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Home / Housing / Affordable Housing / How to apply for Affordable Housing

How to apply for Affordable Housing

What is the Housing Register?

Bournemouth Borough Council holds and manages a waiting list for affordable housing in the Borough – this is known as the Housing Register. The housing register is a list of Council and Housing Association tenants and those living in private accommodation (privately renting, staying with friends, family etc) who need to move to alternative accommodation. The Council works to ensure that affordable housing is let as fairly as possible, always taking account of those households in the most need.


You can apply on line via|. Alternatively you can request a paper application form by phoning our housing enquiry line on 01202 451467 or you can pick up an application form from our Customer Services Centre, Town Hall, St Stephen’s Road, Bournemouth.

There are two stages to the application process. Firstly, we must decide whether you are eligible to join the register, and secondly, we will then place applicants into one of our bands which is the way we give an order of priority to everyone on the list.

Please note, if you are not eligible to join the housing register, we will explain this before you complete a full application.


Applicants must have a housing need (i.e. they meet one or more of the statutory reasonable preference groups) to join the housing register. Reasonable Preference groups are;

Applicants will not be eligible unless they have a local connection, which is defined as;

  1. Applicants must be resident in Bournemouth for at least 3 years or...
  2. Applicant must be employed (for at least 16 hours a week) or a firm offer of employment in Bournemouth and a permanent contract or...
  3. Applicants must have a close family associate (parents, grandparents, siblings and adult children) living in Bournemouth continuously for at least 5 years...

In addition, we will consider your financial circumstances in order to decide whether you are eligible and will not accept the following;

  • Homeowners whose home is not suitable for their needs but they have sufficient equity to secure alternative accommodation
  • Applicants with a household income more than 5 times the Local Housing Allowance level
  • The following table can be used as a guide to the maximum level of savings/equity or annual income that we will accept;

Members of the Armed and Reserve Forces who have a housing need do not have to meet the local connection criteria. These applications will be placed on Gold Band. This includes;

  • Serving members of the regular forces or former personnel who have left the service within 5 years prior to making an application
  • Bereaved spouses and civil partners who need to leave Service Accommodation following the death of their spouse or civil partner.

Serving or former members of the Reserve Forces who need to move because of a serious injury, medical condition or disability sustained as a result of their service

Applicants with no local connection but with a housing need will be accepted on to the register but only into Bronze band.

Banding – what does this mean for me?

Once we have confirmed that you are eligible to join the register, our team will consider your circumstances and make an assessment of your housing need. They will then place you in one of the following bands;

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Bronze

Cases with exceptionally urgent needs will be placed into the Emergency band.


Gold Band

Applicants in this band will have a very high to urgent need housing need. This band is also used enable the Council to provide effective management of the social housing stock. The following categories qualify for Gold Band:

  • Where high medical priority is awarded
  • Severe overcrowding (lacking two bedrooms or more)
  • Severe and/or persistent harassment, violence (including racial harassment)
  • Disrepair – where the Council has identified Category I hazards in the property that cannot    be resolved or reduced to Category II hazards within 6 months
  • Cumulative Need – 4 housing needs from the Silver Band
  • Under-occupying of social housing
  • Residing in Supporting People funded supported housing and ready for move on
  • Members of the Armed and Reserve Forces
  • Care Leavers ready to move on into independent accommodation
  • Social housing tenants whose current property is subject to re-development
  • Tenancy succession – where a social housing tenant dies and the person left in the property is unable to succeed to the tenancy. In these instances the Council want to help them move to alternative accommodation.

Silver Band

Applicants in this band will have a moderate housing need. If 4 or more of these housing need categories apply, the application will be moved to Gold Band.

  • Applicants who are homeless or are threatened with homelessness
  • Applicants awarded a ‘medium’ medical priority
  • Disrepair – where the Council has identified Category I hazards in the property that can be resolved or reduced to Category II hazards within 6 months
  • Lacking one bedroom
  • Sharing facilities with other people not on the applicant’s housing application. This housing need will take precedence over any lack of bedroom requirements
  • Lacking facilities – this includes, kitchen, bathroom, outside toilet, lacking water supplies, electricity, gas or adequate heating
  • Poor internal or external arrangements
  • Split families – Applicants who, not by choice, are living in separate households due to lack of suitable accommodation
  • Relationship breakdown – applicants who wish to live separately but still reside with their ex partner/spouse following a relationship breakdown
  • Work/support – applicants who are able to demonstrate the need to move nearer their place of work within Bournemouth because they have secured permanent employment. Also applicants who are able to demonstrate the need to move nearer local facilities or relatives to give or receive support.

Bronze Band

Bronze Band applicants will include the following:

  • Have a housing need but no local connection
  • Have substantial rent arrears
  • Engaging in anti social behaviour
  • Households who have deliberately worsened their housing circumstances by moving into unsuitable accommodation

Bournemouth are now working in partnership with 5 other local authorities across Dorset to bring you one website to view and express an interest in vacant properties advertised in a weekly property list and one application to join any of their registers. The partnership scheme is called Dorset Home Choice and the local authorities are Bournemouth, Poole, North Dorset, West Dorset, Purbeck and Weymouth & Portland.

Applicants wanting to bid on properties of their choice must ensure they are registered with the relevant local authority. Applicants will only be able to bid on the size of property they are eligible for that meets their household’s need.

Properties are advertised weekly at|

A full guide to the Home Choice scheme can be found at|

I don't agree with a decision you have made about my application what can i do?|

I have receieved a letter recently telling me that I must re-register my application|

Related Information


Postal Address Customer Services Centre,
St Stephens Road, Bournemouth, Dorset
Telephone 01202 451451
Minicom 01202 454974
Email Enquiries
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