Housing Needs Register

To apply for social housing you need to join the Housing Needs Register.

The Housing Needs Register is a list of all people who qualify for social housing and need help finding somewhere to live.

You can join the Housing Needs Register if you have a:

  • local connection to Harlow
  • housing need

You can’t join the Housing Needs Register if you:

  • do not have a local connection
  • have a current Antisocial Behaviour Order (ASBO)
  • have lost your previous home due to antisocial behaviour
  • have an outstanding injunction
  • have a recent conviction related to domestic abuse
  • have had a home closed by the Police due to involvement with drugs
  • have housing-related debt totalling £1,000 or more (not including mortgage arrears)
  • have more than £50,000 from savings, equity or income

Housing Initial Assessment

 To join the Housing Needs Register you will need to complete an initial assessment.


The Housing Initial Assessment takes up to 15 minutes to complete.

If you do not have access to the internet or a computer, you can use self-service computers at:

  • Harlow Civic Centre
  • Harlow Library

The assessment will ask basic questions about your circumstances to find out whether you meet qualifying conditions to join the Housing Needs Register.

If you do not meet qualifying conditions, you will be referred to other housing options that may be available to you.

If you meet qualifying conditions you will need to:

  • make a note of the number you are given when the Housing Initial Assessment is completed
  • collect a Housing Needs Register form the Contact Harlow Reception or request one is posted to you
  • provide evidence to support your application

You will have 42 calendar days to complete the Housing Needs Register form and give us the evidence we need.

We will not accept your application if you return it after 42 days. You will need to begin the process again, starting with the Housing Initial Assessment.

Housing Needs Register Form

Once we receive your completed Housing Needs Register Application Form and your evidence, we will process your application within 28 days of the application form being submitted.

If your application still meets the qualifying conditions and all your information and evidence has been checked, you will join the Housing Need Register.

Based on the information from your application form and evidence, we will place you into one of four bands.

Band 1 is the highest priority, and band 4 is the lowest priority.

Once we have placed you in a band, we will give you:

  • your band
  • your bidding number
  • information on how to bid for properties using the Homefinder website.


You can search for properties on the Homefinder website

If you find a property on Homefinder that meets your needs, you need to bid on it to register your interest.

To bid on a property, you will need:    

  • your bidding number
  • your name

The number of bedrooms you will be allowed to bid for will be based on a room for:

  • each adult couple
  • any other person aged 16 and over
  • two children of the same sex under the age of 16
  • two children under the age of 10 regardless of their sex
  • any other child
  • a full-time carer if you or your partner need overnight care

You can bid on any type of property that meets your needs.

You can make up to three bids during the weekly bidding cycle between 9.30am every Thursday to 1am every Tuesday.

It is important that you only bid for properties you would accept. If you refuse two reasonable offers of accommodation, you will be moved down a band for a period of six months.

Homeless applicants lose their priority after refusing one reasonable offer.

After bidding has ended each week, we look at all the bids for a property.

We decide on the successful bidder by looking at:

  • their priority
  • suitability of accommodation  

If your bid is successful we will:

  • contact you by first class letter
  • contact you by telephone
  • ask you for evidence

You will have 24 hours (excluding weekends) to give us this evidence. 

Once we have received and checked your evidence, we will make you a housing offer. 

Change of Circumstances

If you are on the Housing Needs Register and your circumstances change, you need to let us know as soon as possible by completing a Change of Circumstances Form (pdf)

You will also need to provide any evidence to Contact Harlow.

A change of circumstances includes:

  • change of address or contact details
  • changes in household details
  • change of marital status
  • changes to the local connection
  • changes in income or housing debts
  • changes in criminal convictions and/or Antisocial Behaviour Orders

You do not need to let us know if you are pregnant, however please complete the form when the baby is born, as this is a change to your household.