Applying to the Council's Housing Register

Understanding the Housing Register

The number of people in Kensington and Chelsea who need to be rehoused is much larger than the number of properties available to the Council for letting each year. We aim to make sure the properties we have are offered to the people most in need. If you meet the criteria described (see Information on social housing for full details) this page tells you more about your chance of being rehoused and how to contact us and find out more.

However, unless you have a significant need to be rehoused; it is almost certain that you will never be offered social housing.

There are very few social housing properties available in Kensington and Chelsea. The limited amount of lettings over the past eight years is shown in the table below:

Total number of

lettings to RBKC









2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20








460 436 144 341 457

The Allocation Scheme aims to make sure properties are offered to the people most in need. Only households that have lived in the borough for at least three years and have a high priority for rehousing can join the Housing Register (the list of people waiting for housing). You must tell the truth on your housing application. Any failure to include relevant information, to hide material facts or to try to get housing through false information will be treated as fraud. The Council treats housing fraud seriously and will take legal action against applicants found to have committed fraud.

If you are accepted onto the Housing Register, you will be awarded a number of points, according to your circumstances. You can find a table showing the number of points allocated and an explanation of terms used below.

What are my chances of being rehoused to social housing?


There are many tenants in Kensington and Chelsea who, for a number of different reasons, wish to move. However, while demand for properties goes up each year, the number of vacancies that become available gets smaller.

Of the 457 lettings last year, 308 of these properties were studios and one bedroom homes. Therefore if you need a larger property you will have to wait longer for social housing as fewer larger, family-sized properties become available each year. Even high priority applicants are likely to wait for five years or more to be housed and possibly longer for three bedroom and larger properties.

The Council’s Allocation Scheme explains who is given priority for rehousing.

This is a revision of the previous scheme (2014). You can read a summary of the changes made to the allocation scheme.

You may wish to consider other options for your housing. The Housing Solutions Team can offer advice on schemes available to you. For further information about housing options, please call 020 7361 3008.

Who will be given priority for housing?


The Council offers some priority to groups defined in law as needing to be given ‘reasonable preference’. This includes people:

  • who need to move on medical or welfare grounds, including needs relating to a disability
  • living in insanitary or overcrowded housing, or otherwise living in unsatisfactory conditions
  • who are homeless, including those who are not in priority need or who are intentionally   homeless
  • owed a duty under various sections of the Housing Act 1996 relating to homelessness.

The Council will also award priority to:

  • tenants already living in social housing (Council or housing association) who:
  • are looking to move from a property with two or more bedrooms to a property; (as larger properties are in short supply)
  • are living in a property that has been adapted for a disabled person and they no longer need those adaptations (the property can then be given to someone who does)
  • need to leave their accommodation because it is being demolished for redevelopment or significantly refurbished and the Council has an agreed plan to move them
  • people who have a legal right of succession to a Council or housing association property but have been asked to move as the property is too large for their needs
  • people suitable to foster or adopt one or more children but who need more appropriate accommodation in order to do so
  •  people living in supported accommodation or care provided or paid for by the Council who are ready to move to independent living and the Council has a duty to provide ongoing help
  • people to whom the Council owes a contractual duty to provide accommodation (for example, the accommodation relates to their job)
  • people who have exceptional and compelling circumstances and no other suitable housing options are available (including a homelessness application).

The Council will award additional priority to people:

  • who are in one or more priority categories listed above where the applicant, their partner or a member of their household is in paid work averaging 16 hours or more per week and has been in work continuously for at least six months
  • who fall within one or more of the statutory reasonable preference categories (see previous page) and have urgent housing needs, and who are serving or former members of the Armed Services or their bereaved spouses or civil partners, or serving or former members of the Reserve Forces.
Number of points awarded and explanation of terms


Category Points
Exceptional priority 2,000
Emergency health and independence 2,000
At serious risk of harm 1,900
Supporting health and independence 900
Redevelopment of homes 900
Vacating homes 700
Supporting adoption and fostering 700
Overcrowding 200
Contractual duties 200
Move-on priority 100
Homeless duty 100
Paid work 50
Armed Forces 50
Homeless 10
Locality hardship 10

Explanation of some of the terms used in the table

Contractual duties
People the Council has a duty to provide accommodation to, for example, someone who has been provided with accommodation as part of their job and their contract guarantees ongoing accommodation.

The Council has different duties towards homeless people, depending on their circumstances. The level of duty can vary, so there are different levels of points for homeless people. For more information, see the Allocation Scheme. Homeless people in work (working 16 hours or more a week) may qualify for extra points.

Locality hardship points
Points awarded to people who need to move to another area of the borough. These points are only awarded in exceptional circumstances. Locality hardship points may also be awarded to social housing tenants living in another borough who must move to Kensington and Chelsea in order to take up or maintain employment.

Move-on priority
People living in supported accommodation or care who are ready to move to independent living. Points are only awarded to people who have very high needs which make it difficult for them to maintain a tenancy in privately rented accommodation or to people who have been in paid work for a minimum of 16 hours per week for six months or longer.

To qualify, families must meet our definition of a household. Many families live with additional family members who do not qualify as part of a household. Overcrowding is lacking two or more bedrooms, according to our definition of what space is needed. For more information, see the Allocation Scheme.

Supporting adoption and fostering
Help for people who have been nominated by the Council’s Children’s Services team as suitable to foster or adopt a child/ children, but need different housing to be able to do so.

Supporting health and independence
Help for people who have a proven essential need to move due to health issues. Points are only awarded where a move would play a vital role in helping someone to develop independence or access essential facilities.

Vacating homes
Households who, by moving, will make available a property suitable for a disabled person and households moving to a smaller property.

How quickly will people with high priority be rehoused?


The severe shortage of accommodation in the borough means that even people with high priority may wait a long time to be rehoused. The Council can help people to explore other options such as privately renting, low-cost home ownership schemes and mutual exchange (swapping with another social housing tenant).

Our Tenancy Strategy


The Council is legally required to issue guidance to social housing providers in the borough on granting and renewing social housing tenancies. You can read a summary which outlines our five broad objectives for social housing providers.

This strategy is currently being reviewed, with a new strategy due in 2023 following a public consultation.

Our Tenancy Policy

The Tenancy Policy 2020 describes how the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (the Council) will issue tenancies to the social homes it owns and manages.  


How to find out more


If you think you need to be rehoused but are not threatened with homelessness, you should contact the Council to seek advice about your housing options.

Call Housingline on 020 7361 3008

Email [email protected]

or see a customer services adviser at the Town Hall.

You may also find our Housing factsheets useful. There are various factsheets on different housing options.

Find out how social housing is let

Last updated: 2 February 2024