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The Housing Register

The councils' Housing Register lists all of the people who want to rent social housing in Eastbourne or Lewes or who want to transfer from an existing social housing property. The register covers both council-owned properties and housing associations.

Please be aware that the availability of council properties is extremely low. We suggest speaking to our housing team about all options available to you.

Am I eligible to join the Housing Register?

To be eligible you will need to:

  • be at least 16 years of age
  • meet the local connection criteria for either Eastbourne Borough Council or for Lewes District Council
  • have an identified housing need, or
  • be seeking housing for older persons/sheltered accommodation


What is a housing need?

A household may have a housing need if any of the following circumstances apply:

  • under-occupation of social housing
  • insanitary or overcrowded housing in accordance with the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
  • lacking bedrooms
  • medical conditions
  • risk of personal harm
  • the need for works to be carried out on existing social housing properties
  • bedroom requirements for existing fostering cases and/or adoption
  • management transfers in social housing
  • the need for adaptations
  • the need of applicants who have served in the armed forces
  • exceptional circumstances


Who is not eligible to apply to the Housing Register?

  • anyone under the age of 16
  • households subject to immigration control who are ineligible for assistance
  • other persons from abroad who are ineligible for assistance
  • households with significant rent arrears still outstanding to any former landlord
  • households considered by the local authority to have caused anti-social behaviour
  • households considered to have sufficient financial resources in order to meet their own housing needs
  • those without a local residency connection
  • households with more than £32,000 in savings or assets within Eastbourne or Lewes District Council
  • any household seeking general needs accommodation not considered to have a housing need
  • applicants who are existing tenants of a housing association that provides its tenants with alternative access to its housing stock
  • households giving false or misleading information or withholding information that has been reasonably requested


How do I apply to join the Housing Register?

You will need to check first to see if you are eligible.

You will then be asked to complete an online housing options self-assessment. If the assessment says you are eligible to apply you can then download, complete, save and return the Homes First Lettings housing register application form by email or post.

In order for your application to be validated, you will need to make sure you provide personal information and identification for yourself and every member of your household including:

  • formal identification documents (photo ID)
  • proof of address history for the last 5 years
  • proof of income
  • national Insurance numbers
  • evidence of a housing need


What can I do if I don't agree with the decision that I am not eligible to join the Housing Register?

Please contact us explaining why you think you should be in a different band. It is helpful if you point to the criteria in the new band that you believe applies to you. Evidence to back this up is helpful.

What should I do if I don't have a birth certificate or other ID documents?

You will need to get them. We cannot assist you without this documentation. If you require a birth certificate you will need to know which borough you were born in. You can go to the registry office in that area and pay for a copy of your full birth certificate or you can order one from

What type of medical condition do I need to have to be considered in housing need?

Medical priority is awarded where a move to alternative accommodation would significantly improve the health or quality of life of an applicant or member of their family. It is not awarded on the basis of the medical conditions of household members alone. For some people with serious medical conditions, a move will not improve their health because they are already housed in the most suitable accommodation we can provide. Examples of scenarios where no medical priority will be awarded for an application to join the Housing Register are:

  • those with mild to moderate asthma (or other similar ailment) made worse by damp housing conditions
  • those with mild to moderate arthritis (or other similar ailment) made worse by their current housing conditions
  • those with mild to moderate depression/anxiety (or other similar ailment) made worse by their current housing conditions


What type of antisocial behaviour stops people from joining the Housing Register?

Households will not be eligible to join the register if the conduct of any member of the household within the last 5 years amounts to antisocial behaviour that has resulted in intervention and/or action taken against them by the police, local authority or previous landlord. Antisocial behaviour is any aggressive, intimidating or destructive activity that damages or destroys another person's quality of life (Home Office 2013). Households that can demonstrate their circumstances have changed and they have taken action to address the antisocial behaviour will be eligible to join the Housing Register.

What type of rent arrears stop people from joining the Housing Register?

Households will not be eligible to join the Eastbourne or Lewes register if they are former social housing tenants who have been evicted for rent arrears in the past.

