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Apply for Housing

To apply for social housing you will need to join the Gateway To Homechoice register. Colchester has around 4000 active applicants on the Gateway To Homechoice register and new applications are received daily. Despite the ever growing number of applicants on the register, there are limited number of properties available to advertise and successful applicants will often have a long wait to secure accommodation.

Most people in the local area will look to secure private rented accommodation as there is a lot more choice and no waiting time. You can find further information on our Renting Privately page.

If you want further information on applications or properties let via Gateway To Homechoice, visit

Who Can Apply for Social Housing?

In order to be considered for a council or housing association home in the Colchester Borough, you must be on the housing register.  The points below summarise the eligible criteria to join the housing register:

  • You must be 16 years or over
  • You must not be subject to immigration control
  • You must pass the habitual residence test
  • You and your household must be resident in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland; and

You or your household must not be guilty of unacceptable behaviour which would make you unsuitable to be a tenant.

How the bidding process works

Available properties are advertised once a week, from Thursday to Wednesday. You will be able to bid on properties which meet your need by visiting the Gateway to Homechoice website. Once the weekly bidding cycle closes, all bids for each property are sorted out into priority order, applicants with the highest band and oldest effective will be at the top of the order. This means that people with the most urgent need who have been waiting the longest for a home go to the top of the list.

A shortlist of the top two or three people is drawn up. A viewing of the property is arranged for the two or three people on the shortlist. If the first person likes the property, they can accept it. If they decide not to, we then move down the list to the next person.