Applying for council housing

We can't offer a home to everybody who applies for housing. Our Housing Policy and Housing Allocations Scheme aim to ensure that households with the greatest and the most pressing need for housing get housed.

We currently own more than 14,000 individual homes. There are also 46 housing associations (registered social landlords) in the borough who manage homes.

The housing register

The housing register is the list of qualifying people who have applied for council housing including sheltered housing and wheelchair accessible housing.

Only applicants with high levels of identified housing need will qualify to join the housing register.

The housing option service manages the allocation of permanent general-needs council housing.

Who can apply to join the housing register?

Only those applicants who meet strict criteria can join the housing register.

To qualify to join the housing register, you must satisfy all the conditions below. You must:

  • be ‘eligible’ for assistance (i.e. you must be someone with the right to make an application for ‘recourse to public funds’ in the UK)
  • have lived in the borough for a continuous period of five years
  • meet defined income and resource criteria.

And you must also meet at least one of the conditions below:

  • your accommodation is overcrowded and two bedrooms short of your defined housing need
  • you suffer from a medical condition or other disability that is severely affected by your current living conditions
  • you are homeless and we have accepted a statutory duty to secure accommodation for you.

For detailed information on eligibility and qualifying criteria please consult the housing allocation scheme

We treat each application to join the register on its individual merits.

How to apply to be on the housing register

Apply online using My Account

You can also apply in one of the following ways.

Opening hours: Weekdays 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.

Drop-in any time for advice and assistance with your rehousing application. If we can't give you the help you need immediately, we will make an appointment for you to return.

What happens if my circumstances change?

You must let us know if there are any changes in your circumstances which might affect your application. Common changes you must tell us about include:

  • a change in your health, which is affected by your housing
  • someone in the household becoming pregnant
  • a member of your family currently living with you who is moving away

When you tell us about a change that affects your application for rehousing we may ask for documents or information to confirm this. Your application will be put on hold until we receive this information. Your application will be reassessed and may result in you moving to a different band. Your priority date may also change. We will write to you and tell you about changes to your application.

Housing register application form (pdf)

If you have a change in your or one of your household’s medical circumstances please discuss this with us first by phone. If necessary we will send you a medical assessment form or you can complete this online version.

Medical self assessment form (pdf)

Documents required when offered a viewing of a property

You must provide independent documentary proof of:

  • your relationship to all those named on the application
  • your immigration status
  • the property you currently live in
  • five years continuous local residence in Hammersmith & Fulham

If you are made an offer of housing, for every person named on your application we must see at least two of the following forms of proof of identity and proof of where they currently live:

  • full birth certificate
  • medical card
  • marriage certificate
  • driving licence
  • national Insurance card
  • passport
  • benefit book or wages slip

Once your completed application form has been processed and it has been decided that you qualify to join the housing register, we will add your information to our computerised register. We will follow the rules set out in the Data Protection Act which explains how personal records should be kept.

Supplying false information

It is a criminal offence to lie on your application or knowingly supply false information in order to obtain public housing. In such cases we will actively seek a prosecution which may result in a prison sentence or significant fine.

How long will I have to wait?

It is not possible to say when housing can be offered – you may move bands while waiting and a lot depends on the number of new lets and re-lets available to us directly or through nominations to housing associations and the level of need at any one time. Restricted choice has an effect on your wait to be rehoused.

Please remember, only applicants with the most severe housing need will qualify to join the housing register.

As a guide the following are average waiting times for different sizes of accommodation for applicants who qualify:

Property type/average waiting time

Studio/1 Bedroom: 12 months

2 Bedrooms: 23 months

3 Bedrooms: 24 months

4 Bedrooms or more: 43 months

Sheltered Housing: 16 months

Dispelling some myths

There are a lot of myths surrounding who gets social housing, particularly about people from abroad. We are not legally permitted to house certain persons subject to immigration control including:

  • over stayers and visitors and visitors to the country
  • illegal entrants
  • asylum seekers
  • people in the country on condition that they will not have recourse to public funds
  • persons from abroad who fail the habitual residence test
  • persons from abroad who are in breach of the European Community Right of Residence directive
  • persons from abroad who have been subject of a sponsorship agreement for less than five years and whose sponsors are still alive.

