Allocation of property
How a property is allocated will vary from region to landlord. In many areas demand for housing is higher than the number of properties that are available. In most areas you may have to wait a long time to get a property that suits your needs.
If you are homeless you will need to contact your local authority, which may be able to provide more immediate assistance.
If you are a new applicant for housing, you will need to find out how the landlord you are applying to allocates its housing. Most landlords will require you to complete an application form. It may be useful to obtain a copy of its allocations/lettings policy before you complete the application form. This will give you an idea of how the landlord awards priority and what evidence you will need to submit to be awarded maximum priority.
Many landlords operate choice-based lettings schemes, usually in partnership with the local council, where applicants are awarded points or placed in bands according to their situation. Applicants then ‘bid’ on vacant properties that meet their requirements and match the band/points awarded.
If you are seeking a transfer, your landlord may have a separate policy for such applications, or these may be dealt with in its allocations/lettings policy. You will usually be required to complete an application form stating your reasons and include any evidence you have to support your request for a move.
You may wish to consider a mutual exchange. This is where you swap your property with another tenant. If you are considering this, it is your responsibility to check that you are happy with the condition of the property and that the type of tenancy you are swapping to has similar rights attached to the one you are giving up. Your local authority keeps a list of potential mutual exchange properties. There is also a nationwide Homeswapper scheme.
It is important to note that both the Housing Ombudsman and the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman deal with complaints about lettings. For details see the fact sheet on Which Ombudsman for social housing complaints. You can also contact either Ombudsman to find out which one deals with the matter you are unhappy about.