How your application will be considered
Stevenage Borough Council have an Allocations Scheme that sets out the rules used to decide who can receive an offer of re-housing. We use that scheme to allocate homes as they become available. Use the link below to view the current allocation scheme.
All applicants are awarded points to reflect the current housing needs of their household. Points are awarded for various factors including the number, ages and gender of children, the suitability of existing accommodation and overcrowding.
The law requires us to give 'reasonable preference' to certain categories of applicant. These categories include:
- People occupying unsanitary or overcrowded housing or otherwise living in unsatisfactory housing conditions
- People occupying housing accommodation which is temporary or occupied on insecure terms
- Families with dependent children
- Households consisting of or including someone who is expecting a child
- Households consisting of or including someone with a particular need for settled accommodation on medical or welfare grounds
- People to whom the local authority owe a duty under homelessness legislation.
All council homes are let using a scheme called Home4U. To find out more please visit the Home4U website.
How many points are likely to be needed
The supply of council housing is irregular and we cannot predict when or if properties will become available.
Higher points will be required for more popular areas and property types. Some areas and property types are less popular and so lower points may be needed for these, although even the less popular properties are not available at all times. For each property that has been advertised and let through the scheme you will be able to see how many bids were placed, and the band, points total and registration date of the successful bidder. This should help you to understand the housing situation in Stevenage and if you decide that you may not be successful, you can look at other ways to solve your housing difficulties.
What will happen before you can be made an offer of a new home
We will visit you at your present home before you can be offered a new home through the Home4U scheme. You are free to bid for properties before you have had a home visit. Home visits may occur after you have appeared at the top of a bidding shortlist for a property.
During this home visit we will make sure that all the information we hold about you and your household is correct and up to date. If necessary we will ask you to provide us with more information.
If you are a tenant of the council waiting for a transfer we will inspect your present home when we visit. You must maintain your council home to a reasonable standard. This means that your home must be clean, in a good decorative condition and a good state of repair. If you have gardens they must be trimmed and tidy and free from rubbish.
If we decide that your present home and garden have not been maintained to a reasonable standard we will make your application dormant. We will tell you what you need to do in order to put things right and will arrange to visit you again after an agreed time. Only when we are happy with the condition of your present home will we consider you for a new home.
We have already told you that if you are a tenant of the Council or a Registered Social Landlord waiting for a transfer and you have rent arrears, your application will be made dormant until you tell us your arrears are cleared. If this is the case we will still visit you to ensure that your home has been well looked after. If it has not you will have to both clear your rent arrears and put things right in your home before we will consider you for a new home.
What happens after bidding for a property has closed?
After bidding has closed, a shortlist is created for each property. Bids are prioritised in band, point and registration date order.
The top bidder who is eligible will be invited to view the property. Most empty properties will be having repair work done at the time of the viewing so a Stevenage Homes employee will accompany you.
At the viewing we can tell you what repairs will be done, when we hope you can move in, and answer any of your queries. After you have viewed the property you will be asked to sign a declaration stating whether you wish to continue with or withdraw your bid. There is no penalty for withdrawing at this point.
Following this (and any eligibility checks), the eligible applicant at the top of the shortlist will be sent an offer letter confirming the offer and the start of tenancy. Applicants who withdraw at this stage will be considered to have made an unreasonable refusal.
If the person who was top of the shortlist refuses the property, it is offered to the next person on the list, and so one.
What happens if I refuse an offer of a new home?
Applicants do not get penalised for withdrawing their bids for a property at the viewing stage. If you are offered the property and then refuse it, this will be considered an unreasonable refusal.
If you make two unreasonable refusals, your application may be deferred for a year.
What to do if you believe the Allocations Scheme has been incorrectly applied to your application
You can make a complaint using Stevenage Homes complaints procedure. Details can be obtained from the Customer Service Centre or use the link below.
Individuals whose applications to join the Housing Needs Register have been refused or whose applications have been cancelled have a legal right to challenge the decision. Applicants wishing to do so should contact the Principal Housing Needs Officer who will review the decision.
To make a request for information regarding allocations use the link below to complete an allocation enquiry form on-line.
Alternatively, you can contact the Customer Service Centre with any queries on 01438 242666
Further information you can download:
- Your Guide to the Housing Needs Register
- Home4U Scheme guide