Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and Your Housing Group have joined the Home-Options Partnership. The Council and Your Housing Group have introduced a new allocation policy and choice based lettings system, so existing Moorlands Homechoice applicants who still require social housing will need to register a new application with Home-Options.
Moorlands Homechoice applicants are encouraged to re-register as soon as possible to ensure that your new application is assessed before homes in the Staffordshire Moorlands start being advertised on the Home-Options website from 10 April 2017.
Until 10 April, the current Moorlands Homechoice system will still be advertising any available properties that we have. We will contact you if we are able to make you an offer of accommodation.
We have answers to some Frequently Asked Questions below.
Why do I need to re-register?
How do I apply?
We have changed the allocation policy so re-registering your application is the best way to make sure we have a correct record of your details. This means that we can accurately work out your housing priority and make sure that those who have the greatest need are given priority for housing.
Do I need to send supporting information?
Click the blue 'Register' button in the top right hand corner of the screen - this will take you to our online pre-assessment and housing application form.
You will need the following information in order to apply: full names and dates of births for everyone moving with you, and a National Insurance number for anyone aged 16 or over. You will also need details of current address and postcode, as well as details of everywhere you have lived over the past five years. You will also need contact details such as an email address and phone number. It is best to get this information together before you apply, although you can save the application form as you go through it, if you need to stop to go and find some information.
Self-serve computers are available in libraries or Staffordshire Moorlands District Council Connect Offices in Leek, Biddulph and Cheadle.
If you are unable to complete an online application or do not have someone to help you such as a family member or support worker, please call the Home-Options team at Your Moorlands on 01538 380600 option 1 for advice.
What happens once I have completed the form?
Yes, supporting information is needed to verify your application and make your new application ‘live’ so that you can ‘bid’ for properties. Your application will not be processed until proofs are received. The following information is required:
- Proof of identity for all household members - such as passport, drivers licence, photo ID, birth certificates, immigration papers
- Proof of current address - such as recent utility bill, council tax bill, tenancy agreement, mortgage statement
- If you have children on your application, proof that children are living with you - such as child benefit or child tax credit award letters, residency orders or statement of arrangements for the children following divorce proceedings.
Further information may be requested as necessary to verify your circumstances.
Please do not send original documents. Preferably, please scan your documents and email them to PropertyAdminMoorlands@yourhousinggroup.co.uk Alternatively you can post or take your documents to Your Moorlands Housing, Eaton House, Buxton Road, Leek ST13 6EQ
Will my priority for housing be the same?
If you haven't already sent your supporting information (proof of identity, address and children) then please send it as soon as possible. Your application will not be processed until it is received. If you have already sent your supporting information and you have not heard anything please be patient during the busy period of application processing. Between Monday 13th February 2017 and Monday 10th April 2017 all existing Moorlands Homechoice housing applicants will be re-registering on the new system.
In the meantime available properties will be advertised through Moorlands Homechoice and if you are registered bids will be placed on your behalf. If you may be threatened with homelessness and need further housing advice please contact the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council Housing Options service Tel: 0345 605 3010.
If you have provided proofs and not received any further information within 1 month please make enquiries with the Home Options team at Your Moorlands Tel: 01538 380600, Option 1 or email PropertyAdminMoorlands@yourhousinggroup.co.uk.
Will I lose my waiting time?
There is a possibility your band may change as your application will be assessed differently under the new policy. Under the old policy we took local connection into account in a different way.
You can see a copy of the Staffordshire Moorlands Home-Options Policy on the ‘Help’ page.
How has the allocation policy changed?
If your circumstances haven’t changed, then any waiting time you have accumulated will be transferred to your new application. Your ‘priority date’ replaces your application date and ‘band entered’ date.
What are the bandings?
There is a new qualification criterion. The Local Residency Requirement qualification criteria consider whether an applicant lives or works in, or has a connection to, the Staffordshire Moorlands area. There are some exemptions to the Local Residency Requirement for social housing tenants exercising their ‘Right to Move’, applicants from the armed forces or those fleeing domestic abuse.
Home-owners will not normally qualify to register unless their home is no longer suitable for them (for example, due to ill-health, disrepair, risk of losing home, or require Extra Care housing) and applicants with equity above £79,613.50 may receive lower priority for housing as they have equity they might use to resolve their own housing needs.
Applicants who owe more than £1,000 in rent arrears or debts associated with a former tenancy may not qualify to register; applicants who less than £1,000 may only be considered if they can demonstrate that they have a payment plan in place which they have stuck to for 14 weeks or more.
Applicants with a history of breaches of tenancy or anti-social or criminal behaviour may be excluded for a period of 12 months, until they can demonstrate that their behaviour has changed.
Once registered, is an applicant should be rehoused through Home Options they will be unable to rejoin Home Options within 2 years unless there are ‘significant changes’ in circumstance with housing need and priority for housing.
