Council housing vs Social housing

Council housing vs Social housing

Affordable housing is hard to come by, unless you specify less than attractive areas or less than attractive houses.

How can you find the best accommodation for your budget without breaking the bullet points on your wishlist?

Council properties and social housing are often looked down upon by the better off sections of society, but with more people than ever facing unemployment, low-income, financial trouble and homelessness, social housing is more necessary than ever. 

What options are available for affordable housing and what are the differences between them?

Council Owned Properties

Social Housing

Provided, owned and managed by your local authority council. 

Managed by Housing Associations not necessarily owned by them.

The Right to Buy enables council tenants to buy their home at less than the full market value once they have been living there for at least two years.

Housing association tenants do not usually have the ‘Right to Buy’ but some have properties for sale at affordable prices or on help-to-buy schemes.

If you are a council tenant, you automatically have the right of succession. This means that if something happens to the tenant, the council house will be passed on to someone else living in the house, as long as they have lived there for 12 months. This right only applies to one succession.

Housing associations do not give tenants the right of succession.

Bids can only be made on properties of the relevant size for your household e.g. 1 person can have up to 1 bedroom. 

You can apply for properties of any size.

Secured tenancy agreement: periodic as long as the tenant occupies and there is no ground for possession it will operate as a “tenancy for life”.

Assured shorthold tenancy agreement: shorthold tenancies on the other hand allow landlords to terminate the tenancy on a no-fault basis (and without proving breach) simply by serving what is commonly known as a s21 Notice.

Secured tenancy agreement: periodic as long as the tenant occupies and there is no ground for possession it will operate as a “tenancy for life”.

Assured tenancy agreement: assured tenancies are similar to secure tenancies, in that they offer high security of tenure and effectively operate as a tenancy for life.

Who qualifies?

Disabled or have specific needs


A single parent

A large or young family with dependant children

A migrant, refugee or asylum seeker



PfP is one of the largest organisations for affordable property managers. It is made of over 20 companies, has assets in excess of £3 billion, and manages more than 182,500 homes.

They host both rented properties and help-to-buy mortgages on properties for sale. The institution has been going for over 50 years. 

Rented properties are let on a first-come-first-serve basis unlike many housing associations and council properties that let accommodation out on a needs-basis (disabilities, adaptations, homelessness, dependants).  


They’re housing is limited but they work nationwide and there is an option to set up email alerts for properties matching your requirements.

Due to policies PfP hold regarding infestation, sometimes properties come without flooring (carpets or laminate) and have the original floorboards or concrete built with the house. 


I applied for housing with Places for People in mid-November this year and received a response by December. Now I'm moving in to a new property before Christmas. Without PfP, I wouldn't be able to afford to house myself until I achieved qualified teacher's status and wage.
C.J. Appleby
Writer (BA & MA)

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