CAN ONE PERSON LIVE IN A 3 BEDROOM COUNCIL HOUSE | February 2024
Can One Person Live In A 3 Bedroom Council House?

February 2024

Can One Person Live In A 3 Bedroom Council House? In February 2024

In this article, we will look at the possibility of one person living in a three bedroom council house in the United Kingdom.

Topics that you will find covered on this page

You can listen to an audio recording of this page below.

The UK housing system is complex and often challenging to navigate for those unfamiliar with the rules and regulations. A council house is public housing provided by the local government, managed through local authorities or housing associations, and typically funded by central government subsidies.

When allocating a place, many councils follow a points-based system whereby applicants are awarded points based on their circumstances.

These can include:

  • age
  • medical needs
  • family size
  • type of accommodation needed
  • affordability
  • length of time since their last move; and
  • whether they have been accepted as homeless

Generally speaking, people who live alone will be allocated smaller properties such as one or two-bedroom houses.

In most cases, a three-bedroom council house is more likely to be allocated to families with multiple children, adult members of the household needing their own space, or people with special needs requiring extra space for specialist equipment.

However, it is possible for one person to live in a 3 bedroom council house in some circumstances. 

For example, if an applicant has mobility requirements and needs extra space for equipment such as a wheelchair. The tenant may also need additional room to accommodate family or friends who sometimes stay overnight but don’t live at the property on a permanent basis.

Can Council Visit To Check The Occupancy Status Of the House?

Councils will usually visit your property to check the occupancy status. This is so that they can ensure that you are only subletting or taking on lodgers with their permission. They may also wish to check if any family members have moved in with you, which could affect your housing benefits eligibility.

In conclusion, it is possible for one person to live in a three-bedroom council house under certain circumstances. Still, councils generally allocate such properties based on an individual’s specific needs and requirements. It is important to note that councils may visit your property periodically to ensure that you abide by the terms of your tenancy agreement.

If there are changes in household circumstances that might impact your eligibility for housing benefits, it is essential that you let the council know. Doing this can ensure that you can access suitable and safe housing for as long as you need it.

Under occupation rules: how many bedrooms are you allowed?

The number of bedrooms a household can under occupy depends on size and composition. Typically, councils allow one bedroom for each adult couple and one bedroom for every two single people aged 16 or over.

The number of living rooms you have needs to be looked at. Whilst some people think that a local authority will look at all the rooms, it is only the bedroom that they look at.

For families with children, the availability of extra bedrooms depends on their ages and genders – e.g., two children of different sexes up to the age of 10 may share a room, while separate rooms will be allocated to teenagers aged 10-15.

Therefore, a single person living in a three-bedroom property would typically not be allowed by their local authority to under-occupy the house. But again, there are certain circumstances where an exception could be made, such as if they had medical needs or cared for elderly relatives.

In conclusion, it is important to remember that there are rules about how many bedrooms a household can under-occupy depending on its size and composition.

It is, therefore essential to check with the local authority before moving into a property. Understanding these rules will help ensure that you do not have any problems when claiming housing benefits.

Under occupation rules

What is classed as overcrowded in a council house?

Although councils will allow a certain number of bedrooms to be under-occupied, they may also consider a property overcrowded if the number of people living there exceeds the amount of space available.

For example, according to government guidelines, a three bedroom home is considered overcrowded when four or more people live in it. Other signs that your home might be too small for its residents include

  • not enough beds for everyone
  • two adults sharing one bed
  • children sleeping on sofas or floors; and 
  • using dining room tables as work surfaces due to a lack of space in other rooms.

In conclusion, councils can deem a property overcrowded when the number of occupants exceeds the number of bedrooms available.

"A council house is public housing provided by the local government, managed through local authorities or housing associations, and typically funded by central government subsidies."

Can You Swap Council Houses?

Council tenants may be able to swap their homes if they are looking for a change of scenery or need a different size property. A tenant could, for example, swap from a three bedroom council house to a two bedroom flat. 

They would not be expected to share with someone else as long as this remains their main home.

Home swaps are free and can be arranged through the local council. Generally speaking, the council will only approve home swaps between two tenancies with similar rental values and long-term contracts that do not leave either tenant in financial difficulty.

To change homes, you must complete a new tenancy agreement and a tenancy form.

Swap Council Houses

Due to housing regulations and legislation, it is essential to note that some councils will not allow single people to live in larger properties, such as those with three bedrooms. 

Therefore, it may be difficult for someone living alone to secure an exchange into such accommodations unless exceptional circumstances apply (e.g. the tenant will soon be sharing the tenancy with another person).

Swapping council houses can sometimes take a long time – depending on availability, and both tenants must agree in writing to the swap before it can go ahead. The local authority housing team may also require additional information such as references, proof of identity and bank statements. 

Can Council Inspect My House?

Yes, councils can conduct inspections of council properties. This is usually done to ensure that the property is being looked after and that any necessary repairs or improvements are made. 

Councils are also responsible for ensuring that the safety standards of their housing stock are maintained, and regular inspections help in this regard.

Inspections may also be conducted if there are concerns about anti-social behaviour or overcrowding in council homes or when tenants report concerns about their home or neighbours.

The local authority will normally inform the tenant before an inspection takes place, and they should provide reasonable notice where possible. If you have questions regarding your council house inspection rights, speak to your landlord for more information.

Can Someone Live With Me In My Council House?

In most cases, two or more people can live in a council house as long as they are all named on the tenancy agreement. Depending on the local authority’s rules, this could include couples, family members and friends. 

Remember that whoever lives in the property will be responsible for the rent and other conditions of your tenancy. 

Therefore you should ensure that any adult living in the house is aware of their obligations before moving in.

You may need permission from your landlord if there are changes to who lives at the property (e.g. when someone moves out or someone new moves in). Therefore it is important to keep your landlord updated about any changes so that you remain compliant with your tenancy terms.

Live With Me

Can my partner live with me in my council house?

Your partner can live with you in your council house if they are named on the tenancy agreement.

However, depending on the local authority’s rules, this could include married couples, family members and friends. It is important to remember that whoever lives in the property will be responsible for the rent and other conditions of your tenancy. 

Therefore, you should ensure that anyone who resides in the house knows their obligations before moving in.

You may need permission from your landlord if there are changes to who lives at the property (e.g. when someone moves out or someone new moves in). 

Therefore it is important to keep your landlord updated about any changes so that you remain compliant with your tenancy agreement.

The Different Types of tenancy

Introductory tenancy

This type of tenancy lasts for one year. 

During this period, the council will assess your suitability to live in a council house and you must comply with the terms of the tenancy agreement. Introductory tenants can only transfer their tenancy if they have successfully completed 12 months without incident (e.g. rent arrears).

Secure Tenancy

A secure tenancy gives you more protection than an introductory tenancy, meaning that if you are living in an appropriate property size and paying your rent on time, then it is doubtful that the council will terminate your contract. 

A secure or flexible tenant has more rights when it comes to transfers, exchanges and subletting their home. It is important to check with your local authority on what their policy is when it comes to these matters.

Demoted Tenancy

If you have broken the terms of your tenancy agreement, for example, rent arrears or damage to the property, you can be given a demoted tenancy. 

This means that you no longer have the same rights as a secure or joint tenant and could result in your contract being terminated at any time. It is important to ensure that all tenants know their legal obligations and rights when it comes to living in council housing.

Secure tenancy

A secure tenancy is one of the more common types and gives you greater rights to remain in the property. 

With a secure tenancy, you can transfer your tenancy (provided your local authority allows it), exchange it with another tenant or sublet part of it without needing permission from your landlord. 

However, if you breach any of the conditions of the agreement, your tenancy could be evicted.

Scottish secure tenancy

In Scotland, the secure tenancy is more commonly known as a Scottish Secure Tenancy and lasts for an indefinite period.

These tenancies offer more protection to tenants than those in England and Wales, such as the ability to transfer or exchange your home without needing permission from the landlord. However, you still need to abide by all of the conditions of your tenancy agreement or risk being evicted.

Flexible tenancy

Flexible tenancies are designed to give tenants more control over their tenancy. This type of contract allows you to remain in your home for longer than a traditional secure or Scottish secure tenancy, with an option to review the length of your agreement after an initial period (usually 3 years).

