Social Housing

In Surrey Heath there is no Council housing: all the social housing is owned by housing associations. To be considered for a housing association home you must join the Council's Housing Register.

We have a Housing Register as there are always more people looking for social housing than tenancies available. This is a register of everyone who qualifies to be considered for a housing association home in priority order.

How the Housing Register works

Not everybody qualifies to go on the Housing Register although there are special rules for some serving and former Armed Forces personnel and their families.

You can join the Housing Register if you meet Government eligibility rules (which apply to certain people from abroad) and you meet the following qualifying criteria:

  • You are over 18;
  • You have a local connection to Surrey Heath (by living here for 3 out of 5 years; or, by having settled employment here of at least 16 hours per week; or, you have a close family member (father, mother, brother, sister or adult child) who lives here and you can show you need to live near them to provide or receive care or support;
  • You are not guilty of anti-social behaviour that is serious enough to make you unsuitable to be a tenant;
  • You do not have the resources to secure your own housing;
  • You do not own a property;
  • You do not have housing or Council Tax debts you are not addressing; and,
  • If you are already a tenant, you have abided by the terms of your tenancy agreement (e.g. looked after the property, not accrued arrears and not caused anti-social behaviour).

If you do not meet the local connection criteria but are a serving or former member of the Armed Forces you will still qualify if you:

  • Are serving in the regular forces or have served in the regular forces within 5 years of the date of your application;
  • Have recently ceased, or will cease to be entitled, to reside in accommodation provided by the Ministry of Defence following the death of your spouse or civil partner where (i) your partner was in the regular forces and (ii) their death was attributable (wholly or partly) to that service;
  • A person who is serving or who has served in the reserve forces and who is suffering from a serious injury, illness or disability which is attributable (wholly or partly) to that service will be considered qualifying even without a connection to the Borough;

Just because you qualify it does not mean that you will be successful in securing a housing association home as there are always more people looking for homes than homes available. If qualify to join the Housing Register you will then be prioritised in line with the Councils Allocation Policy.

To be assessed for housing you need first to complete a Housing Register form. Application packs are available from the Housing Needs Team either by calling into the Council Offices, ringing on 01276 707100 or emailing housing@surreyheath.gov.uk

Priority on the Housing Register

The Council has an Allocation Policy which sets out the way in which those looking for a move into, or between, housing association homes are given priority. It is a mixture of legal requirement and local policy.

Priority is given to:

  • People who are overcrowded or live in poor accommodation
  • People who are homeless
  • People who need to move for a medical reason

To ensure that we have a way of treating everyone in a consistent way while recognising their individual circumstances there is a points system. When you apply for housing you are given points based on your circumstances.

Points are given for:

  • the facilities that you have, or lack;
  • how secure your home is;
  • any disrepair in your current home; and,
  • any medical or other factors that make your current home unsuitable or mean that you would be better off in alternative accommodation.

We also give points if you have a connection with Surrey Heath through living, working or having close family here that you need to move near, and we give priority to Housing Association tenants in the area who need to move.

All Councils have different ways of prioritising people for housing. If you want to find out about social housing in areas where you have a local connection you can find the right Council via the gov.uk website:

Choice Based Lettings

Choice based letting is the way many Councils allocate housing and it involves you actively looking at what is available rather than waiting for a call to say you are being offered a home.
Once you are on the Housing Register and you have been advised of your priority you can start to 'bid' for properties by following these steps:

Step one:
Every Wednesday we advertise the housing association homes that are becoming
available.

The adverts are like estate agent adverts, telling you the type of property available, where it is, how much the rent is, along with other details like whether there is a garden or garage.

The adverts are displayed in the Council and Accent Housing offices and on this website:

Step two:
You bid for the properties that you would like to rent. A bid does not involve money: it is you saying 'yes, I want to be considered for this home'. In fact, what you are bidding with is the points that you have on the Joint Housing Register.

The adverts say who is eligible to bid. For example if it is a three bedroom family home then single people will not be able to bid, and if it is a bedsit then families with children will not be able to bid.

You can bid:

You must make your bid by the closing date shown on the advert or your bid will not count - bids will always close at noon on a Tuesday.

You can only bid for properties that have been advertised.

Step three:
When bidding has closed we take everyone who has made a bid, check that they qualify for the property and put them in order of their points.

The home is then offered to the bidder with the most points. If they change their mind it will be offered to the person with the next highest points.

People with arrears that have not been addressed or who are under notice for anti-social behaviour will not be counted as qualifying even if they have high points.

How will I know if I have been successful?

Successful bidders will be called within 2 days of the bidding closing.

If you have not been successful you will not hear directly. We put feedback on the website and in a regular newsletter. This includes the bidding details of successful customers so you know how many points and how long people have been on the Housing Register when they make successful bids, and how many properties have been available.

Special Needs Housing

The Council recognises that there will be some exceptional circumstances where it is vital to provide housing for the care or resettlement of someone with a special need for housing or a need for specialist housing.

In these cases a direct offer of housing can be made.

This will include those people who are in supported housing or rehabilitation and have completed a programme leading to their ability to live independently and who are ready to move on. It could also include those who need a home that has, or can take, major adaptations.

In such cases a referral will be needed from a professional responsible for the care and support of the person detailing their housing and support needs and this will be assessed as part of the Council's Special Needs housing process.