The staggering size of demand for council homes in Huddersfield has been revealed.

For every house registered on the Choose ‘n’ Move scheme operated by Kirklees Council, there are 188 interested people.

And the biggest demand is for one-bedroom properties, with an astonishing 6,623 people registered for just 51 properties.

In all, more than 12,000 people are currently registered for a Kirklees council house.

As of this week, there were just 282 empty council houses, of which only 66 are available to let, as the others are being cleaned and renovated ready for new tenants.

One key reason for the massive demand is the Government’s ‘bedroom tax’ introduced in February. This requires people on benefit who are under-occupying their present home to downsize or pay an extra 14% for a spare bedroom, and 25% for two.

The council has already helped more than 200 people to downsize, freeing up larger properties, and works closely with Jobcentre Plus to try to get unemployed tenants into work.

Choose ‘n’ Move is a letting scheme which operates similar to an online estate agency. Prospective tenants register, they are assessed and placed into one of four bands before searching and applying for houses on the website.

Homeless people are placed in Band A, while those who are adequately housed or privately renting would be in Band C or D. There are 138 people in Band A and 9,952 in Band D.

Properties are allocated every Sunday at midnight. Applicants are not means-tested, but if they are relatively wealthy without an urgent need to move, they are unlikely to be housed by the council.

A spokesman for Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH), which manages council house tenancies, said: “There is no ‘waiting list’ in Kirklees.

“Instead, there is a housing register, which includes everyone who applies for a council house. To get a property, applicants must actively bid for available homes.

“Normally, the property will be offered to the customer who has the greatest housing need and who has been on the register the longest, although we have nine applicants who registered in July 2013 and have already signed up for new tenancies.

“Not everyone on the register actively bids for properties (around 30%) as they may not see what they are looking for or they may not quite be ready to move.

“Some people are already in council houses and are looking to exchange properties. Others may have registered some time ago and are not actively looking for a house.”

Kirklees Council has a housing stock of 23,000 properties. It used to be 36,000 before Right to Buy became law in Margaret Thatcher’s 1980 government.

Turnover has remained static at around 2,500 houses a year.

Details of council houses can be found at .