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Frequently asked questions

  • How do I apply to join the Housing Register?

You will need to complete an application form. To start, please complete our housing options wizard.
 

  • Who can bid for properties through South Gloucestershire HomeChoice?

You must be accepted onto South Gloucestershire Council's Housing Register to be able to bid for rented properties through South Gloucestershire HomeChoice.
 

  • What documents do I need to provide to apply?

You do not need to provide any documents unless we ask you for them.

If you are offered a property, the landlord will probably ask you to provide documents before the offer will go ahead. You will be advised of what you need to provide at that stage. 
 

  • 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 of your registration, and the size of property you are eligible for. If you give us an e-mail address, we will always contact you by e-mail, so please make sure you keep this up to date.
 

  • Can you refuse to accept me onto the Housing Register?

To be able to join the Housing Register you must be eligible to apply, be aged 18 or over (or be where there is a statutory duty for those aged 16/17), and be qualified to apply, for instance you must have a local connection with this area. 
 

  • What are priority Bands?

We use Bands to assess your level of housing need. Your application will be placed into one of these. 
 

  •  How long will I stay in the same band?

You will remain in that band unless your circumstances change in a way that also changes your priority.
 

  • What do I do if my circumstances change?

It is very important that you tell us about 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, your registration date will change to 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.
 

  • 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 review your application to make sure the information is correct. If you fail to renew your application, it will be cancelled and you will have to reapply.
 

  • What if someone in my household has a medical condition?

If someone in your household has a medical condition you will be asked to provide details, and we may need to ask your GP for more information. There is no need for you to ask your GP to write to us as well. 
 

  • How often are properties advertised?

Properties available for rent are advertised each week. The advertising cycle runs from Friday to the following Thursday. 
 

  • Where are properties advertised?

Properties are advertised in the following ways:

  • Online through this website
  • In a newsletter available from the Council's One Stop Shops and libraries.
     
  • What information will the property adverts contain?

The adverts will tell you the landlord, location, size, rent and other features of the property. Where available a photograph of the property or a similar house type will 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, which bands may bid for the property and which will be given priority for the property. It also tells you the number of bedrooms that applicants applying for the property need to be entitled to. If your bedroom entitlement is different to this you will not be able to bid for that property.

If you need further information about the property you should contact the landlord - the HomeChoice service do have any more details.
 

  • How do I bid for a property?

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

  • Online through our website (you must be logged into your account first),
  • In person in a One Stop Shop or by ringing the Housing Contact centre on 01454 868 005
  • By completing the coupon on the advert sheet
     
  • How many properties can I bid for?

You will be able to bid for a maximum of three properties in each advertising cycle. However, you will only be able to bid for properties that are suitable for you and your family. You cannot bid if you are under offer to 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 can change frequently, as other people bid for the same property. Using this information you may decide to withdraw your bid for one property and bid for a different property, as you may have a higher priority for that home. 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 shortlist is in order of eligibility according to the criteria stated in the advert details for that property, and then time waiting. The applicant at the top of the list will normally be offered the property.
 

  • If I successfully bid for a rented property, can the landlord refuse to let it to me?

A landlord may refuse to offer you a property for the following reasons:

  • You owe rent or have other housing related debts
  • You are a Council or Housing Association tenant and legal action has been taken against you because you have broken your tenancy condition
  • Your circumstances have changed and your application is not up to date.
  • You have provided incorrect or misleading information, which has resulted in your application being awarded a higher priority than it deserves.
  • The landlord considers that the property is unsuitable for you.
     
  • 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 don’t like the property when I have seen it?

You can refuse an offer of a property, however if the property is suitable you will lose a 'life'. If you refuse two suitable offers your application will be suspended for 6 months. 

Please note that where the council has accepted a statutory duty to accomodate a household, they will only be entitled to one offer of housing.  
 

  • 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 let use the Properties and recent lets search.
 

  • How will this information help me?

It will give you a better idea of how many properties become available, 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.
 

  • 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 South Gloucestershire area. Most applicants on the Housing Register will have to wait a long time for re-housing and many will not be re-housed at all. Depending on your circumstances you may wish to consider other options such as renting in the private sector, and we can give you information on how to do this and what the legal requirements are. 
 

  • What if I become homeless?

If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness, you should contact us to discuss your circumstances. Please speak to one of our housing advisors on 01454 865496. You can also come to our triage service at Kingswood Civic Centre Monday-Friday 9am-3pm or visit our advice surgery at the Patchway One Stop Shop (Wednesday morning).
 

  • How do I request feedback on a decision, or a review that I disagree with?

You can request feedback, or a review if you disagree with decisions that are made on your application. These include 

  • You are not eligible to join the housing register
  • You are not offered a property that you are top of the list for
  • You think that you have been placed in the wrong band or given the wrong priority date
  • Your application has been cancelled

To request a review you must contact the HomeChoice 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, and you will be usually advised of the outcome of the review within 8 weeks.