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Frequently asked questions

 

Applying to HomeChoice Bristol

 

What is HomeChoice Bristol?

How do I apply to join the Housing Register?

Who can apply?

Will I need to provide any documents?

How do I know if I have been accepted onto the Housing Register?

Can you refuse to accept me onto the Housing Register?

 

 

Priority and bands

What are priority Bands?

My application has been placed into band 1 or 2. What does that mean?

My application has been placed in band 3. Does that mean I have no chance of getting rehoused?

My application has been placed into band 4. Does that mean I have no chance of getting rehoused?

How long will I stay in the same band? Will my banding change?

What do I do if my circumstances change?

Do I need to renew my application each year?

What if someone in my household has a medical condition?

 

 

Advertising properties and bidding information

How often are properties advertised?

Where are properties advertised?

What information will the property adverts contain?

How do I apply for a property?

Will I know how many other people are interested in the same property?

How do you decide who is offered the property?

If I am offered a property, will I be able to view it before making up my mind?

How will I know what has happened to the properties advertised?

What if I disagree with a decision?

 

 

 

What is HomeChoice Bristol?

HomeChoice Bristol is the name of the scheme that Bristol City Council and partner Housing Associations within the city use to allocate their properties. All properties are advertised and people on the housing register who qualify for that size of property can then express an interest in properties they wish to be considered for. This is called placing a ‘bid’.

You will only be able to bid once your HomeChoice Bristol application has been fully assessed. You will receive a letter confirming your reference number and banding award once the assessment has been completed.

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How do I apply to join the Housing Register?

You will need to register and complete an online application form.

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who can apply?

In order to be accepted onto Home Choice Bristol you must be eligible for an allocation of social housing and qualify to be included.

You may not be eligible if you are subject to immigration control.

The following groups of people will not qualify and their application will be rejected:

 

  • Applicants under 16 years of age at the date they apply

  • Applicants not currently living in the Bristol city boundary or not having lived in the Bristol city boundary for at least 2 years at the date which they apply.

  • Applicants earning over £40,000 per year

  • Applicants with savings over £40,000

  • Applicants who own their own home

  • Prisoners still serving a sentence

  • Applicants guilty of serious breaches of a current or previous tenancy

  • Applicants providing false or misleading information

  • Applicants not currently living in the United kingdom

  • Applicants who have been assessed but have subsequently not placed any bids

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Will I need to provide any documents?

You will not need to provide any documents, unless we ask you to.

However, if you are offered a property, the landlord will ask you to provide identification and verify your circumstances

The documents you will be asked to provide vary, but it is likely to include the following: 

  • Proof of identity for the main and joint applicant and all household members (e.g. passports, birth certificates)
  • Proof of current address for the main and joint applicant and all household members (e.g. recent utility bill)
  • Proof of pregnancy (if applicable)
  • Evidence of your right to reside in the UK if you are not a British Citizen (e.g. passport & other relevant Home Office documentation) 
  • Proof of your worker status if you are an EEA national

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How do I know if I've been accepted on the Housing register?

You will receive an email (or a letter) confirming that you have been accepted onto the Housing Register. This will tell you the band you have been placed, the date your application has been registered from and the size of property you are eligible for.

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Can you refuse to accept me onto the Housing Register?

Yes, there are some people who are not eligible to be included on the Housing Register. These are: 

  • Certain people who are subject to Immigration Control under the 1996 Asylum and Immigration Act.
  • Certain people from abroad who are not subject to immigration control but who are not habitually resident in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland.
  • People (including members of their household) who have been guilty of unacceptable behaviour that makes them unsuitable to be a tenant.

Some people may be eligible but will not qualify to be included, go to 'Can I register on homeChoice Bristol?'.

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What are priority Bands?

Your application will be assessed according to your level of housing need and placed into a band.The date you are assessed into that band is your 'effective date'. Applications are prioritised by band and effective date order. Band 1 is the highest band and band 4 the lowest. For more details on priority and bands, click here.

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My application has been placed into band 1 or 2. What does that mean?

You have been awarded one of these bands due to your current circumstances and your urgent need to move. You need to bid regularly and be flexible in terms of the property types and locations you are willing to consider to give you the best chance of getting an offer.

If you have not been made an offer of accommodation within 9 months of being in band 1 or 2 your application will be re-assessed into band 4. Exceptions may be made for applicants who need larger accommodation (4 bedroom +) or have specific needs around accessibility/adaptations. This is because of the low turnover of these types of properties.

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My application has been placed in band 3. Does that mean I have no chance of getting rehoused?

Although most homes go to people in higher priority bands, some homes do get offered to people in band 3.

If you are in band 3 to give your application the maximum success you need to be flexible in terms of the property types (flats, maisonettes as well as houses) and locations you are prepared to consider.  You need to consider bidding in the large outlying estates like Knowle, Southmead, Lawrence Weston and Hartcliffe.

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My application has been placed into band 4. Does that mean I have no chance of getting rehoused?

It is unlikely that you will ever be made and offer unless you are looking for 50+ housing or Supported Housing for Older People. You should consider other options. More information is available here.

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How long will I stay in the same band? Will my banding change?

If you are in Bands 1-2 your application will be reviewed and if you have not been made an offer of accommodation within 9 months it is likely that your application will be re-assessed into band 4 for 6 months. If you are in Bands 3 & 4, you will remain in that band unless your circumstances change and your application is awarded a different level of priority.

You also need to bid regularly. If you are in bands 1-2 and do not bid within 6 months your application will be cancelled. If you are in bands 3-4 and you do not bid within 12 months your application will be cancelled.

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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. If you move up a band the date used will be the date you move into that band. If you move down a band the date used will be the date that applied when you were previously in that band or any earlier date when you were in a higher band.

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Do I need to renew my application each year?

Yes, once a year, normally on the anniversary of your application you will be asked to log in to your account and review your application. You must tell us if your circumstances have changed. If you don't renew your application it will be cancelled. If youdecide that you no longer want to be on the Housing register you can tell us this by logging into your account

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What if someone in my household has a medical condition?

If someone in your household has a medical condition you must tell us about this on your application form. Priority will only be awarded if your health is made worse by your housing. It's important that you give us contact details for your doctor and any other medical professional involved in your care so that we can contact them directly to get any other information we need.

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What if a member of my household needs a separate bedroom because of health needs or need a carer to stay?

Additional bedrooms are not awarded often. Demand on housing stock means they can only be agreed in limited circumstances.

Housing Benefit rules also mean an additional bedroom may not be funded.

If you think you need an extra bedroom for a member of your household, you must tell us why on your application.

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How often are properties advertised?

Properties will be advertised each week from 00.01am Tuesday morning and you will be able to register a bid until 11.59pm Sunday night.

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Where are properties advertised?

Properties are advertised online at www.homechoicebristol.co.uk

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What information will the property adverts contain?

The property advert will tell you the name of the landlord,  it's location, size, weekly or monthly rent and other features of the property. It will include a photo of the property and there will also be links to information about the local area and facilities. 

You will only be able to bid on properties that have the same number of bedrooms as you have been assessed as needing. Some properties will be advertised with restrictions on who can bid for it, for example if the property is in a sheltered scheme only applicants over 60 years of age will be able to bid on it.

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How do I apply for a property?

You can express your interest or bid, as it is also known, in the following ways:

  1. Online through our website from your 'My account' page

  2. Through our 24hr automated telephone service on 0845 270 1382

You will be able to bid for a maximum of 3 properties during the advertising cycle. Bids will not be accepted after midnight on a Sunday. You will only be able to bid for a property that is suitable for your family size and you should consider all property types.

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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.
 

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How do you decide who is offered a property?

When you bid on a property you will be placed in a list with all the other households who are interested in this property. The list will be in band and date order (band 1 at the top of the list). 

The landlord will offer the property to the houshold who is in the greatest need, this is usually - but not always -  the household at the top of the list. If the property has been adapted, it will have been advertised with priority to households needing those adaptations. The landlord will check the list to find the household who is most in need of the adaptations and this will not always the household at the top pf the list.

More information can be found here.
 

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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.
 

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How will I know what has happened to the properties advertised?

Information about homes that have been successfully let is published on the website. We tell you the number of applicants that expressed an interest in each property, the band and the registration date of each property. To see the results of properties that have been go to Property search and click on the recent lets tab.

By checking the 'recent lets' section you will have 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.
 

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What if I disagree with a decision you make?

If you disagree with any of the following decisions you can request a review: 

  • You're not eligible to join HomeChoice Bristol
  • You don't qualify to join HomeChoice Bristol
  • Your application has been cancelled other than at your own request
  • You think that you have been placed in the wrong band or given the wrong priority date

To request a review you must contact HomeChoice Bristol 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.

 

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