Apply for social housing

Coronavirus (COVID-19) 

Our services are operating in a slightly different way, please refer to the information below.

Currently, our office is closed to the public and we are not having face-to-face meetings or interviews. More service information is available on our Coronavirus (COVID-19) page.

Adverts on Search Moves

Please do not contact us about any property you see advertised. If you are interested in a property where Elmbridge Borough Council is the partner, you will need to place a bid. If you are shortlisted for a property or we need any information from you to nominate you for accommodation, we will contact you directly. 

We expect to be very busy over the next few weeks as more property becomes ready for letting.

Since lockdown, we have continued to receive Housing Register applications. If we have requested information from you to verify your application but you have not provided it, please send it via email where possible to

Nominations made

If a property you have been nominated for is now ready to let, you will be contacted by the Registered Provider to see if you are in a position to move and, if so, they will try and facilitate that move where possible.

The Registered Provider will contact applicants directly if any action is needed. Please do not contact the Social and Supported Housing Team regarding viewing or tenancy signup date following a successful nomination. 

Applying to join the Housing Register  

You may still apply to join the Housing Register online (see below). However, we may not be able to verify all applications that are made at this time as we may need to see some documentation to confirm your application, and some may require a home visit. If you apply you will keep the date of your online registration or date an A or B band applies, in accordance with our Allocations Policy.

If we require you to submit information to support your application, we will contact you directly. Please do not contact the office unless it is essential.

Please note no properties are being advertised for Elmbridge applicants through Search Moves at present and we already have a large housing register of applicants.  

Notifying of a change of circumstances - Housing Register application

If you have a current application with Search Moves but you need to notify us of a change circumstances, for example as you have moved, or your household composition has changed, you can still do this on line.  If we require you to submit information to support your change in circumstances we will contact you directly. Please do not contact the office unless it is essential.

If you have any Change of Circumstances you should continue to update these as normal. If you need assistance completing a Change in Circumstances, email Please do not contact the office unless it is essential.

We will continuously review and monitor the impact of COVID-19, and it is our plan to ensure that we move back to the open advertising and bidding process for social housing as soon as safely possible.


Demand for affordable social housing is high and the supply of properties that come up for rent is low.

If you need somewhere to live you should consider other options, such as renting privately.  

About social housing in Elmbridge

  • Social housing in Elmbridge is managed by housing associations
  • Tenancies tend to be for a fixed-term of 5 years only

  • Rents can be up to 80% of the local market rent

Do you qualify for the Housing Register? 

If you have a strong local connection with Elmbridge you may qualify, if you:

  • currently live in Elmbridge and have done so for at least the last three years

  • have a permanent job in Elmbridge

  • have immediate family in Elmbridge who have lived here for at least five years

  • previous continuous residence of five or more years in the last 10 years.

There is more on local connection in our Housing Allocations Policy that tells you how we assess applications.

You may also qualify if you come within a reasonable preference category e.g. you live in overcrowded unsatisfactory housing conditions or have a medical need to move.

There is more on qualification criteria to be on the Housing Register and information on how we assess and prioritise applications in the Housing Allocations Policy.

Apply online using Search Moves

If you wish to register for social housing within Elmbridge you can apply online via Search Moves.

Part 1 of the online application process will produce a Personalised Action Plan to advise you about your housing options.

Part 2 is the main application form.

If you are placed on the Housing Register through Search Moves make sure you read the online guidance (follow the tab ‘How the scheme works'). A short presentation is also available on how to place a bid.

Using Search Moves  

You can apply to join the Housing Register through the Search Moves website to be considered for housing association property. Not everyone is eligible to go on the Housing Register and if your application is accepted it will be given a band ranging from the highest Band A to D to the lowest band. This is subject to our verifying the information given on your application is accurate.

Detailed information on the Search Moves scheme, how it operates and the Council's Allocations Policy can be found on the Search Moves website. The key points are set out below:

You can bid all week

  • New homes may 'go live' on any day of the week.

  • Once a property is posted online you can bid for it on Search Moves, so long as you are eligible for that property.

  • You can set up a 'property alert' to send you an email when a property match comes up. 

  • The bid deadline is usually 5 days after the property first appears.

  • You can use Search Moves on mobile devices.


  • Mobile friendly 
  • User guide included
  • You can update telephone/email contact/s online 
  • Adverts have maps, often 'street views', and other local information
  • 'Property alert' function lets you know when a property match comes up
  • If you're already registered you can use your login details to access Search Moves

 You can also use the How to Bid guide.


  • You need to express an interest in property you are interested in by placing bids

  • Once a property is posted online you can bid for it on Search Moves, so long as you are eligible for that property
  • Failure to attend a viewing of 2 properties or refusing 2 properties may lead to your application being suspended for a year - meaning that you can not place any bids or be considered for any accommodation.

Do you need help applying online?

Local libraries give free computer access, or you can visit one of our Search Moves partners' offices.

You can also email if you have any questions.

We may give you assistance, but if you're reapplying you could ask family, friends or a support worker to lend a hand.

Further information

For other housing options, like shared-ownership, please visit the Help to Buy pages - you do not need to register with Search Moves to be considered for Help to Buy options.

Housing Options Unit

The Housing Options Unit consists of three teams. Their roles are summarised below.

Social and supported housing

The Social and Supported Housing Team will be available by telephone or email. Please call 01372 474 590, or email Further information about social housing in Elmbridge is given above.

Homeless prevention and advice

If you are homeless there will be a Homelessness Prevention and Advice Officer available by telephone only during office hours of 8.45am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 8.45am to 4.45pm on Fridays (note these times may change depending on staffing levels). This will be an emergency screening service only. Please call 01372 474 590, or email

For emergency homelessness outside of office hours, customers should telephone 0300 123 7718 and our out of hours service will help. Please note this service may change depending on staffing levels.

If you are sleeping rough, or know of someone who is sleeping rough please contact Elmbridge Rentstart Rough Sleeper Outreach on 01372 477167, or email

Private rented sector and temporary accommodation

The Private Rented Sector and Temporary Accommodation Team will be available by telephone or email. Please call 01372 474 590, or email

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