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Applying for social housing

In order to be considered for a social housing property you need to apply to join our Housing Register.

Most people on the Housing Register can bid for properties on the Home Connections website, our 'choice-based lettings' system.

Social housing in Merton is provided by housing associations, and Merton Council does not own any council housing.

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Who can apply

Most people, 18 years old or over, can apply to go onto our Housing Register. Exceptions include:

  • People who do not currently live in Merton.
  • People from abroad who are subject to immigration control; unless the Secretary of State has prescribed that they should be eligible for housing.
  • People who have been found guilty of unacceptable behaviour, where we are satisfied this is serious enough to make them unsuitable for a social housing tenancy.

People with a local connection to the borough are given priority and applications from households anywhere else in the country will usually be refused.

The Housing Register does not necessarily work on a 'first come, first served' basis. There are certain groups of people who must always be given priority because of their particular circumstances. The law calls this 'reasonable preference'.

However, there is a shortage of housing in Merton and the demand far exceeds the supply. Unfortunately,it is not possible for us to house everyone who applies. There are thousands of households on our waiting list, meaning that there are likely to be a lot of people bidding for each available property and those in the most urgent housing need get the highest priority. Because of this, our Housing Options Team gives advice on what else you can do to find a solution to your housing needs.

For more information on housing need please visit the the following pages:

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How to apply

In order to be considered for a social housing property you need to apply to go onto our Housing Register. This is a list that we maintain of all customers requesting social housing.

Join the Housing Register

You can apply to join the Housing Register by downloading and completing our Choice Based Lettings Application Form (6.5MB) and either posting it to us or delivering it in person to Merton Link, Civic Centre, London Road, Morden, SM4 5DX. Application forms are also available for pick-up at Merton Link Civic Centre or call us on the telephone number below and we will post one to you.

People that you can include on your application should be members of your immediate family and/or any others who could reasonably be expected to live with you, except lodgers. Once you have answered all the questions on the form, ensure you sign it and enclosed copies of any documents requested before returning it to us.

If any person included in your application has a medical condition or disability which is made worse by their current living conditions, you will need to complete a Medical Assessment Form (92kB) and attach it to your application form.

When we have received your application, we will assess your housing needs and aim to let you know our decision within 20 working days. However, in cases where a medical assessment is required or the form is not completed fully or documents we requested are missing, it may take longer than 20 days.

If your application is accepted we will put your name on the Housing Register and send you a letter which tells you:

  • your registration number;
  • the allocation Band that you have been placed in;
  • the amount of points you have been given;
  • the size of home you have been assessed as needing;
  • your User ID and PIN number

Please keep this letter somewhere safe as you may need to refer to it in the event of any queries.

For a detailed explanation of how we allocate bands and points you can refer to our Housing Register and Nominations Policy located in the the Housing Policies and Strategies section.

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I am homeless or threatened with homelessness

If you are Homeless or Threatened with Homelessness, you should contact us as soon as possible

Under the Housing Act 1996 you are homeless if:

  • You have no accommodation that you can legally live in;
  • Your family who normally live with you are forced to live separately from you because you have no accommodation you can live in together;
  • You have accommodation but can not live in it, for example, you have been illegally evicted or are forcibly prevented from living in it; or
  • You are at risk of violence from someone living in the accommodation.

You are "threatened with homelessness" if you are likely to become homeless within 28 days.

To contact us, use the contact details below or visit us at Merton Link, Civic Centre, London Road, Morden, SM4 5DX. Our opening times are  Monday to Friday - 9am to 5pm. On arrival at the civic centre, just tell one of our Customers Services Officers at the front desk that you would like to apply for housing because you are homeless or about to become homeless. You will given a ticket and asked to wait for your number to be called to be interviewed. You will still need to complete our application form.

The aim of the interview is to assess your housing needs and identify where we may be able to help you to find a solution to meet your needs. The Housing Options Adviser will ask you questions:

  • about your last address,
  • how you became homeless,
  • whether you have any medical conditions and
  • your financial situation if for example, you have lost your accommodation as a result of missed mortgage or rent payments.

It would be helpful if you could bring to your interview any letters or documents that relates to your homelessness, to your health or to your financial circumstances and identity. This would normally be the start of a homeless application. The target timescales for reaching a decision vary depending on the complexity of the case.  The targets are either 15 working days, 25 days, 40 days or 50 days.  You will be informed of which timescale applies to your case.

Visit Rights for homeless people for further information.

Read our Housing Needs interview leaflet (0.6MB) for more information about the housing needs interview.

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I am homeless and the office is closed.

If you are made homeless outside our normal office hours you must contact our Out of Hours service by telephoning 020 8770 5000 who will be able to put you in contact with the night duty social workers. They will carry out an initial assessment of your housing needs and, where appropriate, place you into emergency accommodation. You will need to contact us the next working day so that a full assessment of your housing needs can be made.

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How we allocate social housing

Available homes are advertised on the Home Connections website where you can "bid", or express an interest in the home that you are interested in. All social housing homes are let through Home Connections, which is a 'choice-based lettings' scheme.

You can bid through the Internet, automated telephone or by text. The automated telephone service has instructions in English, Sylheti, Cantonese, French, Somali, Turkish, Arabic, Punjabi, Urdu and Vietnamese.

You can also use the Internet for free at Merton's libraries to make your bids. You will need your User ID and PIN number to bid.

From the list of households who bid for each home, the household with the highest priority will be contacted and invited to view the home before deciding to accept it. In some cases, applicants such as those nominated by Mental Health, Learning Disabilities or Children Services may get direct offers of accommodation if it is accepted that the bidding process would not be suitable for them.

How long you wait for an offer of a home will depend on your priority.

Change of Personal Circumstances

While you are on the Housing Register you will need to inform us if your circumstances change, for example:

  • Change of address or contact details.
  • You become pregnant .
  • Medical conditions or other special circumstances.
  • You are being asked to leave by the people you live with.
  • You are being harassed where you live.

It is very important to tell us of any change in your circumstances as this may affect your priority on the housing register.

If we write to you and the letter is returned because you have moved we may close your housing application.

If you have bid for a housing association home successfully and you are offered a home, this offer may be withdrawn in some instances if your circumstances are different from those held on your housing application.

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Forms

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See also

Contact us

We are available to see customers in Merton Link between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. You do not need an appointment to see us but you will need to register at the Merton Link reception desk and wait in a queue until we are able to see you. We will aim to see you within 30 minutes.

Registration and Nomination Team
Housing Needs and Enabling Service
Civic Centre
Morden
SM4 5DX

Telephone: 020 8545 3305


Out of hours: 020 8770 5000
Email: Registration@merton.gov.uk

This page was last updated on Tuesday 8 April 2014