There is a known bug that I have fallen into where the Steward will not sell me a house (no dialogue option about it). I also cannot initiate dialog with the Jarl about becoming Thane.
Has anyone discovered a way around this?
By the way, preventing this bug:
Go talk to the Jarl before you do all of the other quests around the city. Do his quests first and get the quest to help out around town. This is just conjecture, but I believe that it is caused by already meeting the requirements to become Thane before you first speak to him.
edit: resetting the NPC does nothing
edit of edit: Perhaps I can force my way into this quest using the console? I know you can begin certain quests with setstage. Can you do the same with the quest to become thane?