All council or housing association homes for rent in Somerset are advertised on Homefinder Somerset. If you are registered with Homefinder Somerset, you can view homes being advertised and tell us which homes you would like to be considered for. This is called bidding, but it does not involve any money.
Who can apply
You can apply to join the Homefinder Somerset scheme if all of the following are true:
- You are over the age of 16
- You are not subject to immigration control
- You have a local connection to Somerset
You will have a local connection to Somerset if you have lived in Somerset for the last 2 years, or have previously lived in Somerset for 3 out of the last 5 years. A local connection can also be established if you have employment in Somerset or where you have immediate family that have lived in Somerset for more than 5 years.
How long it takes to get a property
Demand for social housing in Somerset far outweighs supply. On 1 April 2023, there were nearly 12,000 applicants on the Homefinder Somerset scheme. From April 2022 to March 2023 there were just over 2,000 homes advertised. This means many people are registered on the scheme for a long time without being made an offer of a home. You should not only rely on Homefinder Somerset to solve your housing situation, particularly if you think you need to find a home quickly or you are homeless now.
How to apply
To apply for a property, you will need to register on the Homefinder Somerset website.
It should take about 30 minutes to complete the online form. You will need to take note of your unique login reference number, password and memorable date as you will need these to bid on properties when your application is made active.
You may be asked to provide further information once your online application has been assessed. Your online application must be completed within 28 days of you starting the form. Any incomplete applications will be cancelled after 28 days.
If you are unable to complete an online application, or need additional assistance please see the help pages and the frequently asked question pages on the Homefinder Somerset website. If you still need help, you can phone us on 0300 123 2224.
How applications are assessed
All applications to join the Homefinder Somerset will be assessed and placed in one of four priority bands: Emergency, Gold, Silver and Bronze. This will be based on our assessment of your housing need. You can find out more about the criteria for each band in the Your guide to Homefinder Somerset document or the more comprehensive Homefinder Somerset Policy.
Bidding and offers
Make sure that you keep your contact details up to date on your Homefinder Somerset application. This will ensure that a prospective landlord can make contact with you in the event that your bid is successful.
Homes available to let in Somerset are advertised each week on the Homefinder Somerset website. They are advertised from 12:01am on Wednesdays to 11:59pm the following Sunday. You can bid for up to 3 homes during this time. No homes are advertised on Mondays or Tuesdays.
If you are made a reasonable offer of accommodation through Homefinder Somerset and you decline this, this will be noted on your application. Three refusals of suitable accommodation will likely result in a temporary suspension from bidding in the scheme.
Rent in advance and moving costs
Most social landlords will ask for one month’s rent in advance. This could be anything from one week to four weeks rent. You are advised to start saving towards this cost immediately. Landlords may be willing to consider part payment of this cost and a payment plan depending on your housing situation, but in most cases will want the full amount before they offer you the property.
Depending on your circumstances, you may need to fund moving costs, carpeting and white goods, so you may need to start saving for this now.
SEND information - part of our Local Offer
This video describes how Homefinder Somerset works. It was filmed during October 2022 Local Offer Live sessions.