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How To Apply For Social Housing

Allocations of social housing are managed through the Gateway to Homechoice choice based lettings scheme. Find out how to make an application.

You will need to join the housing register by applying through the choice based letting scheme, Gateway to Homechoice. You only have to make one application to be considered for housing association and council properties in any of these areas:


  • Colchester City Council
  • Babergh District Council
  • Braintree District Council
  • Maldon District Council
  • Mid Suffolk District Council
  • Ipswich Borough Council
  • East Suffolk Council

How to make an application

You can register online with any PC or tablet, for example from your home or at the public access computers in the Greenstead local office or any library, including the Colchester town centre library. If you do not have access to a computer or tablet, are unable to get to a location with a public access computer or have nobody to assist you complete an application please contact Colchester Borough Homes Gateway To Homechoice Team by emailing or by telephone on 01206 580292.

What Next?

When you join the housing register, your application will be assessed within 28 days of completion. A member of the team will try to contact you about your assessment.

Applicants are placed in five different bands depending on their housing need. Information on these bands can be found in Section 5 of the allocations policy.

We have around 3,000 households registered with Colchester Borough Homes on Gateway To Homechoice. The people on the highest priority bands have the most chance of getting a home. Only around 20% of people on the housing register are successful in getting a home. If you are not in Band A or B, you will probably not be able to get a social home in the Colchester area.

We will need to see documents for your Gateway To Homechoice application. You will need to provide ID and sign a declaration to confirm the information you have given us is correct, and to allow us to make enquiries for you. You may also need to give more information about you and other household members. This might include your income, tenancy agreement, and address history. You can also let us know about the suitability of where you currently live. Information on the Gateway To Homechoice privacy policy can be found here.

If you have a smart phone you can take pictures of the documents you wish to provide and e-mail them to or upload them directly to your application on the Gateway to Homechoice website. The documents will then be assessed within 28 days.  We receive around 500 documents a week for customers Gateway To Homechoice applications.

Once all the requested documents are provided, required references received and any necessary risk assessments completed, your application will be activated and you will be able to bid on suitable properties.