Welcome to Leicester HomeChoice

Leicester HomeChoice

Frequently Asked Questions.

  1. What is a choice based lettings system?
  2. This is a scheme where councils and housing associations can advertise their available properties so applicants are aware what properties they have available to rent at any one time. The applicant is then able to choose a number of properties they wish to be considered for. This is different to the traditional allocations scheme which requires an applicant to wait until they are offered a property by the landlord.

    Leicester's choice based lettings scheme is called Leicester HomeChoice.

  3. Why are you advertising properties?
  4. We believe that Leicester HomeChoice is a much simpler and more flexible scheme than the traditional method of offering social housing properties. It is transparent and gives good information to customers. Applicants can see the results of properties let, which helps them to make informed choices. The Government also have a target for all councils to let their properties in this way by 2010.

  5. Whose properties are available through this scheme?
  6. Leicester HomeChoice is a partnership between Leicester City Council and the following Housing Associations:

    (Leicester HomeChoice is not responsible for the content and/or services on external websites)

    Advance Housing and Support

    Anchor East Midlands

    Asra Midlands Housing Association

    Central and Cecil Housing Trust (previously Cara Irish Housing)

    De Montfort Housing Society Ltd

    Derwent Living

    East Midlands Housing Association

    English Churches Housing Group

    Foundation Housing Association

    Friendship Care Housing (Longhurst Group)

    Hanover Housing Association

    Leicester Housing Associations Co-operative

    Leicester Newarke Housing Association

    Leicester Quaker Housing Association

    LHA-ASRA Group

    Midland Heart Housing Association

    Nottingham Community Housing Association

    Places for People Homes

    Raglan Housing Association

    Riverside Midlands Housing Association

    Spirita Limited

    Tuntum Housing Association

    William Sutton Housing Trust

  7. Is there any information for people whose first language is not English?
  8. This website can be translated using the Select Language drop-down at the bottom of the page.

    In Addition the Leicester HomeChoice Guide is available in various community languages and can be downloaded below. If you require the guide in a language that does not appear on the website please contact us.

    Gujarati

    Hindi

    Punjabi

    Somali

    Urdu

    Every attempt has been made to make the property adverts as easy to understand as possible, with the use of symbols to describe the property and facilities each property has.

  9. How can I apply for a home through Leicester HomeChoice?
  10. To apply for a home you need to register with us first by making an application to join Leicester City Council’s Housing Register.

    You can do this by completing our online form. Click on the 'Register' button at the top of this page.

    If you need any help with the online form please contact us on 0116 454 1008.

    Please note that there are restrictions on some people who can apply: You will be unable to use the service to apply for homes if:

    • Your housing registration has been cancelled.

    • You are excluded from appearing on the housing register (ie. due to your immigration status or because of antisocial behaviour).

    • Where it has been found you have given false or misleading information.

  11. What proofs do I have to provide with my application?
  12. The proofs you will have to provide in order for us to register your application will depend on your circumstances. All applicants will have to provide:

    Partners

    • If you are applying with your partner then you must both sign the form and it will be registered as a joint application. All proofs required for applicants will be needed for partners as well.

    Proof of Identity

    • One form of identification (this must be photographic identification, i.e. a passport, driving licence, age ID card, Immigration control documents)

    Two proofs confirming your current address, such as:

    • Utility bill less than three months old (e.g. gas, electricity, water)
    • Bank / Building Society statement
    • Proof of benefits (e.g. benefit book, JSA or relevant documentation)
    • Letter from official body (e.g. Council Tax, Housing Benefit, school, hospital, etc)
    • Other relevant documentation (e.g. mortgage statement, notice to quit, etc)
    • NHS medical card

    Some households may also have to provide the following:

    Household proofs

    • Annual Child Benefit letter for all dependent children living with you or recent bank statement less than three months old, if benefit paid straight into bank.
    • Benefit entitlement letter, wage slip or other official document for all non dependents living with you at your address.
    • Letter from other parent, or Solicitor or Court letter detailing overnight access, with Child Benefit proof for child.

    Proof of previous rent account

    • We require proof of the final balance of your rent account from any previous private, Council or Housing Association tenancy you have had. This includes hostel accommodation.
    • This can be a letter from the landlord or copy of rent book or final rent account statement.
    • (ex-Council tenants can call Customer Accounts on 0116 238 5444 to request a Rent Check).
    • We will require proof of any current rent account if you are made an offer of accommodation.

    Proof of pregnancy

    • If someone who is to be rehoused with you is pregnant, please provide Mat B1 or letter from doctor or midwife, after 20 weeks.