How many bedrooms will I be eligible for?
Applicants will be placed in one of four priority bands, depending upon their housing needs:
- Band A – (Emergency/Top Priority)
- Band B – (Urgent Need to Move)
- Band C – (Identified Housing Need)
- Band D - (Non-Priority Housing)
Full details of the priority bands are set out in the Home-Options allocations policy.
What do I do if I don’t think the assessment of my housing situation is correct?
Children will need a bedroom of their own when;
- Children of seven years or older are sharing with a sibling of the opposite sex, and
- Children of ten years or more who are sharing with a same-sex sibling but where there is a five year difference
Where a household includes a pregnant woman, household size will be assessed upon the current members of the household only. Once we are notified that the baby has been born, the applicant’s household size will be re-assessed to take account of the unborn child.
Additional bedroom need can be awarded for medical needs, a carer or approved foster parents.
I need to move before 10 April. What should I do?
Please read the Staffordshire Moorlands Home-Options Policy first, which explains how we decide upon your housing priority. If you still do not think your priority is correct, then please contact the Home-Options Team at Your Housing Group to discuss your concerns.
How does the Home-Options system work?
We will continue to allocate homes under the Moorlands Homechoice system until 10 April 2017. If we have a property for you before then we will contact you to discuss the offer.
If you may be threatened with homelessness or are worried about homelessness please contact the Housing Options Service at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council on 0345 605 3010 for further advice.
Do I need to bid?
Home-Options works in a similar way the Homechoice system. We will advertise properties and you will be able to bid for those you want.
For more information about how Home-Options works, please see the ‘Help’ page.
Can I bid on properties in other areas?
Yes, properties will be advertised on any week day (Monday/ Tuesday/ Wednesday/ Thursday/ Friday) from midnight and will be advertised for 7 full days.
Please note there is no ‘auto-bid’ assisted bidding function on Home-Options. You will need to look for the properties and place bids yourself (you can set up a ‘property alert’ email so you don’t miss the property you are looking for – see the green box on the Home-Options homepage).
If you will need help with bidding and do not have a family member or support worker to help you, please contact the Home-Options team at Your Housing Group on 01538 380600 (Option 1) for assistance.
How are properties allocated?
Yes, from 10 April 2017 you will be able to bid on properties in Amber Valley, Derbyshire Dales, Erewash and High Peak. Please note however, that people with a local connection to those areas will be considered first. People from those areas will also be able to bid on properties in Staffordshire Moorlands, but we will always give first priority to those people with a local connection to the Staffordshire Moorlands.
How long will I have to wait before I'm re-housed?
After the properties have been advertised the list of applicants who have placed a ‘bid’ on each property will be shortlisted.
Applicants who have a local connection to Staffordshire Moorlands will be considered first. Then we look at the household in the most housing need (i.e. with the highest band) and who has the earliest priority date. The successful applicant will be contacted for a verification interview before an offer is made.
Should there be no-one with a local connection to the Staffordshire Moorlands local authority area, then applicants with a local connection to other Derbyshire local authority areas within the Home Options area will be considered. If there is no-one from within the Home Options sub region, then any other applicants who are registered with Home Options may be considered.
That depends upon the type of property you need and where you would like to live. One bedroom flats, two bedroom bungalows, four bedroom houses and properties that are adapted for people with a disability, tend to be in short supply.
Feedback information will be published after bidding ends informing applicants about the number of bids that a property received, the priority band of the successful applicant and how long that person had been waiting. This information should help inform applicants about how long they may have to wait and how popular properties are within any given area.
Properties will be advertised every Thursday at Midday and end on the following
Wednesday at 4.00pm
Property of the week
Moorlands Court Biddulph ST8 6DL (Over 55's only)
2nd floor or higher Flat with 1 bedrooms (£122.72 rent per week)
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Are you worried about homelessness?
If you think you may be threatened with being homeless or are worried about homelessness contact the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s Housing Advice Team.
The Housing Advice Team offer advice about housing and housing related problems. Some areas of work include dealing with tenancy problems, unlawful eviction, mortgage and rent arrears, debt and relationship breakdown etc.
The team can help you to explore available housing options; remain in your current accommodation if appropriate and consider alternative temporary and permanent accommodation.
A homelessness application and any legal duties will be considered as appropriate.
The team can also help you to access appropriate housing related support such as independent money and debt advice that can help to maintain accommodation.
The Housing Advice Team are available on tel: 0345 605 3012, early advice and assistance can help to prevent homelessness.
Are you worried about the condition of a private sector property?
The Environmental Health Team provide advice on a range of private sector housing issues, including help for tenants and landlords, guidance on health and safety and repairs in private housing, energy efficiency and the North Staffordshire Landlord Accreditation Scheme.
Advice and financial assistance may be available for people in private housing to maintain or improve their homes or make adaptations for disabled householders.