Apply for social housing

There is a large demand for social housing in Tower Hamlets.

The council and its registered social landlord partners operate a housing register for those who are eligible.

Most people who join the housing register will never be offered a social housing tenancy. Even if you qualify, you may have to wait a long time.

We strongly advise that you look at all other housing options. For most people, the most realistic option is in the private rent sector.

You can see what other housing options may be suitable for you on our Ask Mo website.

What are the waiting times for social housing?

Average waiting time in years
Priority bandStudio1 Bed2 Bed3 Bed4 Bed5+ Beds
Band 1 2 3 3 5 6 6
Band 2 3 4 5 9 13 12
Band 3 10 6 7 no lets no lets no lets

 

What are the housing priority bands?

Housing priority bands
Band 1 (high priority need) Group A 
Emergencies 
Medical / disability need for ground floor or wheelchair accessible property (category A and B) 
Priority decants 
Under-occupiers 
 
Group B 
Priority medical 
Priority social 
Decants 
Priority target groups and armed forces personnel in urgent housing need 
Band 2 (priority need)  Group A 
Overcrowded applicants 
Homeless applicants
 
Group B 
Applicants in housing need without a local connection 
Band 3 (general housing options)  Households with no defined housing need  

Who can apply for social housing?

Normally, you can apply as long as you:

  • are not subject to immigration control and have recourse to public funds
  • are over 18 years of age
  • have lived in the borough continuously for the last 3 years or in housing need
  • are not guilty of bad behaviour
  • do not have a sole or joint income of more than £85,000 per annum
  • are not a homeowner

How do you apply?

Everyone must apply online.

If you do not have access to a computer at home, our Idea Stores and libraries have free computer usage and internet access.

You can also complete this application on your mobile phone.

What address history documents do you need to show?

You will need to show your address history for the past three years from the date of your application.

It must confirm any dates that you moved in or out.

These are the documents we accept:

  • main bank statement (i.e. the account where wages / benefits are paid into)
  • utility bills
  • council tax bill
  • credit card bill
  • rent book
  • tenancy agreement
  • itemised postmarked envelopes (not from the council)
  • polling cards
  • insurance documents
  • invoices for online purchases
  • a letter from an employer, a government agency, a college or a school confirming the dates that they have known you and the address history they hold for you.

For example: application date is 1 July 2019

Example application date of 1 July 2019
Year 1Year 2Year 3
1 July 2016 – 30 June 2017 1 July 2017 – 30 June 2018 1 July 2018 – 30 June 2019
2 documents to show continuous residency 2 documents to show continuous residency

3 documents to show continuous residency

One of these must be a full bank statement that is dated within the last 3 months of this year 

Council tax bill

Rent book 

 

Insurance documents

Credit card bill

Full bank account statement

Tenancy agreement

Polling card

We will need to see documents from more than one source. At least one must be from your main bank account (example above).

What ID documents do you need to show?

For main and joint applicants, we need to see at least two of the following forms of proof of identity. (One of which must be a photo ID.)

  • full birth certificate
  • medical card
  • marriage certificate
  • driving licence
  • National Insurance card
  • passport
  • Freedom pass
  • residence permit - front and back

What about any dependent children that live with you?

You will need to show their birth certificate(s).

You must upload valid ID documents and proof of residence

These will be checked and assessed.

What happens if the details or documents you give are incorrect?

We may:

  • close your application
  • take away any priority we have given it
  • withdraw an offer
  • if you have knowingly given false information, we may prosecute you for fraud

Do not send your documents by post

If you do, we will not be able to accept them or send them back to you.

You must keep a valid email address at all times

This will be the only way we will contact you. After you send your application, we will email you. Please check your inbox, including your junk mail, regularly.

If you need to contact us, make sure you use the same email address as the one you used to register your online application.

Apply for social housing

If you feel at risk from anyone you live with, please look at our support page.

If you can't finish the form in one go, you can save your application and complete it later.

Make sure the details you enter in the form are true and accurate. We will assess your application based on the information you give.

Please read our obligation to be truthful statement before you apply.

Apply for social housing

Advice on uploading documents

You can either scan your photographs using a scanner or photograph them using your phone’s camera.

The best format to upload documents in is PDF.

Read our tips on how to use your phone to create PDFs of your documents.  

If you do not have access to a scanner or camera phone at home, you may be able to use a scanner at your local Idea Store.

Save the documents on your computer or phone that you will be using to make your application.

Make sure you keep the originals of all your documents safe as these may need to be seen at a later date (maybe years later) before an offer of accommodation can be made to you.

To upload the documents:

  • Go back to account and select the 'Upload documents' button.
  • Choose the type of document you wish to upload from the drop-down menu.
  • Use the browse button to search for the copy of your document.
  • Select the 'Add' button to repeat the process for the next document.

What happens after you make an application?

  1. We will send you an email that contains a reference number. You will be able to use this number to track your application's progress.
  2. We will assess your application once you have submitted all the required information and documents. The assessment usually takes up to 40 days. You will then get an email that tell you if we have accepted your application. If so, it will also have your priority band and bidding number.
  3. Until you are rehoused or the application is withdrawn or cancelled, you must tell us immediately of any change of circumstances.

How do you know if you have been accepted onto the housing register? 

You will get an email that confirms you have been accepted onto the Housing Register.

The email will tell you which band you have been placed into. It will also tell you your preference date and the size of property you are eligible for. 

What if your details and/or circumstances change?

Until you are rehoused or your application is withdrawn or cancelled, you must tell us immediately of changes to your circumstances.

Requesting a review of our decision

You can appeal against any of the following decisions that we may make about your social housing application:

  • if your application is rejected
  • if your application has been suspended 
  • if your application has been cancelled 
  • if you think that you have been placed in the wrong band or given the wrong priority date 

Appeals must be made within 28 days of our decision.

Appeals received after 28 days will not normally be allowed unless there are good reasons why you did not appeal in time. 

You must set out the reasons why you think our decision was wrong. You will need to provide any relevant evidence to support your view. 

Please email your appeals to lettings@towerhamlets.gov.uk