Social housing is housing owned by local councils and housing associations. We offer it to people and families who have been assessed as having the greatest housing need. 

There is a severe shortage of social housing, and the housing register, also called the waiting list, is extremely long. Most people will be on the housing register for years and will never get a social housing property.  

This guide will explain how to apply for social housing but it’s usually better to try other options. For example, like moving outside London where properties can be more affordable and waiting times may be shorter.  

You are more likely to be able to rent privately outside London than get a social housing property. 

Find an affordable home to rent

Swap your home with another tenant (mutual exchange) 

If you are an existing social housing tenant, you could swap your home with another tenant, anywhere in the UK. This is the mutual exchange scheme.  

You might want to do this if you need a different size property, or you need to move to another area. 

Find out more about the mutual exchange scheme