Angus Council is starting a new housing allocation system from the start of November that will put the power of choice into the hands of Angus home seekers.
The Choice-based Lettings System will see the Council and its housing partners – Blackwood Homes, Caledonia Housing Association, and Hillcrest Homes – advertise properties for let to registered applicants on a single website – Angus Homefinder.
Applicants can bid online for the properties where they want to live.
It’s a move away from the previous approach which saw a register based on a traditional points-based allocation system that matched people to available properties.
At the heart of the system, produced by Home Connections and working with the Angus Common Housing Register Partnership, is the desire to give people as much informed choice as possible about where they want to live and to make that process simple and fair.
It’s a system that operates successfully in other parts of the country, but the Angus Choice-based Lettings System has been modelled, piloted and tested according to the specific needs of our local housing market. Its design has been driven by feedback and comments from tenants and existing applicants.
New applicants will be able to apply online from Monday 2 November. Angus Council will advertise available homes and their details on the Angus Homefinder website from Monday 16 November, allowing people to bid for the properties they want.
Where there are have specialist supported housing or properties with adaptations, the Council will try to match these to the most suitable applicants on their housing register in the first instance.
All housing applications will have to be made online (there will no longer be paper application forms), with housing options advice provided as part of the application process.
Existing applicants will not need to do anything, all applications will be automatically reassessed under the new policy and applicants will be notified by letter of their new banding along with log in details for the new online Housing Register.
Angus Council believes the choice-based lettings approach will encourage a wider range of people to get social housing and provide them with more housing choice. It is hoped it will also improve demand for housing stock, reduce refusal rates and make the process better for applicants.
A choice-based lettings system can contribute to better, more sustainable communities, where people are more committed to the areas where they live.
The introduction of the Angus Homefinder website and a new Choice-based Lettings System is aligned to the new Common Allocations Policy, which also launches on 2 November.
Key changes include -
• Most empty homes will be advertised. Adverts will clearly state who can bid.
• Additional suspension reasons have been introduced.
• New priority bandings have been introduced, Bids will be ranked according to priority banding and then by date of application.
• House size – number of bedrooms. Single people and couples can bid on two-bedroom properties.
• Short Scottish Secure tenancy provisions have been amended.
Existing applicants will receive further details through the post in the coming weeks and be provided with more information nearer the launch date.
There is also lots of information and advice on the Council’s dedicated Council and social housing webpage.