Waiting for public housing

What you need to do while you're waiting for public housing and if an offer for a property comes up.

Tell us if something changes

While you’re waiting for public housing, you must let us know straight away about any changes in your and your partner’s (if you have one) circumstances.

This could be changes to your:

  • address and phone number
  • income or financial circumstances
  • family or household arrangements.

If you don’t let us know, you might not be able to get a property that best meets your needs, or you may no longer qualify for public housing.

We may also contact you to talk about your circumstances. It’s important that you answer our calls or letters, or we may think you no longer need public housing and cancel your application.

How long you have to wait

If you qualify for public housing, the length of time you have to wait for a property depends on:

  • how quickly a suitable property becomes available
  • what your needs are
  • the number of people waiting with urgent needs.

While waiting for a property, it’s important to keep looking for other options, like rental properties in the private market. If you want help with this, you can call us on 0800 559 009.

Accepting a public housing offer

If a landlord makes you an offer for a property and the property suits your needs, you can accept the offer.

You and the landlord will sign a tenancy agreement. The agreement sets out:

  • your rights and responsibilities
  • the landlord’s rights and responsibilities.

If you don't accept the offer 

If an offer for a property comes up, you can choose not to accept it if you have a good reason, eg, there are stairs which you find hard to climb because you've had a knee replacement.

If you don't accept the offer and don’t have a good reason, we'll check that you still qualify for public housing. This means you must still have a serious and immediate housing need. If you don't, you may be taken off the social housing register.

If you reapply for public housing within 13 weeks, we'll look at your decision to decline the offer when checking if you meet the criteria.