Social housing

What is social housing?

  • Social housing is property rented to tenants at a lower cost than renting privately. Tenants rent their homes from us or a housing association rather than a private landlord. Rental prices of social housing is set in line with local income levels. The waiting list for social housing is very long.

We own over 5000 properties across the borough. Each year some of these properties become available for social housing. Demand for these properties is very high.

The waiting time for social housing is many years. You may want to consider other housing options on our looking for a new home page.

Social housing allocations

Our housing allocation scheme aims to:

  • meet local priority housing needs
  • make the best use of Harrow’s limited social housing stock
  • be fairer by ensuring that residents most needing housing have a much shorter wait time.

For more information about allocations see our:

Housing associations

Housing associations build, rent and sell properties. There are many housing associations in Harrow. They provide different types and sizes of properties. We work with housing association staff.

We do this to ensure that developments reflect local needs. Some housing associations have specialist roles which they cater for.

Some examples include:

  • catering for people with special support needs
  • or those from particular ethnic backgrounds.

You can only get a housing association tenancy with a successful bid on the Locata website.

Apply for social housing

To qualify to be included on the Locata housing register you need to:

  • be aged 18 or over
  • not be subject to immigration control
  • be one of the following:

- a citizen of the UK

- a citizen of the Commonwealth or the European Economic Area

- you've been granted refugee status

- you've been granted leave to enter or remain in the UK

You will not qualify if you have a history of anti-social or criminal behaviour. This behaviour must be related to housing.

Please keep in mind that very few people in Harrow are placed in social housing. If they are successful they would have had to wait for many years.

Apply for social housing

Documents you will need to provide

When applying for social housing you will be asked to upload some documents:

  • one of: Birth certificate. Valid passport. Naturalisation certificate. UK Residence Permit. EC/EEA ID card. This is for everyone included on your application
  • current tenancy agreement (if applicable)
  • one utility bill showing your current address (if applicable)
  • two recent consecutive bank statements dated within the last three months
  • proof of any benefits you might be in receipt of or Pension –(award letter, benefit book or bank statement)
  • two recent consecutive wage slips (if applicable).

You may also be asked to prove if you are about to become homeless. In this instance you will need to provide:

  • eviction paperwork: Section 21 Notice
  • a written letter. Please allow 28 days from parents, family or friends.

For care leavers, prison leavers or people with social care support. You will also need to provide:

  • Letters to you from solicitor, inland revenue, social worker or probation officer     
  • a bank or building society statement dated within the last three months.

If you have medical needs you will also need to provide:

  • proof of pregnancy (ante-natal paper work preferred)
  • a doctor’s letter (all medical information should contain a diagnosis)
  • a specialist and consultants report (your condition(s), prognosis of your needs).

What happens next?

Once you are accepted on to Locata's system, you can:

  • view vacant properties on Locata's website and e-magazine
  • bid for properties online or by telephone, text message or coupon. All qualified bids for each property will be put into priority order. Priority is first decided by band and then by date order within each band.
  • arrange a viewing of a property. To reduce delays we may arrange a few viewings for up to five members per property. You will need to bring proof of identity to the viewing. We cannot sign you up to a tenancy if your details have not been confirmed.

After you have completed the form you will be given an idea of your priority. If you are placed in a lower band you are not likely to be offered social housing for many years, if ever.

You will be advised of other housing options as an alternative to waiting for social housing.

After viewing a property

If your bid is successful you will be offered the property. You will then be invited to sign for the tenancy. If you refuse the property, the next person is selected. This happens unless you have been given a 'direct' offer.

Direct offers are given if we have a legal duty to provide you with accommodation. If you refuse a direct offer you will need to explain your reasons to a senior officer.

The senior officer will tell you your options. They will do this before the next person is selected.

The tenancy start date is the first Monday after the agreement has been signed. Different housing associations may have different arrangements. Please check with the housing association for details.

Apply for a transfer

We can support you if you want to move to another area. We can help if you are a housing association or council tenant. The area you want to move to does not need to be within Harrow. Find out more on our transfer to another area page.