How to Apply for a Home

In Cumbria, Castles & Coasts Housing Association (CCHA) are a member of the Choice Based Lettings - Cumbria Choice.  For details on this process, please see 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. When you are on the Cumbria Choice Housing Register you will be able to apply for housing with:

- Accent

- Castles & Coasts Housing Association

- Eden Housing

- Home Group

- Riverside

- South Lakes Housing

How to register

Firstly you are required 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). You will need to keep this information safe as you will need it in the future when you start applying for properties.

When you complete your application form you must 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 is important that you tell Cumbria Choice immediately of any change in your circumstances as failure to do this may mean that you cannot be offered a property. 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 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 for example, household type – couple with 3+ children, age restrictions (over 60 years for example) and any local connection requirements.

If you try to bid on a property and you are not eligible you will be told the reason why – for example, you may be ineligible because of household type – 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 on a property (‘bid’) 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.  For applicants in bands A or B they are able to place up to 3 bids each week. For applicants in band C they are able to place unlimited bids in order to improve their prospects of obtaining an offer of a lower demand property in the circumstances where there may be several 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 is then up to you if you leave your name on the list or remove your ‘bid’ and choose a less popular property.

You will be able to ‘bid’ each week on a “rolling” basis from when you placed your first bid, if in Band C. It does not 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 and therefore 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 will not 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, Castles and Coasts Housing Association (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 schemes allow you to make choices about where you want to live and the type of home that is most suitable for you.

Currently the CBL systems in the North East of which CCHA is a partner with are:

Northumberland Homefinder -

Tyne and Wear (covering Newcastle, North Tyneside, Gateshead and South Tyneside) - 

Durham Key Options -

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

To find out more on how to apply for properties please watch our video or contact our Neighbourhood & Lettings 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: