More than 1,700 people in the Teignbridge Council area could be shunted off its social housing waiting list.
The proposal is incorporated into a review of housing needs in the district brought about by the Localism Act.
As part of the recommendations, officers at the council want to prioritise the most needy cases and get rid of Band E — those who have little chance of housing success as other options are available to them. This change would affect 1,735 people registered in this band.
The possible changes were discussed at the authority's latest overview and scrutiny committee meeting, at which Councillor Mary Colclough said knocking off Band E was a big decision.
"At a stroke we could knock so many off a list, a list that's given them hope," she said.
Councillor Stephen Purser was also concerned assistance and support was given to those on the housing register to bid before removing them.
"We have to make sure they have the technology to make the bid and understand the system," he said.
The shake-up to social housing in the district could also see people taken off the register if they have not placed a bid within the previous 12 months, where it is felt there have been appropriate properties for them to bid for.
It's also recommended that applicants are only permitted to refuse two properties and will be removed from the list following a third refusal.
There could also be changes to how the homeless are helped and they may also be passed to the private sector.
A six-week consultation, reviewing how help is given to residents with housing needs in Teignbridge, started on Friday.