Frequently Asked Questions

Anyone over the age of 16 who qualifies to go on our Common Housing Register, however, there are some rules around qualification such as those who do not have a local connection, or behave in an unacceptable way, including people with housing debt which may exclude you. If you would like more information regarding your eligibility, then please refer to our Common Housing Allocations Scheme. If you qualify you will be advised of your priority and receive a unique Home4U reference number.
The houses we advertise are mainly provided by Housing Associations. By law, we have to check that you are eligible to apply for housing. We also have to make sure we allocate tenancies fairly. By registering, we have the information we need to make sure that those who have the greatest need are given priority for housing, in accordance with government guidance.
If you or someone in your household has a medical reason for needing to move, which is being made worse by their current accommodation, please select this reason on the reasons for moving page of your housing application. This will trigger the medical questions and enable you to include details of your medical condition in your application. You need to make this clear on your application so that our housing providers can take account of your needs when you are offered a property.


If we need any further information, we will get in touch with you to discuss the type of supporting information we require. Doctors can charge you for a letter, please do not ask your Doctor to write to us unless we request this information.


As well as considering whether to add any extra priority to your application, we will look at which properties are suitable for you and your household, such as whether you need a ground floor flat or bungalow if you cannot climb stairs. If you bid for properties that have been assessed as unsuitable for you after the decision, your bid will not be considered.
The quickest and easiest way to bid is through our website Instructions are given on screen but you will need to know your unique Home4U number in order to log on.


On the website as soon as you choose a property, you can place a bid. If you made a bid but then change your mind, you can remove the bid (as long as the bidding cycle is still open). You can also view your bidding history once you have logged in.


Free internet access is available at libraries in North Hertfordshire and you can also bid online at the Customer Service Centre, Gernon Road, Letchworth


Bid Deadline

All bids open on Thursday and close the following Wednesday. Bids received after this time will not be considered eligible.

The adverts will tell you the landlord, location, size, rent and other features of the property. Where available a photograph of the property, or a similar property type, will be provided and you will be able to access information about the local area and facilities. The advert will also tell you if there are any special requirements that you must meet, such as age requirements and whether certain people will be given priority for the property. It also tells you the number of bedrooms that applicants applying for the property need to be entitled to. If your bedroom entitlement is different to this you will not be able to bid for that property. <
Each week, it will be clearly indicated which household size is most appropriate for each home. Other factors which may be taken into account when partners shortlist for properties will be included in the advert, such as, whether the home is accessible for households with a physical disability. You can then express a bid on up to three homes suitable for your household size i.e. single people will not be able to bid on family sized properties.
Once the bidding closes, staff will start to process the shortlist. If you're at the top of the list and eligible, then you will be contacted to arrange a viewing. This will normally happen within 5 days of the shortlist closing.
Due to the high number of bids, we do not contact people unless they are being invited to view a property.
Yes, when you bid for a property online you will be told how many other bids there have been for each property you have placed a bid on. This can be found on your "My Account" page for the last 5 bids you have placed or by clicking on the "my previous bids" link. You will also see your "rank" this is an indication of where you are in the queue, so position 1-5 will mean you are somewhere between 1st and 5th in the queue. Please be aware that your rank can change as more people place their bids because people may place a bid whom have a higher priority or whom have been waiting longer.
Yes, Some examples why you may not be invited to view the property are below:



  • You owe rent or have other housing related debts
  • You are a council or housing association tenant and legal action has been taken against you because you have broken your tenancy conditions
  • You have sufficient resources to solve your own housing problems
  • You have not provided the required documentary evidence to support your application by the date given
  • Your circumstances have changed and this results in a reduction in your level of priority
  • You have provided incorrect or misleading information, which has resulted in your application being awarded a higher priority than it deserves


If you click on the feedback link at the bottom of the home page you can see a report on the property outcomes. From time to time you will see that a property has been allocated to someone in a lower band than you. This is often the case where a property is in one of our rural areas and a priority has been given to applicants whom have a connection to the area. It also happens when a property has adaptations, our partners always try to match properties with disabled facilities to those that need them.
It is important that you tell us of any changes to your circumstances so that your application can be amended, you can do this online, via your login. After you submit a change of circumstances form you will not be able to bid on vacant homes whilst we reconsider your eligibility and priority.
Yes, once a year, normally on the anniversary of your application you will be asked to review your application on-line. If you fail to complete the review within 28 days, your application will be cancelled.
You should make an appointment to see the Council’s Homelessness and Housing Advice Service completing their Housing Assistance Referral Portal. Alternatively call 01462 474000 or email: The service is free, impartial and confidential.


