Apply to housing register

Apply to the housing register

On this page you can start an application online for the housing register and find out information on how NPH allocate housing.

What is the Housing Register?

Anyone who applies for social housing in Northampton has the opportunity to join a common housing register, called the Northampton Housing Register. This is a list of everyone who is eligible to join the Register according to Northampton Borough Council's Allocation Policy.

The Register is shared by a number of social housing providers and accredited private sector rented landlords to make access to all social housing and affordable housing in Northampton as easy as possible. It provides for access by way of one joint application form.

Are you eligible?

To find out if you are eligible to join the Housing Register you will now need to answer a few questions.

These questions will determine whether your circumstances allow you to be accepted onto the Housing Register, and provide you with the most appropriate advice and help. 

It is important to answer the questions as accurately as possible. Please be aware that you will not be able to access the online application form unless you are eligible for housing.

These questions should take no longer than 5 minutes to answer.

Start your application

Click on the sections below for other important information.


How we allocate housing

Read about Northampton Borough Council's banding system and how we allocate housing.

The Housing Allocation Policy explained

Unacceptable behaviour

In line with the council's Allocation Policy you may be deemed ineligible for an offer of accommodation if we are satisfied that you, or a member of your family, has been guilty of unacceptable behaviour serious enough to make you unsuitable to become a tenant.

You may be ineligible if any of the following apply:

  • You owe a significant housing related debt to a council, housing association or private landlord. 
  • A significant debt is the equivalent of 2 weeks or more rent arrears. If you have an approved repayment plan and are making regular payments, once the debt reduces to the equivalent of 2 weeks rent you may then be eligible to be made an offer of accommodation. 
  • You have not kept to the terms of an agreed repayment plan
  • You have a conviction for illegal or immoral purposes
  • You have caused nuisance or annoyance to neighbours or visitors
  • You have been found guilty committed certain criminal offences in or near the home and are still deemed to pose a threat to neighbours or the community
  • You have been violent toards a partner or members of your family
  • You have allowed the condition of your property to significantly deteriorate
  • You have obtained a tenancy be deception e.g by giving false information
  • You have paid money illegally to obtain a tenancy
  • You have committed housing or welfare benefit fraud
  • You have been the perpetrator of domestic abuse
  • You have committed acts of violence or aggression towards staff. Please note: any applicant who uses or threatens violence towards any council employee or contractor will be removed from the Housing Register immediately

Housing related debt

If you are in housing need but have housing related debt you are still be eligible to apply for housing but you will have reduced priority until those debts are cleared. Housing related debts are defined as monies owed to a current or former landlord and include rent arrears, including from temporary accommodation  

  • repair damage debt
  • Housing Benefit overpayment
  • damage to a former social housing property
  • legal costs arising from court action in connection with a current or former tenancy. 

If your debt relates to a previous Northampton Borough Council property for a period over 6 years ago you will be eligible to join the Housing Register but the debt is still payable/recoverable, and you should arrange a  repayment plan with us. 

If you are in this situation you will normally be given less priority when being considered for offers of accommodation, or when being considered for a nomination to a housing association property, until such time as the outstanding debt has been  fully repaid. 

However if there are exceptional circumstances e.g. if you are the victim of domestic violence, racial harassment or other hate crime or have urgent medical need we may make an offer of accommodation, when outstanding arrears or property related debts exist. 

Appeals about a reduction in priority due to housing related debt can be made to the Housing Solutions Manager either verbally or in writing.  These cases will be considered at the Social Welfare Panel.  If assistance is required please contact us on 0300 330 7000 for advice about the process.

Significant housing need

Under the new Allocations Policy we will consider you to be in significant housing need if :

  • You are already homeless
  • you have a home but you are unable to live in it due to fire, flood or another emergency
  • You have somewhere to live but you are threatened with homelessness
  • You have somewhere to live but nowhere where you can live together rwith your immediate family ( i.e. spouse, partner, children)

Reasonable preference categories

The Housing Act 1996, requires that 'Reasonable Preference' for housing must be given to people in the following categories  i.e :

  • You must be legally defined as homeless or owed a particular statutory duty by any local housing authority under certain provisions of homelessness legislation.
  • You must currently occupy unsanitary, overcrowded or otherwise unsatisfactory housing ( as defined by the Housing Act 2004)
  • You need to move on medical or welfare grounds (including grounds relating to a disability)
  • You need to move to a particular part of Northampton to avoid hardship to yourself or others.

Determining priority between applicants with Reasonable Preference

We do this by taking into various factors into account including the financial resources you have available to meet your housing costs and the contribution you can demonstrate you make to Northampton or your local community, for example through working or volunteering.

Working households

In the Allocation Policy the definition of a working household is that one adult member of the household is in employment and that person:

  • has a permanent contract
  • or is working as a temporary member of staff
  • or is self employed.

You must also have been in work for 16 hours or more for 9 out of the last 12 months. 

We check this both when you apply and when an offer is made. To show this you must provide payslips, P45 and P60, tax returns, bank statements and a verifying letter on headed paper from your employer. If your employment status changes then you may retain your priority as long as there is a realistic prospect of re-employment. To decide this we take into account previous employment history, your age and other relevant factors. However you must satisfy the employment definition at the time of the offer of accommodation.

