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How Surrey Heath Home Choice Works?

 

To be considered for a housing association home in Surrey Heath you have to qualify to join the Joint Housing Register.

 

The Joint Housing Register is the way that most moves into housing association homes are managed, including where the move is a transfer from one housing association home to another.

 

To be considered for a move you need to apply to the Joint Housing Register. When you apply your application is assessed in accordance with the Joint Allocation Policy. The Policy sets out who gets priority and how that priority is awarded.

 

Once we have assessed your application we will tell you the priority you have and the size of property that you can be considered for. Being accepted onto the Housing Register does not mean that you will secure a move and we will give you advice about your other housing options.

 

As there are always more people looking for homes than homes available the Council has decided only certain people can join the Housing Register. You can join if you meet Government rules and you meet the following qualifying criteria:

 

  • You are over 18;

 

  • You have a local connection to Surrey Heath (by living here for 3 out of 5 years); or, by having settled employment here for at least 12 months and of at least 16 hours per week; or, you have a close family member (father, mother, brother, sister or adult child) who lives here and you can show you need to live near them to provide or receive care or support;

 

  • You are not guilty of anti-social behaviour that is serious enough to make you unsuitable to be a tenant or, if you are already a tenant, you have abided by the terms of your tenancy agreement (e.g. not accrued arrears and not caused anti-social behaviour).

 

  • You do not own a property or do not have the resources to secure your own housing;

 

  • You do not have housing or Council Tax debts you are not addressing; and,

 

  • You have not deliberately made your housing situation worse to obtain social housing.

 

In certain circumstances 16 and 17 year olds can join the Housing Register, as can former members of the Armed Forces. People over 55 years of age who want to move to sheltered housing can be considered even if they do not have a local connection or they own a home.

 

If you qualify for the Housing Register your application will be prioritised depending on your circumstances.

 

Who gets priority on the Joint Housing Register?

 

The way people are given priority is a mixture of Government requirement and local policy.

 

Priority is given to:

 

  • People who are overcrowded or live in poor quality accommodation
  • People with severe medical conditions or a need to move because of a disability
  • People who are homeless or threatened with homelessness

 

To ensure that we have a way of treating everyone in a consistent way we have a ‘banding’ system. When you apply for housing you are placed in a ‘band’ based on your circumstances.

 

What band will I be in?

 

The Band you will be in will depend on your housing circumstances:

BAND 1: CRITICAL HOUSING NEED

This is for exceptional cases and contains a very small number of households with an urgent need

Examples:

  • People with critical and life threatening medical conditions where their housing is a factor,
  • Disabled people whose home cannot be adapted,
  • People moving out of supported housing or leaving care,
  • Former Service Personnel with critical medical conditions
Applicants are ranked in the date order they entered this band although due to the critical level of their housing need a direct offer of the right property may not be made to the highest placed applicant.    
BAND 2: SUBSTANTIAL HOUSING NEED

This is for households who need have a substantial housing need and is the highest band for those people whose need is not considered critical.

Examples:

  • People whose housing makes their health worse leading to regular unplanned medical interventions such as A&E or unplanned admissions
  • Local homeless households
  • People living  in insecure, insanity or overcrowded conditions
  • People in supported housing or in care
  • Former Service personnel

To make the best use of housing association homes we also prioritise in this band:

  • Housing association tenants moving out of adapted homes
  • Housing association tenants under-occupying their home

Applicants are ranked in date order they entered or re-entered this band.

BAND 3: HIGH HOUSING NEED

This is for households with a high housing need.

Examples:

  • Homeless households who do not have a full local connection
  • Former service personnel without a local connection
  • People over 55 applying for sheltered housing

Applicants are ranked in the date order that they entered or re-entered this band

BAND 4: REDUCED HOUSING NEED

This is for households who meet the eligibility criteria however their circumstances or behaviour is such that their priority is reduced.

Examples:

  • Households with  housing or Council Tax debt who are addressing the debt but have not yet lowered it significantly
  • Households who are homeless and will not work with the Council to explore their housing options
  • People who have adequate resources to resolve their own housing need
  • People who have worsened their housing situation to secure social housing
  • Intentionally homeless households

 

Applicants are ranked in the date order that they entered or re-entered this band

 

What size property do I qualify for?

