Who can apply for properties through Hampshire Home Choice?
You must have been accepted onto the Hampshire Home Choice Housing Register to be able to apply for properties. To be accepted applicants must be:
How do I apply to join the Hampshire Home Choice Housing Register?
You will need to complete an application form. There is a single form to be used by all applicants. This can be accessed by completing the online application. If you do not have access to the internet you can contact your local Council Housing Service for advice. Click "How to Contact Us" for contact details and opening hours.
What other documents do I need to provide?
Along with your application form you will need to provide copies of the following:
Before you are offered a property you will need to provide additional documents to support your application. We will tell you what documents to provide and when to provide them. All documents provided must be valid up to date originals.
What happens if I do not provide the required documents?
If you fail to provide any requested information within the timescales noted within any letter you receive your application may be cancelled.
How do I know if I have been accepted onto the Hampshire Home Choice Housing Register?
You will receive a letter confirming that you have been accepted onto the Housing Register. This will tell you the band your application has been been awarded, the date your application has been registered and the size of property you are eligible for.
Can you refuse to accept me onto the Hampshire Home Choice Housing Register?
There are some people who are not eligible to be included on the Housing Register. These are:
You will also need to qualify and will need to be in housing need and have a local connection with one of the participating Councils. You will normally be a qualifying person if you are:
For more detailed information contact your local Housing Service.
What are priority Bands?
Your application will be assessed according to your level of housing need and placed in one of 4 bands. We will also take into account whether you are able to resolve your own housing problems. Within each band applications are placed in priority date order.
Can you Suspend my application?
Your application may be suspended in the following circumstances if you; deliberately worsen your circumstances or there is unacceptable behaviour or you have former rent arrears and/or debt with a Local Authority and/or Registered Provider, or you refuse two suitable offers of accommodation within 6 months.
If your application has been suspended for former debt/rent arrears or an outstanding debt, your priority date will be the date you cleared the outstanding debt or the Council is satisfied you have adhered to a payment plan for 6 months.
What do I do if my circumstances change?
You must tell us of any changes in your circumstances. This can be done by contacting your local housing office or by completing and returning the Change of Circumstances form on the Hampshire Home Choice website: www.hampshirehomechoice.org.uk.
If my circumstances change will it affect my Hampshire Home Choice Application?
When we have assessed your Change of Circumstances form, we will advise you if the change in your circumstances results in your application moving to a different band. If you move up a band then your new priority date will be the date you moved into your new band. If you move down a band then your priority date will remain the same.
In some circumstances you may no longer qualify to remain on the Housing Register, and your application will be cancelled. We will write to you to tell you if your application has been cancelled and the reasons why. If you are not happy with this decision you can request a review.
To request a review you must contact your local Housing Service within 21 days of the date you are notified of the decision and the reason for it. You may provide additional information in writing that you wish to be taken into account when the review is carried out. You will normally be advised of the outcome of the review within 56 days.
Do I need to renew my application each year?
Yes, once a year normally on the anniversary of your application you will be sent a Renewal Letter and Renewal Slip which you must complete and return within 21 days. If you do not return the renewal slip your application for housing will be cancelled.
What if someone in my household has a health or welfare condition?
If someone in your household has a health condition you will be asked to provide details of the health or welfare condition and how it is made worse by your present housing. Housing options may be offered to assist you in resolving any issues you may be experiencing in the first instance. An assessment of the condition affecting you and/or a household member and how this is made worse as a direct result of your present housing will be made. If you are made a health or welfare award your housing application will be updated.
What is an Affordable Rented property?
Affordable rented properties are a new form of social housing. They are let by registered providers (housing associations) to applicants who are eligible for social housing. Affordable rented properties will be made available to tenants at up to a maximum of 80% of market rent and will be allocated in the same way as social housing is at present.
What is a Fixed Term Tenancy?
Under the Localism Act, local authorities and registered providers are able to offer new tenants 'fixed term tenancies' rather than traditional 'lifetime' tenancies. Fixed term tenancies can be offered for a minimum of 2 years in exceptional circumstances, but with 5 years or more being the norm.
How often are properties advertised?
Properties available for rent are advertised each week. As soon as we are given formal notice that a property is due to become vacant by the landlord we will advertise it. For more details click "Step Two - Choosing", part of our step-by-step guide to using the service
Where are properties advertised?
Properties are advertised in the following ways:
What information do the property adverts include?
