The housing register

Housing register waiting times

It’s difficult to estimate when you will receive an offer of housing - it depends on the number of properties available to let, the level of priority you are based on your application and the length of time you have been on the register. This can be up to 10 years.

We know how distressing it can be if you’re waiting for social housing. We really appreciate that delays are likely to make a bad situation worse for many people and we’ll always do everything we can to help.

There are always more people than places, and the pressure to find homes for people who badly need them has increased over recent years, especially in London.

At the start of 2020 we had 2,680 households waiting for housing on our register. Last year we only let 634 properties to applicants on the housing register. Remember, if you join the register, you join at the back of this queue.

To help you manage in these difficult circumstances, we try to let everyone know how long they are likely to have to wait, but these are only our best guess, because circumstances change all the time. Here are our current best estimates of likely waiting times.

Band 3 applicants

Band 3 is for priority housing needs where the council recognises the need for residents to be rehoused.

45% of new successful applicants for social housing are placed in Band 3.

Band 3 estimated waiting times for properties
Property type Estimated waiting time
Studio and 1 bed properties 11 to 16 months
2 bed properties 38 to 50 months
3 bed properties 50 to 67 months
4 or more bedroom properties 50 to 70 months
Sheltered properties 15 to 26 months

Band 2 applicants

Band 2 is for priority housing needs and is for those residents who have provided evidence of making a community contribution.

49% of new successful applicants for social housing are placed in Band 2.

Band 2 estimated waiting times for properties
Property type Estimated waiting time
Studio and 1 bed properties 11 to 15 months
2 bed properties 18 to 44 months
3 bed properties 22 to 60 months
4 or more bedroom properties 32 to 70 months
Sheltered properties 11 to 32 months

Band 1 applicants

Band 1 is for the highest priority housing needs and is for people with an urgent need to move.

6% of new successful applicants for social housing are placed in Band 1.

Band 1 estimated waiting times for properties
Property type Estimated waiting time
Studio and 1 bed properties 11 to 13 months
2 bed properties 12 to 16 months
3 bed properties 12 to 25 months
4 or more bedroom properties 36 to 70 months
Sheltered properties 12 to 14 months

It is important to remember that if your circumstances change while you are waiting for housing you might become ineligible to stay on the register - this can happen if you fail to meet any of the criteria for housing.

For example, if your child turns 21 whilst you are waiting they will no longer count for overcrowding calculations. Please consider this when making your application.

Factors affecting waiting times

The best way you can help keep your waiting time as short as possible is by remaining open and flexible about the rehousing opportunities you’re offered.

The reason we can’t give detailed personalised waiting times is that there are so many factors affecting the waiting time.

Here are the other main factors affecting how long you may have to wait:

  • the priority band awarded to your application
  • the time you’ve already spent waiting
  • the number of households on the housing register
  • the number of properties that become available for letting
  • essential requirements such as a property on the ground floor due to restricted mobility
  • your preferences - such as to live in a certain part of the borough.

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