Applying for social housing
How to get on the housing list
You’ll need to fill in a housing application form either online or on paper, and give details about:
yourself and anyone who will be living with you
your current living situation
your housing needs and preferences
You’ll usually also need to provide some form of ID, your national insurance number, and proof of your current address. You may be asked for references from previous landlords.
Check where to apply
Contact your council’s housing team and ask them if there’s a common housing register in your area. This is a joint waiting list shared between the council and different housing associations, so you only have to make one application.
Otherwise, you'll have to apply directly to each council and housing association.
To understand your options, you could:
ask the council for a housing options interview
check the Scottish Housing Regulator’s list of registered social landlords, which includes housing associations and cooperatives
When you've decided where to apply, check if there's an application form on their website. If not, you'll need to request one by phone or email, or visit their office in person.
What to include in your application
On your application form, include any information that could give you higher priority on the waiting list. For example, tell them if:
your current home is too small for your family
your current home has serious repair issues
your home is causing you health problems, including mental health
you do not have a right to stay in your current home – for example if you live with family who want you to leave
you’re disabled or have medical needs and your home is not suitable for you
you need to move for work or family reasons
Provide evidence if you can. For example, you could include letters from your doctor or from social work.
The application form might also ask:
which areas you’re willing to live in
what type of housing you want – for example, a house or a ground-floor flat
To get offered a home more quickly, be flexible if you can, and keep your preferences as broad as possible.
What happens after you apply
The council or housing association will look at your circumstances and needs. They may need to visit your current home to check if it’s unsuitable or overcrowded.
They should write to tell you how many points you have or which band you're in. Check the allocation policy to make sure you've been given the right priority.
Ask for an update on your application
If you have not been told about your priority or you've been waiting a long time, email or write to the council or housing association for an update.
If you think your priority is wrong
You have the right to appeal.
If your circumstances change
Contact the council or housing association and ask them to amend your application. This is important so that you only get offered homes that are suitable for your needs and circumstances.
You could get higher priority on the waiting list if your need for housing has become more urgent.
If you cannot accept an offer of housing at the moment, ask for your application to be deferred. For example, if you’ve got health issues or family responsibilities that mean you cannot move. This means you'll still be on the waiting list, but you will not get any offers.
Last updated: 19 January 2023