Support for people on the housing register
What is Lewisham Homesearch?
Lewisham Homesearch is the social housing lettings scheme that allows you to choose the property you would like to live in. It is run by the Lewisham Homesearch Partnership, which is made up of Lewisham Council and all the main housing associations in the borough.
Every Thursday, except bank holiday weeks, we advertise details of available Lewisham Homesearch Partnership properties in a free newsletter and on the Lewisham Homesearch website. You can get the newsletter at your housing office, public libraries and some voluntary organisations.
You can also see and make requests for properties online Lewisham Homesearch website. If you don’t have internet access at home, you can use a computer for free at any library in the borough.
How to apply for a home?
Read our six-step guide about applying for a home of your choice through Lewisham Homesearch.
Register on the Council’s housing list or your housing association landlord’s transfer list
To get on the Council’s housing list, you need to complete a housing application form. You can find this on the Lewisham Homesearch website.
If you are a tenant of one of the housing associations in the Lewisham Homesearch Partnership and you need to transfer to another property in the borough, you may need to get on your landlord’s transfer list by completing a transfer application form. This is available from their offices.
You can only join the housing list if you have a recognised priority housing need.
Check which priority band you’re in
The Council and housing associations have a responsibility to help other people who need housing, as well as their tenants. There are three priority bands:
- 1 – emergency
- 2 – high
- 3 – priority.
If you’re eligible for Homesearch, you should already have a letter telling you which band your application is in, and the list date. This is the date your application was accepted, or the date of any change in circumstances that led to a change of band. The higher the band of your application, the higher the priority you have.
Look at the weekly newsletter or on the website, choose a property you are eligible for and interested in and make a request
Each advert will give details about the properties available, the landlord, the weekly rent, the property’s features and who it is most suitable for. There’ll be a photograph of the property, if one is available. The photograph might not be of the actual property, but a similar property in the street or block.
We will also say if the property is being advertised with a preference for a certain type of applicant e.g. people who have to move because of major repairs works, improvements or redevelopment – known as decants – who will be considered first.
The right home for you
When you see a property that you’re interested in, check it’s suitable for you and that the deadline hasn’t passed. For example, check it has enough bedrooms and meets any medical needs. Before you bid, carefully check all the details in the advert and make sure you can afford the rent. You may want to visit the area or street before you bid to make sure it is somewhere you would like to live.
Making a request
You can only bid for one property a week. To make a request for a property by the closing date on the newsletter and website each week, call the Lewisham Homesearch property request line, open 24 hours Thursday – Sunday on 012 0477 1656 (not an information line). Tell them your housing application number, your surname and the reference number of the property you are interested in. You can also make property requests online at the Lewisham Homesearch website.
Changing your mind
You can withdraw or change your bid at any time during the advertising cycle. This can be done online or by phone.
Ask a friend, relative or any other helper to make requests on your behalf for properties that you are eligible for
All your helper needs is your name, memorable date (e.g. your date of birth), housing reference number and the property reference number for the home you want to be considered for. They should only request properties that you have agreed are suitable.
If you need help bidding and have no one to make bids on your behalf, you may be able to get help from the Homesearch support officer. For an assessment, call 020 8314 9097. If you are a tenant of one of the housing associations, you should contact their offices.
If you’re successful, go to an interview and view the property
- We don’t make offers on a first-come, first-served basis. We look at all of the requests together after the deadline.
- If more than one eligible person with the same rehousing need applies for the same property, the person who has been in need longest will have preference. That is the person with the oldest housing list date.
- We start by looking at applicants in the highest band. If no one in that band is suitable, we go to the next highest band and work our way down.
- When we advertise properties indicating preference to a certain category e.g. decants, we will consider that category first and then go to the highest band if no one is suitable.
- We often carry out multiple viewings, so will send up to three applicants to the landlord to be considered for each property. The landlord will tell you what position of the three you are in. During this process, you can’t bid again until the multiple viewing has finished and the landlord has notified the Homesearch Team. We don’t carry out multiple viewings for wheelchair-adapted properties or properties with a preference for clients subject to the one-offer policy.
- If you’re one of the successful applicants, the landlord will contact you using the contact details you entered on your online housing application, so it is important you keep these up to date. You may be asked to go in for an interview or be visited in your home first. You can view the property before you decide to take it.
- Before you move in, you may have to provide us with evidence – such as identification, proof of income or proof of local connection – to confirm your household details.
- Some people can only be offered housing once, so will need to consider this offer very carefully. If they refuse it, they will not get another offer, and cannot use Homesearch again for 12 months, pending eligibility.
- If you have been accepted as priority homeless, you will only be offered housing once. If you think the property you have been offered is unsuitable, you should move into the property and request a review. You should request a review in writing within 21 days of viewing the property.
- If the one-offer policy does not apply to you, you can have three homes offered to you, except for decants and large-scale decants. If you don’t come to a viewing, accept an offer or sign a tenancy agreement of three properties in a row, you will be disqualified for 12 months.
If you’re not successful, try another week and keep checking the results in the weekly newsletter or online
Lewisham Homesearch will publish details of all the properties that have been let, showing the band of the successful person and how many eligible people put in a request for the property. This will help you work out which properties you should request each week. The results may take a few weeks to appear.
We may offer some properties directly to applicants. These properties won’t be advertised, but we will show the results in the newsletter after they are let.
If your circumstances change
You must let us know if your circumstances change in the following ways:
- your benefits stop or you start claiming benefits
- you start work or stop work
- your earnings increase or decrease
- your savings or capital increase
- someone leaves or moves into the household
- you’ve moved from your temporary accommodation or private rented accommodation on your own accord.
Where to get more information?
Old Town Hall
Freephone: 0800 028 2028
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9am–5pm
Ground floor, 111 Endwell Road,
Tel: 020 7635 1200
Open: Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm
Housing Options Centre
1 Catford Road
Tel: 020 8314 6000
9am–3pm and Wednesdays,
1–3pm (Emergencies only)
130–136 Sydenham Road,
London SE26 5JY
Tel: 020 8778 6699
181 Lewisham High Street,
London SE13 6AA
Tel: 020 8297 7500
London & Quadrant Housing Trust
Forest Hill London
Tel: 0300 456 9996
Phoenix Community Housing
The Green Man
355 Bromley Road
London SE6 2RP
Freephone: 0800 0285 700
Homesearch information outside the borough:
45 Westminster Bridge Road,
London SE1 7JB
Tel: 0300 123 1237
125 High Street, Croydon
Surrey CR0 9XP
Tel: 0800 121 6060
Housing for Women
6th Floor Blue Star House
234–244 Stockwell Road
London SW9 9SP
Tel: 020 7501 6120
Notting Hill Genesis
47–49 Durham Street
Vauxhall, London SE11 5JA
Tel: 020 3815 0000
2nd Floor Minerva House
London SE1 9BB
Tel: 0300 200 0120
Clarion Housing Group
157–159 Masons Hill
Bromley, Kent BR2 9HY
Tel: 0300 100 0303