Trying to get a council house can seem like a difficult and confusing process.

Different councils across Wales have their own rules in deciding who gets one, what kind of house they'll live in and when they can move in. Special considerations can also be made such as for those with families or the elderly.

So, to try and make it easier, we've taken a look at different local authorities in Wales and what people need to do to apply for a council house.

Bridgend

Bridgend council's four main housing associations use one housing register to allocate social housing.

It is called the Bridgend Common Housing Register.

To apply to be on the register, you will need to be interviewed either in person or over the phone.

Anyone can apply for social rented housing, but you must be called as being in "housing need" to be added to the register.

One reasonable offer of accommodation will be made based on the information gathered as part of the housing assessment.

The offer will be regarded as reasonable if it meets the needs of the applicant in terms of size and type of accommodation and is in the applicants preferred area of choice.

Those who are homeless and in priority need may be offered suitable accommodation outside of their preferred area.

Further offers of accommodation may be made outside an applicant’s preferred area of choice where it appears to the council that the size and type of accommodation is suitable.

Applicants will be withdrawn from the housing register for up to 12 months following one reasonable offer of accommodation being refused without good reason.

Cardiff

Cardiff Council decides who can join its housing waiting list via the The Cardiff Housing Allocation Scheme. It ensures that people with the greatest needs come first and applicants have a choice about where they want to live.

Housing need includes things such as:

Anyone aged 16 or over can ask to join the waiting list. However, people can be excluded from the list if because of their previous antisocial behaviour, immigration status or have some criminal convictions.

The council will ask you about where you live now, who else lives with you, and whether you have any particular housing needs.

You will be given an application form to fill in, and then an appointment will be made for you to come back and see an advisor.

Once the authority has all the information it needs about your application, it will decide whether you can join the waiting list, and write to you to let you know the decision.

If you are accepted onto the waiting list, the council will look at your housing needs, and whether you have a "local connection" to Cardiff, to decide which band you will join. To have a local connection you generally must have lived in Cardiff for at least two years when you apply. Bands A & B are for people who have a housing need and a connection to Cardiff.

Where that need is urgent they join band A. Where the need is less urgent - eg it is are overcrowded where they live now - they join band B.

Bands C & D are for people who have a housing need, but who do not have a local connection to Cardiff. Band E is for people who have a local connection to Cardiff but have no housing need. Band F is for people who do not have a local connection to Cardiff and have no housing need. Waiting time is used to decide your position in the band.

Once the authority has decided you can join the waiting list, it will write to let you know and which band you're in.

You can choose as many areas of the city as you want, but you should bear in mind that the council has very few properties in some areas, and they may not become available very often.

Depending on your circumstances, you may be required to include two areas where social housing is more readily available in your choices – this will help to ensure that you have the best chance of being rehoused.

The council should always send you a letter to confirm any offer.

Merthyr Tydfil

You must register on the common housing register on Merthyr Tydfil council's official website.

You must complete a Housing Registration Application, providing details of your current housing and household circumstances.

Once complete and submitted, your application will be reviewed by a council officer to validate the information provided.

Once validated, you will receive a message when you log into your account, which you would have set up, advising you that you are now active and able to begin applying for properties.

If the council requires more information, you will receive a message when you log into your account advising you what you are required to do.

You can use the authority's website to search for available properties and apply for properties.

Neath Port Talbot

Neath Port Talbot council is no longer a social landlord and does not own any council houses, flats or sheltered housing accommodation.

In 2011, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council transferred all of its housing stock to NPT Homes - which was later renamed Tai Tarian.

To express an interest in housing in the area, visit the Tai Tarian website and fill in an application form here.

Swansea

Swansea beach from St Helen's to the marina

The first step is completing an application to join Swansea Council's housing register. 

This can be done over the telephone with a housing options adviser or by using an online form. 

The authority may ask you to send supporting information or other evidence and may need to visit your accommodation to confirm your circumstances. 

You will be awarded housing need points depending on your circumstances - which can include factors such as overcrowding and medical circumstances.

The authority will then write to you to tell you whether you are eligible for its housing needs register, your housing need points and the type of property that you have been registered for, including the areas you have chosen. 

Providing the council has all the information it needs, your application will usually be assessed within six weeks. 

Once your points have been awarded you can contact an adviser at Housing Options who will give further advice on area choices and likely waiting times. They should also be able to tell you your approximate position on the list. It's worth noting that positions can change on a daily basis as new applications are assessed and / or people are housed or their applications cancelled.

Generally there is a shortage of available properties and a large demand for accommodation.  Some areas are particularly popular, resulting in a high demand and longer waiting times.  Certain areas have a low number of council properties, again resulting in longer waiting times. 

