Frequently Asked Questions
Shropshire Council operates a Choice Based Letting Scheme, Shropshire HomePoint, in partnership withhousing associations across Shropshire. There is one common housing list for the County.
Is all social housing in the County covered by the new Scheme?
Most social housing in the County will be covered by Shropshire HomePoint. This includes homes owned by:
• Shropshire Council (Oswestry and Bridgnorth areas)
• South Shropshire Housing Association
• Meres and Mosses Housing Association
• Severnside Housing Association
The Scheme includes rented and shared-ownership housing.
We are hoping other housing associations in the County will join Shropshire HomePoint in the future.
What are the benefits of Choice Based Lettings?
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 to Shropshire HomePoint?
If you are a new applicant, you will need to fill out an application form to join the housing register. We will make sure that you are eligible to join the scheme and work out your housing need. With so little housing available, only a small number of people registering with Shropshire HomePoint are likely to be re-housed. So, it is really important for HomePoint to ensure those most in need have the best opportunity to secure permanent housing.
To do this HomePoint uses a ‘banding system’ to calculate those most in need. There are four main bands (levels) of housing need, Priority, Gold, Silver and Bronze.
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 us 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 and summarised in our Scheme Booklet.
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 ‘Banding Date’. This band 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 band date (normally because they have been in that band for longer) will be given priority.
If your circumstances change and you move into a higher band, your band date will change to the date the higher band was awarded. If you move to a lower band, you will keep your original band date.
Will all available properties be advertised – and how often?
Yes – all properties will be advertised. 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 will be advertised on the Shropshire HomePoint website (www.shropshirehomepoint.co.uk on a weekly basis (except Christmas and New Year).
We will post out property details to people who do not have access to the internet or are in Priority, Gold or in Silver with medical needs and also to people who are vulnerable and would prefer a weekly mailing.
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 sort of home can I choose?
You may not be eligible for every property available. For example, if you are single you can apply for a 1 bedroom flat, but it is unlikely that you would get a 3 bedroom house.
IMPORTANT – Please read the text carefully on property adverts as this will provide a good guide as to whether you can apply for a particular home or not.
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 will be able to 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, 3 per bidding 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?
The property will go to a Priority Card applicant. If no Priority Status applicants apply, it will go to a Gold applicant, if no Gold applicants apply to a Silver applicant and if no Silver applicants apply to a Bronze applicant.
If more than one person from the same band applies, the home will go to the person who has been in the band the longest
The Housing Association or Council will carry out their own background checks and then contact the successful applicant to come and view the property.
If you do not get the home you want, you can apply for others. You can apply for upto 3 homes each cycle until you are successful.
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 within a couple of week from the closing date you can assume that your bid has not been successful. Landlord can only contact the successful applicant. 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 Shropshire HomePoint if I’m waiting to be rehoused as homeless?
Homeless applicants who the Council has a duty to rehouse can use the Scheme. If you are homeless and in the Priority Band, you will have 8 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.
What if things change?
You must tell us at once if anything you have put down on your form changes, perhaps because you have had a baby, your health changes, or you have moved address.
IMPORTANT – Depending on your circumstances your banding can go up or down.
Are there 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 housing associations 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.
What is Sheltered Housing?
The term ‘sheltered housing’ covers a wide range of housing for older, disabled and vulnerable people. The properties advertised by Shropshire HomePoint are generally for older people aged over 55 but some will be available for younger people that require a level access or adapted home. Property adverts will clearly show where there is a minimum age restriction.
Most properties will contain an alarm system and some schemes may have communal facilities such as a lounge, laundry, garden and guest rooms for visiting family and friends.
If you wish to be considered and assessed for having a ‘sheltered housing need’ please indicate this on your application form or if you are already registered with Shropshire HomePoint please contact us to let us know.
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 HomePoint 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 Shropshire HomePoint and contact the housing association of your choice if it is not a member of Shropshire HomePoint to see if they hold a list of their own.
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 a separate leaflet.
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.
Tel: 01588 676246
Bidline: 01588 676282
Shropshire HomePoint is a partnership between:
Tel: 0345 678 9005
South Shropshire Housing Association
Tel: 01588 676 200
Meres and Mosses Housing Association
Tel: 01939 238840
Tel: 0845 2342424