    The following proofs may be required in relation to your connection to Leicester:

    • Family connection - Proof of your relative’s residency in Leicester, and proof of your relative’s identification.
    • Work connection - A letter from your employer with details of your job, type of employment contract and confirmation of you are currently employed by them, or a dated contract of employment with your latest wage / salary slip.
    • Education - A letter from the university confirming your course details.

    Eligibility

    • By law the council cannot allocate properties to certain people who are ‘persons from abroad’. You will be required to provide documentary evidence of your eligibility if you are made an offer of accommodation.

  13. What happens after I register?
  14. Your application will be assessed and you will be placed in one of 5 bands in line with the allocations policy depending on your housing need and eligibility.

    You will be allocated a housing application reference number and security pin number which will be sent out to you via letter advising of your points levels. You must keep these details safe.

  15. How will I know what homes are available?
  16. Every week we will advertise available homes on www.leicesterhomechoice.co.uk and in the weekly vacancy list that will be available on request at Leicester City Council neighbourhood housing offices, Customer Service Centres, libraries and community centres. They will also be displayed at the Property Shop in Housing Options at Phoenix House, 1 King Street, Leicester.

  17. Will every available property be advertised?
  18. We will try to advertise all available properties via Leicester HomeChoice. However, there may be occasions when we cannot advertise a property and the property will be allocated directly. This will only happen in very special circumstances, such as a property being required to temporarily house a family because a fire has occurred in their current home.

  19. How do I apply for a property I am interested in?
  20. If you see a property you think might be suitable, you can apply for the property in several different ways:

    On the Internet:
    Go to the www.leicesterhomechoice.co.uk login page, enter your reference number and password. Each week you can apply for up to three properties that you wish to be considered for. The cycle is open from 6.00 am Wednesday to midnight the following Monday.
    By telephone:
    Call the Leicester HomeChoice Line on 0116 216 9777 from 6.00am Wednesday to midnight on Monday the following week.
    By Text:
    By texting your Housing Application number, your PIN and up to three property codes to 07624 806 960in the format: 215478#12345#12001#12005#12009
    By Interactive TV:
    By using your remote control and go to Local Television Services. Under Council Housing you will be able to place an interest in up to three properties per week you wish to be considered for.

    If you need help or do not have access to any of the above methods of applying for properties please contact us on 0116 454 1008.

  21. Can I apply for any property?
  22. No. You will only be able to apply for properties that suit your housing needs. For example, if you are a single person you will be eligible for a one bedroom property. The system will not allow you to apply for a property with more bedrooms than you are eligible for. Some properties will have restrictions such as:

    • Age restrictions for sheltered accommodation or bungalows.
    • Adaptations may be installed, so will have preference to those who require them.

    You will, however, be able to search and view all empty properties that are available for rent if you wish, even though you may not be able to apply for them.

  23. Can I apply for more than one property?
  24. Yes. You are permitted to apply for up to three properties per week that would meet the housing needs relating to your application.

  25. How long will I have to respond to an advert?
  26. The properties are advertised for six days from 6.00 am Wednesday to midnight the following Monday. It makes no difference at what time or day you apply for the property you are interested in it is not a first come, first served service.

  27. I have forgotten my password, what do I do?
  28. Using www.leicesterhomechoice.co.uk go to the ‘Forgotten PIN’ link on the login page. Alternatively, call the Tenants’ Advice Centre on 0116 454 1007.

  29. How are you going to decide who gets the property?
  30. Once the advertising cycle for the property has closed, a shortlist of customers who expressed an interest in the home will be produced and the property will be offered to the household that has been waiting the longest in the highest band and that is eligible for that property.

    If they refuse the property it will be offered to the next person on the list and so on.

  31. How will I know if I have been successful?
  32. When the cycle is completed we will only contact the applicants that have the highest priority at that time. We aim to contact the successful applicant as soon as possible after the end of the cycle and the offer will be put in writing. If the property is ready to let we will also contact the applicant by telephone.

  33. If I am offered a property, when will I be able to view it?
  34. We will arrange an accompanied viewing for you, after which an appointment will be made for you to sign for the tenancy. The tenancy will start on a Monday if it is a Leicester City Council property. If it is a Housing Association property the landlord will advise you accordingly.

  35. When I accept the offer when can I move in?
  36. This will depend on whether any necessary repair work is completed. We will let you know when you can view the property internally, and will arrange for you to move in as soon as is possible.

  37. What sort of tenancy will I be offered?
  38. All new tenancies offered by Leicester City Council are introductory tenancies that are limited for an initial 12 month period, but become secure tenancies after this time if the terms of tenancy have been kept to. Secure tenancies have the right to buy introductory tenancies do not.

    Housing Association tenancies are generally assured tenancies and do not carry the right to buy.

    Tenancies with HomeCome will be assured shorthold tenancies.

    Please Note:

    • HomeCome tenancies are not a Leicester City Council tenancy. Leicester City Council are only the Managing Agent for them.
    • TA HomeCome tenancy is not a SECURE tenancy but an assured short-hold tenancy.
    • A Homecome tenant does NOT have security of tenure like Leicester City Council Tenants.
    • Homecome tenants do NOT have the Right to Buy.
    • Homecome tenants do NOT have the Right to Exchange.

  39. If I have not been successful, will you tell me why?
  40. Unfortunately due to the numbers of households applying for properties it will not be practical to advise everyone where they have been unsuccessful. If you do not hear from us within seven days you have not been successful.

  41. What happens if I refuse an offer?
  42. Your application will remain in the same position as when you originally registered and you will be able to apply for further properties in the next week’s adverts.

    If you refuse three offers over a 12 month rolling period your application will be immediately suspended for 12 months. You will have a right to appeal in writing to the Property Lettings Team within 5 days of receipt of notification of the suspension. Your appeal will then be investigated and you will be contacted in writing within 10 days with the outcome of your appeal.

  43. How will I know what happened to the properties that were advertised?
  44. Feedback on properties offered will be published in the weekly vacancy list and be available on www.leicesterhomechoice.co.uk for people to view.

  45. How will knowing what happened to properties help me?
  46. By looking at the number of applicants who applied for a property and the points levels of the successful applicant, you will be able to see which types of property in which areas are in highest demand. The higher the numbers of people applying and the higher the points indicates that you will have to wait much longer to be successful for a property of this type in this area.

  47. What if I need a property with adaptations?
  48. Properties which have been adapted for disabled people will be advertised accordingly and they will be restricted to applicants who require those types of adaptations. In some cases an occupational therapist will assess the property to check that it is suitable for your needs prior to offer.

  49. Can I have a pet in my new home?
  50. Certain properties are considered unsuitable for pets. This will be highlighted by a symbol against the property advertised.

  51. What if I am homeless or in urgent need of housing?
  52. If you have nowhere to stay tonight, you should visit the Housing Options Centre at Phoenix House, 1 King Street as soon as you realise you have nowhere to stay The Housing Options Centre is open until 4.00 pm every weekday.

    If you are not homeless tonight but threatened with homelessness within the next month, you can get further advice from the Housing Options Centre on 0116 454 1008.

    If you have nowhere to stay at weekends or outside office hours, you will need to call Hostels Direct on one of the these numbers: 0116 221 1407 (families) or 0116 255 5152 (singles and couples).

    Further information can be found on Leicester City Council’s website: www.leicester.gov.uk/your-council-services/housing/homelessness

  53. What if I need help to fill in a form or find out about and apply for properties?
  54. Leicester HomeChoice want to ensure that the scheme is available to everyone. If you need help with the scheme, contact a local housing office or the Housing Options Centre. They will be able to advise you on how to look for properties, how to apply for them and how to fill in forms. Customer Services Centres and libraries will also be able to help you.

    If you need a higher level of support and you have no one at home who can assist you please contact us on 0116 454 1008.

  55. What are Age Designated properties?
  56. Some properties such as bungalows or sheltered accommodation may be Age Designated. This means priority may be given to applicants aged 60 years and over with general needs in the first instance, then applicants aged 55 years and over and so on, reducing in 5 year age bandings until let.

    Where the property is ground floor those applicants with ground floor requirements will be looked at prior to those with general needs whilst still working on an age basis.

  57. Where can I find more details about the Housing Allocations policy?
  58. Full details of the policy can be found on the Leicester City Council website.

  59. What will the Housing Benefit changes in 2012 mean if I am single and wish to bid for or accept an offer of a HomeCome property?
  60. The rent is advertised with the property. If you are entitled to Housing Benefit and are aged between 25 and 34, from the 1st January 2012 the shared room rate applies. This means you will be responsible for any shortfall in the rent. Consider this carefully when bidding for and accepting any offers of HomeCome accommodation.

    Further advice on benefits can be found on the Directgov Benefits Advisor website.

    The Money Advice Service website can also provide clear advice to help you manage your money.