Frequently Asked Questions
Who can apply for properties through HomeChoice Bristol?
You must have been accepted onto Bristol's Housing Register to be able to apply for either rented or low cost home ownership properties through HomeChoice Bristol.
Anyone aged 16 years or over may apply to join the Housing Register, although certain restrictions may apply to those under 18 years of age.
Can you refuse to accept me onto the Housing Register?
There are some people who are not eligible to be included on the Housing Register. These are:
For more detailed information see section 2 Allocation scheme contact the HomeChoice Bristol team.
Can I apply to join the register if I live outside of Bristol?
You can still apply for HomeChoice Bristol if you live outside of the Bristol boundary. You will need to follow the same application process/ You will need to provide identification, these should be original documents sent recorded delivery, or original documents photocopied and verifies by your local council and then posted to us.
If you are not considered to have a local connection to Bristol you may be relegated one band. To see our local connection policy view section 3.5.1 of the Allocation scheme.
If you are currently living abroad you cannot join the HomeChoice register.
How do I apply to join the Housing Register?
You will need to complete an application form. The easiest way to apply is online. To complete an application form online, click Online application form. You can also obtain an application form from any Bristol City Council Customer Service Point. Alternatively, if you would like a form posted to you, please contact our Customer Service Centre on telephone (0117) 922 2400. The centre is open from 8.30am to 6pm Monday to Friday excluding Bank Holidays.
What other documents do I need to provide?
Along with your application form you will need to provide the following:
Depending on your circumstances, you may be asked to provide further documents.
What happens if I do not provide the required documents?
If you do not provide the documents or contact us within the required time (usually 14 days), we will assume you no longer wish to be on the housing register and your application will not proceed any further.
How do I know if I have been accepted onto the Housing Register?
You will receive a letter confirming that you have been accepted onto the Housing Register. This will tell you the band you have been placed in, the date your application has been registered from and the size of property you are eligible for. It will also tell you how to start searching and bidding for properties.
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 declaration form, which you must complete and return within 28 days. If you fail to return the form we will assume you no longer wish to be on the register and will write to you confirming you will no longer be included.
How long will I stay in the same band? Will my banding change?
If you are in Bands 1-3 your application will be reviewed after a specified timescale. See section 5 of the Allocation scheme for more information. If you are in Bands 4-5, you will remain in that band unless your circumstances change and your application is awarded a different level of priority.
What do I do if my circumstances change?
It is very important that you tell us of any changes in your circumstances so that we can amend your application. We will tell you if this results in your application moving to a different band and/or a change in your effective date.
What if someone in my household has a medical condition?
If someone in your household has a medical condition which is worsened by your current housing you will be asked to provide details, which may then be considered by the Council's Health and Housing team, who will put forward a recommendation and your banding may change as a result of this.
How often are properties advertised?
Properties available for rent are advertised each week from 00.01am Tuesday morning until Sunday at 11.59pm. 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 will the property adverts contain?
The adverts will tell you the number of bedrooms in the property, the landlord, location, rent and other features of the property. A photograph of the property will be provided, and properties advertised on the website will also have links to 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, which bands may bid for the property and which will be given priority for the property (for example if the property has disabled adaptations priority will be given to those applicants who require this). If your bedroom entitlement is different to the number shown on the property advert you will not normally be able to bid for that property.
For more information on the adverts please see Step two – choosing
How do I bid for a property?
You can express your interest or bid, as it is also known, in the following ways:
Please see our How to bid leaflet.
How long will I have to bid for a property?
Properties will be advertised from 00.01am Tuesday morning and you will be able to register a bid until 11.59pm Sunday night.
Does it make a difference when I place my bid during the cycle?
No, the bidding system is not first come first serve. You can place your bids at any point during the cycle.
How many properties can I express an interest in?
You will be able to express an interest in a maximum of three properties each week. However, you will only be able to express interest in properties that are suitable for your household. You can withdraw bids and bid for other properties if you change your mind or can see you have a better chance of being offered another property.
Will I know how many other people are interested in the same property?
Yes, when you bid for a property you will be told where you are in the queue. This is likely to change frequently due to other people bidding for the same property. Using this information you may decide to withdraw your bid for one property and bid for a different property for which you are higher placed in the queue. You can do this at any time before the closing date.
How do you decide who is offered a property?
Once the closing date for bids has passed a shortlist of interested applicants is drawn up. The applicant at the top of the list will normally be offered the property. Click Step Three - offer for more details. The bidding cycle ends on Sunday night at 23.59pm. If you see that you are in first position for a property when the cycle has ended, please wait to be contacted by the relevant landlord, as they may not be in a position to contact you straight away.
If I successfully bid for a rented property, can the landlord refuse to let it to me?
If you are at the top of the list and the landlord feels there is a reason why you are not suitable to be offered the property they may decide not to offer it to you. If you do not agree with this decision you will need to contact the landlord direct.
If I successfully bid for a property, what documents do I need to provide?
If you make a successful bid and receive an offer of accommodation, you will need to provide the following documents:
All documents provided must be originals, up to date and valid.
For a full list of acceptable documents contact the HomeChoice Bristol team or one of the Customer Service Points, click How to contact us for opening hours and contact details.
If you fail to provide the required documents in the time specified by the landlord, this may result in the offer of accommodation being withdrawn.
If I am offered a property, will I be able to view it before deciding that I want it?
Yes. You will be given an opportunity to view the property and decide whether you would like to accept it.
What if I don't like the property when I have seen it?
If you refuse a property you are offered you will normally be put down a band for a period of six months. If you feel this offer was not a reasonable offer and was not suitable for you, you need to put your reasons for refusal in writing to the HomeChoice Bristol team. If you require help with this you need to contact one of the Customer Service Points. Click how to contact us for all contact details.
How will I know what has happened to the properties advertised?
Information about homes that have been successfully let is published on this web site. We tell you the number of applicants that expressed an interest in each property, and the band and the registration date of each applicant. 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. Please see What are my chances of receiving an offer?
Are carpets and appliances provided?
You will normally have to provide your own carpets and appliances.
What other options are there for housing?
There is a severe shortage of homes in the Bristol area. Most applicants on the Housing Register will have to wait a long time for re-housing 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. We may be able to help you with a deposit for private rented if you meet certain criteria. For more information please visit your nearest Customer Service Point or go to other housing options
What if I become homeless?
If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness you should contact the HomeChoice Bristol team or the Customer Service Points. We will work with you to try to prevent you becoming homeless and will discuss your housing options with you. If this is unsuccessful you may be offered temporary housing. You may still express an interest in properties through HomeChoice Bristol, providing your application has been accepted on the Housing Register, but in most cases it is unlikely that this will be in time to resolve your homelessness, as most applicants will have to wait a long time before being successful.
How do I request a review of a decision?
If you disagree with any of the following decisions you can request a review:
To request a review you must contact the HomeChoice Bristol team 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 8 weeks. You may not request a further review.