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Frequently asked questions

  • Who can apply for properties through Homeseekers?

You must have been accepted onto Tower Hamlets Common Housing Register to be able to apply for rented properties through Homeseekers. Anyone aged 18 years or over may apply to join the Housing Register.

  •  How do I apply to join the Housing Register?

You will need to complete an application form.  This can be downloaded from this site, or you can get a copy from your local housing office.

  • What other documents do I need to provide?

Along with your application form you will need to provide the following: 

  • Proof of identity for all household members (e.g. passports, FULL birth certificates)
  • Proof of current address (e.g. recent utility bills), and proof of continuous residency in Tower Hamlets for the last 3 years.
  • Evidence of your right to reside in the UK if you are not a British Citizen (e.g. passport & other relevant Home Office documentation) 

Before you are offered a property you will need to provide additional documents to support your application. We will tell you what documents to provide and when to provide them. All documents provided must be originals, up to date and valid. For a full list of acceptable documents please contact the organisation making you the offer (this may be the Council or a partner Landlord).

  • What happens if I do not provide the required documents?

Providing you have properly completed your application form it will be processed but placed in the lowest band, until the documents are received, when it will be moved into the appropriate band from the date they are received. If your application form is incomplete it will be returned to you. The date it is later accepted from will be the date the fully completed form is received.

  • How do I know if I have been accepted onto the Housing Register?

You will receive a letter confirming that you have been accepted onto the Housing Register. The letter will tell you which band you have been placed into, your preference date and the size of property you are eligible for.

  • Can you refuse to accept me onto the Housing Register?

There are some people who are not eligible to be included on the Housing Register. These are: 

  • Certain people who are subject to Immigration Control under the 1996 Asylum and Immigration Act.
  • Certain people from abroad who are not subject to immigration control but who are not habitually resident in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland.
  • People (including members of their household) who have been guilty of unacceptable behaviour that makes them unsuitable to be a tenant.
  • What are priority Bands?

Your application will be assessed according to your level of housing need and placed into a band, within each band applications are placed in date order.

  • What do I do if my circumstances change?

It is very important that you tell us of any changes in your circumstances so that we can amend your application. Examples of change of circumstances include changing address, family composition, and if you become a home.  We will tell you if this results in your application moving to a different band. There are different rules for moving up or down a Band. Please see the Allocations Scheme document for more details.

  • Do I need to renew my application?

Yes, every two years you will be sent a review form, which you must complete and return within 28 days. If you fail to return the form, your application will be cancelled.

  • What if someone in my household has a medical condition?

There are times when people need to move because of their health or a disability. Priority on health or disability grounds will only be awarded after an assessment if someone in the household has:

  • a severe long-term limiting illness, or
  • a permanent and substantial disability
    AND
  • their health or quality of life is severely affected by the home they live in.

Please note: A priority medical award is not given on the basis of the medical condition or disability alone, but upon the effect the housing circumstances are having on a long term and serious medical condition or disability.  For further details please see the Allocations Scheme document.
 

  • How often are properties advertised?

Properties available for rent are advertised each week.  As soon as we are given notice that a property is due to become vacant we will advertise it. 

  • What information will the property adverts contain?

The adverts will tell you the landlord, location, size, rent and other features of the property. Where available a photograph of the property or a similar property type will be provided and you will be able to access information about the local area and facilities. The advert will also tell you if there are any special requirements that the applicant must meet, such as age requirements, which bands may bid for the property. 

  • How do I apply for a property?

You can express your interest or bid, in the following ways:

  • Online through this website
  • Mobile bidding site
     
  • How many properties can I express an interest in?

You will be able to express an interest in a maximum of three properties each time properties are advertised. However, you will only be able to express interest in properties that are the permitted size for your household.

How long will I have to bid for a property?

Properties will be advertised from 00:01 hours on Friday morning and you will be able to register your interest in properties up until midnight (00:00 hours) the following Thursday.
 

  • Will I know how many other people are interested in the same property?

Yes, when you bid for a property you will be told where you are in the queue. Your queue position is likely to change frequently as other people bid for the same property. Using your queue position information you may decide to withdraw your bid for one property and bid for a different property for which you are higher placed in the queue. You can do this at any time before the closing date.
 

  • How do you decide who is offered a property?

Once the closing date for bids has passed a shortlist of interested applicants is drawn up. The shortlist is in order of eligibility according to the criteria stated in the advert details for that property. The applicant at the top of the list will normally be offered the property. 

  • If I successfully bid for a rented property, can the landlord refuse to let it to me?

You may not be invited to view the property for the following reasons:

  • You owe rent or have other housing related debts
  • You are a Council or Housing Association tenant and legal action has been taken against you because you have broken your tenancy conditions
  • You have sufficient resources to solve your own housing problems
  • You have not provided the required documentary evidence to support your application by the date given
  • Your circumstances have changed and this results in a reduction in your level of priority. 
  • You have provided incorrect or misleading information, which has resulted in your application being awarded a higher priority than it deserves.

 

  • If I am offered a property, will I be able to view it before making up my mind?

Yes. You will be given an opportunity to view the property and decide whether you would like to accept it.
 

  • What if I don’t like the property when I have seen it?

If you refuse a home that is offered to you we will review your application. A 12-month demotion to the bottom of the Band your application is currently in, will be enforced upon refusal of a third offer from the date this policy came into effect. In addition, this penalty will be repeated every time you refuse a subsequent offer. The original priority date will be restored on expiry of that 12 month period.

Please note that if you are subject to the one offer only rule, a different penalty will be applied on refusal of an offer.  Please see the Allocation Scheme document  for full details. 

  • How will I know what has happened to the properties advertised?

Information about homes that have been successfully let will be published on the website weekly (this feauture will be enabled shortly). We will tell you the number of applicants that expressed an interest in each property, the band and the registration date of each property.
 

  • How will this information help me?

It will give you a better idea of how popular a particular property or area is and how long you would normally have to wait. You can then decide whether to look for other types of property or areas where you may not have to wait as long.
 

  • Are carpets and appliances provided?

You will normally have to provide your own carpets and appliances.
 

  • What other options are there for housing?

There is a severe shortage of homes in the Tower Hamlets area. Most applicants on the Housing Register will have to wait a long time for re-housing and many of those in the lower bands will still have little chance of re-housing in the local area. Depending on your circumstances you may wish to consider other options such as renting in the private sector.
 

  • What happens to my application if I am accepted as homeless?

If the Council accepts it has a homeless duty to you your application will be placed in Band 2 on the Housing Register or Band 1 Group B if you are accepted as single homeless and in priority need because of your vulnerability. Your preference date will be the date you made a homeless application. Any earlier preference date will be lost if you were already registered on the Housing Register.  Please see the Allocations Scheme document for more details.

  • How do I request a review of a decision?

If you disagree with any of the following decisions you can request a review: 

  • You are not eligible to join the housing register
  • You are not eligible for an offer
  • Your application has been cancelled other than at your own request
  • You think that you have been placed in the wrong band or given the wrong priority date

You can ask for a review on any decision that is made about your application. You should do this within 28 days of the decision being notified to you.  You may provide additional information in writing that you wish to be taken into account when the review is carried out. You will normally be advised of the outcome of the review within 56 days, unless it is necessary to request further information.  If more time is neeced we will let you know.  You may not request a further review once a decison is made on your application.