How to apply for a home

In Cumbria, Castles & Coasts Housing Association (CCHA) are a member of Cumbria Choice - Choice Based Lettings, and you'll find the process for applying in the North West below. 

In the North East of England, there is a different application procedure and details can be found by clicking here.

North West



To apply for housing with Cumbria Choice you must be on the Cumbria Choice Housing Register. Once you're on the Cumbria Choice Housing Register you'll be able to apply for housing with a number of housing providers:

- Accent

- Castles & Coasts Housing Association

- Eden Housing

- Home Group

- Riverside

- South Lakes Housing


How to register

Firstly, you need to complete an application form online at . This is the Customer Housing Portal.

When you are accepted onto the Register you will receive a letter with your registration number, date of registration and band (the priority you have been given for housing). Keep this information safe, as you'll need it in the future when you start applying for properties.

When you complete your application form you have to choose one housing organisation to administer your form. If you are a current or former tenant of any of the partner organisations, then they must administer your application.

They will assess your qualification and priority for housing and will review your application each year.

It's important that you tell Cumbria Choice straight away if your circumstances change, as failure to do this may mean that you can't be offered a home. You can upload any supporting documents for your application at any time directly to your application through the Customer Housing Portal.

How to find out about available properties

You will be able to view all the properties available each week via the 'Cumbria Choice' and 'Our Find a Home page' buttons below.

The adverts will give you information about the property to help you make the right choice. The advert will tell you who is eligible for the property, such as a couple with 3 or more children, any age restrictions (over 60 years for example) and any local connection requirements.

If you try to bid on a property and you're not eligible you will be told the reason why. For example, you may be ineligible because you are a family with one child and the property is only suitable for a single person. Eligibility will also be subject to ages of children. 

Household type and eligibility

  Household size   Number of bedrooms 
  Single person   Bedsit, 1, 2 (D) or 3 (D) bedrooms
  Couple   Bedsit, 1, 2 (D) or 3 (D) bedrooms
  2 adults (non-couple)   2 or 3 (D) bedrooms
  2+ adults (non-couple)   2 or 3 (D) bedrooms
  Household with one child   2 or 3 (D) bedrooms
  Household with 2 children   2 or 3 bedrooms
  Household with 3 children   3 or 4 bedrooms
 Household with 3 + children   3, 4 or 5+ bedrooms

Please note:

(D) Discretionary and only accepted in low demand areas.

Households who have only part time access to, and not permanent custody of, children will not be able to bid to include them as part of the household in relation to property size.

In South Lakeland District Council area applicants without children will not be able to be considered for houses.

CCHA will carry out Right to Rent checks as part of the Pre Tenancy Assessment.

How to bid for a home in Cumbria

You can express an interest (or 'bid') on a property by:

Visiting Cumbria Choice, or contacting us by telephone on 0800 085 1171

Priority for Housing - The bands

Those accepted onto the Register will be placed in one of three bands in accordance with the Cumbria Choice Allocations Policy.

  Band   Banding reasons
   Band A
  • Additional preference for certain homelessness duties (This is assessed and verified by the Partner Council’s Housing Options Team)
  • Additional preference for medical or disability
  • Additional preference where there is a need to move on welfare grounds due to exceptional impact on the applicant or a member of their households well being
  • Additional preference Armed Forces
  • Additional preference for unfit or unsatisfactory housing
  • Additional preference for severe overcrowding as defined as 2 bedrooms or more overcrowded
  • Additional preference for applicants nominated by Cumbria Adult Social Services/Children’s Services in the following circumstances:
  • Additional preference for Cumbria County Council Care Leavers (Former Relevant children) as defined by the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 and need to move on
  • Additional preference for applicants who are part of a multi-agency public protection agreement (MAPPA).
  • Additional preference for certain MARAC assessed cases
   Band B
  • Reasonable preference for certain homelessness duties owed (This is assessed and verified by the Partner Council’s Housing Options Team)
  • Reasonable preference for insecure accommodation arrangements
  • Reasonable preference for medical or disability housing need
  • Reasonable preference under the Government’s ‘Right to move’ regulations
  • Reasonable preference where it is agreed there is a need to move on welfare or hardship grounds
  • Reasonable preference for being overcrowded by 1 bedroom
  • Reasonable preference for unsatisfactory housing conditions or issues of property fitness
  • Reasonable preference for under-occupation
  • Local preference for recent ex armed forces applicants
  • Local preference for identified ‘Key Workers’
   Band C
  • All other applicants in housing need: This is the housing need band awarded where an applicant is not assessed as coming under the criteria adopted by the policy for being in a statutory housing need. Applicants placed in band C can still bid for properties but will not be considered above applicants from Bands A or B who have bid for the same property. Band C will include applicants who have been assessed as being intentionally homeless by any Council and since that award has not had settled accommodation (defined by the CCP assessing officer)


