Council and housing association transfers

If you want to move to a new home within your council's local area, you can apply for a transfer. If you rent from a housing association, you can ask to be transferred to another property owned by that association.

What is a transfer?

  • If you rent your home from the council and need to move, you can apply for a transfer to a new home within the council's area.

  • If you rent from a housing association, you can apply for a transfer to a new property owned by the same housing association.

  • If you want to move to a new council area, you will need to contact your landlord or apply to the Homeswapper mutual exchange scheme.

Who can apply for a transfer?

You can apply for a transfer if you rent your home from the council or a housing association and your circumstances have changed since you moved in, resulting in a need for a different home. This could be because:

  • your family is now too big for your current home and it is becoming overcrowded

  • your home is too big for you, for example because your children have now left home

  • you are ill or have a disability and your current home isn't suited to your needs.

How do I apply for a transfer?

In order to apply, you will need to contact your council's housing department or your housing association. You will be asked to fill in a form or register online and your name will be added to the housing waiting list.

Is there  a cost?

No, there is no charge for applying for a transfer. 

How long will it take to get a new home?

Housing waiting lists don't work on a 'first come, first served' basis. Councils and housing associations have different allocation policies (ways of deciding who they will give new homes to first). Many have a points system depending on housing need: the more points you have, the higher up the waiting list you'll be.

Depending on why you need to move, you may have to wait a long time before you are offered a new home.

Your council's website may explain their allocation policy, or you can find out by asking the council's housing department. If your housing association has a website, this may explain their allocation policy (you can find a list of all housing associations in Scotland at the SFHA website) or ask your housing officer.

You can find out more about the general rules in the section on applying for a council home.

How many offers will I get?

If your application is accepted, the council or housing association may only make you one offer of a new home. If you turn an offer down, they may ask you to explain your reasons, and if they don't think your reasons are good enough, they may impose a 'penalty'. For example, they may refuse to make you any more housing offers for six months, or remove your priority status. Make sure you find out from your council or housing association what their policy is before you turn down any offers.

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Last updated: 29 December 2014

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

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