Why is this important?
Most local authorities keep a housing register which is a list of names of people who have applied for local authority or housing association property. The local authority must publish information explaining how they make decisions about offering accommodation and the system they use to give priority to applicants on their waiting lists.
In England, local authorities can set other priorities and criteria for people to join a list that are particular to their local area. However, they still have to give preference for housing to certain groups.
If you are accepted on a local authority waiting list, you may have to wait a long time before you are offered accommodation. Your local authority should be able to give you a rough idea of how long you will have to wait.
You should make sure the local authority knows about any special needs that you or other members of your household have. You should keep the local authority informed of any changes likely to affect your application, for example, changes in the numbers and/or ages of your children or if someone in your family develops ill health. You may also have to renew your application regularly.
Some local authorities will advertise empty homes in their area so that people on their waiting list can then 'bid' for the property they are interested in. This is called 'Choice based lettings'. If your local authority uses this type of system for letting accommodation, they should give you information on how, when and where you can bid for accommodation.
For more information about waiting lists, see Finding accommodation.
If you need specially adapted accommodation, for example because you are disabled or elderly or have a disabled child, you can apply to have your details entered on to one or more Accessible Housing Registers.
For more information about Accessible Housing Registers, see Finding accommodation.