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    This page is the summary of the Lincs Homefinder housing allocations policy.

    Any in depth or case specific questions should be formally sent, in writing to the appropriate partner members for consideration.

    You may also download the full policy here

    1. Introduction 14. Change of circumstances
    2. Aims of Lincs Homefinder 15. Assisted persons list
    3. Outline of Lincs Homefinder
    16. Advertising properties
    4. Housing Options 17. Bidding for a property
    5. Equal Opportunities 18. Selection of successful bids
    6. Who can apply? 19. Making an offer
    7. Ineligible Applicants 20. Refusal of offers
    8. How to apply 21. Non bidding
    9. Providing information and documentation 22. Direct lets and excluded properties
    10. Assessment of housing needs and banding 23. Review of applications or offers
    11. Determining local connection 24. Monitoring and review of policy
    12. Reasonable preference 25. Further information and enquiries
    13. Financial capacity 26. Eligibility and Banding (Download)

    1. INTRODUCTION

    This is a summary of the Choice Based Lettings Scheme, known as Lincs Homefinder, for the following organisations:

    - North Kesteven District Council
    - City of Lincoln Council
    - West Lindsey District Council
    - Acis Housing Group

    It sets out the key points of the Scheme and the main priorities and procedures that the above Partners will follow when letting properties to applicants on their common housing register. This is not a comprehensive guide to the policy, further detail can be found in the full Lincs Homefinder Choice Based Letting Scheme. Each partner organisation will have a copy of this Letting Policy available at its head office for inspection. A copy of this Letting Policy will be available free of charge from any of the Partners, or available to download from any of the Partners websites.


    2. AIMS OF LINCS HOMEFINDER

    The Partnership is fully committed to:

    - Enabling applicants to play a more active role in choosing where they live;
    - Providing assistance to applicants who are unable for whatever reason, to participate fully in the Scheme;
    - Providing a fair, open and accountable framework in which everyone has equality of access when seeking an affordable home;
    - Making best use of limited housing resources;
    - Assisting customers in the highest housing need;
    - Providing a full Housing Options service;
    - Preventing homelessness and reducing the use of temporary accommodation.

    The Scheme has been designed to be easy to use, provide the highest level of customer service and enable people to make the best choice for their needs from the full range of housing options available to them.

    It is important to realise that the demand for accommodation is higher in some areas than in others. In making a decision about the choices available, applicants need to consider their housing need priority against the availability of properties in any given area.


    3. GENERAL OUTLINE OF HOW LINCS HOMEFINDER WORKS

    Lincs Homefinder provides a new way of letting social housing and promoting a range of housing options. Partners will no longer use the traditional method e.g. 'matching' an applicant to a property, instead applicants will choose the tenure, property and area in which they wish to live.

    People who apply to join or are registered with Lincs Homefinder are known as applicants. Applicants are assessed and awarded a banding according to their need. Landlords advertise their vacant properties and invite bids (or expressions of interest) on each property from applicants.

    Adverts will contain details of the property and state which applicants are able to bid; including any local connection criteria. Applicants can then bid for the property of their choice as long as they are registered and meet the qualifying criteria.

    The successful applicant will be selected from those who have bid for (or told us they are interested in) the property and who meet the qualifying criteria. Selection will be based on the band, followed by applicable date where there is more than one applicant from the same band. The landlord then offers the property to the successful applicant.

    Applicants will be advised of the outcome of a vacancy with feedback on the level of demand, banding and length of time waiting for a property. This will help applicants to make more informed choices including other housing options being promoted.


    4. HOUSING OPTIONS

    Due to the high demand on social housing some applicants may have to wait a considerable time before appropriate accommodation is made available to them, particularly in areas of high demand for social housing and/or where the partners has low priority. In some cases, applicants may have little prospect of ever being offered accommodation.

    In order to give such applicants a wider choice the Partnership aims to provide information about other appropriate housing options which might be available to them. This might include:

    - Private rented accommodation
    - Shared ownership schemes
    - Mutual exchanges
    - Mobility schemes
    - Home improvement schemes or provision of aids and adaptations.

    This service is available for all applicants, regardless of tenure.


    5. EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES

    The Partnership is committed to the promotion of equality of opportunity for all existing and potential applicants wishing to access Lincs Homefinder. No one will be treated unfairly because of gender, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, religion, disability, marital status, age, sexuality, health or other reason. This list is not exclusive, but indicative of the Partnerships intention and commitment to ensuring equality.

