Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Some of our services have temporarily stopped or changed. See our Changes to Council services page for services’ status and our Coronavirus updates section for latest information.

Housing Register

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and a number of Housing Associations with accommodation in the borough have a single register for people who would like rented or low cost housing. This means that if you are looking for accommodation with any of the member landlords of the Housing Register, you only need to make one application.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council runs the Housing Register and will help with any queries you may have, we have set out an overview for all applicants, which we recommend you read before accessing the Kent Homechoice website.

For in-depth information our Housing Register Allocation Policy sets out the rules for the Housing Register, how housing need is assessed and how available homes are let.

All of the member landlords are listed in the Kent Homechoice user guide which can be found at www.kenthomechoice.org.uk, so please contact them directly if you wish to discuss any particular policy or procedures they may have.

We will collect and use your personal data to provide this service. Please see the Housing Privacy Notice for more information.

Anyone can approach Tunbridge Wells Borough Council for housing advice and assistance. However, as social housing in the Borough is limited, the Council will no longer hold an open housing register. To apply for housing, an applicant must be eligible, meet the qualification rules, have a local connection to Tunbridge Wells Borough and have a housing need. The rules for all of these are explained in the Housing Register and Housing Allocation Policy.

Both Homeseekers and Transfer tenants are only able to include family members, dependants, spouses or people they are in a relationship with on their application. Friends and other acquaintances are not able to apply together unless there is evidence that there is a need for 24 hour live-in care, and the other person provides this care.

Local Connection

Applicants must have a local connection to Tunbridge Wells Borough in order to be able to apply for housing. A local connection is gained through either the main or joint applicant meeting one of the following:

  • Have been living in settled accommodation in the Borough for the last 3 years (definition of settled accommodation is detailed in the full policy)
  • Have previously lived in settled accommodation in the Borough for 5 out of the last 10 years.
  • Have immediate family (Mother, Father, Brother, Sister, children aged over 18) who have lived in the Borough continuously for the last 5 years.
  • Be employed in the Borough, with a permanent contract of paid employment that has been continuous for the last six months, or self employed for the last six months where there is evidence that the main area of work is in the Borough.
  • Serving or former members of the armed forces (honourably discharged within the past 5 years), injured members of the Reserved Forces or bereaved spouses/civil partners of the armed forces who lost their partner due to military service and have to leave Ministry of Defence family accommodation.

Housing Need

Only applicants who have a housing need will be able to apply for housing. To be considered to be in housing need, the applicant must meet at least one of the housing need criteria detailed in the 4 bands. Should more than one of the housing need criteria be met, then the applicant will be placed into whichever band has the highest priority.

As social housing is very limited, the following qualification rules have been set to make sure that the households in the highest need are prioritised.

  • Household income, savings, capital or investments must not exceed the financial limits set in the policy. These limits will be reviewed annually and may change, so check the full policy or contact the Council for more information if required.
  • In most circumstances, applicants who own their own property will not be able to apply.
  • Applicants who have or have had significant rent arrears with a private or social landlord will not qualify to apply.
  • Applicants who have been involved in committing on-going anti-social behaviour (including any member of their household) will not qualify to apply.
  • Applicants who do not have a local connection to the Borough will not qualify to apply.
  • Applicants not living in the UK, except certain members of the armed forces, will not qualify.
  • Applicants who are under 16 years of age will not qualify.

When you join the register, you will be assessed as either a Homeseeker or a Transfer tenant. ‘Homeseekers’ include applicants who are not currently a housing association tenant in the Borough, or are Council or housing association tenants outside of the Borough. A ‘Transfer tenant’ is an applicant who is a housing association tenant in this Borough.

You will be placed into one of the following four bands according to your housing situation:

Band A

Homeseekers Transfer tenants
1. Bereaved spouses and civil partners of members of the Armed Forces, leaving Services Family Accommodation following the death of their spouse or partner where the death was wholly or partly attributable to their service 1. Overcrowding of a HA property, according to Welfare Reform Act bedroom criteria
2. Serving or former members of the Armed Forces/Reserve Forces personnel who need to move urgently and are suffering from a serious injury, illness or disability which is wholly or partly attributable to their service
3. Category 1 Hazards which landlord is unable to address within 6 months including people living in insanitary or unsatisfactory conditions
4. Short term supported accommodation
5. High medical or welfare need to move  
6. Those who are threatened with homelessness (through no fault of their own) or have no fixed abode   
7. Overcrowded households according to Welfare Reform Act bedroom criteria.   
8. Tenants in private rented accommodation where it has been evidenced that the property is unaffordable to them   

Band B

Homeseekers Transfer tenants
1. Those who have been accepted as homeless, have a local connection through the Housing Register Allocation policy and have been owed a main homelessness duty by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council for a period of more than six months. 1. High medical or welfare need
2. Transfer applicants occupying an adapted property which is no longer needed
3. Transfer applicants who require adaptations to be carried out to their property, where their current home has been deemed unsuitable for adaptations
4. Under-occupation of a housing association property in the borough according to Welfare Reform bedroom criteria
5. Category 1 Hazards which landlord is unable to address within 6 months including people living in insanitary or unsatisfactory conditions (details in full policy)

Band C

Homeseekers Transfer tenants
1. Serving or former members of the Armed Forces/ Reserve Forces personnel who urgently need a suitable adapted property due to a serious injury/ medical condition sustained in service 1. Urgent management transfers
2. Urgent medical and welfare grounds (as detailed on page 11 of the policy booklet) 2. Urgent medical or welfare grounds (as detailed on page 11 of the policy booklet)
3. Fleeing domestic abuse, extreme violence or harassment. Evidence needed to show urgent risk and that it is safe to live in the borough 3. Fleeing domestic abuse, extreme violence or harassment. Evidence needed to show urgent risk and that it is safe to live in the borough
4. Made homeless due to disaster, fire or flood 4. Need for rehousing as home due to be demolished as part of regeneration programme
5. Housing Association tenants outside of the borough that need to move to the borough to take up an offer of employment or training.

