What is choice based lettings?
Why choice based lettings?
Local Authorities and Housing Associations are being encouraged to allow people more choice in where they live.
Choice Based Lettings is a new way of letting social housing. Local Authorities and Housing Associations will no longer be contacting the household with the most points on the waiting list when a property becomes vacant, instead households will be able to view which properties are vacant each week and express an interest for the properties that they would like to move into and are eligible for.
What is Staffordshire Moorlands HomeChoice?
Choice Based Lettings is a simple, transparent scheme that gives households a more active role in choosing where they live. The scheme puts the customer in the driving seat. The scheme is not the answer to the housing shortage and we will not be able to house everyone on the housing register. However, the scheme offers more choice and control than the current way of allocating homes.
The Government wants to have a nationwide system of choice based lettings in place by 2010.
How do customers register with Staffordshire Moorlands HomeChoice?
Staffordshire Moorlands Homechoice is a Website based “Choice Based Lettings” scheme that gives customers more choice about where they live. It introduces a new way of letting social housing across the Staffordshire Moorlands. The scheme enables existing tenants and new housing applicants to express an interest for properties they would like to move to.
Customers wishing to move will be placed into one of four bands according to their housing need (See Section below on “What are the banding's?”) and will be able to express an interest in particular properties by making bids.
Staffordshire Moorlands Homechoice is a partnership between Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and Your Moorlands, in which the allocation policies of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and Your Moorlands have been merged and a single waiting list created to allow a simple, single point of access for those needing accommodation.
We have also invited other landlords, who have properties in Staffordshire Moorlands, to advertise their vacancies on the website, but we are currently awaiting confirmation on this.
There is also a section on the Website where Registered Social Landlord customers can advertise their properties for mutual exchanges. This is generally for people wishing to exchange tenancies who currently reside within Staffordshire Moorlands. However people from outside the area are also welcome to advertise their properties if they wish to exchange with someone from the Staffordshire Moorlands District (please note: these are only for customers within Housing Association properties and not private rented properties or owner occupiers)
Where and how will properties be advertised?
You can apply by completing one application form available on line at www.moorlandshomechoice.co.uk or by contacting Your Moorlands or one of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council Connect Offices.
There will be computer access available for anyone wishing to access Staffordshire Homechoice at Your Moorlands Offices and any of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s Connect Offices.
Support will be available if required from members of staff at Your Moorlands or any of the Staffordshire Moorlands Council’s Connect Offices.
We will also be arranging a number of customer training sessions for anyone interested, the dates of which are yet to be confirmed.
How will I express an interest in properties?
Properties will be advertised in Your Moorland’s offices, all Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s Council Connect Offices and on line at www.moorlandshomechoice.co.uk.
The property advert will tell you all about the property, for example, how many bedrooms, what the rent is, who the Landlord is and any restrictions.
Can I express in interest in every property each week?
Customers will be able to express an interest in properties by making bids online and also by contacting Your Moorlands or Staffordshire Moorlands District Council. We are currently working on an automated text and telephone bidding system and will publicise details to all applicants once this option is available.
All of the registered interests for the property are recorded in priority order by band and time on the register.
Once the advertising period has ended, if you are at the top of the short list for the property you will be contacted by the Landlord. You may then have a final interview with the Landlord, where further checks on your application will be made.
What are the banding's?
Yes you can bid on as many properties as you like
How are properties allocated?
Customers will be placed into one of four bands that show their priority for housing. These will range from customers who have high priority need, for example customers who are homeless, to customers who have no identified housing need but have a local connection to the Staffordshire Moorlands area.
Once an application has been entered onto the system, they will be placed into a banding, related to their house hold need, which are:-
Band A= If you have a local connection and you need to move for an extremely serious reason. i.e. an extremely serious
illness which is exacerbated by current accommodation, or prevents a hospital discharge.
Band B= Statutory homeless households as determined by the local authority.
Band C= Needs to move I.E. medical, disrepair, overcrowding etc. and has a local connection.
There may be several needs within this banding and therefore we have reflected this by awarding specific needs under specific headings as follows:-
Harassment or Fear of violence – If the applicant is in fear of violence or harassment, they will receive one need (this will need to be verified by Customer Support Officer at Your Moorlands or by a letter from the Police). If there is a serious risk of violence, this would be triggered for referral to Staffordshire Moorlands Council’s Homeless Team to look at possible banding within Band A or B.