We don't decide who gets housing on the basis of a person's skin colour, race or any other characteristic but only on the basis of an individual's need for rehousing.

Medical assessment

We receive many applications for medical assessments and it is rare that additional priority is awarded. Your condition must be severely adversely affected by your housing.

To help ensure we can carry out a full and accurate medical assessment it is important you provide the following information:

  • your medical condition/s
  • medications taken
  • name and address of doctor/ consultant/ hospital
  • how your condition/s are affected by your housing.

Who is the council’s medical adviser?

Our medical adviser is a registered GP who advises us on the essential housing needs of our applicants.

Do I need to get a letter from my doctor?

You are never asked to submit a letter from your doctor when we carry out a medical assessment. Usually, by just telling us about your illness and the medication you have been prescribed, we can make an accurate assessment. Sometimes, if we need more in-depth information, we will write to your doctor or specialist.

How does the assessment process work?

When we carry out an assessment for priority on medical grounds, we take three things into consideration. Firstly, we look at how severe your medical condition is. Secondly, we look at how your current housing situation is affecting your illness. Lastly – but most importantly – we look at how a move to alternative accommodation will affect your illness. We consider all this information before deciding what kind of priority would be appropriate.

You will be asked to either submit any medical information that you have, or are you will be given a form to complete.

This information is then passed to the Council’s Medical Adviser (CMA) for his recommendation. The Assessment Officer considers all the information available, including the CMA’s recommendations and decides whether it would appropriate to award additional priority. A letter is then sent to you to explain the outcome of the medical assessment.

I claim disability-related benefits, but I don’t have any extra priority. Why?

We realise that many of our applicants suffer from uncomfortable and debilitating illnesses. However, if your current accommodation is having a minimal effect or no negative affect on your illness, we won’t award you extra priority. We award priority based on housing need and not just based on the fact that you are ill.

The damp and mould in my housing is affecting my health!

Because of the short supply of housing we have, when we assess applicants for priority on medical grounds, we look to see what other things can be done in order to help you. It is the legal responsibility of your landlord to make sure that your home remains in a good condition. If your landlord is unwilling to fix the problem, or you would like further advice and assistance, you can contact our Private Housing Services department:

020 8753 1221

How can the CMA make a recommendation if he hasn’t even met me?

There are two main reasons why the CMA does not personally examine our applicants. The first reason is that we have very limited resources and it is not practical to carry out individual examinations. We rely on your consultations with your own GP to provide us with the information we need. Secondly, based on the information that you have submitted, the CMA is able to determine the type and severity of your illness. This is why we ask you to provide us with as much detail as possible, especially the type of medication you have been prescribed.

Reviews - how can I appeal against a decision?

If you have been refused a place on the housing register, are unhappy with your bands priority or have been suspended from the waiting list, you can ask us to review the decision.

See H&F advice contact details below.

Unacceptable behaviour

If your behaviour makes you unsuitable to be a tenant, you will not qualify for the housing register.

Such behaviour includes:

  • persistent failure to pay rent and/or service charges
  • anti social behaviour which has caused a nuisance by the applicant or a member of his or her household
  • illegal or immoral behaviour
  • threats of and/or actual violence
  • racial harassment
  • obtaining a tenancy by deception and/or an attempt at tenancy fraud
  • transfer applicants who have breached the terms of their tenancy by not looking after their home and have caused damage

Contact us

h&f Advice
145-155 King Street
W6 9XY

020 8753 4198

Weekdays 9 am to 5 pm

Drop-in any time for advice and assistance with your rehousing application. If we can't help you immediately, we will make an appointment for you to return.