They will work with you to try to prevent you becoming homeless and will discuss your housing options with you. If this is unsuccessful, and you meet the homelessness legal requirements, you may be offered temporary housing.


If the Council accept a homeless duty, they will use the Home4U scheme to look for an appropriate property as your permanent home, subject to you qualifying to be placed on the Common Housing Register


Homeless households accepted by NHDC for a main housing duty have a one month period after the duty is accepted in which to exercise choice over the properties they bid for and the area in which they would like to live. After this time, if the applicant has not been successful in securing a property, staff bids will be placed on the applicant’s behalf for social housing vacancies.


Alternatively, the household may be offered a tenancy in the private rented sector.


If the offer is refused you may not be given another one and the Council may not assist you further. You will have to leave your temporary accommodation and find your own home.
Local lettings plans are where the Council works closely with settle and other registered housing providers to ensure that a sensible balance is achieved between housing priority and the longer term sustainability of the local area.


Some local lettings plans are short term measures put in place to address specific local issues. These can include dealing with community sustainable issues such as:


  • Increasing the number of people in employment
  • Reducing anti-social behaviour on certain developments
The Government has committed to protect the rights of EEA nationals who are residing in the UK once we leave the EU. EEA nationals and their family members, including those with a right to reside, will need to apply to the Home Office under the EU Settlement Scheme to secure their long-term immigration status in the UK. Those with less than 5 years’ residence in the UK will be granted limited leave to enter or remain (also referred to as ‘pre-settled status’). Those with 5 or more years’ residence will be granted indefinite leave to enter or remain (also referred to as ‘settled status’). When being considered for social housing, you may be asked to provide the confirmation paperwork received from the Home Office under the EU Settlement Scheme as proof of your immigration status.

Further guidance on this is available at Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

Affordable Rent is intended to help those who would not otherwise have been able to afford housing in the private sector. It is designed to provide an alternative to traditional social rent and the additional rental charges help registered providers to build more homes to improve access to social housing.

The difference between Social Rent and Affordable Rent is that Affordable Rent will be slightly higher as it allows the landlord to charge up to 80% of market rent levels within the local area. But these rents will still be low and affordable. However, landlords may carry out a financial assessment as part of their short listing process to ensure it is affordable to each applicant, before they will proceed with an allocation.

n most cases, where applicants are eligible to receive housing benefit or the housing element of universal credit, the rent would be covered by this payment. For more information about the Local Housing Allowance rates see the Council’s website.

Affordable Rented properties will be allocated in the same way that Social Rented properties are now through Home4U and there will be no change to the services tenants will receive.

Affordable Rents will only apply to new development or converted void properties and will not apply to all social housing.

Because the partner landlords are only applying these rents to a percentage of properties, from time to time you may see two identical properties in the same street advertised at two different rents.

In the past all the homes advertised under our social housing banner have been life time tenancies. Some properties are now advertised as fixed term tenancies so, rather than offering a tenancy that can be in place for life these tenancies will have a fixed term, some will be 5 years some might be 20 years.


Fixed term tenancies will mainly apply to family homes and general needs flats. Supported and over 55's flats & bungalows will continue to be offered as lifetime tenancies. Please read each advert carefully to ensure you understand what you are applying for as our different housing providers will be offering different terms and conditions with their fixed term tenancies


In most cases, when the fixed term comes to an end, another fixed term tenancy will be issued. Only in exceptional cases would the registered provider not renew it. Exceptions could include:


  • Persistent rent arrears
  • Persistent delay in paying rent
  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Neglect of property
  • Under-occupancy of 2 or more bedrooms