You need to consider all of this when applying and selecting your areas, the council added.

In all cases, council and housing association properties will go to people most in need, but the authority cannot offer council or housing association accommodation to everyone who applies. 

The council, perhaps stating the blindingly obvious here, said that people should consider renting in the private sector as an option.

If your application is successful and a property is found, people will contacted by their District Housing Office. In some cases the council is able to offer a furnished property - although this is not common.

Wrexham

A view over Wrexham

You’ll need to fully complete a housing application form.

You must supply all the information Wrexham Council needs or your form will be returned to you, and your application will be delayed.

If you have health or welfare issues you want the authority to take into account, you can complete a special needs and medical assessment form which will be considered with the application.

Any documentation you provide to support your application, and as proof of your housing need, must be correct and up to date, the authority added.

When you apply for housing you can state your preference for the areas you’d like to live in, and the type of property you’d prefer.

The council said it aims to provide properties to applicants who need accommodation of that size and may be able to offer a property that’s bigger than you need, but in areas with few vacancies or very high demand it won’t be possible.

Carmarthenshire

To find out if you are eligible for housing you need to call the council on 01554 899 389.

You'll be asked a few questions about your circumstances and added to the register, if appropriate.

If passing that first hurdle, you will then be given login details - featuring a reference number and a memorable date chosen by you - to access the council's service Canfod Catref. There people are able to view and "bid" on homes - although the bidding it doesn't involve any money.

The deadline for bidding is midnight on Monday each week.

Blaenau Gwent

You'll need to register your household online with the council's housing team to check eligibility for social housing.

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council work with Tai Calon Community Housing, United Welsh Housing Association, Linc Cymru and Melin Homes to provide their housing options.

They also run a service called HomeSwapper, an online tool that allows you to swap your council or housing association property if you need to up/downsize or move to a different area.

Torfaen

Since 2008, Torfaen County Borough Council does not manage any council houses, flats or sheltered housing of its own.

The social housing stock is allocated through housing associations using the Torfaen Homeseeker portal.

Your first step is to register with Homeseeker online, or speak to the housing team directly on 01495 742 409.

Homeseeker is described as a "choice based lettings scheme". " Officials said that basically means applicants can see which properties are available for rent and can choose whether to express an interest in them.

Their website states that waiting lists for social housing are very long in Torfaen, especially for those in a low priority band. They have a Housing Options Wizard to help you with other options.

Vale of Glamorgan

The council-run Vale Homes is the largest landlord in Vale of Glamorgan, owning just over 4,000 homes in the area.

A housing portal is provided on the council website to allow people to apply for social housing with Vale Homes or local housing associations.

The Homes4U catalogue brings together homes from the council and several housing associations - meaning that they are all in one place.

The system is designed to let people bid for homes they wish to live in (again, this doesn't involve money). Officials said it also focuses on people's choices rather than points and to apply for homes in the specific area they wish to live by opening up more choices.

Newport

Home Options Newport is the council-run site for allocating social housing in the Newport City Council area.

You'll need to register online to be able to bid for housing. After filling in a Social Housing Application form you'll be given log in details to be able to apply for housing.

There is also a handy Housing Solutions Guide on the council's website which allows you to explore other options that might be available to you including shared ownership and sheltered housing, based on your circumstances.

Powys

Council and housing association properties in Powys are advertised in one place - the Common Housing Register (CHR.)

To apply for social housing in Powys you'll need to submit a housing application online on the Homes In Powys page.

You can then track your application, make changes to your circumstances and check you banding in your online account at any time. For those with no or poor internet access, they can call the council's housing department on 01597 827464.

Powys council works with seven housing associations to form the Powys Common Housing Register partnership to allocate housing to people in the area.

Monmouthshire

Monmouth

If you need help with your application, council-run libraries in Monmouthshire have free internet access and resources to help you complete your social housing application.

All applications must be made through the Monmouthshire Homesearch website, where there is an animated guide to help you with the process of applying, which will take you between 30 minutes and an hour.

The local authority partners with five housing associations and all affordable social rented accommodation is advertised and and allocated through the Homesearch scheme.

The Homesearch team is responsible for the maintenance of waiting lists, validating applications, assessing medical and welfare applications, and general housing advice. Housing associations are responsible for shortlisting and allocating advertised properties.

Rhondda Cynon Taf

You should register on the HomefinderRCT website as a first step as you can only apply for properties if you have an active housing application.

Your application will be assessed against the Housing Allocation Scheme and, depending on your circumstances, you'll be given a banding for your application - this decides whether you are high or low priority on the waiting list.

You can then bid for up to three properties a week through the HomefinderRCT website. People with no internet access can call 01443 425678.