Band D

Homeseekers Transfer tenants
1. Low medical or welfare issues (detailed on page 11 of the Housing Allocation Policy Booklet 1. Low medical or welfare issues
2. Those who have approached the Council as homeless and the homeless decision is pending
3. Those who have been accepted as homeless and in priority need but have been found to be intentionally homeless
4. Those who have been accepted as homeless, are owed a main housing duty by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, have been owed that duty for less than 6 months and for whom private rented accommodation is being sought.
5. Those who have been accepted as homeless, are owed a main housing duty by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, have no local connection under the Housing Register Allocation Policy and for whom private rented accommodation is being sought.
6. Those who have been accepted as homeless, are owed a main housing duty by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and have been successfully placed into private rented accommodation by the Council.
 7. Those owed a main homelessness duty by any other Local Authority in the UK.  
 8. Applicants who have been living in the private rented sector for over five years and have had to move a number of times due to no fault of their own.  

It is very important that you complete all of the questions to enable us to fully assess your housing need. Your application will then be assessed and either accepted and placed band A, B, C or D, or will be declined. If your application is declined we will write to you with the reasons and you will have the opportunity to request a review if you feel the decision is incorrect. If any information is missing from your application, it may mean you are not awarded the banding you are entitled to.

Your application will not be assessed until the relevant identification and proof of addresses have been provided as detailed in the application form and this checklist.

If you need advice on completing the form, please contact the Housing Needs Team or visit us at the Gateway.

If you would like full details of what priority you may be awarded for certain categories of housing need, please refer to the Housing Allocation Policy Booklet.

If you are unable to complete the application online and have no one to help you, please contact the Housing Needs Team.

We aim to complete the assessment within 15 working days of receiving the relevant identification for the application. Once processed, all member landlords of the Housing Register will have access to your application, the details of which will be protected under the Data Protection Act.

We will write to you with details of your assessment and your unique reference number. If you have been accepted onto the housing register, you will then be able to place bids on available homes through Kent Homechoice.

 

When will I get an offer of accommodation?

When a property is ready to advertise, it will be shown on the Kent Homechoice website. You will be able to place bids on up to three properties at a time. As soon as the bidding closes for one property you will then be able to bid for another. Each property will be advertised for a minimum of five days, and will close at midnight on the date shown on the advert.

A shortlist of applicants whose needs match the accommodation will be sent to the Housing Association when the bidding closes. The landlord will then contact the highest priority applicant directly when the property is ready in order to make arrangements for viewing. This may not happen straight away as some properties may have void works to complete.

We recommend that you check the advertised properties each weekend to make sure that you see everything for that week. If you are unable to look at the weekend, it is recommended to try and look twice during the week. For further information and frequently asked questions please visit the Kent Homechoice website.

 

What happens once I receive an offer?

There are different timescales for viewing, accepting or refusing an offer, dependant on the Housing Association making the offer. They will advise you of these when they first make contact, so it is important that you keep to these timescales. Failure to do so may lead to losing the offer.

When you are made an offer, we would recommend that you view the property if you are given the chance, even if you think you may refuse it.

 

What happens if I refuse an offer?

If you choose to refuse an offer of accommodation, you will need to let the Housing Association know, and then send the reasons for the refusal to the Council, either by post, email to allocations@tunbridgewells.gov.uk or at the Tunbridge Wells Gateway. Once you have turned it down, the property would then normally be offered to the next suitable bidder.

If you refuse three properties that were felt to be suitable for you, your application will go to the bottom of your current band and priority date will change to match this. Therefore, you will have much longer to wait for another offer.

If you turn down a property, and based on the reasons you give the Council are in agreement that it was not suitable for you, this would not be counted as a refusal.

The only exception to this is for applicants the Council owe a main housing duty and who currently in temporary accommodation provided by the Council. These applicants would be expected to accept the first reasonable offer of accommodation or else the homelessness duty and temporary accommodation may be ended.

You have the right to appeal against decisions made by both Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and landlord members of the Housing Register in connection with your housing application.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council will deal with appeals against decisions we make in respect of assessing and banding your application. For details on how to appeal, please contact the Housing Needs Team.

If you are appealing against a decision made by a member landlord in accordance with their organisation's policy or procedures, you must contact the housing association directly.

We want to be open and transparent about who is applying for and being allocated social housing in this area. Therefore, we collect and publish information on waiting list applicants and lettings outcomes.

The data in our report shows a snapshot of the number of families registered for housing as of 1 August 2017 for all bedroom sizes and bands, and also ethnic origins, nationalities, economic statuses and ages.

We have also collated information detailing the numbers that have been housed since April 2016 for all bedroom sizes and bands.

This information is broken down into a summary of ethnic origins, nationalities, economic statuses and ages. It will also help to give an estimate of waiting times for rehousing based on band and bedroom need.

We aim to show that the allocation system is fair and that we are complying with our allocation scheme.

The statistics report can be viewed here.

< previous next >
A - Z of council services