Housing FAQ's

Q1: How do I apply for social housing?
Q2: How long will I have to wait on the Council's Housing Register before I get housed?
Q3: Why can't I get housed when somebody else can?
Q4: How can I improve my chances of getting social housing?
Q5: Why are there empty houses when I need one?
Q6: I want to rent privately but I can't pay the deposit, is there help available?
Q7: I am struggling to pay the rent, what can I do?
Q8: There are repairs that need doing, it is making my family ill, what can I do?
Q9: I have been told the house I live in is too big for my household's needs and I will have to downsize. What help is there?
Q10: If I am homeless will the Council have to give me a house?
Q11: What happens if the Council say I don't meet their criteria to be helped as homeless?
Q12: Is it true that if the Council accept I am homeless I may have to live in bed and breakfast accommodation?
Q13: What if the bed and breakfast or temporary accommodation is too far for my job or my children's schools?
Q14: Will I get social housing once I have been in bed and breakfast or temporary accommodation?
Q15: Will my Councillor or MP be able to help?


Q1: How do I apply for social housing?

All applicants need to apply online using the Search Moves website to join the Spelthorne Housing Register. You will need to provide proof of your ID, your current and previous residence and proof of your income, as well as some other supporting information. Then you will be able to bid for available properties that you are eligible for.

Q2: How long will I have to wait on the Council's Housing Register before I get housed?

This will depend upon the size of the property you are looking for and where it is. As an example, the average waiting time for a three bedroom house is four years, whereas it is 29 months for a three bedroom flat or maisonette. There are currently over 2000 households on the register and only around 150 properties per year become available.

Q3: Why can't I get housed when somebody else can?

Applicants in the highest need will be housed first.

Q4: How can I improve my chances of getting social housing?

Be prepared, be flexible on all types of properties, areas and floor levels.

Q5: Why are there empty houses when I need one?

There are various reasons why a property appears to be empty, for example, it may be on offer to somebody who has not yet moved in, or there could be maintenance works which need to be completed before the property can be occupied.

Q6: I want to rent privately but I can't pay the deposit, is there help available?

Contact Rentstart who help single people and couples who are threatened with homelessness and Spelthorne Rent Deposit Scheme helps families. Individuals can contact Rentstart directly but families are referred to the Rent Deposit Scheme by housing staff, once their eligibility has been assessed.

Q7: I am struggling to pay the rent, what can I do?

If you are struggling to pay your rent and you are on a low income you may be able to get help by applying for Housing Benefit. You will need to complete a Housing Benefit claim form and provide proof of your income and rent payments.

Q8: There are repairs that need doing, it is making my family ill, what can I do?

The Council will consider all information, including that of a medical nature, in many situations the Council's Environmental Health team will be able to advise and help with your current housing situation.

Q9: I have been told the house I live in is too big for my household's needs and I will have to downsize. What help is there?

If you are in the private sector, approach the Housing team for advice, as it will depends on the terms of your tenancy agreement and also the finance available to you. If you are a Social Housing tenant, you will need to contact your Housing Association who are able to offer you advice and incentives for downsizing. This can include prioritising you on the waiting list for a smaller sized property.

Q10: If I am homeless will the Council have to give me a house?

If the Council regards you to be in priority need for housing, it must provide interim accommodation whilst it completes its investigation. If you meet the criteria set by law, then the Council is under a duty to ensure that accommodation remains available to you until suitable permanent accommodation is provided.

Q11: What happens if the Council say I don't meet their criteria to be helped as homeless?

If you do not meet the criteria set down by legislation you will be provided with advice on availability of hostels and details of other organisations that might be able to help such as Rentstart.

Q12: Is it true that if the Council accept I am homeless I may have to live in bed and breakfast accommodation?

You might have to live in Bed and Breakfast. However during your interview every attempt is made to identify other types of accommodation. Bed and breakfast is a last resort.

Q13: What if the bed and breakfast or temporary accommodation is too far for my job or my children's schools?

We try to ensure it is near your children's school or your place of work.

Q14: Will I get social housing once I have been in bed and breakfast or temporary accommodation?

Social housing is one of the accommodation options that may become available to you. You can also be offered private rented accommodation or even referred to supported housing, if there is a requirement for such a referral.

Q15: Will my Councillor or MP be able to help?

Your local Councillor or MP will usually refer individual cases to the Housing team to deal with. Their involvement will not make your case be dealt with more quickly or in a different way to anyone else's. If you consider your case to have been dealt with unfairly or incorrectly you can make a complaint through the Council's complaints procedure or contact your Councillor/MP.