Prioritising Applications and banding

Everyone who qualifies for the Home-seekers Register will be given a band of priority and an ‘Effective date’ An Effective date is usually the date an applicant went into their band of priority, however, please see the main policy document for exceptions.

Properties are generally awarded to the bidder in the highest band, with the earliest Effective Date. 

Bands of priority

Bands A - C will only be given where the applicant has a local connection to the borough. 

Band A

Regeneration or redevelopment

If you are a social tenant and part of an SBC approved regeneration scheme but do not wish to live on the regenerated site, and have been given written confirmation that you will need to move within the next 12-18 months.

Needing to flee violence/harassment/abuse

An investigation / assessment has found that a member of the household,is being subjected to continuing and serious harassment, violence or abuse that is causing alarm and distress that will be improved by alternative accommodation.

Urgent medical or welfare needs.

If you or a member of your household has a health/welfare condition that is being caused or made worse by your current housing. Urgent medical/welfare priority will be given if your property has been shown to have an extremely significant impact on a proven medical condition that can only be improved by a move to a different property.

Urgent disrepair

Where the Council has determined that a property is in disrepair/a poor condition, band A may be granted depending on the extent of the disrepair. Band A will be awarded in urgent situations only.

Lack of bedrooms

You lack three or more bedrooms in your current home and your overcrowding is not deliberate or you have exclusive use of one room but you share kitchen or bathroom facilities with non-family members and lack two or more bedrooms (this does not include temporary accommodation).

Spare/excess rooms within a social housing property

You have one or more excess bedrooms. You would be willing to downsize to a property that meets your needs. To encourage you to downsize, you will also be given priority for new build council housing.

Giving up an adapted social property

If you are a tenant of an adapted, social property in the borough of Southend-on-Sea, with adaptations that are no longer required.

SBC care leaver ready to live independently

If you are a Southend-on-Sea Borough Council looked after child, you will be awarded Band A priority where: You will shortly be leaving care, and Have been assessed by Social Care/your Personal Advisor and Community Housing teams as ready to live independently.

Supported housing (Move on)

If you live within an approved supported housing scheme (usually up to a maximum of 2 years) and have been assessed as ready to live independently.


Band B

At risk of homelessness/the prevention duty

If you are at risk of homelessness within the next 56 days, and a homeless application has been accepted from SBC homeless team, you will be placed into band B if you: Engage with the Council to prevent your homelessness &Follow the agreed steps set out in your personalised housing plan.

Homelessness relief duty

If you approach the Council as homeless, we will make a homeless application with a homeless officer, and if you an application is accepted / you are engaging with the process you will placed either under a homeless relief or prevention duty.

Homeless – non-priority need

If you remain homeless after the relief duty has expired, we will investigate what further housing duties may be owed to you.  You may remain within band B if you are:
found to be unintentionally homeless, do not have a priority need but also you do not fall within any of the exclusion criteria (i.e. due to rent arrears or anti social behaviour)

Lack of 2 bedrooms

If you lack two bedrooms in your home,  unless evidence exists that shows the overcrowding is deliberate. Same sex children are expected to share a double room, whilst opposite sex children can share until the age of 10. 

3 or more band C needs

Where you have 3 band C needs you will be placed into Band B. 

Band C

Lack of 1 bedroom

If you lack one bedroom in your home, you will be placed into band C unless evidence exists that shows the overcrowding is deliberate. Same sex children are expected to share a double room, whilst opposite sex children can share until the age of 10. 

Disrepair/poor property condition

Where the Council has determined that your property may be in disrepair, it will be assessed in line with appendix 3 of our Allocations Policy. In the first instance we would expect you to raise the concern with your landlord and give them reasonable opportunity to address problems.  


If you can demonstrate/ evidence the need to move nearer local facilities or relatives to give or receive essential support or take up work that would not otherwise be available.

Homeless prevention/relief cases where a private rented sector offer has been accepted

If you accept a suitable private rented sector offer whilst working with the Council under its homeless prevention or relief duties, you will be able remain on the housing register in Band C.


