The council and its registered social landlord partners have created a common housing register for applicants who are eligible and qualify for social housing. There is a limited supply of social housing in the borough, with over 23,000 applications currently on the housing register.

Unfortunately, most who apply will have little or no chance of being offered a home as only 1 in 10 applicants stand a chance of being made an offer. Even those applicants who qualify to be on the housing register  may have to wait a long time.

The table below provides the average wait times based on the priority and size of property you may require.

Average waiting time in years *
  Studio 1 Bed 2 Bed 3 Bed 4 Bed 5+ Beds
Band 1  2 3 4 6 8 10
Band 2 5 5 6 11 13 no lets
Band 3 11 6 6 2 *
*(based on
3 actual lets)
no lets no lets

*Based on the actual lets for the financial year 2022/2023.

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

Normally, you can join the housing register 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 home-owner

Apply to join the housing register

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.

Before you start

You will need:

Your address history for the past three years from the date of your application confirming any dates that you moved in or out. We will need proof of residence for the last three years;

These are the documents we will 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 1st July 2022

    Example application date of 1st July 2023:
    Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
    1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021 1 July 2021 – 30 June 2022 1 July 2022 – 30 June 2023
    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, and at least one must be from your main bank account (example above).

    For every person on the application we need to see at least two of the following forms of proof of identity – one of which must be a photo ID e.g.

  • full birth certificate
  • medical card
  • marriage certificate
  • driving licence
  • National Insurance card
  • passport
  • Freedom pass
  • residence permit - front and back
  • You must upload valid ID documents and proof of residency for your application. These will be checked and assessed.

    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 as this will be the only way we will contact you. After you send your application we will email you, so 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 housing application form.


    If you are unable to finish the form in one go, you can save your application and finish it later.

    Make sure the details you enter into the form are true and accurate. We will assess your application based on the information you give us. Please read our obligation to be truthful statement before you make an application.

    The information you provide may be shared with internal departments or with external partners and agencies involved in delivering services on our behalf.  

    The council has a duty to protect public funds and may use personal information and data-matching techniques to detect and prevent fraud, and ensure public money is targeted and spent in the most appropriate and cost-effective way. Information may be shared with internal services and external bodies like the Audit Commission, Department for Work and Pensions, other local authorities, HM Revenue and Customs, and the Police. This activity is carried out under social protection law.

    We may also check your details with credit scoring companies such as Experian.

    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.
  • If we find that any of your details are incorrect, we may close your application, take away any priority we have given it, or withdraw an offer or even prosecute you for fraud if you have falsified your application.

    Click here to apply to join the housing register

    What happens after you make an application?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 

Requesting a review of our decision

You have the right to ask for a review within 28 days of our decision and won’t normally be allowed after this time unless there are extenuating reasons why you couldn’t submit your request on time.

We will consider the facts of your application and representations made as they stand at the time of the review decision.

We have 40 days to make a new decision or uphold the decision we originally made, and give you our reasons. After this time you will not be able to ask for a review of the same decision, which will be our final decision.


If your details and/or circumstances change

Until you are rehoused or application is withdrawn or cancelled you must inform us immediately of any change of circumstances, for example:

  • someone moves out of your home regardless of whether they are part of your application
  • you or someone in your household  buys a property
  • your family grows
  • you or someone on your application gets married
  • changes to income which may exceed £85,000 per year
  • we need to know about ANY change to your household or circumstances which must be reported by completing a Change of Circumstances form below.


Change of address

You must give the full details of the type of property you live in. Make sure there is no gap or overlap between the start date and the last date you were in your previous home.


Change of household members or/and circumstances

You can add and remove household members on your application. Our housing allocations scheme document /Change of Circumstances Form will tell you who you can add to your application. 

If you are already a Tower Hamlets tenant you will not be able to add or remove any household members without first speaking to your housing officer.


Change of contact details

You must tell us about any changes to your phone number or email address.

If we find that any of your details are incorrect or not true, we may close your application, remove any priority given, or withdraw an offer or even prosecute you for fraud.



Please see our Privacy Notice about how we handle your data and how it is processed.