Council houses: Hi, is there anyone here who can... - Headway


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Council houses


Hi, is there anyone here who can help me understand how the council really works? My husband is permanent resident in the UK. He applied for a council flat however council keeps his family type as single because Im not in the uk. My husband lives with a friend so I cannot just join him there . Thats why Im waiting in poland and he is in the uk. Council keeps refusing to change his family type into married because we dont live together. How does that work? I have to admitt I do not understand the rules and I cannot believe family type becomes single when someone is in another country. Does any of you know how this works? Any advise would be great really. Thank you

26 Replies

Hi Iwona084

I think it is possibly as simple as they are saying that they won't offer him a flat or house with more than one bedroom because you and your Children, if you have any aren't with him. If you don't have Children they will only give you a one bed place anyway!

They need to know that you will be joining him before they give him a joint tenancy contract also... He will may well have to bid for a place just as we would have to if we were looking for a place, and he may well be banded meaning he will be on a lower banding if there aren't any Children or health problems. Hope this helps... :)

Iwona084 in reply to Hidden

Hi, we do not need more than one bedroom. Thats why I was trying to understand, is there a difference according to the law, being single or being married without children? If so, maybe there is no difference for us. This really helps. You see, council did not explain that at all, even though we were asking. Here in Poland, it is a major difference to be married, otherwise you are not even considered a "family" if you are on your own.

Thank you for explaining that, it makes sense now :)

Hi Steve, I only asked is there a difference between single and married when it comes to family type in council. Im not sure why this became such a heated reaction. When as you said 'migrant" comes that migrant is getting work and paying taxes as any other citizen. We live in Europe where borders are open to everyone. Even with a visa, people are allowed to be in the UK and work . I did not say a word about using a system of benefits! I have lived in the UK for two years, my husband lives there for 10 years and we have never took a penny from your system. That "burden" as far as EU reports are showing are real people who want to work and pay taxes, they help this infrastructure to keep going by often taken the jobs that british people dont want, like waitresses, au pairs, drivers, cleaners etc.

I had a discussion with other people and I shared my concerns about coming to the UK because of reactions like this. Im highly educated, I have been considering getting back to my PhD, but in minds of people I will always be a "migrant" who is a burden to the infrastructure? Really? This is what you mean? Or did I just missed your point.

Again, the question on council was simple - family type was something I did not understand. Next time I will think twice before I share my concern, because I did not want to be called a "burden", I definitely dont feel like one especially when asking how things really works in other places.

Have a good day.

Heronyx in reply to Iwona084

The reason the discussion became "heated" should be very obvious especially to your highly educated mind. The simple fact is that whether you're taking benefits, paying taxes or not there is a housing crisis in England and social housing should be for people who are completely unable to accommodate themselves privately. Both yourself and your husband who you've said work and have no children can look for private accommodation so that UK citizens and immigrants to the UK who can't do better can be housed faster.

It's somewhat annoying to read a message about someone who it would appear doesn't actually need council housing not only asking about it but also apparently complaining. Just have your husband rent a private accommodation and join him asap.

It's funny that you're so educated and have lived in the UK yet instead of reading about council housing on the UK's government website you're asking about it on a medical forum. Why is that?

cat3 in reply to Heronyx

I have to jump in here to inform you that Iwona has a serious brain injury and has been struggling with health issues whilst separated from her partner who works in UK ; she is a member of this forum and receives help and support regarding her health issues.

Despite these issues she is determined to work to support herself.

You might consider an apology appropriate ?

Iwona084 in reply to cat3

Thank you so much Cat. I might have made a mistake asking the council question here but as you know Im going through a lot amd trying to put things together. I found some people are really very kind and nice so I wanted to talk about my concerns here and share. It is funny how it turned out as I only asked the question about family types difference. I did not want to be the reason why some people get annoyed or againt some others. Im sorry about that. Hopefully I will be wiser next time. Thank you for being supportive, I really needed that. Xxxx iwona

cat3 in reply to Iwona084

So often we talk here about many other issues which affect our lives. Everything is so much more challenging after a BI so it's natural to ask around about information that someone else can help with.