 

These are examples of the size of properties we consider families for:

Bed sitting roomSingle person
1 bedroom property

Single person or couple (including same sex couples)

2 bedroom property

2 bedroom properties can be 3 person (1 double and 1 single bedroom) or 4 person (2 double bedrooms)
Single parent/couple and 1 child , or 2 children of same sex under the age of 16, or 2 children of different sex under the age of 10

3 bedroom property

3 bedroom properties can be suitable for 4, 5, 6 or 7 person households.

Single parent/couple and two children of different sex over the age of 10, or two children over the age of 16, or  3 or 4 children

4 bedroom property

4 bedroom properties can be suitable for 5, 6 or 7 person households.

Single parent/couple and three children over 16, or 4 or more children

 

Independent Living Schemes (sheltered housing) at Ballard Court, Cranmore Court, Derek Horn Court, Orchard Court, Heathermead Court, Windsor Court, and Meade Court are for people over 55 years of age. Housing Associations also have some other schemes that are specifically for older people and those with special needs.

 

What properties will I be considered for?

        

Housing Association homes in Surrey Heath are let through Surrey Heath Home Choice.

 

Every Wednesday we advertise the housing association homes that are becoming available. The adverts tell you the type of property available, where it is, how much the rent is, along with other details like whether there is a garden or garage.

 

The adverts are displayed in the Council and Accent Housing’s offices and on the Internet. You can also check what is available by calling the bid line.      

                  

If you see a property you would like to be considered for you can make a ‘bid’. A bid does not involve money: it is you saying ‘yes, I want to be considered for this home’. In fact, what you are bidding with is the priority that you have on the Joint Housing Register.

 

You can only bid for the size of property you are assessed as needing. For example when we advertise a three bedroom family home then single people will not be able to bid.

 

To bid you need to sign in first (if you are logging in for the first time you need to create a password and activate it from your email account). Once you have logged in, you should click 'View Homes' to see what properties you are eligible for. Click on the advert of any properties you want to bid on, check the details on the advert and make sure it's a property you're interested in, and click the 'Place Bid' button.

 

You must make your bid by the closing date shown on the advert or your bid will not count – bids will always close at noon on a Tuesday.

When bidding has closed we take everyone who has made a bid and check that they qualify for the property. The home is then offered to the bidder with the highest priority. 

 

If you have not been successful you will not contact you. Once the bidding closes, we will start to process the shortlist. This can take from a few days to a few weeks after the shortlist closing. If you click on My Bids, you can see the outcome of the bids you have placed and whether you were successful or not.

 

You will be able to see where you were placed for any particular property and use the feedback button on the website to get general information about the properties that have been available.

 

You can use this feedback to decide what type of property that you are going to bid for and in what areas. For example if you are being considered for a two-bedroom home and you want a house you will have a long wait. Of the 1012 two-bedroom homes in Surrey Heath only 351 are houses. In light of this you might want to start bidding for a flat if you need to move soon.

 

Will all the homes go to the people at the top of the Housing Register?

 

There will be people at the top of the Housing Register who want to wait for a home in a certain area. This means that they will choose not to bid for other properties and this will allow customers with fewer points to make successful bids. 

 

Popular properties like houses will attract lots of bids and are more likely to go to people at the top of the Housing Register. For example you may see that although you would ideally like a house, people with more priority are always getting them. On the other hand flats may be going to people who have less priority than you. It will then be your choice whether you change the way you bid to secure a housing association home. 

 

There will be some properties, such as those adapted for wheelchairs, which will benefit customers with special needs. These will first be offered directly to such customers and will not be advertised as part of Surrey Heath HomeChoice.

 

Can I refuse an offer?

 

Most people will be able to bid on the properties they are interested in and will be able to refuse two offers of suitable housing before their priority is reduced. For a small number of people the Council will make bids on their behalf and they will only receive one offer of accommodation. You will be advised if this applies to you.