While being shortlisted for council or social housing is an indicator of being considered for a tenancy offer; however, the time that it takes from being shortlisted to receiving an offer will depend on the priority band assigned to an individual. Through this blog post, we aim to learn how long shortlisting takes if a council/social housing application is using the Home Options Partnership scheme. Additionally, we will also assess the parameters that can potentially reduce the shortlisting process; as well as learn about the steps after being shortlisted for council/social housing.

How Long Does Shortlisting Take at Home Options?

Once the bidding cycle completes, it usually takes a few days for the Home Options staff to compile their list of eligible candidates for housing based on their priority ranking.

The Home Options partnership includes councils and housing associations across Amber Valley, Chesterfield, Derbyshire Dales, Erewash, High Peak and Staffordshire Moorlands which aim to provide affordable housing options to their districts.

Eligible candidates can register online at the Home Options website. If their application is approved, candidates will then be able to view available properties that they can bid on. If their bid is successful, candidates will be shortlisted for housing. 

Whether or not you will be shortlisted for the next stage in the process of getting a council house will depend on:

  • the band assigned to you by council authorities 
  • your queue position with the assigned band
  • your effective date for being assigned the priority band

This means that the length of time that you have spent in a higher priority band increases your chances of being ranked higher in the shortlist of eligible candidates for housing and subsequently being offered a tenancy.

Individuals with emergency needs such as medical conditions or disabilities will have a higher bidding queue position and will be shortlisted earlier than their counterparts. They will be allotted Band A and placed on the highest priority rank. Meanwhile, those who may have less extraordinary circumstances will be assigned Band B. The shortlisting of candidates eligible for council or social housing will continue in decreasing order of priority until Band D.

Additionally, if a candidate has a local connection to the area in which they’ve applied for council or social housing; their priority band will be increased, making it easier for them to be shortlisted earlier. Having a local connection primarily means that a housing applicant either lives in the area in which they’ve applied for social or council housing, they come to the area for work purposes or they are taking care of someone who lives in the area.

In order to learn whether you have been shortlisted for the Home Options council property, registered applicants will need to check their Home Options account by logging into their website.

How Can I Be Shortlisted Earlier For Council Housing?

To improve their bidding position and chances of being shortlisted earlier, applicants may follow the tips given here:

  • Remain open and flexible by considering the housing options made available versus what you have applied for.  If you have requested a three-bedroom council house in your application while you are being offered a two-bedroom one, do consider it for the time being if possible and swap it later on. 
  • Communicate with the council regularly to make sure that changes to your living conditions or employment status are shared with them as they have an impact on your housing needs. 
  • Confirm your band allotment by checking whether you have been assigned the correct band based on the information that you have provided. If you disagree with your band allotment, you can provide evidence and negotiate with the authorities to increase your priority level.
  • Use your housing bids wisely. Applicants can bid thrice per advertising cycle. You must make the best use of this window of opportunity to bid on suitable properties so that a higher number of bids lead you to more options to choose from. 

What Happens After Being Shortlisted?

After being shortlisted, applicants will undergo a verification process for which they will be asked to furnish official documents to provide proof of:

  • residence
  • identity
  • income from earnings and benefits
  • National Insurance number
  • current account deposit and savings
  • dependents and non-dependents
  • discharge papers from the British Armed Forces (if applicable)

Assuming that the verification check has been successful, the council will then invite the applicant for an in-person visit to the council property; starting with the applicant with the top bidding queue position in the highest priority band. This is followed by an offer made by the council (or housing association; as the case may be). 

Should you accept the offer, you will be asked to sign an acceptance slip that mentions the following information:

  • your name
  • the address of your new council house
  • the date your tenancy starts

After that, a tenancy agreement will be drawn up and you will be informed of the rent deposit amount as well as the monthly rental payment.

Conclusion:

The above discussion makes it quite clear that even though shortlisting make takes a few days after the bidding cycle is complete, eligible candidates who remain higher in the priority rank once the names of all eligible candidates across all priority bands are compiled will be considered to be shortlisted for viewing the property and eventually being offered to the council or social housing proeprty for tenancy.

FAQs: How Long Does Shortlisting Take at Home Options?

What does it mean to be shortlisted for housing?

Being shortlisted for council housing means that out of all the applicants who have placed bids on the property, some of them have been selected on the basis of their rank on the priority list and how far back their council housing application is dated. These selected candidates will be considered as being shortlisted to be assessed on personal and financial grounds before being assigned council property to live in.

What happens when you are shortlisted for a council property?

If you are shortlisted for a council property, you will receive a notification on checking into the bidding website. Additionally, you may also receive an email, text message or phone call to confirm the same. You may be asked to share certain documents for a financial assessment or visit the property.

How long does it take to hear back after bidding on a house?

It generally takes 24 to 72 hours for an agent, landlord or your local council office to inform you if they have accepted your bid. However, it may take a little more time than this if there are other applicants in a higher priority band as compared to you.

What does your queue position mean on council bidding? 

Once you bid on a council housing property, you will be shown your queue position. This is an indicator of your ranking on the priority list for council housing. Your queue position can change at the end of the bidding process and even due to a change in your circumstances over a period of time.

Why has my bid skipped?

A bid may be skipped due to rental debts, antisocial behaviour, an excess in income or capital or the inability to afford rent on the part of the tenant. This means that the bid is being ignored by authorities and is being offered to someone in a lower priority rank.

References:

Home Options

Bidding and Shortlisting – Wiltshire

Shortlisting & Offers – Homechoice

Housing verification checks | Harlow Council

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