Bidding for homes

Once you are on the housing list, the next step is to bid (apply) to rent one of the properties that we advertise. You must bid a home in order to be considered for it.

All available homes are advertised:

How to bid

You can let us know you're interested in an advertised property by bidding in one of two ways. You can also withdraw a bid at any time, using either of these platforms. 

You will greatly improve your prospects for being successful if you widen the choice of properties you bid for each week.

Bid online

on the Tower Hamlets homeseekers website. If you do not have internet access at home, you can use computers available at the One Stop Shops and Idea Stores, free of charge, to search for suitable homes and place bids.

Bid by phone

by calling our automated telephone line on 0845 270 2400 which is available in Bengali, Somali, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Urdu as well as English. Calls cost 10p per minute plus your phone company's access charge.

What happens once I have made a bid?

When bidding has closed, we review all the bids and sort them according to the priorities outlined in the Tower Hamlets Allocation scheme. Once we have made our decision we will contact the successful applicant to arrange a property viewing.

Due to the vast number of bids we receive per property, we are, unfortunately, unable to contact unsuccessful bidders.

What happens if I am offered a property?

Confirming your circumstances

Firstly, we will need to make checks to ensure that your circumstances haven't changed since you joined the list or made the bid, e.g. you are not in rent arrears, the members of your family have not moved.

Viewing and acceptance

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. There are consequences to unreasonably missing viewings or refusing offers.

Moving in

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.

If you have viewed a property that is not yet ready to move in to, we will let you know when you can expect to move in to it.

Can I refuse a property I've been offered?

You should only bid for properties that you are willing to accept, if offered. If you refuse more than two homes that are offered to you, there will be a 12 month demotion to the bottom of the band your application sits in. In addition, this penalty will be repeated every time you refuse any subsequent offers.

For more information please take a look at the allocation scheme.

Is there a penalty if I refuse or don't attend a viewing?

You must tell us if you are not able or not prepared to attend a viewing, giving at least 24 hours’ notice. If you do not attend a viewing and haven't given us notice, we will take this to mean that you have refused the property, unless there are very good reasons.

Applicants registered as homeless

If you are registered with the Homeless Service and do not view a property, you could lose your temporary accommodation, meaning you may no longer be entitled help from the council with your housing circumstances. Please contact your homeless team for more information.

Prioity applicants

  • 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 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.
  • 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. 

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

Further information

Lettings Customer Services Team

Tel: 020 7364 2826