Further guidance on banding criteria can be found on the Cumbria Choice website.  

How shortlisting works

Properties are advertised on a weekly cycle. Applicants may express an interest through 'bidding' on any advertised property that meets their needs. Applicants in bands A or B are able to place up to 3 bids each week. Applicants in band C can place unlimited bids to improve their prospects of getting an offer of a lower demand property where there might be a few lower demand properties advertised in that cycle. Your final position on the shortlist will not be known until the end of the bidding period. You can see how your position is changing during this period as other people also express an interest in the property. It's up to you if you leave your name on the list or remove your bid and choose a less popular property.

In Band C, you will be able to bid each week on a 'rolling' basis from when you placed your first bid. It doesn't matter when you bid during the cycle as the shortlist is drawn up once the bidding period has closed.

At the end of the bidding process, Cumbria Choice puts the bids for each property in order – by Band, any special requirements such as medical need, and effective date. Please note that the Cumbria Choice system does not currently show priority of local connection, so your place in the shortlist may change once the Lettings Officer has checked local connections.

Usually, the person at the top of the shortlist will be invited to carry out a Pre-Tenancy Assessment to assess suitability before viewing the property. Only the person to interviewed for the property will be contacted.

How properties are offered

Cumbria Choice aims to contact the person at the top of the shortlist within 48 hours.

An offer of a property will only be made once a Pre-Tenancy Assessment has been approved and the information on the application form has been checked, acceptable references received and proof of identity and Right to Rent provided.

If you have been matched to a property you won't be able to bid on another property until you have decided to accept or refuse the offer.

If you refuse three properties in one year you may be placed in a lower priority Band.


Details of the properties offered will be given the following week on the website. It will show which Band the successful applicant was in and the length of time they had been registered with Cumbria Choice.

If you are unsuccessful with your bids you can use this information to help you decide how best to bid in the future.

North East

Across the North East of England, CCHA works with a number of local authorities to provide affordable housing. The allocation of properties is administered through Choice Based Lettings (CBL) Schemes. These let you to make choices about where you want to live and the type of home that is most suitable for you.

The CBL schemes in the North East that CCHA is a partner with (click on the name to go to their website) are:

Northumberland Homefinder 

Gateshead Home Choice 

North Tyneside Homefinder 

Newcastle Homes 

Durham Key Options 

Tees Valley Home Finder

We’ll carry out ‘right to rent’ checks as part of our pre-tenancy assessment.

To find out more on how to apply for properties please watch our video or email our Lettings & Neighbourhoods Team on

Would you like to apply for a home in the North East of England?


If you're looking for a house swap, CCHA subscribes to the HomeSwapper mutual exchange service and pays for our residents' registration, subject to no breaches of tenancy.

You can access the service online, through social media, or download an app for your mobile. Once you've seen adverts for properties you like, you can contact the resident to arrange a viewing.

You can also register for a mutual exchange through Cumbria Choice (Customer Housing Portal) with no need to be eligible for a full application. Here you can search for other households wishing to swap homes.

For more information, visit