With most of us this is all part of supporting each other in getting through life with a 'handicap'.

Personally, I'll be very pleased to see you finally settled here in UK with your partner & wish you all best wishes in achieving that.

Love Cat xx

Iwona084 in reply to Heronyx

Thank you for your message. The reason why Im asking this on medical forum is that it relates to my situation, that some people are aware of. Im not aware of council housing being in crisis, in order to get a flat you need to match criteria. Im not taking anybody's benefits or houses. I mentioned Im educated because the country can benefit from that; from my experience and knowledge and therefore I do not wish to be called a "burden". It is surpriring for me to see that some people maybe taking pleasure by laughing at my english or my education; here, on the forum for BI where we share similar problems. And I did no complain at all, i wanted to ask questions here because I felt there are people who can tell from their experience how things works. I found some friends here and I will stay in touch with them the way I please and I will share the information I feel are relevant to the subject. If you are not happy with that, you dont have to answer me. Or maybe you feel better if you offend me or upset me? I cannot be responsible of someone else's frustration. Hope you have a good evening.

steve55 in reply to Iwona084

iwona084 my thought process is in my tongue, I say what I feel and I for one will be voting to leave the eu.

make fun of you is one thing I would never do but im not the compassionate person I was before my bi.

my comments were not through frustration, you say your husband lives with a friend, is that council or private accommodation ? private accommodation would be your best bet , that's the avenue most of the poles I know went down.

as far as work is concerned, you may have a degree but are physically going to be able to keep down a full time job?

I cant , I wouldn't even get past the interview, because my stroke left me with a fear of strangers public transport and im waiting to see a neurologist to see if ive developed the meantime I only go out with my wife at the weekends.

Iwona084 in reply to steve55

Dear Steve, I also say what I think, but sometimes I decide not to in order not to offend anyone. There is no gain in being offensive. Lets agree on this - I do not know you and you do not know me. Lets not mix different subjects. My question was not about political views; I may not agree on some points and you have right to think your own way, but putting this on me, in the time when Im trying to be with my loved one, was just not fair. Im also not interested what other poles are doing in the UK, how they live, etc. Everyone has right to it's own choices and even though I got upset Im not going to upset you back. I hope you will find the help you need and that everything will work out well for you. As the weekend is coming, I wish you a peaceful, calm time, filled with your loved ones.

steve55 in reply to Iwona084

unfortunately I do not have that recoil which tells me I shouldn't say that , I wish I did , it would make my wifes life a lot easier

Iwona084 in reply to steve55

Steve, I do not know you but what i an see is that you are hurt. You are looking for excuses to why you are not compassionate or nice? Are you talking about that to a therapist? If not maybe you should consider having one. You can always work on how you respond, you are not a child. Im sorry, I have also gone through a life saving thing, I have gone through many things in my life already, but bad behaviour is on you, not on other people. Get help Steve, or share more with people here. In the end, we are here to help each other. Take care.

Hi Iwona, the 1st thought that came to my mind on your post,is - does your husband have a Certified copy of yours and his Polish Marriage Certificate, same with your Birth Certificate - both would possibly also need to be translated into English, by a suitably qualified and registered Translator in the UK. These would at least prove you are a married couple! I know there are some Polish Communities in the UK, plus of course the Polish Embassy, so one of them may be able to help your husband out regarding the UK procedure and whether or not he'll need translated copies. However as Steve has said, it isn't and wasn't easy getting Council housing, not when I lived in UK till 2008 and worse now, especially with the Syrian refugee crisis. So we are all immigrants - me now in France, included!