An offer of accommodation will not normally be made to a transfer applicant where a Notice Seeking Possession has been issued due to rent arrears to either a Lewes or Eastbourne applicant.

What is Homes First Lettings?

Homes First Lettings is the new choice based lettings scheme that both councils use to advertise social housing vacancies. It replaces HomeMove. You can use Homes First Lettings once you are accepted onto the Housing Register to 'bid' for homes you would like to rent.

How do I bid for properties?

You need to find out which properties are available. All available homes are advertised with photos and a full description every two weeks on the Homes First Lettings website.

You can make bids online on the website or over the phone. You can make up to three bids at a time. Although we call it bidding, no money changes hands - you're just telling us you're interested in the property. You will not be notified where you came in your bids unless you are successful.

How do I choose which property to bid for?

The adverts on Homes First Lettings will tell you about the size, type and location of the property, usually with a photo of a similar property type. You need to carefully read the whole advert to check that the property is suitable to meet your needs.

Please look at the symbols to ensure that this is a property that you are able to bid on. On the website you will only see details of properties that match your assessed need, for example, if you have been assessed as needing 2 bedrooms you will only be able to see the adverts for 2 bedroom properties.

How do you decide which bid is successful?

All eligible bids for each property are placed into priority order called the 'shortlist'. Priority is then determined by priority band. If more than one person in a band applies, people will then get prioritised in date order from the time they went into the band. Everyone who has told us they're interested will be listed in band order.

You can find more information about bands on our Allocations Policy.

Can the council put a bid on for me?

If you cannot put bids on for yourself you will need to contact us. We may signpost you to another organisation that may be able to help you do this such as East Sussex Floating Support Service or Steps.

If a duty has been accepted to you under the Homelessness Legislation, you will receive only one suitable offer of accommodation. Your bidding history will be reviewed and if bids are not being placed on all suitable properties within the District/Borough, the Council reserves the right to place bids on your behalf.

I know a Housing Association property that has been empty for months, why hasn't it been advertised?

This could be due to a number of reasons, for example, major works being carried out to the property from when the previous tenants left. You can only bid on the properties that are advertised on Homes First Lettings website.

How long does it take to get social housing?

The waiting time for social housing varies in accordance with the type and availability of property. Stock levels within both areas is limited.

How will I know if my banding changes?

You will automatically be written to, but you will also be able to see any changes to your banding when you log in to the Homes First Lettings website to bid. If your banding is increased to a higher band then your priority date will change to the date that your banding increased. This is to ensure that all those in the same band are treated fairly.

What can I do if I think my banding is wrong?

Please contact us directly with further information about why you think the banding is wrong. You need to allow us 56 days in which to make this decision.

What should I do if my family size has changed since I joined the Housing Register?

You will need to complete a housing register application form to tell us of any changes. You will be required to supply supporting evidence of this change. For example, a baby being born will require a birth certificate.

This process is the same for all change of circumstances, for instance; if you have moved address but want to stay on the Housing Register.

What can I do if my home is overcrowded?

Please complete a housing register application form for assessment, or if you feel your house is severely overcrowded please contact us as soon as possible. Please remember that accessing housing in the private rented sector is a quicker option to resolve overcrowding.

What should I do if I'm going to be homeless soon?

If you think you are in danger of becoming homeless, you can find help from several different external agencies who are set up to specifically help with homelessness. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need immediate help with homelessness.

What should I do if I can't afford to pay my rent or mortgage?

Please contact us to organise a Housing Options interview. You may also be eligible for housing benefit or other temporary financial help.

What can I do if I am having problems with my neighbours?

We have strict policies on anti-social behaviour on council properties and housing estates, further advice on noise, nuisance, and anti-social behaviour is available.

What can I do if I am having problems with my landlord?

GOV.UK has full information on what your rights as a tenant are, and the responsibilities of your landlord. This also covers issues surrounding rent disputes and anti-social behaviour.

What can I do if I have disrepair issues, such as damp, poor windows or bad wiring?

You can find the full information on the Repairs and maintenance page. Which has information about out of hours support, as well as major and minor changes to your home.