Accessing a home with Gentoo

Choice Based Lettings (CBL) is an online tool that gives you the freedom to choose which Gentoo property you would like to live in. Social rent is available with most of our properties and the amount of rent you’ll pay is pre-set by the Government.  Each week, you can view what’s available and see if there’s anything that of interest to you. 

If you are new to social rent tenancies, you’ll start with what we call an Assured Shorthold Starter Tenancy.  This means is your tenancy will be reviewed after 12 months. All existing customers who decide to move home for whatever reason are automatically transfer to an Assured Tenancy, which is let on a lifetime basis, according to our Lettings Policy and Procedure. You may also be interested to know that if you are granted social housing, you could be eligible for Housing Benefit.

To find a home with Choice Based Lettings, you’ll need to register your details with us. It’s quick and easy to do - just complete a short online form, or if you prefer you can do it face to face at any of our local offices where our team will be happy to help. We can even post a registration form out to your home address. Alternatively, you can talk to someone over the phone by calling 0191 525 5000. It’s entirely up to you.

Once you have registered you’ll receive a personal reference number. You’ll need this to register an interest in any of our advertised properties. These can be viewed either online or in our local offices from 2pm each Friday until 12 noon the following Friday. If there’s anything you like the look of, you will need to let us know during this period.

Of course, while there’s nothing stopping you expressing interest in any of the available properties, its worth bearing in mind that some will be more suited to your requirements than others. That’s because each property is categorised according to its size, type, location and the overall community in which it is situated. Which means customers whose needs meet all the criteria assigned to that property, have excellent customer status and have been registered with us the longest, are the most likely to be successful.

Our Mutual Exchange service allows customers to swap homes with other Gentoo customers. The service allows you to advertise your property, as well as showing you what other properties are available.

Register and complete an online application form (your completed application will be then forwarded to your local Gentoo housing office for verification).

You will then be sent a unique reference number and pin (date of birth) which will allow you to view the full details of all advertised properties.

To start the search for your perfect home, or for more information visit

Nominations are a method in which the council can refer applicants from their housing register to social housing providers like Gentoo for rehousing. This process is referred to as nominating.

Nomination agreements help the council in discharging their homeless duties and to rehouse priority customers from their housing register.

If you believe you are at risk of becoming homeless or wish to register with Sunderland City Council check out their website for further information or on 0191 520 5550.

Direct Allocations help to accommodate our customers who have an immediate or special need to move, for example because of a mobility requirement, or due to renewal, regeneration work.

Customers who qualify for a Direct Allocation are directly matched to a property that meets their individual and immediate needs.

Our Affordable Rent Tenancies allow a more diverse offer for the range of people accessing Social Housing. Affordable rented homes will be made available to tenants at up to a maximum of 80% of market rent and are allocated in the same way as social housing is at present.

Here is a brief summary of what Affordable Rented tenancies mean:

  • Our Affordable Rented Tenancies are fixed for a lifetime to offer security and stability they are subject to the 12-month probationary ‘starter’ period.
  • They include all of the same rights and responsibilities as our current Assured Tenancies. 

As with our Social Rented Tenancies, you may be eligible to claim housing benefit. Contact us for further information. 

We want our communities to be friendly, welcoming places to live, so this is awarded to customers who have shown us they are willing and able keep to their tenancy agreement. Anyone can apply for ECS - all you have to do is demonstrate that you are responsible, which means:

  • Keeping your rent account clear for a minimum of 12 months
  • Keeping your home and garden clean and tidy
  • Not engaging in any anti-social activity.

To apply for ECS you don’t necessarily have to have held a tenancy in your own name. All we ask is that you demonstrate your suitability under any criteria that’s appropriate to your personal circumstances.

Suspensions are when we defer an applicant(s) or application so they are unable to express interest in or be offered a Gentoo tenancy through any housing allocation routes.

The length of the suspension will vary depending upon the reason why the applicant(s) did not meet the criteria. 

We can suspend any of the following;

  • Gentoo tenants
  • Other social housing tenants
  • Private rented tenants
  • Owner occupiers
  • Applicants who live in with any of the above
  • Applicants of no fixed abode

If an applicant(s)/application is suspended, the application will still appear on the register, but it will be made inactive until the deferred period or issue is resolved.

To view our Policy Summary please click here 

We are more than aware of how difficult the current market has been. So in response to the on-going difficulties faced by those looking to move home, many of our customers find it reassuring to know that we offer the option to Market Rent a property.

We try to cater for everyone, which is why we also offer a range of apartments available for Market Rent. These are mainly based in the city centre and, as always, are allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, with the rents based on the size, location and the marketplace comparison.

If you are offered a market-rent property we’ll ask you to pay one month’s rent up front. After that, we’ll set up a six or 12-month Assured Shorthold Tenancy, and this will be reviewed each year.

Remember, you may be eligible to claim Local Housing Allowance. For further information please ask a member of staff.

Choice Based Lettings (CBL)

Register or access our Choice Based Letting system.