Apply for council housing (go on the Housing Register)


New Allocation Scheme 2021

We have successfully launched the Council’s new Housing Allocation Scheme on 04 February 2021.  This replaced the earlier policy that had been in place since September 2013.

A number of vacant Council and housing association properties have since been advertised and allocated to applicants who have been re-assessed and prioritised for accommodation, in line with the new allocation scheme.

Work on the framework for the new scheme was undertaken over many months including a large consultation exercise with residents and stakeholders before the final details were approved.

The new scheme is fully compliant with all relevant legislation introduced since the implementation of the earlier 2013 policy. In addition, the Council have simplified the priority system so that applicants may have a better understanding of their priority levels and possible waiting times for social housing.  This will enable them to make informed choices about other housing options.

The scheme features numerous updates which include:

  • 5 new priority bands
  • revised eligibility criteria
  • and changes to bedroom assessments for households. 

Full details of the new housing allocation scheme

As part of the implementation of the new policy, all existing housing applicants were contacted with a request that they update their applications via the online housing registration form.

We are aware that some applicants have not yet completed necessary updates to their applications as requested and would encourage all customers to ensure that their details are fully updated as a matter of urgency.  This is to ensure that Housing Services have their correct information and household details on file for rehousing.

Over the coming weeks, housing applications for those customers who have failed to update their details as requested will be canceled.  This may result in the loss of any previously awarded priority for housing and associated waiting time on the housing register.

If you have been asked to update your application for housing and require some advice or assistance around this process, please contact the Waltham Forest Customer Services Team

Before contacting us read more about the new scheme below.

Social housing in Waltham Forest is extremely limited. There are not enough available homes to house everyone who applies. This means that only residents who have the highest priority will be considered for a council home.
We strongly suggest you try other ways to find a home. Please visit our page on affordable homes to rent or buy for details on:

  • affordable home ownership schemes
  • affordable rent schemes
  • affordable rents for key workers
  • self-help guides to finding a home

The Housing Register

Before you can look for a council or housing association home in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, you will need to be on the Housing Register. You can apply if you’re over 18 and in most cases have lived in the borough for the past five years.

The Housing Register assessment process will take into account your individual circumstances to rank your level of housing need from Band 1 (highest priority) to Band 5 (no priority). You can see the rules about who gets priority for housing by downloading our allocation scheme.

Sheltered Housing

To apply for sheltered housing, you will need to join the Housing Register. You can apply if you're over 50 and in most cases have lived in the borough for the past five years.

You can provide medical information online. You can now supply medical information (Disability Health Questionnaire) to support an existing housing application for you and members of your household.

To do this you will need to complete the change in your circumstances form online.

Medical details can also be submitted for consideration as part of any new application made for housing.

Points no longer used on the new scheme

  • There are no points in the new scheme. Instead Applicants on the housing register are prioritised according to their individual housing needs and placed within one of five bands (1 to 5, with 1 being the highest)
  • Applicants who previously had overcrowding and/or medical points are now placed within Band 3. This applies regardless of how many points they previously had.
  • Applicants no longer receive any level of priority based upon the fact that they may be living in a home where they share facilities

Change in the 2 year residency qualification period

  • Most applicants will only be eligible to join the Council’s housing register or continue with an existing application if they have lived in Waltham Forest for a minimum period of the last 5 consecutive years (subject to allocation scheme criteria)

Additional household members

  • Housing applications with additional household members are now usually restricted to including  immediate family members, the applicant’s partner, husband, wife, sons and daughters, and it is no longer normally possible to include extended family members (subject to allocation scheme criteria).

Number of bedrooms

  • If you now qualify for fewer bedrooms this may be because some of your household no longer qualify
  • When considering housing needs, two members of the same sex on an application will be assessed as being able to share 1 bedroom, regardless of their age or relationship to each other (excluding the main applicant and partner)

For some applicants, being assessed as needing fewer bedrooms means that they are considered to be adequately housed and are placed in band 5.

Band 5

  • Applicants placed within Band 5 are not eligible to bid for properties advertised via the Council’s Choice Homes Scheme

Read the new allocation scheme for more information

More information


If you do not know your bidding number please call into our resolution centre on 0208 496 4197 and select the option for Housing. You can speak to one of our Officers who will run through some security questions before supplying you with the information that you require.

How to bid

The weekly bidding cycle runs between

  • 12.01am on a Thursday morning until until midnight on the following Sunday
  • Bids can be submitted at any time day or night during this period

There is no advantage to bidding early because the final decision about who is offered a property is not made until bidding has closed.

You can not bid for more than 2 vacancies per week and should only bid for properties you would be prepared to accept and move into.

When you log into the Choice Homes bidding website, you will only see what properties are available for you to bid for. 

However permanent accommodation is in very short supply and there may be long periods of time, when there will be no suitable vacancies available. In addition, the Council may apply bidding restrictions to individual properties so that, for instance, only existing Council tenants or people who have been assessed as needing a wheelchair accessible property can bid.

To login to the website and bid for advertised vacancies, you will need your housing application/bidding number and selected memorable date as their password (this will initially have been setup as the date of birth for the main applicant).

Alternative housing options

If you are not coming to the top of the of the bidding please be aware there is extremely high demand for the limited number of permanent homes most of the Council’s housing applicants will never be rehoused. 

For this reason, all applicants are advised to also consider alternative housing options.

Further details can be found though our housing transfer/ exchange page

Change in circumstances

Tell us about a change in circumstance through the housing register

Here you can also let us know about any health or disability conditions that you have not already told us about, provide details of overcrowding, and apply for a sheltered housing assessment (for those applicants aged 50+).

You will not be able to use this form if:

  • you are an existing Waltham Forest Council tenant
  • you are a homeless applicant who wants to update address details or, add/remove any other household members online.

In this case you will be contacted by the Rehousing Team within 8 weeks.

New applications

Please follow these steps:

  1. You’ll first need to register for a My Account, unless you already have one. If you already have a My Account, please go to step 3.
  2. Once you've registered for My Account, you'll get an activation email. Please follow the activation link and instructions to activate your My Account.
  3. If you’re not currently a council tenant, go to step 5.
  4. If you're currently a council tenant, you now need to link your tenancy to your My Account. Just follow the link, log in and then you’ll be taken to the ‘Link Your Housing Application or Tenancy’ form. You’ll need to have the following information ready:
  • your rent payment reference number
  • date of birth of main tenant
  • postcode of your current address
  1. You can now apply to be on the Housing Register using this online form:

Apply to go on the Housing Register

Let us know about a significant change in your circumstance. 

Examples of changes are:

  • Change of address
  • Medical issues affecting your housing needs
  • Change of household composition
  • Interest in Sheltered Housing

To amend or update an application with a change of circumstances, please follow these steps:

  1. You’ll first need to register for a My Account, unless you already have one. If you already have a My Account, please go to step 3.
  2. Once you've registered for My Account, you'll get an activation email. Please follow the activation link and instructions to activate your My Account.
  3. You now need to link your existing application to your My Account. To do this, just follow the link and log in, then you’ll be taken to the ‘Link Your Housing Application or Tenancy’ form. You’ll need to have the following information ready:
  • your housing application / bidding reference number
  • date of birth of main applicant
  • your rent payment reference number (for housing transfer applications)
  • postcode of your current address (for housing transfer applications)
  1. You can now update your application using this online form:

Tell us about a change of circumstances

Contact Click to get info

Rehousing Team


Telephone: 0208 496 5425