Flexible tenancy

Flexible tenancies also provide more freedom when it comes to transferring and exchanging properties.

Joint tenancy

A joint tenancy is when two or more people sign a single tenancy agreement and are jointly responsible for the property’s rent, bills and maintenance. 

A joint tenancy can be beneficial if you want to share a place with another person or family, as it will allow you to save money on rent and other costs associated with renting.

However, due to the joint nature of the joint tenant agreement, if one person breaches the tenancy, then all parties are liable.

Therefore, when it comes to joint tenancies, it is possible for one person to live in a 3 bedroom council house in the UK, depending on which type of tenancy you have and whether you can meet any additional requirements from your local authority.

Can you inherit a council tenancy?

In some cases, yes. If the tenant who has passed away was a secure tenant or had a Scottish secure tenancy, then it is possible for the council to transfer this to another person. This could be their partner, family member or someone nominated in their Will.

Before deciding who will inherit the tenancy, the local authority must assess all applications thoroughly and decide which one best meets their criteria. 

In some cases, depending on individual circumstances, a new introductory tenancy may have to be issued instead of a secure/Scottish secure tenancy.

It is important to note that if you inherit a council house tenancy, and become the council tenant, then you will also become responsible for any rent arrears or other breaches of the agreement that were incurred before your inheritance.

inherit a council tenancy

Check if a room counts as an extra bedroom for Housing Benefit

Housing Benefits can be used to help you pay rent if you are on a low income. In most cases, you will need to tell your local council how many bedrooms there are in the property, and they will use this information to calculate how much money they will give you.

If you live in a 3 bedroom council house, then it is crucial to check whether any of the extra rooms count as an extra bedroom for Housing Benefit purposes. This could include a box room, study or even a conservatory, depending on what type of heating/lighting facilities it has and other factors. 

If one of the rooms does count, it could increase the amount you receive from Housing Benefit, so it is important to check with your local council.

Check what counts as a bedroom for council tax

A council tax is a local tax which is used to fund certain public services in your area. The amount of council tax you pay depends on the size and type of your property, with larger properties usually resulting in higher bills.

If you live in a 3 bedroom council house, it is important to check what counts as a bedroom for council tax purposes. If there are more bedrooms, then these are looked at too.

This could vary from one local authority to another and might differ depending on factors such as the amount of natural light each room receives or whether there are separate bathroom facilities.

Before making any decisions regarding the size of your property, you should speak to your local council so that they can clarify what they consider to be an appropriate number of bedrooms for you.

Article author

Katy Davies

I am a keen reader and writer and have been helping to write and produce the legal content for the site since the launch.   I studied for a law degree at Manchester University and I use that theoretical experience, as well as my practical experience as a solicitor, to help produce legal content which I hope you find helpful.

Outside of work, I love the snow and am a keen snowboarder.  Most winters you will see me trying to get away for long weekends to the slopes in Switzerland or France.

Email – [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Council Visit To Check The Occupancy Status Of the House?

Councils will usually visit your property to check the occupancy status. This is so that they can ensure that you are only subletting or taking on lodgers with their permission.

Under occupation rules: how many bedrooms are you allowed?

The number of bedrooms a household can under occupy depends on size and composition. Typically, councils allow one bedroom for each adult couple and one bedroom for every two single people aged 16 or over.

What is classed as overcrowded in a council house?

Although councils will allow a certain number of bedrooms to be under-occupied, they may also consider a property overcrowded if the number of people living there exceeds the amount of space available.

Can Council Inspect My House?

Yes, councils can conduct inspections of council properties. This is usually done to ensure that the property is being looked after and that any necessary repairs or improvements are made.

Share this page

Disclaimer: Please be aware that this site is no longer under active management. As a result, we cannot assure the accuracy or relevance of the content provided. Visitors should use their discretion and consider the potential for outdated or inaccurate information before relying on any material found here.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that this site is no longer under active management. As a result, we cannot assure the accuracy or relevance of the content provided. Visitors should use their discretion and consider the potential for outdated or inaccurate information before relying on any material found here.