It's a bad mad world we all live in these days! I find it quite tough here now, but only since my BI - there are so many cultural differences and always will be, that purely the nature of things. I left my husband - we both still live here - but at different ends of the country. I'm not as fluent in French as you seem to be in English, which will be a big help to you. The indigenous British people, by and large are of a kind and compassionate nature. When things/events start changing rapidly and it affects them, many get frightened / concerned - as I said it's all,about cultural differences!

because I live in France now, although English, I know that's how the system works here in reverse for me! My English Certificates had to be translated into French. I also am aware it's common practice in mainland Europe, certainly in France, for the women to use their own birth Surname all their lives, even when married - because that's the name the Authorities always use.

There are always 2 names on the postbox for a married couple :-) Mine has my married name on it and I put my Birth surname after it, just in case!

I kicked up a hell of a fuss here when we arrived and registered with the Health Care System when they insisted on calling me Mme S**** -) I must be the first person who had her health card changed by them, to be in my Married name. I didn't know the sytem here either! As Cat says, if you don't ask you don't know! We only rented privately once in UK 49 years ago, so I can't help any farther than that, other than above. However I wish you well with the interview and your husbands efforts to find accommodation for you both. Sorry I can't be of jfurther help. Xx.

Iwona I worked in housing management before my accident and if I can help you try to make sense of the system I would happily do so... but perhaps it might be best to chat in private message format rather than on the open board. Please do drop me a message if you think you'd like to.

Hi Iwona,

I found this website which I thought might be helpful ;

The system works on points you get for your current circumstances :

Councils can differ in their policies so best to get further info from the council in the area where you wish to live.

Angela x


Hi iwona

I used to work at an advice centre and can confirm that to obtain Council Housing is complicated

Has your husband taken advice from the local advice centre/Shelter or Nomad (another charity which may help)

Has he contacted his councillors as the Council may be considering that you are classed as not permanently resident in the UK and therefore not entitled to support/ Housing

Best wishes and Goodluck

Iwona084 in reply to Hidden

Hi, my husband is permanent resident; he has a document confirming that. Apparently Council cannot recognize he is married because I do not have a NI number. The reason I do not have one is that I have no place be in the UK. My husband lives with his friend in two bed private appartament and I cannot join him there. We need a temporary place until I settle; get all the papers I need and find a job. At the moment he has band C and single family type. As for advise center - it is in the council itself. We are not sure what kind of arguments we could use and if even we could expect any help. My husband lives and works in the UK for 10 years now, but with one salary it is not possible to rent in private sector especially that there could be medical bills to cover due to my health conditions.

If you have any advise or comment I will be happy to know.

Thank you


Hidden in reply to Iwona084


When you say your husband is a permanent resident is he a British citizen I.e born in the UK OR has been granted permanent status by the home office

If it is the latter you may have problems if your husband is BRITISH it is easier to get priority If his friends give Notice of eviction to him the down side of this would be that he is temporarily offered hostel accommodation - temporary been used vaguely could be any length of time I WOULD SUGGEST HE GETS ADVICE FROM A QUALIFIED PERSON BEFORE GOING DOWN THIS ROUTE

As it is at the moment his Housing needs are low priority I am afraid

Good luck

steve55 in reply to Iwona084

iwona084 what sort of medical bills

Sad to say, Iwona, but you will find a lot of people in the UK who have been misled by the daily Mail, Nigel Farage and the like into believing that the UK has one of the highest levels of inward migration in Europe and that this has caused a drain on our economy, both of which have been shown by validated research in the last 12 months to be entirely untrue. And I would imagine that it is a tough time to ne a non-Brit in our country at the moment with Brexit high on the agenda.

You have had your question answered in one sense - married couple, no children = 1 bed flat, same as a single person. Council housing works on a priority system, and first priority is to people and families who are homeless.

I thinknyou need to write to the Council and explain that you are unable to join your husband as there is nowhere for you to live. You are technically a homeless couple because of that.

