Frequently Asked Questions
Will my banding be updated automatically?
For some people, your banding will be automatically updated on 31 October. If you believe you are eligible for a higher banding, you will need to take additional action, as set out below.
If you are already in Band 1
If your existing rehousing reason was within Band 1, you will automatically remain in Band 1.
If you are already in Band 2:
If your existing application was within Band 2 due to a ‘Medical High Priority’, you will automatically remain in Band 2 (High Priority).
If your existing application is within Band 2 because you are seriously overcrowded in settled accommodation and require at least two or more bedrooms, you will be automatically placed into Band 3.
If either of the following exceptions apply, you can apply to be placed into Band 2:
- You require an additional two rooms and you are statutorily overcrowded.
- You require an additional three bedrooms.
If you are already in Band 3:
If you are currently on the housing register because you are homeless, you will automatically remain in Band 3 from 31 October.
We have introduced a new Band 2 criteria called ‘Homeless with additional need’. We will determine if you have an additional need through our assessment of your need to remain in the borough and whether other tenures, such as private rented sector housing, are suitable for you. If you believe you are eligible to be assessed, you can log into the FindYourHome website and request a change in circumstances assessment. To find out what information you will need to provide, please visit the FindYourHome website.
If your application was in Band 3 (Medium Priority) because you are overcrowded in settled accommodation and require one additional bedroom, you will automatically be placed into Band 4 (Low Priority).
How do I update my application?
If you feel there are changes you need to make to your application then please go online to your housing register application and complete a change of circumstances form. To do this, you need to
- Log in to your Lewisham Find Your Home account.
- Click on ‘Your Account’ in blue at the top of the page.
- Click on ‘Have your circumstances changed?’ in the blue box on the right.
- Click on ‘Continue’ and complete the questionnaire.
If you are submitting a change in circumstances, you will be expected to provide supporting documentation when you submit your request. Information about what you need to upload or send to us can be found in the social housing application checklist. Once all proof documents have been received to verify your application, your application will be assessed in line with the new Housing Allocations Policy and you will be placed in the relevant band.
If you do not send the information we ask for within 28 days of submitting your request, it will be closed and you will remain in your current band.
How long it will take for my application to be assessed?
Once you have submitted your application, it can take up to 12 weeks for it to be assessed. Your form will be passed to a member of the Lewisham FindYourHome Team who will review the information you have provided.
You may be asked for supporting information before a decision can be made on your eligibility to the register. When a decision has been made, you will be sent an email or letter which will explain your banding, bedroom need and which Local Authorities you have a confirmed Local Connection to.
Once all proof documents have been received to verify your application, your application will be assessed in line with our new Housing Allocations Policy. If you are eligible, you will be placed in the relevant band and contacted via email to inform you of the outcome of your assessment.
You can continue to bid for properties as normal whilst your application is being assessed.
What can I do if I don't agree with a decision about my housing application?
If we make a decision about your housing application that you do not agree with, you can ask for a review within 21 days of the decision being notified to you. Your request should be made in writing and should give us as much information as possible. Review requests should be sent by email to email@example.com.
We will give you a response as soon as possible and aim to reach a decision within 56 days of receiving your request. In our response, we will explain how we made our decision. A decision will always be reviewed by someone who did not make that decision and we will inform you who has reviewed the decision.
How do I request a reassessment?
You can ask us to review our decision if:
- we have not accepted your application to be on the housing register.
- you think we have made the wrong decision about your priority banding in line with our Housing Allocations Policy.
The review request must be made in writing and within 21 days of our decision explaining the reasons why you disagree with our decision. If you wish you can provide evidence to support your review request. Review requests should be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will aim to respond to you within 56 days.
If you are living in temporary accommodation and you are already on the housing register, you can ask us to review our decision if you think we have made the wrong decision about your priority banding in line with our Housing Allocations Policy.
The review request must be made within 21 days of the date of the decision. The review request must be made in writing and should explain the reasons why you disagree with our decision. If you wish you can provide evidence to support your review request. Review requests should be sent by email to TA.MgmtandResettlement@lewisham.gov.uk.
You can also ask us to review our decision if you are living in temporary accommodation and we have discharged our duty to accommodate you because you have refused an offer of social housing.
The review request must be made within 21 days of the date of the decision. The review request must be made in writing and should explain the reasons why you disagree with our decision. If you wish you can provide evidence to support your review request. Review requests should be sent by email to email@example.com.
What happens if I have already been offered a property?
If you have formally been offered a property and you are ‘under offer’, you will no longer be able to bid for other properties and you should soon hear from the landlord of the property.
If you have been shortlisted (nominated) for a property, but are not in first place, and therefore not ‘under offer’, we recommend you continue to view the property in case the households ahead of you do not accept it. You can continue to bid until you are formally offered a property.
What happens if I refuse an offer of accommodation?
If you refuse two suitable offers of accommodation your housing register application will be suspended for a period of 12 months. You will be considered as refusing an offer if you fail to attend a viewing, fail to accept an offer or fail to sign a tenancy agreement of two successive properties offered under the Housing Allocations Policy.
If you reject an offer for a valid reason that we were not aware of at the time of bidding, it is possible that your application will not be amended. This will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Any previous offers will be discounted. If you were previously eligible for three offers, you will now have two offers. This is regardless of whether you have already been made an offer and refused.
What is statutory overcrowding?
Under housing law, there are two methods to assess if your home is overcrowded. The first method is by the number of rooms for people to sleep in - this is called the room standard. The second method is by the amount of space in the home and the number of people living in it - this is called the space standard.
‘Statutory overcrowding’ is when there are too many people living in your home using either of these methods. It uses the overcrowding standard described in the Housing Act 1985. If a dwelling is overcrowded when compared to this standard, then the overcrowding is known as statutory overcrowding.
Which rooms are counted as bedrooms?
When calculating how many bedrooms you currently have, all bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms should be included. Kitchens, bathrooms and toilets are excluded. When calculating how many bedrooms are needed, the following allocations should be used:
- one bedroom or a studio for you and your partner, if you have one
- one bedroom for every two children of the same sex, aged twenty or under
- one bedroom for a child of the opposite sex to another child, if the child is aged over ten one
- one bedroom for any other person aged twenty-one or over, for these purposes referred to as an “adult”
Bathrooms and kitchens are not counted as part of the calculations. If a kitchen is part of a large kitchen/living/dining space, the whole room is not counted.
What happens if I am in temporary accommodation that is too small?
Overcrowding banding only applies for settled accommodation. Homeless households are placed in specific bands and their circumstances do not change based on the size of their temporary accommodation.
How is 'homeless with additional need' classified?
We will determine if you have an additional need through our assessment of your need to remain in the borough and whether other housing types, such as private rented sector housing, are suitable for you. These assessments will be carried out using the Council’s Location Priority Policy and Private Rented Sector Offer Policy.
If you believe you are eligible for this criteria, you can request an assessment by logging in to your existing FindYourHome account and requesting a change in circumstances assessment.
What should I do if I have a medical issue?
If your case gives rise to medical issues, you will have to complete an online medical form for each person in your household who has a medical need. The Council’s Medical Advisor will consider the information on the form, along with any supporting documentation you provide.
The Medical Advisor may recommend Emergency (Band 1), High (Band 2) or Medium Priority (Band 3) on medical grounds.
Who was consulted on these changes?
A public consultation on the changes to our Housing Allocations Policy was launched in November 2020 and ran for 16 weeks until March 2021. Over 1,000 people participated in the consultation either through the completion of the online survey, attending a focus group session or providing their comments via a dedicated email inbox.