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Homelessness and housing advice

Apply for Housing and FAQs

Homes direct - looking for accommodation

50 High Street South
NN10 0QX
Tel: 03456005050

Opening times

Monday 9am – 5pm
Tuesday 9am – 5pm
Wednesday 10am – 5pm
Thursday 9am – 5pm
Friday 9am – 5pm

How to apply for housing

On the Home Page click on the Register tab
Enter your National Insurance Number
Then proceed to register your details

You will be given a 6 digit reference number, which you will need to use to login in the future so make sure you write it down and keep it somewhere safe. You will be asked to set memorable date

You now have options to choose what type of application you wish to make:

To apply for Rented Housing click on Apply for Social Housing

To apply for Mutual Exchange click on Apply for Mutual Exchange

You need to apply for housing to enable you to bid on properties. You will need to apply to be able to exchange properties with someone else

How to bid for a property

Log onto your application using your 6 digit reference number and your memorable date.

On the Home Page: Click the Property search tab

You can search for all properties across the homes direct national scheme, however if you only want to look at properties locally for the East Northants area, please complete the following:-

  • Click on Property Search
  • Tick Properties for Rent
  • In the location box type Rushden and then click Search
  • Another box will appear select Rushden Northamptonshire, press Search again
  • Select from the drop down menu - 20 mile radius, then click Update Search

This will list all the properties in this area that are available. You will need to look through the adverts for the type of property that you are eligible for, after each advert there will either be a red box saying why you are not eligible for this property or a green box saying you are eligible and a button to click if you wish to apply for this property. If you do apply for a property, we will ask you to confirm your details are correct and once your bid has been placed, you will be given a bid number.

The advertising cycles runs every week from Wednesday AM to Sunday night, so you will need to login every week to see what is available. Please note: new properties are not added during the cycle.

If there are any properties being advertised on Homes Direct, that you think you should be eligible for but it is not allowing you to apply please call us so that we can check.

When the cycle closes all the applications will be checked over and verified. You can check on the status of your bid, if it states OPEN, this is because the property has not yet been allocated.

If you are at the top of the list or close to the top, you will be contacted. You will be asked to provide supporting documents, this will include:

  • ID
  • Proof of benefits
  • Child benefit and child tax credit award letters (these will need to show the names of the child/children you are claiming for) and a recent bank statement showing the payments being credited.
  • PIP will need to show the care and mobility component
  • Proof of your address.

You will have 48 hours to supply this so please ensure that you have easy access to these documents (especially child benefit. If you do not have a letter from them you might like to apply now for one as this can take some time to arrive) should you be unable to supply the documents you may be overlooked for the property.

If you do not have access to a computer or the internet, you can also view properties in our reception and at the council offices in Rushden and Thrapston. Please do contact us on 0345 600 5050 if you require more details.

What if i have forgotten my memorable date?

If you have forgotten your memorable date you can reset it online.

What if i have forgotten my log in number?

You can email us on or call us on 0345 600 5050.

When can i bid?

You can place bids from Wednesday to Sunday, it does not matter when a bid is placed during this time as priority is given by customers banding and registration date. You cannot add a bid after close of cycle.

Why can't i bid on a property?

Homes Direct will only allow customers to view and bid for properties that they are eligible for. If you think your application is incorrect then please log onto your application and check all your information is correct and update if necessary. Contact us if you still are having difficulties.

I have been offered a property can i still bid?

No, if you have been matched for a property you will not be able to continue to place any further bids. 

How long will it take to get my keys?

This depends on the Housing association as properties are not always ready, there is no set timescales. When you are matched for a property and all the necessary checks have been made Homes Direct pass your information over to the Housing Association.

The Housing provider aim to contact you within 10 days. If you have any questions regarding the property please contact them directly.

Please contact the Housing provider directly if you have any questions on the properties being advertised Homes Direct do not hold any additional information on the properties advertised.

How do i know what i can bid for?

A property type you can bid for will be worked out on your household needs. For example; a young single person would be able to bid on flats and a family with dependent children would be eligible for a houses and flats. (Dependent on children’s ages and floor level) as per the eligibility criteria in the Allocations policy.

Your banding will be worked out on your housing circumstances so the higher your need is, the higher the band will be.

Homes direct will only allow you to bid on the property types you are eligible for.