It is still v likely that they will be unable to offer a council flat -properties are limited and waiting lists are usually extremely long, and within the 'priority' group preference will be given to those who need particular housing because of a physical disability, mental health issue or care and support needs, ex forces personnel, those who have been in local authority care, those fleeing domestic violence etc etc. You may still be a long way down the list. Most Councils also give some priority to those who have been on the list the longest too.

Other than that it is a bit of a lottery. Sometimes a property will pop up and there will be very few bids on it...there is usually a reason for that, and it is often the neighbours.

The Council may be able to offer other help - many run a bond scheme which means they promise the private landlords to cover your deposit and (often) rent in advance. You get freedom over where and what size your property is in the private sector, as long as you can afford it. Sometimes Councils produce lists of people with property to let as well.

Your best bet though is probably the grapevine. I know our tenants next door are often asking if we know of anywhere for friends and family. Sometimes we can help...sometimes not.

Sorry that you got that barrage above but it will be a view often expressed to you over here I am afraid. Some of us are welcoming (our tenants are Polish and Soviet and fantastic hard working, well paying chaps they are - far better than the British chap we had a few years back who left us owing £3000) but other people won't be and that will be a reality of life for you in the UK, unfortunately. Best of luck with it all x

Iwona084 in reply to malalatete

Hi, thank you for your message. Can you elaborate on what grapevine is? Im not familiar with that name. Not sure what it is. If you feel like sharing with me, i'll be happy to get informed. Thank you :)

malalatete in reply to Iwona084

Hi - it is an English idiom, means asking people you know and getting them to ask people they know and on and on... Best of luck x

Iwona084 in reply to malalatete

Thank you. Always happy to improve my language skills :)

Steve, your appropriateness filter may still be on the blink so I'll give you a rule of thumb: inflammatory comments which stop just short of personal insults are not appropriate, especially not here.

Bad planning / provision on the part of every government since 1979 isn't anybody's fault but those governments'. There *is* a housing crisis, but it hasn't been caused by EU / other immigrants, it's been caused by a government propping up the economy on the housing market by artificially inflating prices - failing to replace the housing stock lost through right to buy is a deliberate tactic to keep prices high.

The points you raise absolutely merit our outrage, the government *should* be taking better care of ex-soldiers and Britons who need housing, but it is the *government's* responsibility (the EU hasn't stopped governments from building council houses or addressing the 'housing crisis' in other ways: that has been a political choice) - the fault does not lie with the private citizens of any country.

If you're going to get angry then by all means do, but I would suggest that you make sure your ire is directed at those who are ACTUALLY responsible for the problem.

steve55 in reply to fuzzyhead

fuzzyhead inappropriate speech and actions are all the result of my bi !!!!

I live in west sussex where theres a large population of poles , Russians ,Lithuanians etc. why west sussex.....because of its large agricultural needs......doing jobs that your average person on the dole and receiving other benefits are too lazy to do.

then you have the philipinos and Romanians ( Romanians were aloud in on training contracts before the borders were opened for them ) to cover gaps in the health care and social care .

this was 12 yrs ago, they went into rented accommodation and put their names down on the council housing waiting argument was that they had joined the line in waiting for a council house.......650 houses being built now.

I have a pole living downstairs now who has a child his wife and the mother in law living with him and hes been told no chance for years


Hello everyone,

Thank you to Iwona for your post, and thank you to all of you who have offered some very useful and constructive guidance and information. Iwona, I do hope this will help you to understand the council's decisions and find the best housing options.

You can also contact our helpline on 0808 800 2244 or to talk it through - although it's clear there's so much experience within this community you have a lot of support.

We would like to remind members that this is a forum for discussing brain injury and the everyday issues that arise from it, and we have to ensure that everyone, regardless of circumstances and background, feels able to ask for information and support. This means that personal opinions that may offend will be removed from the page, especially if they are not contributing positively to the conversation.

Best wishes,


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