Where you can evidence that your health/welfare condition is being caused or made worse by your current housing circumstances and cannot be resolved by carrying out adaptations to your current property, you will be awarded medical/welfare. 

Low-income households

If you spend over a third of your income on low cost rented accommodation, and are in low cost rented housing, you will be placed into band C.

Former relevant child

Some young people who are adequately housed, but were previously in care will be eligible for band C. This will apply where you are:

  • Under the age of 25 at time of both application and allocation.
  • The Housing Team have received written confirmation from the Council’s Children’s Social Care Team that you are a Southend ‘former relevant child’ within the meaning of 23C(1) of the Children Act 1989.
Band D

Intentionally homeless, refused main duty offer of accommodation, or homeless/at risk of homelessness but refusing to engage with support provided

Should you/your household remain homeless after the prevention and relief duties have expired, Where you are found to be ‘intentionally’ homeless you will be placed into band D. Where you are found to be owed a full housing duty and have turned down a suitable offer of accommodation, we will discharge our homelessness duty and place you in band D. You will also be placed in Band D if you refuse to engage in prevention/releif support. 

Housing need, but no local connection

If you have a housing need but do not have a local connection to the borough you will be placed in Band D


Emergency Cases

We will only issue an Exceptional/Emergency status when you are assessed as requiring an urgent move to ensure your immediate safety and welfare for whatever reason and/or when remaining in your current home is likely to cause risk of death or serious mental or physical injury.


One reasonable offer

Where the Homeless Prevention/Relief duties have expired, if you are still homeless and meet the legal requirements to be owed a full housing duty, you will be encouraged, to seek private rented housing. Support with your deposit and first month's rent will be offered. You will no longer be able to bid for social housing. You will be eligible for one suitible offer of accommodation in the private or social sector before we discharge our homeless duties. 


Armed forces

If you fall within one of the categories below and are in urgent housing need, you will be given additional priority

  • A person serving in the regular forces who is suffering from a serious injury, illness or disability which is attributable (wholly or partly) to the person’s service
  • A person formerly served in the regular forces
  • A person who has recently ceased, or will cease to be entitled, to reside in the accommodation provided by the Ministry of Defence following the death of the person’s spouse or civil partner who has served in the regular forces and whose death was attributable (wholly or partly) to the person’s service
  • A person is serving or has served in the reserve forces and is suffering from a serious injury, illness or disability which is attributable (wholly or partly) to the person’s service


Local Connection

You will only be considered for Bands A – C if you have both a housing need and a connection to the borough. To be considered as having a local connection, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • You have lived in the borough continuously for 3 or 3 out of the last 5 years

  • You work in the borough for 16 hours or more per week and have done so for the last 3 out of the past 5 years prior to the application

  • You have immediate family members who have been resident in the borough for the last 5 years(Immediate family members are defined as parents, adult children or brothers or sisters.)

  • Those with certain links to the armed forces. 

  • If the Council has accepted a full housing duty under part VII of the Housing Act 1996

  • Engagement with services

  • Those who have a history of rough sleeping may struggle to demonstrate that their residency within the borough has been settled. Where this is the case, the Council will accept written confirmation from Council commissioned providers that an individual has been engaging with them/living within their supported housing for at least 6 months

  • Those needing to move to escape domestic abuse in their own local area will be treated as though they have a local connection to the borough

  • There are exceptional circumstances which the Council considers give rise to a local connection. Applications will be considered on an individual basis

Adapted/accessible housing

Specialist adapted properties will be advertised as either 'A1' (accessible/adaptable -non wheelchair) or 'A2'(wheelchair accessible/adaptable).

Where a property is advertised as A1, those who require this type of accommodation will be prioritised (in band and effective date order) before those without a need for that type of accommodation. 

Propertis marked 'A2'/Fully wheelchair adapted properties can only be bid on by those with a medical need for this type of accommodation. 

Those who are assessed as requiring adapted housing on medical grounds. will be informed in writing. The marketing information of an advert will highlight whether the porperty is adapted.