    6. WHO CAN APPLY?

    Anyone has the right to make an application to join Lincs Homefinder, as follows:

    - Applicants aged 18 or over (or at least one of the joint applicants).
    - Persons not subject to immigration control, taking account of nationality and immigration.
    - Persons subject to immigration control who have been granted or have achieved relevant status.
    - Applications from 16/17 year olds may also be accepted in certain circumstances (special provisions apply).

    7. INELIGIBLE APPLICANTS

    Those who CANNOT join Lincs Homefinder are:

    - Persons who are ineligible to reside in the United Kingdom
    - Persons granted exceptional leave to enter or remain, but no recourse to public funds
    - Applicants with a history of unacceptable/anti-social behaviour (including significant rent arrears serious enough to make them an unsuitable tenant

    If an applicant is found to be ineligible for the Housing Register they may make a fresh application when the grounds for ineligibility no longer apply.


    8. HOW TO APPLY

    By completing an application:

    - In person at one of the Partner's offices
    - Via the Schemes website www.lincshomefinder.co.uk
    - By post to one of the Partner's offices

    9. PROVIDING INFORMATION AND DOCUMENTATION

    Applicants are required to provide proof of their identity e.g. their National Insurance Number(s) and proof of residency for themselves and anyone they wish to be housed with. There is a list of approved documents and an application will not be accepted without this information, failure to provide this information within 28 days of the request may change your application date. Applicants may be asked to provide other supporting information to that their application can be processed and assessed correctly.

    10. ASSESSMENT OF HOUSING NEEDS AND BANDINGS

    The Partnership has adopted a Banding Scheme to prioritise the current housing needs of applicants. These include the applicant's current accommodation, physical and mental health, mobility, affordability, access and social wellbeing. There will be 4 Bands:

    - Band 1 (highest priority), Band 2, Band 3 and Band 4 (lowest priority).

    Housing needs that have been identified within these bandings have been adopted following guidance issued by the Secretary of State. All applicants are placed in Bands in accordance with their housing needs assessment. Applications are prioritised first by band and secondly by date (either application or banding date).

    11. DETERMINING LOCAL CONNECTION

    To ensure that local housing needs are met, adverts will detail local connection criteria. Applicants can be assessed as having no local connection to any Partner area within the Scheme or a local connection to one or more of the Partner areas. To be considered as having a local connection, one of the following must apply:

    - Applicant(s) have been permanently resident in Partner district for the last 6 months
    - Applicants have immediate family members who are currently and have been continuously resident for the last FIVE yrs in a partner district. Family members are defined as parents/guardians, adult children or brothers or sisters.
    - Have previously lived in any partner district area for a continuous period of TWELVE months (whilst aged 18 or over) in the last FIVE YEARS.
    - An applicant's main place of work is in a partner's district for a continuous period of TWELVE months.

    12. REASONABLE PREFERENCE

    The law states that certain groups of people have 'reasonable preference' within any allocation scheme operated by a local Housing Authority. These groups are:

    - People who are homeless (in accordance with relevant legislation)
    - People occupying unsanitary or overcrowded housing or otherwise living in unsatisfactory housing conditions
    - People who need to move on medical or welfare grounds
    - People who need to move to a particular locality in the area, where failure to meet that need would cause hardship (to themselves or to others).
    - Those leaving the Armed Forces who are in housing need.

    13. FINANCIAL CAPACITY

    Applicants applying to Lincs Homefinder may be assessed on their ability to resolve their own housing difficulties, for example: by buying a suitable property within the area, carry out improvements or adaptations to their own home to meet their needs.

    14. CHANGE OF CIRCUMSTANCES

    Applicants are required to inform the relevant Partner if their personal circumstances change and it may reasonably be expected to have an effect on their Housing Register application. This includes any change in their address or household members.

