How to apply for housing

We keep a list of people who have applied for social housing in the Borough.

Applications once registered are dealt with in line with our Housing Allocations Scheme (pdf, 613 Kb).

This page summarises who we can include and how to apply.

We recommend you read our guide to applying for housing (pdf, 1.75 MB) before you apply.

Who can apply

If you are homeless or you are at risk of becoming homeless, you should complete a homelessness application form. 

However, you should contact us on 020 8891 7409 if you are at immediate risk of domestic violence and have nowhere to stay tonight.

Who can not apply

We will not accept your application if:

  • Another council has placed you in the borough under homelessness laws
  • You are under immigration control
  • You are from abroad and you fail the habitual residence test (conditions you must meet to be regarded as having good cause to live in the UK)

Unacceptable behaviour

We may refuse your application or give you lower priority if we think you, or someone you want to live with, has behaved unacceptably.

Examples can include:

  • You have lost your home because of substantial rent arrears
  • You have lost your home because of your behaviour (or a member of your household’s behaviour) towards your neighbours
  • You were granted a council or housing association tenancy on the provision of false information

Before we make this decision, we will look at your case very carefully.

How we decide who gets housing

Under the allocations scheme, applications once registered will be placed in one of seven housing access queues.

For the majority of the queues, we use a points system to work out the priority of each housing application we receive. You will be given a number of points based on the information you tell us in your application.

The total number of points then places your application into one of four bands (A to D, with A being the highest priority).You must give accurate information in your application.

It is important to note that we do not own any properties, so any offer of accommodation will be made by a Registered Provider (housing association).

Change of circumstances

If your circumstances have changed since you last applied for housing you must tell us right away.

Call us on 020 8891 7409 to speak to the Housing Information and Advice Team to discuss any changes.

Examples can include:

  • You have a baby
  • You have moved house
  • You have a new partner or family member that has joined your household
  • Your income and/or savings have altered

It is very important to tell us about a change in your circumstances. This information could affect your banding or priority.

Checking your application is honest

If you give us any false information or withhold information we may consider your application to be fraudulent.

We also check to see if household savings/capital have been deliberately reduced in order to apply for social housing.

If your application is fraudulent we will close your case and refer the details to Legal Services to consider prosecution against you.

How to apply

You must complete an online application form to apply for social housing. The form asks for information about you, the people you want to live with, and your current housing situation.

What happens next

We will write to you with a reference number and our assessment of your application under the scheme.

We will confirm your assessed priority (including the band into which your application has been placed, if applicable), the size of the property you will be considered for and the access queue into which your application has been placed.

We receive a high volume of applications, which we process in date order. Please do not contact us about the progress of your application, as this may cause a delay in our processing time.

You must keep a note of your reference number.

Getting an offer of accommodation

In a typical year, we nominate approximately 350 households to our partner housing associations for an offer of accommodation. Please note that our policy is to make one suitable offer only.

Each year the Council approves an annual allocation plan which determines the distribution of properties across the various queues and bands.

Within the access queues, properties will be allocated to the applicant in the highest band who has been registered in that band for the longest period, provided the individual property is suitable for that person.

Offers of accommodation are generally notified by telephone first, but will always be confirmed in writing. The offer letter will explain all relevant information.

Although we may register your application, demand far outstrips supply and waiting times for an offer are often lengthy.

Choosing your preferred location

Our policy is to offer all applicants the opportunity to express their preferences about accommodation to be allocated to them. Such preferences may cover such issues as property type or location. We will aim to meet an applicant’s preferences wherever possible.

However, such preferences may be overridden by the supply of appropriate accommodation and will not preclude applicants being considered for allocation of accommodation which does not meet their preferences but which we considers is appropriate to their assessed housing needs.

Refusing an offer of accommodation

Where a homeless applicant refuses a suitable offer we will consider whether any legal duty owed to the applicant has been discharged. If so, any temporary accommodation will be recovered.

Generally, where an applicant in any queue other than the Homeless Queue (to whom the specific criteria under Part VII of the Housing Act apply) refuses a suitable offer, the application will be cancelled.

Furthermore, for a period of two years following an applicant’s refusal of suitable accommodation the applicant will not qualify to be (or remain) registered on our housing queues, unless there has been a material change in their circumstances so as to make the earlier offer clearly unreasonable in the light of their changed circumstances.

The implications of refusing an offer of accommodation will be notified to applicants in their registration and nomination letters.

You may be eligible to request a review of our decision.

If you are homeless

If you are threatened with homelessness we may be able to help. We offer an advice service which can help prevent homelessness. We may be able to offer your emergency housing depending on your circumstances.

I want to join the Housing Register

Updated: 14 August 2019