What happens if i don't bid?

If you don’t place a bid, we won’t consider you for any property.

How many bids can i place?

We don’t put a limit on the bids that you place but you need to be sure that you are interested in actually moving into the property that you’re bidding for. Unreasonable referrals or not responding to property offers can result in applications being suspended for 6 months.

What if i change my mind about a bid that i've placed?

Ideally you should only bid on properties that you think you would be prepared to move into. If you do place a bid on a property and then change your mind before the shortlist closes on a Sunday, you can remove the bid online.

Please be aware that if you are offered the property and you decline it if the reason you refuse is unreasonable your application may be suspended, so let us know as soon as possible if you know you don’t want the property.

Can my friend bid for me if i can't do it?

Anyone can place a bid on your behalf but we can only give bid feedback to the actual applicant unless there is an advocacy set up on the application.

Do i have to bid every week?

No you don’t have to and you should only bid on properties that you are actually interested in. You won’t be penalized in any way if you don’t bid but you do need to keep your application updated to inform us of any changes of circumstances. If you are a homeless applicant then the rules differ. Please speak to your Homeless Officer, If you don’t place any bids at all, we won’t be able to offer you any properties.

How old do i have to be before i can apply for a bungalow?

You need to be 60 or over for a bungalow, sometimes properties are opened up to applicants of a lower age, you will need to check the individual adverts for information, on who is eligible for consideration.

I am separated from my partner and my children visit at weekends and holidays - can i apply for an extra bedroom for them to stay?

In some circumstances single parents may be eligible for a 2 bedroomed flat but this would be subject to affordability.

I am pregnant with my first child - can i apply for a two bedroom property?

To be eligible for two bedrooms you need to produce your MATB1. Once we have received this your application will be changed to make you eligible for 2 bedroomed properties. If you need to claim housing benefit, you need to check to see at what point housing benefit would pay for a second bedroom.

There's a property in a street that's going to be empty. Can i bid for it?

You need to look for it on Homes Direct website to see if it is being advertised.

You can only bid on a property once it has been advertised. If the property is not advertised you may wish to ring the Housing association direct, it may be advertised with them directly, not all properties are advertised on Homes direct.

What if a property has a mobility sign?

If you are eligible for the property type you will be able to bid on it but preference will be given to applicants whose medical or mobility needs match the adaptations in the property.

What if i have pets

There are symbols on the adverts to show you what you can or cannot bid for if you have pets. This is because there are different policies relating to pets for each of our different Housing Association Partners. These symbols generally relate to cats and dogs, however it is recommend that you check with the Housing Association Partners for any queries about smaller pets.

You have been offered a property but its not ready yet, can you carry on bidding

No, you will not be allowed to place any further bids if you have been matched for a property.

If the property will not be ready for a very long time and you want to be considered for other properties, you may have the option of turning the offer down and bidding again. However, we cannot tell you how long it will take to be offered another property because it depends on the location and who else is also bidding.

How do you decide who gets the property?

Once the cycle closes Homes Direct will go through the shortlist to see who is successful.

The shortlist will automatically place applicants in order of need according to band and waiting time. (Band 1 will be considered first). This process may differ on properties advertised with Section 106 planning restrictions but this will be detailed in the advert.

What if i'm at the top of the list for more than one property that i've bid for?

Homes Direct will look at the properties with the most bids. We will make a decision based on your application details so that we don’t delay an offer of accommodation for another applicant.

Can i view the property after placing a bid?

No you will only be able to view the property if your bid is successful.

I think i'd have been successful for this property - why haven't you asked me to view it?

If your bid has been successful but you have arrears from another tenancy you may be bypassed for the nomination, you will need to clear the arrears or set up a payment plan to clear the arrears. You may be suspended from the housing register until the arrears are cleared.

If you are a current Spire Tenant your rent account will need to be paid up to date or you may not be offered a viewing.

If you are already ‘under offer’ for another property, you will be overlooked on other shortlists.

You may also be bypassed if you have failed to provide us with any proofs documents required in time for verification or we have been unable to get hold of you.

Have you got a local connection? You may not have been considered because applicants without a local connection are not usually eligible for allocation of housing in East Northamptonshire.

More information

  1. Homelessness and housing advice
  2. Leaving hospital
  3. Apply for Housing and FAQs (you are here)