Bidding for homes

If you are on the housing list you can bid (apply) to rent one of the properties that we advertise. You must register your interest in a home with us to be considered for it.

We advertise every home that becomes available to let. Information about available homes can be found:

How to bid

You can bid for the advertised properties you want by:

  • lodging a bid for properties at the Tower Hamlets homeseekers website, or
  • using our automated telephone line on 0845 270 2400 which is available in Bengali, Somali, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Urdu as well as English

You can also withdraw bids if you change your mind by using the website or telephone bidding systems.

What happens once I have made a bid?

  • When bidding for a property has closed, we draw up a list of all the bids received and sort them according to the priority for housing based on the needs outlined in the Tower Hamlets Allocation scheme.
  • We will make our decision about which applicant should be offered the property, and contact them to arrange a property viewing
  • Due to the vast number of bids we receive per property, we are unable to contact unsuccessful bidders
  • You will improve your prospects for being successful if you widen the choice of properties you bid for each week.

What happens if I am offered a property?

If you are offered a property:

  • We will make checks to ensure that your circumstances haven't changed, e.g. you are not in rent arrears, the members of your family have not moved
  • You will have an opportunity to view the property and decide whether you want to accept it. You are expected to make a decision as soon as possible, but normally no later than the day after you view the property
  • If you view a property on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday you will usually be expected to move in to it on the following Monday. If you view the property on Thursday or Friday, you will usually be expected to move in on the second Monday after the viewing.

You may be asked to view a property that is not yet ready to move in to. If this happens we will tell you when you can expect to move in to it.

Is there any penalty if I refuse or not turn up to view an offered property?

If you do not attend a viewing, this will be taken as you having refused the property unless there are very good reasons why you could not turn up AND you could not tell us beforehand. You must tell us if you are not able or not prepared to attend a viewing, giving at least 24 hours’ notice.

Different rules apply if you are registered with the Homeless Service.  If you do not view a property you could lose the temporary accommodation homeless services have provided for you and in this situation you may not be entitled to any more help from the council with your housing, in which case you may need to sort your own accommodation. Please contact your homeless team for more information.

If you are offered a home as an emergency case on medical grounds and refuse the offer unreasonably, your priority will be withdrawn and you will be placed in Band 1 Group B as a priority medical case.

If your application is in priority social category Group A or B, or a priority target group in Band 1 Group B and you refuse an offer unreasonably, your priority will be withdrawn.  If you are in Band 1 Group B as a priority medical case and you refuse an offer, your case may be reviewed and consideration given to withdrawing your priority.

You can ask us to review the decision to withdraw any priority award. We will consider every review on its merits.  Please see the allocations scheme appendix 3 – right of review, for more information.

What happens if I refuse three offers?

You should only bid for properties that you wish to accept the tenancy on if offered. If you refuse a home that is offered to you a 12 month demotion to the bottom of the band your application is currently in will be enforced upon refusal of a third offer. This rule came into effect on October 17 2013. In addition, this penalty will be repeated every time you refuse a subsequent offer.

For more information please take a look at the allocation scheme (PDF, 484kb).

For all other information contact:

Lettings customer services team

Tel: 020 7364 2060

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