Medical Need – This is assessed by Your Moorlands. If you are considered ‘Level 1’ you are awarded 1 medical need. If you are considered ‘Level 2’ you are awarded 2 medical needs. If you are considered ‘Level 3’ you will be manually moved by a member of staff at Your Moorlands, from Band C to Band A within the banding system.
Level 1 – People who’s medical condition is such that they would benefit from re-housing but are in a position to wait.
Level 2 – People who’s housing & medical conditions are such that they require re-housing as quickly as possible but not immediately.
Level 3 – People who’s housing conditions and medical conditions are such that they require immediate re-housing (subject to available accommodation).
Home is in Poor Condition and lack amenities – They are automatically awarded one need if they have ticked any boxes on the form within this section, however this will have also triggered an e mail to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council who will assess your property to see whether the applicant needs to be moved from Band C to Band A, within the banding system.
The Home is Overcrowded – For each additional room an applicant needs, they would receive one need, however we have capped this at a maximum of 2 needs.
Roofless Applicants – If the applicant has been classed as Statutory Homeless then they will be in Band B, however if not they will be awarded a need within Band C.
Need to move to the Area to Provide Support – An applicant would be awarded one need for this
The Home has to be vacated for Major works/compulsory purchase - They would be awarded one need for this. This will be verified by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council.
The current home is being under occupied – For each room they are not using, they will receive one need, however we have
capped this at a maximum of 2 needs
Band D =Either have no ‘need’ to move or have a housing need but no local connection.
Band D applicants are welcome to bid for properties but are unlikely to be successful, other than where properties are difficult to let or are within a local lettings plan in which we would advertise properties for applicants that meet a certain criteria.
Properties can be difficult to let for a number of reasons, including a property type not being popular or a location being unpopular due to lack of public transport.
Properties may be within local lettings plans where there have been problems with Anti-Social Behaviour in the past.
Can I still express an interest in properties if I am in rent arrears?
After the properties have been advertised for a week, Your Moorlands will access the list of households who have expressed an interest in each property. The household in the most housing need (i.e. has the highest band rating) and who has been on the housing register the longest will be contacted by Your Moorlands or any other participating Landlord for a verification interview before an offer is made.
An appointment will be made by Your Moorlands or any of the other participating Landlords for you to view the property and decide if you wish to accept the property. The Landlord will then take you through the paperwork and discuss a tenancy start date. Customers who refuse 3 reasonable offers within a 12 month period will be suspended from the common housing register for a period of 6 months.
We will not write to you if you are unsuccessful, but Staffordshire Moorlands Homechoice will advise on your web account via a message that you have not been successful and that the property in question is currently under offer.
There will also be a results table on the website, which publishes feedback about who recent lets have been awarded to. This will not state personal details but will advise of the banding of the successful candidate and how long they have been on the register.
Are there any ineligible applicants?
You can express an interest in properties but we will not normally make an offer of accommodation to those customers with rent arrears or former rent arrears with a Registered Social Landlord. If you want to move, it is important that you keep your rent payments up to date.
How will you benefit?
If you have significant rent arrears, owe former arrears to Your Moorlands or another landlord or you have caused anti-social behaviour, within your current accommodation or any previous tenancy with another landlord, you may be deemed ineligible for allocation of a property. In these circumstances you will be able to register on the system but your application will be suspended, blocking you from bidding for properties. Suspensions will be reviewed regularly and an appeals mechanism is in place.
If you are under the age of 18, we will need to ensure that you have provided a suitable guarantor, before allowing you to register an application.
Other ineligible applicants would be as follows:
- Any persons subject to Immigration Control within the meaning of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 unless that person is within a class prescribed as eligible by the Secretary of State.
- Any person who falls within a class of persons from abroad described by the Secretary of State as ineligible.
Full details of ineligible applicants can be found within our Allocations Policy and Procedure
- There will be one register for Your Moorlands owned properties, which will hopefully also include other Registered Social Landlords.
- You will decide which properties to apply for
- There will be information available which properties were allocated to which band of applicant and how long they had been on the list.
- There will be a single allocations policy between Your Moorlands and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council so that all of Your Moorlands properties are allocated through one route.
- There will be support available for vulnerable individuals.