Community News

Have your say to improve the way the council lets social housing

Survey open until 7 October

Bristol residents are being asked for their views to help shape how the council lets its housing in the city.

Bristol City Council (BCC) is currently reviewing the way it lets council and social housing – to make sure people are housed in homes that meet their needs. It also wants to give priority to those in greatest need and make the application process easier.

It hopes to hear from people across the city, including those living in social housing or currently on the waiting list – and will also be working with housing providers and organisations in the advice and voluntary sector.

“It is vitally important that we get the views of people who are on the waiting list, or have recently been housed…”

Cabinet Member for Housing Delivery and Homes, Councillor Tom Renhard, said: “We need to take action. There are rising numbers of people becoming homeless and the increasingly unaffordable cost of housing in Bristol is creating more demand for social housing and increasing pressure on HomeChoice Bristol.

“The aim is to find the best way to create and support mixed and balanced communities, without disadvantaging those people with the greatest need.

“It is vitally important that we get the views of people who are on the waiting list, or have recently been housed, to make sure they agree with what is being proposed following our extensive research phase.

“One of our greatest challenges is balancing the very high need for homes in Bristol, against a very limited pool of available properties. We need to make the best use of these properties, and have to manage the expectations of people on the register…”

He said the council wanted to make the housing letting process “fair, easy to use and transparent for all who use it” and give people “choice wherever possible in meeting their housing need.”

Ideas being consulted on include:

  • Moving to a ‘managed choice’ system where the council can be more proactive in helping someone find a home.
  • Extending the use of local letting policies.
  • Changes to priority groups, including giving top priority to care leavers and under-occupiers.

There are currently nearly 18,000 households on the housing waiting list in Bristol, and more than 1,100 households in temporary accommodation. 

Strategic Lead for Shelter Bristol, Ally Rush, said the organisation welcomed the opportunity to be involved in the council’s Allocations Review.

She said: “…We have strongly recommended that BCC reviews the technology and processes behind the Home Choice system. This does not directly address the shortage of social housing in the city but many of the most common issues reported with the system are due to it being poorly designed and outdated.

“Addressing this would allow decision making in the council to become more transparent and support officers in sharing messaging about the process and where people are. 

“We feel that BCC has taken our recommendations seriously and hope to see positive change implemented going forward.”

The survey will be open until Friday 7 October. To find out more and to give your views please visit

You can request a paper copy, alternative format or translated version of the survey by contacting the housing team by email at or by phone on 0117 3521444.

Feedback from the consultation will be used to refine proposals which will be taken to Cabinet towards the end of the year.

Main image Bristol City Council.