Frequently Asked Questions

What is Choice Based Lettings?

Choice Based Lettings – or CBL – is an approach to letting homes to give you more choice in where you live.

CBL allows you to play a greater part in the process of selecting your home. The Council will not match you to an empty property, but as with private renting, available homes will be advertised and you can express an interest in properties you are eligible for. In CBL expressing an interest is called “bidding”. Bidding does not involve any money.

The properties will be offered to the bidder with the highest priority (based upon “Bands” of need) with the earliest “Effective Date”. However there may be exceptions which might include where an applicant requires ground floor accommodation or where a Local Lettings Policy (LLP) is in place. LLPs are commonly used by landlords, for example, to reduce Anti-Social Behaviour or to reduce the number of children living on an estate.

CBL will not increase the number of homes available for rent and it will still be a challenge to meet the high demand for social housing. However, you will see all properties that are available and will be able to choose which suitable homes you “bid" for.

What documents do i need to provide?

Along with your application form you will need to provide the following if applicable: 

Proof of Identity: Birth certificate, Passport or driving licence.

Proof of where you Live: Tenancy Agreement or letter from head of household. If you are currently renting, you must provide an up to date rent payment statement from your landlord.

Proof of Income: Please provide evidence of any income or benefits you are receiving i.e. bank statements/benefit letters

5 year full address history: Please include the dates you moved in to and out of these addresses and the reasons for leaving

Local Connection: You have stated on your application that you have an immediate family member which has resided in Southend for five years please provide the full name and proof of address for this family member and proof of your connection.

Proof you are facing homelessness: Notice to quit (section 21)

Please provide proof of where you are living & that you are threatened with homelessness: This should be a letter from your head of household confirming your living arrangements & why you can no longer reside at the address and the date that you are required to leave

Proof of Medical condition and medication - letter from GP/consultant and prescription

Proof Of Harassment: In order for consideration to be given to the award of priority on the grounds of harassment, violence or abuse we will require written evidence from the police advising that you have an urgent need to move and that there is a significant risk if you are to remain in that property.

What is an Effective date?

Every registered applicant is given an “Effective date”. In most cases this will be the date that we first received your application. However, if your circumstances change and you move into a different Band, your Effective Date will change as follows:
• Moving into a lower Band that you have previously been in: the Effective Date goes back to the date that applied when you were last in that Band. 
• Moving into a lower Band that you have not previously been in: the Effective Date will be your original application date.
• Moving up into a higher Band: the Effective Date will be the date when you are assessed as requiring a Higher Band.

Effective dates, Priority and housing need

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.  However, where the property is a specialist property to meet mobility needs, those who require that type of accommodation will be prioritised (in band and effective date order) before those without a need for that type of accommodation. Fully wheelchair adapted properties can only be bid on by those with a medical need for this type of accommodation.

Those who have spare rooms in their social housing, and are willing to downsize to a home that meets their bedroom needs will be given priority for new build social housing. 

What does bidding or placing a bid mean?

“Bidding” is the term used in Choice Based Lettings schemes to mean that an applicant wishes to be considered for a property / placing an interest. There is no money involved and no-one can place more than one “bid” for a single property.

Bidding/registering your interest in for available social housing

Each week, available properties will be advertised at

If you qualify for inclusion on our register, you can place bids on available properties between 00.01AM on a Wednesday and 11.59PM on a Sunday. You will be able to enter up to 3 bids each week if there are properties available.

You will need your Application Number and PIN to enter a bid, which will be provided to you by the Council.

You can bid in the following ways:

If you need any help with bidding or would like someone else to bid on your behalf, you should let us know when you first apply, tell your support or social worker (if you have one) and they may be able to do this for you or, contact the Housing Team on 01702 215002


How does the Council advertise empty properties?

Properties are advertised through this website and a dedicated phone line, for those who cannot access the internet. 

The advert will include (where possible) a photograph of the property and full description including, for example: where it is; how many bedrooms; whether it is suitable for someone who uses a wheelchair; whether it is sheltered housing for older people; type of heating and details of rent and service charges.

How can I express an interest in/bid for properties I want?

There will be a variety of ways you can bid: by telephone, on-line at the On The Move website, through the Interactive Voice Recognition telephone service or by direct contact with a member of staff or someone providing support. Applicants will not be given preference for how quickly a bid is made or the way a bid is made during the bidding cycle, allocations will not be made on a “first come first served” basis. On the closing date for bids (every Sunday night at 11.59pm) all the eligible bids will be shortlisted. 

How many properties can I bid for each week?

You have up to three bids per weekly advertising cycle. You can remove and change your bids at any time up until the close of the weekly cycle.

How will the Council decide who gets the property?

In normal circumstances, all the eligible bids for each property will be placed in priority order:

• First by Band, highest priority Band first
• Second by date order (based upon Effective Date) within each Band

What if I need support to use the service?

You can tell us on your housing application form, speak to the Housing Needs team when you apply or be referred by a relative or care worker.  Whether it is help understanding English, with reading or deciding which properties to bid for the Housing Needs team will provide the support that you need. There may be the option to choose someone to bid on your behalf and in exceptional circumstances the Council can make direct allocations.

If I disagree with my Band, Effective Date or Bedroom Need what can I do?

If you have had a significant change in your circumstances and think that your assessment for the policy is wrong, please write to us at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Housing Needs Section, Community Housing, Civic Centre, Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS2 6ER and enclose any relevant supporting documentation. We will assess the new information and write to you with the outcome.

I'm having dificulty applying for social housing online, what alternatives are there?

If you are having difficulty completing your application online, you can seek assistance by using either calling Peabody, or the walk-in service below:

Peabody - You can book an appointment with them on 01702 445870, they are open Monday to Friday, 9:00 - 17:00  

The Hub - Victoria Shopping Plaza. The HUB is in a shop unit at 324/5 Chartwell Square, Victoria Shopping Centre, Southend On Sea, Essex, SS2 5SP Tel: 01702 611199 Web: and is currently open from Mon-Fri 10:00-12:00 and 13:00 -15:00.