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Frequently asked questions

  • Who can apply for properties through Southwark Homesearch?

You must have been accepted onto Southwark Council's Housing Register to be able to apply for properties through Southwark Homesearch. Anyone aged 16 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. Please visit

  • 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, birth certificates)
  • Proof of current address (e.g. recent utility bill)
  • 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 contact the Housing Advice Centre.

  • 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. This will tell you the band you have been placed, the date your application has been registered from 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.

For more detailed information contact our Housing Advice Centre. 

  • 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. We will tell you if this results in your application moving to a different band. If you move up a band the date used will be the date you move into that band. If you move down a band the date used will be the date that applied when you were previously in that band or any earlier date when you were in a higher band. You must complete an on-line change of circumstances form. Please visit .

  • Do I need to renew my application each year?

Yes, on an annual basis you will be sent a declaration form, which you must complete and return within 28 days. If you fail to return the form we will write and tell you that your application has been cancelled.

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

If someone in your household has a medical condition you will be asked to provide details, which may then be considered by the Council’s Medical Advisor, who will put forward a recommendation. You can continue to choose which properties to express an interest in but must be mindful of your condition and only express interest in suitable properties such as ground floor flat or bungalow if you cannot climb stairs. To notify us of this please click here.

  • How often are properties advertised?

Properties available for rent are advertised each week.  As soon as we are given formal notice that a property is due to become vacant we will advertise it. For more details click Step One-Choosing, part of our step-by-step guide to using the service.

  • 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 will be provided. 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 and which will be given priority for the property. It also tells you the number of bedrooms that applicants applying for the property need to be entitled to. If your bedroom entitlement is different to this you will not be able to bid for that property. Please see property photographs.

  • How many properties can I express an interest in?Under our Choice Based Lettings Scheme you will be able to bid for 1 property per cycle.
  • How long will I have to bid for a property?

Properties will be advertised from midnight on a Wednesday and you will be able to register your interest in properties up until midnight the following Sunday.

  • 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. This is likely to change frequently while the cycle is open, due to other people bidding for the same property. Using this 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 time.

  • How do you decide who is offered a property?

Once the closing date for bids has passed a shortlist of interested applicants is produced. 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. Please see end of bidding cycle.

  • 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.
  • Your application does not meet the policy requirements of the landlord 


  • 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.

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

Information about homes that have been successfully let or purchased through shared ownership is published on the website and the newsletter. We tell you the number of applicants that expressed an interest in each property, the band and the registration date of each property. To see the results of properties that have been let use the Properties and recent lets search.

  • How do I downsize my property?

Please see downsizing or overcrowding.

  • I placed a successful bid and I have not been contacted, when and who will contact me?

Property shortlists are compiled at the end of each bidding cycle. We will usually contact the first 3 bidders on the shortlist during the week after the cycle has finished. We will usually attempt to telephone you so ensure your contact details are up to date. If you finished in the top 3 bidders and have not been contacted during the following week , please call 0207 525 5950

  • How can I bid for Housing Association properties?

Housing Association properties are advertised in exactly the same way as Southwark Council properties. You can determine a Housing Association property by the landlord logo in the advertisement. Please note, Housing Associations operate under their own policies which may differ form council policy.

  • I have a new baby how do I add baby on my Housing List Application?

Please complete a change of circumstances on-line form by clicking here.

  • How many bedrooms can I bid for on the Housing List?

When you log into your Southwark Homesearch Account you will be advised of the minimum and maximum bedrooms you are allowed to bid for. However, please do not bid for less bedrooms than you need if you are bidding for non-council property as it is likely that your bid will not be successful. 

  • My bidding is suspended. Why?

You bidding may be suspended because you have been offered another property. It may be suspended because there is a discrepancy with your application. If you have been suspended and you are unsure why, please call our contact centre on 0207 525 5950

  • How do I get the priory stars in my band?

Please see Policy Documents.

  • How do I remove someone from my Housing List Application?

Please visit and complete a change of circumstances form.