|We are currently receiving much higher volumes of housing applications than normal. We assess applicants' housing need for admission to the Housing Register as quickly as practicable. At present, housing needs assessments are taking about four weeks. If you have submitted an application or supporting information within this timescale, please refrain from chasing - the council is receiving much greater volumes of calls and emails than prior to the pandemic.|
How does Homebid work?
Under Homebid you still have to be accepted onto our housing register. Instead of waiting until you are offered a home, you can play an active role in finding yourself a home.
Empty social housing properties are advertised each week on the Homebid website. Newsletters will be made available at lots of places within the area.
Using Homebid website, you can find out about the area the home is in including schools, shops, and bus routes. The website shows pictures of features and facilities, as well as a photograph of the property (where available). Adverts for properties include information to help you know whether the home is suitable for you. An advert for a three bedroom house might say people with two or more children are most likely to be offered the home.
If you want to be re-housed, you will need to look at the adverts each week to see if there is a suitable home. If there is, you will need to bid for it. Bidding does not mean putting down money - the term bidding is used to mean 'show an interest in'. There are different ways to bid including through the website, by telephone or by text message. People who need extra help with bidding can ask another person to place their bids for them.
Adverts are live between 12:01 am on Thursday morning and midnight on Monday. This gives applicants five days to put their bids on each week. You will have the opportunity to place a maximum of one bid every bidding cycle. After bidding has closed the applicants for each property are shortlist based on their housing need band and waiting time. The applicant with the highest need band and longest waiting time will be offered the property. At this time eligibility will then be checked. The applicant will be able to look at the home and decide if they want to accept it. If they do not accept the home it will be offered to the next highest person on the shortlist. Applicants will only be made three reasonable offers of accommodation. If a third property is turned down, the applicant will be demoted into Band 3 for 12 months.
The advantage of using Basingstoke's Homebid is that customers have more choice over the homes and areas they live in. The council will still take into account an applicant's level of need for housing when assessing their application,
Basingstoke Homebid is now active. Visit Homebid and log in to your account to see properties being advertised.
While the bidding process is the same as it was prior to the pandemic, the way in which you will be offered and view properties will differ.
We will continue to review government guidance as it develops. In the event of a return to stricter measures as a result of a local or national worsening of the pandemic, we may need to consider a further pause on advertising.
For further information, please take a look at the FAQs below:
- Will there be any changes to how I bid?
No. The bidding cycles will return as they were previously. You will have one bid each week.
- What should I consider before I bid?
Consider whether you would be in a position to move if you were offered a property.
If you are shielding, the government advice is that you should stay at home with the exception leaving the house for exercise once a day. It would not be advisable to move other than in an emergency.
You will also need to ensure that you have your rent in advance . Details of the amount of rent in advance required are contained in the individual property adverts.
- I was offered a property just before lockdown. When will I hear from the housing association?
Most housing associations are now in a position to resume lettings for properties advertised prior to the end March. You can contact the housing association for more information.
- How will I be offered a property and how will I view it?
Each housing association has developed its own processes for letting during the pandemic. This is to ensure compliance with government guidance and to manage the risk to staff and residents.
If you bid successfully, you will be contacted by the relevant housing association. They will explain their specific process with you.
You can expect some/all of the following measures to be in place:
- Telephone/digital pre tenancy assessments.
- Virtual viewings with a video of the property.
- Requesting that photo ID is provided digitally (photo/scan via email).
- Tenancy agreements sent and signed digitally, for example via DocuSign/PDF.
- Use of key safes.
- Telephone/digital pre tenancy assessments.
- I don't have access to technology, how will I be offered a property?
Each housing association will have its own policy on this. If you are unable to complete all or part of the process digitally, speak to the housing association.
Where a physical viewing or sign up needs to take place the following may apply.
- Ensuing that appropriate social distancing is maintained.
- Use of key safes.
- Wearing appropriate PPE.
- Being asked to enter the property alone. The housing officer will wait outside and answer any questions form a safe distance.
- Ensuing that appropriate social distancing is maintained.
- I have been offered a property. What if I or a member of my household is displaying symptoms of COVID-19?
You and members of your household should self-isolate in line with government guidance. You should contact the housing association and advise them that you are self-isolating.
- Where can I get further advice?
If your query relates to a specific property please contact the relevant housing association.
To speak to the council’s housing team please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01256 844844.
- How can I apply for properties through Basingstoke and Deane Homebid?
Before you are offered a property you may be asked to provide documents to support your application. You will be told what to provide and when. All documents provided must be originals, up to date and valid.
- How do I know if I have been accepted onto the housing register?
You will receive a letter confirming that you have been accepted onto the housing register. This will tell you the band you have been placed in, the date your application has been registered from and the size of property you are eligible for.
- Can you refuse to accept me onto the housing register?
There are some people who are not eligible to be included on the housing register, such as people with no resource to public funds. If we cannot accept your application you will be provided with a full explanation.
- Do I move up bands automatically?
No. Your position within your band may improve as other applicants above you are re-housed and you may move bands if your circumstances change, however this is not automatic.
- What if my circumstances change?
It is very important that you tell us of any changes in your circumstances so that we can amend your application.
- Do I need to renew my application each year?
Yes, normally on the anniversary of your application you will be prompted to complete an online re-registration form.
- How long will I have to wait until I am re-housed?