    15. ASSISTED PERSONS LIST

    Some vulnerable applicants may require help to ensure that they have the same opportunity to access Lincs Homefinder. The Partnership offers an "Assisted List" to allow those who cannot participate fully without assistance, easy access to the scheme. This list will also extend to those who require help with applications to apply, see our "Assisted Persons List" leaflet for more details of what help is available. Examples of those who may require this help include:

    - Those with communication difficulties i.e. language / literacy
    - Those with access to transport difficulties
    - Those with Learning Disabilities
    - Those at risk of Domestic Abuse
    - Those with a support worker
    - Those with sensory / physical disability

    16. ADVERTISING OF VACANT PROPERTIES

    Properties will be advertised weekly, adverts will include, but not limited to:

    - Property address
    - Property type (e.g. house, flat, bungalow) and number of bedrooms
    - Rent and service charges
    - Heating type
    - Local connection criteria, age restrictions, whether or not pets allowed
    - Tenure type and landlord (e.g. social rented, shared ownership)
    - Amenities in the area and at property (e.g. parking, local schooling)
    - Any additional facilities (e.g. adaptations/disabled facilities)

    Properties will be advertised in the following ways:

    - Vacancy List (for vulnerable or assisted persons)
    - Website
    - Partners area offices and reception Areas

    17. BIDDING FOR A PROPERTY

    Where an applicant meets the criteria they may make up to 2 bids (or expressions of interest) in any cycle which will open for 5 days ie: from Wednesday and ending noon Monday the following week.
    Applicants may use any of the following methods to make a bid:
    - Via the website
    - By phone or text (texting may not be available immediately)
    - By post
    - In person at any of the Partners' reception areas
    - Through the assisted persons process


    Where a property has been advertised and no bids have been received, the property may then be included in another advertising cycle or allocated on a first come first served basis providing that the applicant meets the eligibility criteria.

    18. SELECTION OF SUCCESSFUL BIDS

    The successful applicant will be selected from those who have bid for the property and who meet the qualifying criteria. Selection will be based on the relevant needs band, followed by the application or banding date where there is more than one applicant from the same band. The landlord then offers the property to the successful applicant. Applicants may be "passed over", and not offered a tenancy, if any of the following apply:
    - Benefited from a disabled facilities or renovation grant within last 5 years
    - Benefited from a Right to Buy within the last 3 years
    - Has rent arrears and has not maintained regular re-payment for min 13wks

    19. MAKING AN OFFER

    Applicants will usually be contacted within 3 working days of close of the bid cycle. They will then have up to 2 working days to make a decision to accept the offer. If no response is received, the next shortlisted applicant will be offered the property. It is the applicants responsibility to ensure they provide up to date contact details.

    20. REFUSAL OF OFFERS

    If an applicant refuses 3 offers they will be asked to attend an interview to discuss their housing requirements. If it is decided that the reasons for refusal are unreasonable their application date may be changed to the date of the last unreasonable refusal.

    21. NON BIDDING

    All applications within Band 1 will be monitored and additional support will be provided if these applicants fail to make bids for suitable properties advertised. Other applicants who are not making any bids may also be contacted to find out why.

    22. DIRECT LETS AND PROPERTIES EXCLUDED FROM THE SCHEME

    There will be circumstances where a property may be let outside the scheme by a direct letting and examples include:

    - Households accepted as homeless who have failed to bid for available properties.
    - Existing tenants who need to be re-housed due to redevelopment or major works.
    - Existing tenants need to move because of a violent incident or the threat of violence that is likely to be carried out.
    - Highly supported accommodation are needed or are no longer needed, such as extra care schemes.

    23. REVIEW OF DECISIONS ON APPLICATIONS OR OFFERS

    All applicants have the right to ask for a review of a decision, if they consider they have been unfairly or unreasonably treated having regard to the provisions of this Lettings Policy. For example, a decision about:

    - Refusal or removal from the Scheme
    - Type of property applicant is eligible for
    - Suitability of accommodation offered
    - The Priority Band awarded
    - Information that has been taken into account when assessing their application
    - Any decision taken in relation to their application

    24. MONITORING AND REVIEW OF POLICY

    In order to ensure that Lincs Homefinder is achieving its aims of being as open and accessible as possible to all members of the community, the Partnership will undertake regular monitoring and publish the outcomes The Scheme will also be reviewed annually to ensure that every application is dealt with fairly and consistently e.g.:

    - Priority is given to those in the most need
    - Adequate priority is given to homeless people and others in need
    - To ensure performance meets local and national performance indicators

    25. FURTHER INFORMATION AND ENQUIRIES

    If you would like more information or have any queries about how Lincs Homefinder works please contact the Partner covering either the area you live now or the area you want to live.