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Lettings policy

Everyone who joins the Council housing waiting list is assessed under our lettings policy and placed in a priority band. Each applicant is also given a band date, which is usually the date that they joined that band.

Applicants with older band dates are given priority over cases that have been waiting for less time within their band. You can find a detailed explanation about how housing bands work in our lettings policy.

Lettings policy changes from 1 July 2016

There have been a number of important amendments to the lettings policy which apply from 1 July 2016. These can be summarised as:

  • victims of  domestic violence (section 8.1): The criteria applied to households affected by domestic violence has been brought together in a single section. This section defines where the residential requirements are waived for individuals fleeing domestic violence. Exceptions to the residential requirements have been extended to cover families placed in refuges outside of Hackney. The definition of domestic violence has also been expanded to include victims of elder / familial abuse
  • right to move (section 11.1): Under right to move, Councils are required to allocate at least 1% of lettings for social housing tenants who want to move to Hackney for employment. The lettings policy now covers right to move and sets out the qualifying criteria
  • students (section 4.10): The policy now covers students living and studying away from the borough, and makes clear where they will retain the residential criteria while away studying
  • foster carers  (section 7.35): Hackney foster carer’s now receive additional priority for larger properties where the carer agrees to take on more children
  • medical priority (section 6.34): The chapter on medical priority has been rewritten to make clear that medical priority and social priority are separate elements and they work in parallel to each other
  • direct offers (section 7.5): The new lettings policy has been amended to include a more robust approach to direct offers for households in temporary accommodation
  • number of bedrooms (section 5.2): The age at which a child of opposite sex qualifies for a room of his/her own has been increased to 10 and above
  • adult children (section 2.16): A new definition of adult children has been included to confirm that children over 18 not in ‘relevant education’ should only be included as part of the household if they have lived continuously with the applicant since turning 18
  • financial assessments (section 2.20): A new section has included with regard to financial assessments and the government’s proposals on pay to stay (high income social tenants)
  • maximum income ceiling (section 2.19): A maximum income ceiling has been included which excludes from the housing register any household whose combined income exceeds £87,000 per annum

Contacting us about lettings

Because there are usually between 12,000 and 15,000 households on the waiting list at any time it is not possible for the Lettings Team to deal with general enquiries. Instead you should first contact your caseworker, if you have one.

Council tenants enquiries should be made to your local Neighbourhood Office. Homeless applicants should contact the Homelessness Unit. Other waiting list applicants should contact the Housing Register team.

Choice Based Lettings (CBL)

Hackney Choice (choice based lettings) allows residents to have a greater involvement in deciding where they want to live and what type of property they would prefer. Only applicants with a high level of priority (‘Urgent’, ‘Priority’ and ‘Homeless’ bands) are likely to be able to bid successfully for a new home.

The CBL system advertises vacant council and housing association homes available for Hackney residents every week. You can see the properties available by obtaining the Hackney Choice magazine from council offices and libraries or by logging on to East London Lettings.

Bidding starts on Friday morning and ends at midnight on Monday. The day and time when you bid does not have any effect on your queue position. You may bid for one property per week.

Lettings policy for Traveller sites

The Council owns a number of Traveller sites with a variety of pitches and tenure types for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families. These sites are covered by a standalone lettings policy:

Housing allocation and housing benefit

The number of bedrooms a household is eligible for under Hackney’s housing allocations policy is different to the number of bedrooms allowed under housing benefit rules.

In some circumstances you could be eligible to bid on a property, which you would be deemed to be under-occupying for housing benefit purposes. This would mean your housing benefit would be restricted, and you would need to make up the shortfall yourself.

Our welfare reform tool outlines the differences between the rules about Housing Allocation and Housing Benefit, and how it could affect you.

Under occupancy and the benefit cap

If you are affected by under occupancy, and are looking to downsize please be aware that some social sector properties are now let on the new affordable rent tenure (of up to 80% of market rent levels).

Due to the high levels of these rents, some households who accept these properties could be affected by the benefit cap, and have their housing benefit restricted.

Before bidding on any property you should always consider whether you are affected by the benefits cap and whether you can afford to cover the shortfall on the rent. See our welfare reform tool for an example of the effect.

Page updated on: 27 June 2019

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