The adverts will tell you the landlord, location, size, rent and other features of the property. A photograph of the property or a similar house type may be provided and you will be able to access information about the local area and facilities. The advert will also tell you if there are any special requirements that the applicant must meet, such as age requirements, whether the landlord allows pets and any restrictions on the number of children allowed to live in the property.
How do I apply for a property?
You can place your bid in the following ways:
How many bids can I make each week?
You will be able to make a bid for three properties each week? You will only be able to bid for properties that are suitable for your household.
How long will I have to bid for a property?
Properties will be advertised from midnight on a Tuesday and you will be able to bid for properties up until midnight on Sunday. It does not matter when you bid as long as you bid between these times.
Will I know how many other people are interested in the same property?
Yes, when you bid for a property you will be shown your position in the queue. This is likely to change frequently right up to the closure of the bidding cycle as other people may be bidding for the same property. Using this information you may decide to withdraw your bid for one property and bid for a different property where you might be better placed in the queue. You can do this at any time before midnight on Sunday of the bidding cycle.
How are decisions made on who is offered a property?
Once the closing date for bids has passed a shortlist of interested applicants is drawn up. The shortlist is prioritised in order of bands and priority date. The applicant at the top of the list will normally be offered the property. Click "Step Three - Offer" for more details.
If I successfully bid for a property can the landlord refuse to make me an offer?
You may not be invited to view the property for the following reasons:
If I am offered a property will I be able to view it before making up my mind?
Yes. You will be given an opportunity to view the property and decide whether you would like to accept it.
What if I regularly refuse suitable properties I am offered?
If you are nominated and offered suitable accommodation but subsequently refuse an offer on two occasions within a six months period, your application will be suspended. You will not be able to bid for further properties for six months from the date you refused the second property.
How will I know what has happened to the properties advertised?
Information about homes that have been successfully let is published. The Recent Lets will tell you the number of applicants that have expressed an interest in each property, the band and the priority date for each successful letting. To see the results of properties that have been let click "Recent Lets".
How will this information help me?
It will give you a better idea of how popular a particular property or area is and how long you would normally have to wait. You can then decide whether to look for other types of property or areas where you may not have to wait as long.
Do I have to give notice to my current landlord?
You will need to check with your landlord how much notice you would have to give if you are offered another property. Usually you will have to give 4 weeks.
Are carpets and appliances provided?
You will usually have to provide your own carpets and appliances.
What other options are there for housing?
There is a severe shortage of homes in the Hampshire area. Most applicants on the Housing Register will have to wait a long time for an offer and many of those in the lower bands will still have little chance of re-housing in the local area. Depending on your circumstances you may wish to consider other options such as renting in the private sector. Interviews to discuss your housing options are available at your local Housing Service.
What if I become homeless?
Households who are homeless or threatened with homelessness will be dealt with outside the scheme. You should contact your local Housing Service to have an interview to discuss your circumstances. We will work with you to try to prevent you becoming homeless and will discuss your housing options with you. You may still express an interest in properties through Hampshire Home Choice providing your application has been assessed.
How do I request a review of a decision?
If you disagree with any decisions to do with Hampshire Home Choice you can request a review. Normally most issues that you raise can be resolved. If you are still not happy with the outcome you can request a formal review of decisions that you are not eligible to join the housing register, that you do not qualify to join the housing register, that you are not eligible for an offer, that your application has been cancelled other than at your own request, that you think that you have been placed in the wrong band or given the wrong priority date
To request a review you must contact the local Housing Service that made the decision, within 21 days of the date you are notified of the decision and the reason for it. You may provide additional information in writing that you wish to be taken into account when the review is carried out. You will normally be advised of the outcome of the review within 56 days.
Can I take my pets with me?
Some accommodation is not pet friendly. You should not bid for any property which states 'no pets.'
What is a local connection to qualify for the Hampshire Home Choice Housing Register?
You have a local connection with one of the participating Councils when you meet one of the following criteria:
An applicant may be a qualifying person if he/she or his/her partner is in employment which meets one of the following criteria:
If an applicant or their partner is self-employed further information may be required including, but not limited to evidence, that they are registered with HMRC for tax and National Insurance payments, tax returns, payslips, accounts, etc.
What is a local connection for a village/parish vacancy?
Some properties are restricted to applicants who can demonstrate a local connection to the village/parish in which the property is built. Village/parish local connection is defined as follows: