How we let our homes

Download article Print article
Choose from the index:
Overview

There are two main schemes of how we allocate our homes at New Charter.

  1. The general scheme for people who are not yet New Charter tenants and
  2. The transfer scheme for New Charter tenants who need to move.

Whilst there are similarities between both schemes, they have separate application arrangements and priorities.

This information relates to our general scheme for customers who are not yet New Charter Homes tenants.

Quotas apply to our available homes, providing 15% for the transfer scheme and 65% for the general scheme. The remaining 20% will be offered to the Local Authority for nominations.

Available homes which are assigned to the two major schemes will be advertised using Choice Based Lettings.  The advert will provide an outline of property details and an indication of which group will be given preference.

A proportion of available homes will be advertised indicating that preference will be shown to those with community contribution. Applicants have the opportunity to advise us when they have met the requirements of our community contribution scheme.

Who can apply?

A key objective of this scheme is to provide customers with honest and accurate prospects advice at first point of contact, only registering applications from those with realistic prospects of being offered a New Charter home.

The following groups will not be eligible to join the scheme:

  • Groups excluded by the Secretary of State due to immigration status, or having limited leave to remain in the UK.
  • Owner occupiers and tenants of other Registered Providers who do not have a housing need and those in suitable private rented accommodation.
  • People currently resident in penal institutions, care homes etc. We will direct these enquiries to Tameside Housing Advice.
  • Applications claiming to be of No Fixed Abode (NFA) will not be accepted. People in this situation are in need of more immediate assistance than a waiting list can provide, and will be referred to Tameside Housing Advice.
  • Applications including a current New Charter tenants – these will be managed via our Transfer Scheme (please see the summary booklet for Transferring Tenants).
  • Applications including someone who has committed unacceptable behaviour or who has housing related debts, they are not addressing.
  • In addition, people will need a local connection to the Tameside area. This may be any of the following:
    • Residence in Tameside currently or previous residence for at least 3 out of the  last 5 years
    • Work/volunteering in Tameside, for at least 6 out of the last 9 months
    • That they are a registered carer for someone who lives in Tameside
    • Members of H.M. Forces where the application is made within 12 months of an honourable discharge. Bereaved spouses and civil partners of members of the Armed Forces leaving Services Family Accommodation. Serving or former members of the Reserve Forces who need to move because of a serious injury, medical condition or disability sustained as a result of their service.

There will also need to be a realistic prospect of applicants being made an offer. This will include a requirement that applicants are seeking:

  • The type and size of home they would be eligible for.
  • Area preferences which are reasonable.
  • Either a housing need or an exemption based on age (only if requiring a maximum of one bedroom).
How to apply

You can apply to join our waiting list by completing our application form online, or at one of our Hubs.  If you don’t have access to the internet and are having difficulty getting to one of our Hubs then please call 0161 331 2000 / 0300 011 1144.

Once your application is registered you can start bidding. Please remember it is your responsibility to provide evidence requested, if you delay you will not be made an offer of housing. Please only bid on properties you really want as we will suspend applicants who make unreasonable refusals.

Advertised homes will indicate the group of bidders which will receive preference. However, if there are no suitable bids from that group, we will consider other bids ranked according to their position in band.

Some properties due to their nature, e.g. sheltered housing and groups of properties designed for and predominantly occupied by older people may be targeted reserved for single people or couples aged 55+. This will be indicated in the advert.

Applicants may place up to three bids each advert cycle.

How we prioritise applications

Following a housing needs assessment, applicants accepted onto the scheme will be placed in one of the following bands.

Multiple housing needs will not increase the level of priority awarded to an application.

Within each band, applications will be prioritised according to the date they were awarded that band.

Housing need will be recognised where one or more of the following circumstances arise:

  • Overcrowding: One or more bedrooms short based on the “bedroom standard”. This allows one bedroom for each person or couple living as part of the household, with the following exceptions: a child aged 21 or under would be expected to share with one other child of the same gender; and a child aged 9 or under would be expected to share with one other child aged 9 or under, regardless of gender. (Statutory overcrowding will be referred to Tameside Housing Advice for advice
    and assistance)
  • Insecure or unsuitable private tenure: Lodgers (whether lodging with family, friends or in a private arrangement)People in “tied accommodation” (service tenancies)Residents in supported housing schemesPrivate tenants will only be considered to be in tenure based housing need if their current accommodation is under threat e.g. the landlord has served them with a valid notice.
  • Fitness or mental health need: Unable to climb a flight of stairs and currently living above ground floor or in a  property with stairs. Or unable to use bathing facilities or access their home due to steps. NB people with for example mobility related medical need will only be considered for rehousing in flats on the ground floor or bungalows. In the case of mental health, need will only be recognised where a professional assessment indicates significant risks linked to their current housing.
  • Under occupying social housing belonging to another Registered Provider: The same formula will be applied to assess the number of bedrooms needed by a household as is used to determine Housing Benefit entitlement.

Housing need bands:

  • Gold

Overcrowded by 2 or more bedrooms in self -contained accommodation.

Former armed services personnel (honourably discharged in the last 24 months).

  • Silver

Current property unsuitable due to medical grounds.

Overcrowded by 1 bedroom.

Private tenants or residents in unsuitable or insecure accommodation subject to satisfactory references (includes residents in temporary / supported housing).

Private tenants who can demonstrate that they can no longer afford their accommodation.

Lodging with family, friends or private arrangements.

  • Bronze

Tenants of another Registered Provider (RP) needing to move for caring arrangements (in receipt of carers allowance).

Under occupying tenant of social housing belonging to another R P.

Community contribution

Housing allocations is an area which has the potential to influence our communities. The community contribution scheme aims to address this by providing for people who work, volunteer etc. to be awarded additional preference.

The benefits of Community Contribution priority will be available to applicants on both the general and transfer schemes.

Group criteria:

  • Employed:

Permanent full time employed
Self employed
Employed on a temporary contract
Part time employment
At least one member of the household will have been employed for a minimum of 16 hours per week for at least 6 of the last 9 months.

  • Volunteers:

Including volunteering for:
– Registered tenants groups
– Registered charities
– Not for profit organisations
– Recognised community groups
At least one member of the household will have been volunteering for a minimum of 25 hours per month. Evidence will be required that they have been engaged in this volunteering activity for at least 6 out of the last 9 months.

  • Training:

Approved job related training
Completion of accredited pre tenancy training

  • Carers:

People in receipt of carers allowance

  • Foster carers:

Registered foster carers

  • Armed forces personnel:

Serving or former members of the armed forces or reserves will be awarded Community Contribution. This award will continue for up to 12 months from the date of any honourable discharge. It will also be applied to the spouse or civil partner of service personnel required to vacate Ministry of Defence accommodation following the death in of their partner

*Time limited to 6 months following completion of programme unless they engage in volunteering or become employed during this period.

Sustainable tenancies

Where an application includes someone who has a record of housing related debt (rent arrears, recharges, court costs etc) to either New Charter Homes, any other Registered Provider (RP) or Local Authority (LA), the total combined debt will be considered.

Where the total debt to either New Charter or any other RP & LA is below £500, the application will be accepted onto the scheme. The applicant may bid on advertised homes, but that at the point of offer; they will be required to supply evidence of consecutive payments off the debt for a minimum of 12 weeks.

Any missed payments will normally result in the count re-starting. Where the combined debt is greater than £500, the application will only be accepted following a financial assessment and an individually tailored repayment agreement which the applicant must adhere to before being admitted to the scheme. This agreement may be for a period of 3 to 12 months according to the individual’s circumstances.

Where the applicant has abandoned a New Charter Homes tenancy or been evicted by New Charter for debt or any other reason, no new application will be considered for 5 years following the date of the eviction.

Where an applicant or a member of their household has declared unspent convictions below the threshold which would prevent them from being admitted to the register, they will be included on the register and able to bid for vacant homes. They will be advised that before any offer of a tenancy is confirmed, they will need to supply an up to date copy of the relevant Police National Computer (PNC) record.

Sheltered housing

New Charter Homes manages a variety of sheltered housing schemes, (bedsits, flats and bungalows) across Tameside and the neighbouring areas.

These schemes are designed for communities of older people. In order to qualify for consideration for this type of housing, people will need to be aged either over 60, or over 55 with a support need, which would normally be evidenced by them being in receipt of a disability benefit.

Customers indicating an interest in this type of housing will be asked to provide additional details including the areas they would most like to live.

Sheltered vacancies will be advertised once. Should there be no eligible bidders; direct offers will be made from a traditional style shortlist of eligible applicants.

Extra Care schemes

New Charter Homes has a number of extra care units. In addition to traditional housing services, residents of these properties benefit from additional care support services commissioned by the Local Authority. All extra care vacancies are offered to Local Authority nominees.

Neighbourhood lettings schemes

There may be occasions where triggers within a geographical area indicate a need to manage the allocations in this area differently. The Housing Act 1996 (s167) allows for the use of Neighbourhood Lettings Schemes to allocate certain accommodation for the exclusive use of certain applicants of a particular description. They will therefore be applied to homes offered to the local authority for nomination as well as properties let according to New Charter Homes Allocation Policy.

Refusals

One of the underlying principles of Choice Based Lettings (CBL) is that customers express an interest only in those homes that they would wish to accept. As people have proactively chosen to bid for the home, refusals of offers should not occur frequently. To encourage people to be serious about the bids they place, the following arrangements are in place:

  • Before refusing any offer of a tenancy, customers will be advised that doing so could adversely affect their application.
  • Refusals will be assessed to determine whether they are “reasonable”.

It is not practical to be precise in defining what is a reasonable or unreasonable refusal, but examples include:

Reasonable Refusals are based on:

  • Something the applicant wouldn’t have known or been expected to know when they placed their bid
  • Error in advert information

Unreasonable Refusals are based on:

  • Something the applicant would have known when they bid e.g. area.
  • Trivial e.g. colour of door, south facing garden.
  • Repairs we will remedy whilst empty or after the tenancy starts.
  • No response to attempts to contact.
  • Requests for work that would exceed our published Lettability Standard.

Unreasonable refusals will trigger the following actions:

  • 1 refusal 3 months deferred.
  • 2nd refusal within a 12 month period 6 months deferred.
  • 3rd refusal withina12 month period application cancelled. No new application for a minimum of 12 months (this may be extended in some circumstances).
Advice, support and information

A summary of the Allocations scheme is available free of charge at any of the Hubs.  Should support be required at any stage in the application process, for example with language or literacy issues, this will be made available on request.

Customers who are eligible, are invited to apply using our online application facility, or by visiting our Hubs.

Proof of identity

In order to confirm the identity of the applicant/joint applicant, proof of identity for each will be required. This will include their National Insurance Number, proof of their current address (Council Tax, utility bill, bank statement etc.) and photographic ID (passport, photo driving licence, bus pass etc.).

Incomplete applications

Applications need to be completed fully and honestly. It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide all information required. Where information has been omitted, the application will not be registered.

Changes of circumstance

During the course of an application, it is likely that a customer’s circumstances may change. Customers are required to advise us promptly of these changes.

Where customers deliberately withhold information about a relevant change in their circumstances, this may lead to their application being withdrawn or action taken to recover a tenancy they have been offered.

Relevant changes include changes to the people included on the application, the accommodation available or any community contribution or caring arrangements which have been incorporated in the banding decision.

Deliberate worsening circumstances/intentional housing need

Customers must not deliberately alter their circumstances to gain greater priority under the scheme. Examples of deliberately worsened circumstances may include ending a tenancy and moving to lodge with another household, moving to a smaller property to create overcrowding, not renewing a private sector tenancy agreement.

Where there is reason to suspect that a customer has deliberately worsened their housing situation, their application will be deferred to enable an investigation to take place.

Where deliberate worsening of housing need is established, the application may be placed in a lower band, or in more extreme cases, the application being cancelled and the applicant no longer deemed an eligible applicant.

Ending applications

In order to ensure that waiting list information is up to date and that the list is maintained efficiently, applications will be reviewed each year on the anniversary of their application date.

Applications from those who have not actively engaged in the scheme by bidding for a property during a 12 month period will automatically be cancelled. Should applicants make contact within the first 28 days after cancellation, the application may be  reinstated. After this time, they will need to begin a new application. Any previously accrued time in band will be lost.

Applications may be cancelled where an applicant does not respond when we try to contact them.

Data Protection/Information Sharing Arrangements

As part of the application process, applicants are required to sign a declaration authorising us to share information with relevant agencies.

Download article Print article
We use cookies to ensure we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with this.