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Apply for Council housing

Last updated 26 November 2015

Please note:

To apply for social housing, you must complete an online form. Before you start the process of completing the application for housing, it is vital that you complete the online self-assessment which will give you an indication of what your priority is likely to be, and whether or not you are ever likely to be housed. We will also let you know about all the other options available to you in the borough.

If you need help, please contact Customer Services on 020 8496 3000 or visit the WFD shop and someone will be able to give you advice about how to complete the form.

There is a severe shortage of all sizes of affordable homes in Waltham Forest. Our Housing Register is based on housing need over waiting time. This means we can only house you if you are in housing need as defined by our Allocations Policy.

You can find information below about each preference band.

Housing preference bands

To be able to apply, you must be:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Living at an address in Waltham Forest, and have lived in the borough for the last 2 years continuously

If you qualify you will be placed into one of four priority levels.

No preference

For anyone assessed as having ‘no preference’, we will offer you advice about your housing options, but you will not be able to bid for any of our advertised vacancies. You will not be offered a Council or Housing Association home.

Reasonable preference

You will have ‘reasonable preference’ if you are in one or more of the following groups. If you are, you will be awarded points. If you are in more than one group, the points from each group will be added together:

  • You are threatened with homelessness and in priority need
  • You are homeless
  • You have a health or social need
  • You qualify for sheltered housing
  • Your home is overcrowded
  • You live in unsanitary or unsatisfactory housing conditions that pose a significant threat to your health or well being
  • You have a strong need to move to a particular part of Waltham Forest

Additional preference

  • You have an urgent medical, social or welfare need
  • You are within an agreed quota of people requiring housing – such as the Move-On scheme, the Foster Care scheme, Young people leaving local authority care, Veterans scheme
  • Retiring Council caretakers (old age or ill health) currently living in tied accommodation
  • The Council urgently needs possession of your property to redevelop, repair or demolish it
  • You live in Council or housing association accommodation that is too big for your needs, or is adapted for wheelchair use and no member of the applicant’s household needs that type of housing any more
  • You were a long-term carer for a Council tenant who has now died or moved to supported accommodation, and you have no legal right to succeed to the tenancy

Additional preference is usually time-limited for 3 or 12 months

Additional preference plus

  • You have ‘additional preference’ on two or more separate grounds (see all categories under additional preference above)
  • You live in Council accommodation that has two or more bedrooms above your household’s requirements
  • You live in Housing Association accommodation that has two or more bedrooms above your household’s requirements (and the Council has the right to nominate a person to occupy the resulting vacancy)
  • You have succeeded to a Council tenancy but under-occupy the property by two or more bedrooms

If you do not meet the criteria for additional preference priority, we suggest that you consider the other housing options available to you.

Once your application has been registered, you will be able to follow the link to begin the process of completing your housing application online. You will need the following information in order to complete the form correctly, so please ensure you have this before you begin. This information is required for all applicants and household members. Please note that the priority given in the self-assessment may not be the same once we have reviewed your individual case.

  • Full names and dates of birth
  • National Insurance numbers
  • Details of immigration status
  • Full address history for the last 5 years
  • Details of anyone who requires support from, or gives support to, the household
  • Details of health or disability
  • Details of any support worker and/or someone you wish to deal with your application on your behalf
  • Details of any household member who is related to an employee or councillor of Waltham Forest Council
  • Details of any household member who has had action taken against them due to anti-social behaviour, or been evicted for rent arrears

Please note the form will take approximately one hour to complete.

Help with completing the form

If you have any difficulties completing the form, please contact Waltham Forest Direct on 020 8496 3000 and they will give you guidance and advice.

If you are unable to access a computer and there is no-one who is able to help you complete the form, you can contact Waltham Forest Direct on 020 8496 3000 or visit the WFD shop. Don't forget you will need the information above in order to complete the form successfully.

If you have a disability and are unable to access the Internet, or visit the Waltham Forest Direct shops, we can arrange for the Disability Advisor to contact you to see what help we can provide. Please contact Waltham Forest Direct on 020 8496 3000 to arrange this.

Existing Waltham Forest Housing tenants

If you are an existing Waltham Forest Housing tenant, you can apply for a housing transfer on the Waltham Forest Housing website.

How do I apply?

You can complete the form online by following the link below. You must complete the self-assessment first. You will be asked if you would like to continue to complete the main housing registration form. If you are assessed as being in the ‘no preference’ band, you are strongly advised not to continue with the full application as you will not be re-housed.

If you need to save your form before you complete it, you can click on 'Finish Later'. You must take a note of the temporary reference number you are given in order to return to the form to complete it. If you do not complete your application within 5 days, the details will be removed and you will have to start again.

What do I do next?

Once you have completed the form online, please wait 48 hours for your application to be processed. After this time you will be able to access your housing reference/bidding number and confirmation of the number of points you have been given using the temporary reference number you were given at the end of the form (this was shown at the bottom of the page and begins with HC).

Change of circumstances

If any of your personal circumstances change, you can log back into your form and amend them. Click on the link below:

View a completed application and/or change your details.

What to do if you have a disability or health problem

If you are already on the housing register, but would like to let us know of a health problem or disability, please print and complete the Disability and Health Questionnaire.

How to apply for Extra care housing

Extra care housing is a type of specialised housing that provides independence and choice to adults with complex care needs. It is group of rented flats with access to 24 hours Support and care. Older people living in them enjoy the freedom of having their own front door, social activities and the peace of mind from knowing staff are available if they are needed.

All applicants must have their care needs assessed by Social Services to meet the current criteria (minimum of 10hours care per week) for extra care housing i.e. receiving daily visits from carers to assist with personal care and domestic tasks etc.

More information is available on the Extra Care Housing Brochure

How to apply:
To apply for Extra care housing please download and complete the application forms in the links below:

Once all the forms are fully completed and signed please return to:

Development Manager Extra Care Sheltered Housing
Supported Living Strategic Commissioning,
Families Directorate (Adults, Children and Families)
London Borough of Waltham Forest
Room 100, Town Hall, Walthamstow, E17 4JF.

Option to register online is available:

After registering online inform the Development Manager of extra care housing on the telephone number below.

Extra care is not part of the Council’s Choice Based Lettings. This means that applicants are not able to bid for this service.

For more information contact: Development Manager Extra Care Sheltered Housing on 0208 496 6950.

How to apply for sheltered housing?

If you are already on the housing register, but would now like to apply for sheltered housing in the borough, please print and complete the Sheltered Housing application form .

How do I bid for properties?

You will only be able to bid for advertised vacancies if you are assessed as having reasonable or additional (plus) preference.

Once you have your bidding number you can start using the Choice Based Lettings System. Vacancies are advertised in a weekly magazine called Choice Homes. You can express an interest by putting in a ‘bid’ for up to two properties each week.

Bidding means saying you are interested in a property, and does not involve bidding with money. Sometimes the Council makes a direct offer of a property to an applicant, rather than publishing the property for bidding. For example if a property has particular features to meet specific needs such as wheelchair access.

You can place bids for two properties of the appropriate size every week by phone, text or through the East London Lettings Company website at You can find out how to bid in the magazine.

Where can I get a copy of Choice Homes Magazine?

The code next to each address shows what is available at each site:

  • M = ELLC Choice Homes Magazine available for collection
  • I = Access to ELLC Choice Homes website available through the Internet
  • K = Access to ELLC Choice Homes website available through touch-screen computer kiosk

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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See also

Contact details

  • Housing Services

    Cedar Wood House 2d Fulbourne Road
    E17 4GG
    Phone: 020 8496 3000