It is not possible to give a time. To get an approximate idea of likely waiting times you should look at the recent lets to see the bands and effective dates of applicants who have recently been offered a home you would like. You can increase your chances of being re-housed more quickly by broadening your areas and property types.
- How many homes are advertised through Basingstoke and Deane Homebid?
It is not possible to say as this will change each week. However, all 'general needs' homes will be advertised within the week they become available.
- How often are properties advertised?
Properties available for rent are advertised each week.
- Where are properties advertised?
Properties are advertised in the following ways:
- On the Homebid website
- In a newsletter available to view at various locations around the borough.
- What information will the property adverts contain?
The adverts will tell you the landlord, location, size, rent and other features of the property. Where available a photograph of the property or a similar house type will be provided and you will be able to access information about the local area and facilities. The advert will also tell you if there are any special requirements that the applicant must meet, such as age requirements, which bands may bid for the property and which will be given priority for the property. It also tells you the number of bedrooms that applicants applying for the property need to be entitled to. If your bedroom entitlement is different to this you will not be able to bid for that property.
- How do I apply for a property?
You can do this either through the Homebid website using the property search, on the phone number 0300 011 2460 or by text to 07781 482317. Each housing applicant has an identification number which we have given, which is used to log on to the website or enter when you bid by telephone or text. Each property also has a reference number which you use to make sure you have put a bid on the property you are interested in. The computer, phone or text system will confirm your bids have been successfully placed.
- How many properties can I express an interest in?
You will be able to express an interest in one property each time properties are advertised. However, you will only be able to express interest in properties that are suitable for your family.
- How long will I have to bid for a property?
Properties will be advertised from midnight on a Wednesday and you will be able to register your interest in a property up until midnight the following Monday.
- What help can I get if I cannot bid for myself?
If you are not able to place bids for yourself, you can ask someone to bid on your behalf, such as a friend, relative or support worker. If you are unable to place bids for yourself and unable to ask someone to help you, please let us know.
- Will I know how many other people are interested in the same property?
Yes, when you bid for a property you will be told where you are in the queue. This is likely to change frequently due to other people bidding for the same property. Using this information you may decide to withdraw your bid for one property and bid for a different property for which you are higher placed in the queue. You can do this at any time before the closing date.
- How do you decide who is offered a property?
Once the closing date for bids has passed a shortlist of interested applicants is drawn up. The shortlist is in order of eligibility according to the criteria stated in the advert details for that property. The applicant at the top of the list will normally be offered the property.
- Are there any reasons why a landlord might refuse to accept me?
Landlords carry out their own checks on the people who have successfully bid for a home. They look in to things such as if you have any rent arrears and if so how much, and if you have been involved in any anti-social behaviour. They will also ask for a reference from your current landlord. It is possible that as a result of looking in to these things they may decide not to offer the home to you.
- If I am offered a property, will I be able to view it before making up my mind?
Yes. You will be given an opportunity to view the property and decide whether you would like to accept it.
- Can I keep placing bids if I have already been offered a home?
No. If we offer you a property you will not be shortlisted for any other properties until you have made a decision on the first offer.
- What if I don't like the property when I have seen it?
You are able to receive three reasonable offers before your application is demoted for 12 months. You will need to consider very carefully before refusing any offers made to you
- How will I know what has happened to the properties advertised?
The recent lets page of the Homebid website gives feedback about the lettings. This includes how many bids were placed and general information about the bidder, such as the number of points that person had and how long they had been waiting.
This will give you a better idea of how popular a particular property type or area is and how long you would normally have to wait. You can then decide whether to look for other types of property or areas, or whether to consider other housing options such as to rent privately
- What other options are there for housing?
There is a shortage of social housing in Basingstoke and Deane. Most applicants on the Housing Register will have to wait a long time for re-housing. Depending on your circumstances you may wish to consider other options such as renting in the private sector.
- How do I request a review of a decision?
Applicants have the right to request a review of any aspect of their housing application assessment made by the council. Requests for a review should be made in writing, including electronically by sending a message to the Housing Team, by telephone or verbally within 21 days of the original notification of the decision. Ideally requests for review should be addressed to a housing officer. The review will be carried out by an officer who was not involved in the original decision and you will be advised of the outcome of the review within 56 days (unless agreed otherwise between the applicant and the reviewing officer).
Own Home Loan
What is the Own Home Loan Scheme?
Basingstoke and Deane Own Home Loan scheme is aimed at people living or working within the borough, to assist them to take their first steps on the property ladder.
The scheme is modelled on the Government’s existing Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme, but the Own Home Loan scheme allows successful applicants to purchase existing homes, not simply new build properties.
A total of £580,000 has been made available from the council’s unspent affordable housing contributions, which will allow for up to 20 households to borrow up to £30,000.
The application period for the scheme started on 24 January 2020 and lasted for eight weeks closing on 20 March 2020.
There was a healthy demand for the scheme, with over 80 applications in total.
I applied for the scheme, what happens next?
Applicants who met the qualification criteria are now being contacted – with the 20 applicants aged under 35 with the earliest housing register application date being awarded initial priority for the scheme.
The remaining applicants who met the qualification criteria will be placed onto a reserve list.
We partnered with Parity Trust to deliver the scheme, and they will be conducting independent financial assessments on the successful applicants to enable them to secure a mortgage.
We will also remain in close contact with successful applicants to assist them in the purchase of their first property.