How Homes are Let
Choice based lettings
When you apply for housing with us, we use a system called choice based lettings.
Choice based lettings allows you to choose which home you would like to live in. We have only a small number of homes available at any one time, but we will give you feedback on your chances of being successful, based upon your previous ‘bids’ for homes. We will also help you with other housing options if your priority is too low to be considered for housing.
Available properties are advertised in various ways and the adverts will describe the property and which type of household can bid for it. For example, if it is for an elderly or disabled person, or for a household which needs a certain number of bedrooms.
Once bids have been made they are sorted in order of priority, and the person with the highest priority normally gets considered first for the property. If that person turns the offer down, the next person on the list gets the chance to see it, and so on.
There will be certain situations where choice in the allocation of housing has to be restricted – such as when we or a housing association needs to rehouse a household in an emergency. The circumstances when this may apply are set out in the Housing Allocation Policy.
Apart from these exceptional cases, housing will be allocated to applicants who bid for a specific property. All applicants will have the opportunity to bid for properties they are entitled to be considered for, having regard to household size and other eligibility criteria.
What is the Housing Register?
The Housing Register is a the list of people who wish to be housed by a social landlord in Dover district and existing tenants who wish to transfer to another Council or Housing Association property.
We receive a large number of enquiries each year from people looking to rent a home in the district and there are over 3,000 households on our housing register at any time. Regrettably, there are only enough properties becoming available to be able to house around 400 of these households each year. As a result of this shortfall, applicants for housing, and in particular those identified as having low need, may have to wait a considerable period of time before being housed.
There are other options for rehousing such as renting accommodation in the private sector. Dover District Council has a team of Housing Options Officers who can provide advice and information about how to access other types of housing.
Further information about other options available can be found on the Kent Homechoice website.
The limited amount of social housing available to rent in the district means we have a system to prioritise households on the housing register in accordance with their identified need for housing and to manage the letting of social homes in accordance with our objectives.
The criteria and rules that relate to this system are set out in Priority bands and criteria for reasonable preference.
Local lettings policies
For some areas we may have introduced a local lettings policy setting out additional criteria regarding who can apply for properties in those areas. This is done to develop balanced and sustainable communities and to tackle specific issues within the area.
This means that in certain, clearly defined circumstances, this criteria will take precedence over an individual’s housing need.
Examples of situations when a local lettings policy may be used include:
- New developments where there is a need to achieve a balanced a mix of household sizes
- Criteria that aim to reduce the likelihood of anti-social behaviour in areas that have existing high levels of ASB.
Rural Exception Schemes
Local needs schemes are special schemes for letting properties owned by Registered Social Landlords in rural areas. This is not housing stock to which the Housing Act 1996 Part VI applies and the schemes do not form part of the Council’s housing lettings policy. However, properties available for let under the schemes are advertised on the choice based lettings system.
The purpose of the rural needs schemes is to let affordable rural homes to people who meet specified local connection criteria, thereby enabling people to remain in the village where they have lived and worked rather than being forced out by high house prices or rents.
The requirements to meet the special local connection criteria are stated in the Council’s Affordable Housing Rural Exception Schemes Supplementary Planning Guidance and will be clearly stated on any advertisement for local needs properties which appear on the choice based lettings system.
Applicants applying for such housing will be asked to provide evidence confirming their eligibility and parish Councils will assist with this verification process where it is a requirement of the planning agreement.
We are committed to extending choice of housing to those who are accepted as homeless under our statutory duties as far as this is compatible with the effective use of resources and the provision where necessary, of temporary accommodation.
We reserve the right to restrict the allocation of properties to certain groups of applicants or to make direct offers of accommodation to households waiting for re-housing in order to fulfil our homelessness duties and ensure timely move-on from temporary accommodation.
Consequently those accepted as being owed the full statutory housing duty under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended), will be given a period of 4 weeks from notification of acceptance within which to bid for properties through Kent Homechoice. If during the 4 weeks they have not been bidding appropriately for a property, administering staff may bid on their behalf for each suitable property that becomes available and may change bids when an applicant has applied for a property that they are ineligible for. If at the end of the 4 weeks they have not been successful for rehousing, one direct offer of accommodation may be made.
In either situation the offer of a suitable property will constitute as a nomination for the purposes of discharging the homeless duty.
The homelessness duty may also be discharged through the offer and acceptance of an assured shorthold tenancy, for a minimum of 12 months, with a private landlord where agreed with the Housing Options team.
Tel: 01304 872265