Households actively seeking employment

If you are actively seeking work you will be given additional priority of 1 multiple needs star. We will ask the Job Centre Plus in Northampton to verify this. Please note: if you are actively seeking employment but are not in housing need or a reasonable preference category you will not join the Housing Register

Community contribution

People who play a part in making their neighbourhood strong, stable and healthy – those who help make it a good place to live, work and play – are valuable people. They are the backbone of their community, and they need to be recognised for the good they do. The council's Community Contribution Priority Scheme gives an applicant increased priority, in addition to any other Reasonable Preference they are entitled to because of housing need. 

If you are already in Band A or B you will receive 1 multiple needs star. 

You can request a Community Contribution award, regardless of which social landlord you originally registered with. This award will also be used to prioritise applicants without Reasonable Preference, who want to move. However please remember if you are making a community contribution but have no housing need or are not  in a reasonable preferenence category you will not be able to join the Housing Register. 

Community Contribution Awards – how they work in practice

A Community Contribution award is additional to the applicant’s Reasonable Preference status. If you request a Community Contribution but turn out not to qualify, it won’t disadvantage your application in any way. ineligible. It’s also important to make clear that only the criteria below can be used to assess whether someone can have a Community Contribution award.

Definition of Community Contribution

To apply you must be over 16, have lived in Northampton for three years continuously, now or in the past and can pass our ‘current positive local residence history’ test (i.e no anti-social behaviour, hate crime or convicted criminal activity).

If you are a volunteer, a Community Contribution award will be applied. You need to have been volunteering for a continuous period of at least 6 months up to the time when apply and the same at point of offer.Volunteering must be for a not-for profit organisation or a charity and must be for a minimum of 10 hours per month. 

N.B. Tenants and Residents Associations, which are constituted are classified as not-for-profit organisation. They must be registered with Northampton Borough Council, or a Registered Provider to qualify.

Evidence required for voluntary work

A letter will be required from the manager of the organisation you volunteer with, confirming your involvement. This person must not be related to you in any way.

Medical and welfare needs

The Housing Act 1996 states that reasonable preference on the housing register should be given to applicants who have a need to move on medical or welfare grounds.This category includes an applicant, or member of the applicant’s household, whose health is being affected by their current property, and where a move to another more suitable property would alleviate their condition or make it easier to manage.

Medical grounds

Where we need to make enquiries into your medical condition, we refer the case to an independent medical advisor. You can provide their own medical evidence if appropriate along with a medical/welfare assessment form, which will be sent to the independent advisor. If the Independent Medical Advisor tells us that reasonable preference should be awarded then we will give you either:

  • A severe medical award where it can be demonstrated that, due to an illness or disability, it is unacceptable for you to remain in your current home, or 
  • A moderate medical award when it can be demonstrated that due to an illness or disability you find living in your current home difficult and that remaining there will contribute to a deterioration in your health, or although you can manage at present, a move would be beneficial. 

Please note: the council’s Medical Adviser does not carry out individual medical examinations.

Where appropriate, the Medical Advisor will also recommend the type of property most appropriate to your medical needs. The medical award madewill determine the Band you are placed in. Where two or more members of a household qualify for medical priority the highest priority will be awarded with only one priority star applied.

Please note: If your assessment was done over 12 months before you received your offer we will review your medical and welfare priority to make sure the award is still appropriate.

Welfare grounds

This will include situations such as :

  • Infirmity due to old age
  • The need to give or receive care
  • Behavioural difficulties
  • The need to recover from the effects or threats of violence or physical or emotional abuse
  • Young people at risk
  • A mental or physical disorder
  • A physical or learning disability
  • Financial hardship.

If you are likely to need adaptations, an assessment of both your current and prospective properties will be completed by the Private Sector or Gateway Team.

Processing Applications

Your housing application will take between 7 to 8 weeks to process and assess once we have received it. A member of our Applications Team will contact you after your application has been assessed. Unfortunately they are unable to contact you before this time. There is no need to contact us unless there is a change of circumstances that may affect your application.

Frequently Asked Questions

After applying for housing online, we assess your application and let you know if you have been successful.

Here are answers for some of our most frequently asked questions.


When will I know if my application for the Housing Register has been successful?

Usually you will know if you have been successful within 28 days.

Make sure you have supplied all your supporting documents with the application. If you don’t submit all your documentation your application could be delayed or cancelled.

I’ve registered for Housing. Why can’t I bid?

After making an application we assess and check you meet the need for Housing. We’ll let you know once you have been accepted onto the register and provide you with information so you can bid.

My application has been suspended. Why?

This could be for a number of reasons. We could need further information which we haven’t received.

We will always write and tell you why your application is suspended and what to do to stop this. We won’t cancel your application but please contact us to provide the information.

I’ve been given a banding. What does this mean?

The banding is based on your need for housing. Find out more about banding and how we allocate housing.

I want to appeal the decision on my banding. How long will this take?

You have 28 days to make an appeal. We have 56 days to answer.

I have not been allocated a working star. Why?

To get a working star you must:

  • be working for 16 hours or over
  • have been working for 9 months or longer
  • and be working in Northampton.

Check you have supplied the right information. If you supply a current wage slip, you also need to send a copy of your contract of employment showing your start date and employment location.

Why do I need a local connection to join the Housing Register?

It is a condition in our Housing Allocations & Choice Based Lettings Scheme.

To have a local connection you must either:

  • Show evidence that you are living in Northampton for the last three years.
  • Work in Northampton for over 16 hours per week for the last 9 months.
  • Support a close relative who has lived in Northampton for 5 years or require support yourself. You must be unable to get support in your current location.

Unfortunately, having a close relative who lives in Northampton does not provide a local connection. If you move away from Northampton and come back later, this also does not provide a local connection.



Find out if your home is overcrowded according to the Government's Housing Act.