Renting a home

The demand for social housing in Sunderland is greater than its supply. We allocate properties in an open and transparent way to meet people’s housing needs.

Apply to join our housing register

To join our housing register you must be aged 16 years or older. You can apply to live:

  • on your own
  • with a partner
  • with family
  • with another adult who wants to live with you, like a friend

We accept applications from people who live outside the Sunderland area.

You can:

If you need help to complete the application form, we will give you advice and support. We will visit you if needed or you can visit your local office.

If you are eligible for social housing, we put you in one of four priority bands based on your needs. We may ask you for evidence to help put you in the correct band.

If you are an existing Gentoo tenant

You must be a tenant for 2 years before you can apply to be rehoused unless you have a priority housing need. If you have a priority need for housing within the first 2 years of being a tenant, we assess this before we allow you to join the register.

Bid for properties

We advertise available properties every week and each advert runs for 7 days. You can bid for up to 5 properties a week. You bid for or get help to bid for properties on HomeHunt.

Ranking and shortlisting

We rank everyone who bids and create shortlists for each property. We rank bids by:

  • priority band
  • how well you match the property labels in the advert
  • the date and time we put you in your priority band
  • the date and time we got your application

Your rank on a property shortlist is in your HomeHunt account.

Viewing the property

We invite the people on the shortlist to view the property. The viewing could be an individual or a group viewing. If your viewing is a group viewing, we will let you know.

If you do not come to a viewing, we will move on to the next person in the shortlist.

If you are not a current Gentoo tenant, you must bring the following items to your viewing to help speed up the process:

  • photographic ID
  • proof of residency

If you do not provide these documents within 24 hours of the viewing, we will move on to the next person in the shortlist.

Offering the property

We provisionally offer the property to the highest ranked person on the shortlist. You have 48 hours to decide if you want to accept the offer.

Accepting the offer

When you accept the provisional offer, we complete checks before we make a formal offer. We check:

  • you are still eligible for social housing
  • you can afford to pay the rent
  • landlord or mortgage references
  • your police record, if needed you are still eligible for social housing
  • if you owe us any money, including rent arrears, former tenant arrears, repairs we charge for, or court costs
  • your application form again
  • your current home, where suitable

If you are a Gentoo tenant, we may also use what we know about your:

  • payment history
  • housekeeping
  • behaviour

Signing your tenancy agreement

When you sign your tenancy agreement, you must pay at least 1 week’s rent and provide:

We give you a welcome pack and go through the Tenant Handbook with you.

You will meet and get the details of your Neighbourhood Co-ordinator who will:

  • help you manage your tenancy
  • give you advice and support to meet your needs
  • refer you to colleagues and partner organisations where needed

If you are moving in to a sheltered housing or extra care scheme, you will meet and get the details of your Scheme Manager. Find out more about scheme managers and what they do.

Get your keys and move in

You will work with your Neighbourhood Co-ordinator or Scheme Manager to agree a date you will move in and start your tenancy.

Further information

Allocations Policy (PDF, 440 KB)