible (check if you are eligible)
- somebody whose behaviour has been so unacceptable in the past that the council believes them to be an unsuitable council or housing association tenant
Shelter Cymru has more information on its website about who is and who is not eligible for housing.
If you are eligible to apply for housing, you can include anyone who can reasonably be included as part of your family or household in your application even if they are not eligible themselves (and their own circumstances will count towards your priority rating).
The Community Housing Cymru Group lists the housing associations operating in each council area.
How housing is allocated
In most areas, housing demand strips supply and so a points or bands-based system operates. Priority is given to people depending on their current circumstances and level of housing need; this includes those who need to move for medical reasons.
Individuals defined by law as having a ‘priority need’ to housing in Wales are:
- pregnant women
- dependent children
- someone vulnerable as a result of old age, mental illness, handicap or physical disability (or another special reason)
- someone homeless or at risk of homelessness as a result of flood, fire or disaster
- young people aged 16–17 years old
- young people aged 18–21 years old at risk of financial or sexual exploitation
- young care leavers aged 18–21 years old
- people who are homeless as a result of leaving prison
- anyone who has fled domestic violence or the threat of domestic violence and is vulnerable as a result
- former Armed Services personnel who have been homeless since leaving the Forces
Shelter Cymru has more information on its website about who is given priority when it comes to allocating housing.