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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.
How do customers register with Staffordshire
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 Moorlands Housing, in which the allocation policies of Staffordshire
Moorlands District Council and Moorlands Housing 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.
Where and how will properties be
You can apply by completing one application form available on line at www.moorlandshomechoice.co.uk
or by contacting Moorlands Housing or one of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council
There will be computer access available for anyone wishing to access Staffordshire
Homechoice at Moorlands Housings Offices and any of Staffordshire Moorlands District
Council’s Connect Offices.
Support will be available if required from members of staff at Moorlands Housing
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 will be advertised in Moorlands Housing’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 Moorlands Housing or Staffordshire Moorlands District Council.
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 bandings?
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 need, and local connection, to those that have no housing need and no local connection to the Staffordshire Moorlands.
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. This is for applicants who cannot return home from hospital because their property is unsuitable, or who have a severe medical problem which makes their home totally unsuitable for them. Applicants who require alternative accommodation due to demolition, major refurbishments or Compulsory Purchase of their current home for clearance as determined by the Partnership.
Band B Statutory homeless households as determined by the local authority.
Band C If you have a local connection and need to move (ie: medical, overcrowding, under occupying etc). There may be several housing needs within this banding.
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 a Housing Officer at Moorlands Housing or by a letter from the Police). If there is a serious risk of violence, this would be triggered for referral to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s Homeless Team.
Medical Need – This is assessed by Moorlands Housing. If you are
considered ‘Level 1’ you are awarded 1 medical need. If you are considered ‘Level 2’ you are awarded 2 medical needs.
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.
Home is in Poor Condition and lack amenities – The problems must potentially affect the health and safety of the applicant. Property condition needs to be established through an inspection by an Environmental Health Officer if a Landlord fails to address disrepair issues and Notice is served by the Environmental Health Officer then a need will be awarded.
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
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 or Receive Support – An applicant would
be awarded one need for this, this will need to be verified.
The current home is being under occupied – Due to welfare benefit reforms, there is a need to make a move easier for those under occupying Housing Association properties. For this reason underoccupying by one extra bedroom will be awarded 2 needs and those underoccupying two extra bedrooms will be awarded 4 needs.
Band D applicants, will either have no housing need or no local connection.
We will operate local lettings policies in certain locations from time to time and this may affect the way in which properties are allocated and who is eligible. Local Lettings policies are in place in certain areas to either secure affordable housing in rural areas meets with an identified local housing need or to help create a more balanced and cohesive community, where for instance there have been known Anti-Social Behaviour problems 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, Moorlands Housing 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 Moorlands Housing or any other
participating Landlord for a verification interview before an offer is made.
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.
There is a recent lettings 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
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 Moorlands Housing 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
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
- There will be one register for Moorlands Housing owned properties, which will include 50% of vacancies that become available with other social landlord that have properties in the Staffordshire Moorlands area.
- You will decide which properties to apply for however you will only be eligible to apply for certain types of property based upon your household size.
- 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 Moorlands Housing and Staffordshire
Moorlands District Council so that all of Moorlands Housing properties are allocated
through one waiting list.
- There will be support available for vulnerable individuals.
If you think you may be threatened with being homeless or are worried about homelessness contact the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s Housing Advice Team.
The Housing Advice Team offer advice about housing and housing related problems. Some areas of work include dealing with tenancy problems, unlawful eviction, mortgage and rent arrears, debt and relationship breakdown etc.
The team can help you to explore available housing options; remain in your current accommodation if appropriate and consider alternative temporary and permanent accommodation.
A homelessness application and any legal duties will be considered as appropriate.
The team can also help you to access appropriate housing related support such as independent money and debt advice that can help to maintain accommodation.
The Housing Advice Team are available on tel: 0345 605 3012, early advice and assistance can help to prevent homelessness.