Shropshire Council now operates a new Choice Based Letting Scheme called Shropshire HomePoint in partnership with Registered Providers across Shropshire. There will be one common housing list for the County.
What are the benefits of the new Choice Based Letting Scheme?
There are a number of benefits of the new Scheme:
- You only have to fill out one application form to join the Shropshire HomePoint Register
- There will be a single allocation policy across all the Shropshire HomePoint partners
- You decide which properties to apply for
- All properties are advertised so you can see what is available and where
- There will be support for vulnerable applicants to use the new Scheme
- The Scheme includes shared ownership as well as rented housing
How will I apply for the new Choice Based Letting Scheme?
If you are a new applicant, you will need to fill out an application form to join the housing register. HomePoint will work out your housing need and place you in one of four bands: Priority Band, Gold Band, Silver Band or Bronze Band. HomePoint will send you a letter explaining your band and explaining how to use the Choice Based Letting Scheme.
Who can help me to use the new Scheme?
HomePoint staff and staff from any of the partner agencies can help you to complete your application form.
If you need help to bid you can ask a relative, friend, carer or support worker to help you or to make a bid on your behalf. If you would prefer information to be sent to a different address or would like to nominate someone to act on your behalf, please let HomePoint know.
What are the housing need bands and how will I know which one applies to me?
The housing need bands are explained in detail in the Shropshire Affordable Housing Allocation Scheme document. Please call us for further information.
In brief, Priority Band covers applicants in the greatest housing need who are considered to have an urgent need to move due to a serious risk to their health, safety or well-being. Applicants in Gold Band have a high housing need but there is not an urgent risk to their health, safety or well-being. Applicants in Silver Band have moderate housing need and wish to move. Applicants in Bronze Band have been assessed as having relatively low housing need.
Your housing need will be assessed based on the information you provide on your application form. It is important you tell us about anything you feel may help us to place you in the correct band for your circumstances.
Does it matter how long I have been on the Housing Register?
Once we have received your completed housing application form, along with any documents or further information required, your application will become ‘live’ and you will be given a ‘Registration Date’. This registration date is taken into account if two or more people in the same housing need band apply for the same property. The applicant who has the earliest registration date (normally because they have been on the housing register longer) will be given priority.
If your circumstances change and you move into a higher band, your registration date will change to the date the higher band was awarded. If you move to a lower band, you will keep your original registration date.
Are all available properties be advertised – and how often?
Yes – all properties are advertised unless one of the Shropshire HomePoint partners needs to move an existing tenant urgently, for example while major work is carried out their home, or when we must make an offer of accommodation to an applicant to meet a statutory housing duty.
A list of available properties will be published every week (except for Christmas and New Year).
How will I find out about available properties?
All properties are advertised on the Shropshire HomePoint website on a weekly basis (except Christmas and New Year).
They are also advertised in selected local free newspapers. We are currently consulting to decide which papers would be best across the County and will notify applicants which papers we use.
How much information will the property adverts contain?
The adverts will (wherever possible) have a photograph of the property and will give details of the:
- property size
- tenure (rented or shared ownership)
- rent and other charges
- any special features
- any age or other restrictions
- the target household type (eligibility criteria)
- where possible, some information about the local area and facilities
- closing date for applications
What will I need to do if I’m interested in a property?
If you are interested in an advertised property and you meet the eligibility criteria, you will need to ‘bid’ (apply for) the property before the closing date on the advert. You can bid via the Shropshire HomePoint website, by post, by telephone or by visiting any of the Shropshire HomePoint partner offices.
Will I be able to view the property before I bid for it?
Property descriptions will include an area address so you could view the area. Viewings of the actual property will be offered to the successful applicant as soon as possible after an offer has been made.
Can I bid for more than one property at a time?
Yes, up to 3 per cycle
How will I know how many people are bidding for the same property as me?
If you have internet access, you can view the number of bids currently being made on a property you have bid for. This information will also be available from the offices of any of the partners in the scheme.
How will you decide who is offered the property?
Once the closing date has passed, all the bids are put on a list in order of eligibility, band and registration date. Whoever is eligible for the property, in the highest band and the earliest registration date will normally be offered the property. The successful applicant will be contacted directly with details of what to do next.
Surely the earlier I bid the more chance I have of getting the property.
No - when you place a bid during the bidding cycle does not affect your priority. If you placed a bid on the first day of a cycle you would gain no more priority than if you placed it on the last day of the same cycle.
How will I know if my bid has been successful?
If your bid has been successful you will be contacted to confirm the details of your application and arrange viewing so an offer can be made. If you are not contacted after the closing date you can assume that your bid has not been successful. Once the letting process has been completed, we will provide information on the number of bids, type of household the property has been let to and their banding. We will not give personal details of applicants.
Can I use the Choice Based Letting Scheme if I’m waiting to be re-housed as homeless?
Homeless applicants who the Council has a duty to rehouse can use the Choice Based Letting Scheme. If you are homeless and in the Priority Band, you will have 6 weeks in which to successfully bid for a property. If you don’t manage to secure a home in this time, your circumstances will be reviewed and a decision taken on how to manage future bids to increase your chances of securing a home. If you fail to bid for suitable properties or repeatedly bid for unsuitable properties you may lose your right to rehousing.
Are the any restrictions on new housing developments?
Some new housing developments, especially in rural areas, will have special eligibility criteria, to ensure local people have access to housing which is being provided to meet local housing needs. This will be made clear on the property advert. On these developments you will have to complete an additional form to confirm your local connection before a formal offer can be made.
Are there other types of restrictions on who may be allocated a property?
The new Affordable Housing Allocation Policy allows the Council and partner Registered Providers to set specific criteria for properties in certain areas or in certain circumstances. Local lettings schemes are explained in detail in the Shropshire Affordable Housing Allocation Policy and Scheme documents on this page and summarised in the Housing Allocations Explained leaflet which will be available soon.
I’ve noticed a property close to me has recently become empty – can I apply for it?
If this is an “empty” property owned by one of the Shropshire HomePoint partners it may well be put the CBL system and advertised in the normal way. Sometimes properties can look empty when they are actually awaiting repairs or redecoration, which is why we encourage all applicants to check the Choice Based Lettings adverts. You can only bid for a property when it appears in the property list.
What do I do if I want to apply for housing in Shropshire from a housing association which is not part of Shropshire HomePoint?
You should apply directly to the housing association of your choice if it is not a member of Shropshire HomePoint.
What can I do if I’m not happy with the way my application has been handled?
You may appeal against your banding – details of how to do this are given in the leaflet – Choice Based Letting – Appeals.
If you are unhappy about the service you have received, you may make a complaint through our complaints procedure. For more information about this, please contact us.