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Frequently Asked Questions

 

We have listed below those questions that are frequently asked by applicants that contact us however, if you have any other questions that aren’t listed and/or you are still unsure, then please do not hesitate to Contact Us here.

With only around 1,200 social rented properties becoming available each year and between 30-40 applicants chasing each vacancy sadly, only those who have been assessed as having a statutory housing need are likely to access social housing. This means that many people will need to find alternative accommodation. Before submitting a housing application, you may wish to find out about the range of housing that is available by visiting the Your Housing Options page
The Council is required by Government to give a higher housing priority for those applicants who are homeless, overcrowded or in poor or unsatisfactory housing; or need to move on medical or welfare grounds; or need to move to a particular locality to avoid hardship. For those applicants who have been assessed as having one of the above statutory housing preferences, they will be awarded either band A, B or C depending on their housing need.
Applicants without a local connection will not be accepted onto the register. To establish a local connection you must fulfil one of the following: • have lived within the area for at least 6 out of the last 12 months or 3 out of the last 5 years • have immediate family (mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter) who are currently living in the area and have done so for at least the last 5 years • have a permanent contract of employment in the area • have other significant reasons why they need to live in the area (e.g. to give or receive support from a family member who does not fulfil the above criteria) In accordance with the Armed Forces Covenant for Cheshire West and Chester, those who are serving or have served in the Armed Forces are not required to demonstrate a local connection. Furthermore in November 2014, changes to the Allocations Policy were approved by the Council to include ex-spouses and civil partners of Armed Forces personnel within this group who do not require local connection to apply.
If you have rent arrears in either your current or previous tenancy, then you will need to make an arrangement to reduce your rent arrears by contacting your landlord. If your rent arrears are £500 or more this may result in you being excluded from the housing register however, before we exclude a person from the housing register, we would take into consideration the following: - Could you afford to pay the rent? - Were you employed or were you receiving housing benefit which was sufficient to pay the rent? We will not penalise customers where the tenancy was unaffordable, unless they took on the tenancy knowing this to be the case; - Did you do anything, or fail to do anything, which meant you did not secure the income to pay the rent? If you failed to return information to housing benefit, was this because you did not understand the requirements? - Could you have reasonably been expected to pay the rent? We will not penalise you if you are fleeing domestic violence for arrears which arose after you left the tenancy, or during the time of the tenancy if you could not reasonably have been expected to secure payment of the rent and; - All other mitigating circumstances put forward by you. If you are excluded from the housing register as a result of your rent arrears you will be advised to contact your landlord to arrange to repay your arrears. Please be advised that you can reapply to come onto the housing register however, you will be expected to prove that you have made regular payments towards the debt for at least six months and have cleared 50% of the outstanding debt before you could reapply to come on to the housing register.
To apply for social housing you will need to complete an online application form.

 

The online application form will initially ask for information about yourself and other people in your household as well as your previous addresses, current housing circumstances and any other information which affects your housing situation such as medical information. You will be advised of all your housing options based on the information you have submitted.
We need you to provide any supporting evidence (for example proof of ID) as we are unable to do this on your behalf because of the rules around data protection. The data protection rules are there to protect your personal data this means that you and only you can ask organisations to provide information to us. Please be advised that we will be unable to process your housing application without your evidence meaning you will not be able to join the housing register or bid for vacant properties.
Please be advised that the assessment process will take approximately 28 days however, this is dependent on you providing all the necessary information to support your application. It is important that you provide any necessary information to support your application before you submit your application as you will be unable to log back into your account or bid for properties until your housing application has been assessed.
It is important that you tell us of any changes in your circumstances so that your application can be amended, you can do this online, via your login. After you submit a change of circumstances form you will not be able to bid on vacant homes whilst we reconsider your eligibility and priority. This delay should be no longer than 5 working days.
A bid is an expression of interest, a way of telling us that you wish to be considered for one or more vacant properties that are being advertised. You will only be considered for properties if you actively bid and you can only bid for up to three properties in any bidding cycle. This is where West Cheshire Homes is different from traditional waiting lists where you apply and wait to receive an offer.
The word ‘bid’ means that you are interested in a property advertised on the web site and wish to be considered for the property. It does not mean that you will be offered the property, you are just expressing that you wish to be considered for the property.

You can only bid for up to three properties in any bidding cycle and you must also make sure that you are eligible for the property that you are bidding on. The property ‘adverts’ on the web site will explain if there is any restriction on who can bid for the properties. For example some properties are only for people over the age of 55 years.

You can see current available properties on our View Homes
page. You can bid On-line:

Bid on-line by logging into your account once you are registered. Select 'Login' on the top right and enter your email address and password. You will then go directly to the 'My details page'. Here you will see your contact details and you have the option to amend if necessary.

Select 'Take a look' and you can see the properties available and those that you are eligible for. To view a property select interested in and place a bid if applicable. Once you place a bid on a property it will show as 'Bid Made'. If you change your mind you can select the property and remove the bid. This can only be done when the bidding cycle is open.

 

NEW - West Cheshire Homes App

If you have a smartphone, you can now download the FREE West Cheshire Homes App for Android and iPhones making it even easier to bid for affordable homes in West Cheshire and Chester.

Remember, data charges may apply so always check with your mobile provider

Download for Android


Download for iPhone

 

What can you do on the app?

 

You can view adverts, bid for homes and update your contact details (phone numbers and e-mail)

 

What can't you do on the app?

 

You will not be able to register for West Cheshire Homes using the app nor will you be able to use the app when reporting a change in your circumstances.
You can bid for a maximum of three properties in each weekly cycle. When you place a bid the system will show how many other applicants have already bid for the property and your queue position for that property. You can change your bids at any point while the weekly bidding cycle is open and you should only place bids on properties that you are interested in. If there are no properties that you like that week then you do not have to place any bids except for Homeless (Band A) applicants who are expected to bid for suitable properties.
You can get feedback about a previous property that you have bid on by logging into your account and clicking on: ‘Your account’. You will be able to see ‘your current bids’ and a summary of ‘your previous bids’. Then click ‘show all previous bids’ to see all the properties you have bid on, how many bids there were, your approximate rank on the shortlist and an update on the allocation of the property.
When a property has been advertised on the West Cheshire Homes website in the usual way for two weeks and the landlord has not been successful in finding a new tenant the properties can be advertised as Ready Now .

You will find links below which will take you directly to the Ready Now pages on the landlord's websites.

Properties advertised as Ready Now can be let to anyone who is interested who the landlord thinks will be a suitable tenant. There are no waiting lists and you do not need to be on the housing register. If you are interested in a Ready Now property please contact the landlord directly.

Ready Now properties can found by clicking on the following links:

Weaver Vale Housing Trust (Northwich, Winsford, Frodsham, Helsby and rural areas).
Sanctuary Housing (Chester and Chester villages)

 

** Please be advised that “Ready Now” properties may not be available immediately. Verification checks may be required.

Most properties are advertised. Some are not and are allocated directly (these are known as direct lettings) in the event of an emergency situation, for example for victims of fire or flood, or where a sensitive allocation is required.
No. This is because some properties will only be available for some groups of people, for example properties designed for older people will be identified to show that only people over a particular age can apply. You will also only be able to bid for properties which meet your bedroom requirements. The property adverts will state the criteria of people who will be considered.
A shortlist, which is a list of applicants that have placed bids on each property advertised, is produced when the weekly cycle closes. West Cheshire Homes will put applicants in order of the criteria identified in each of the adverts. Usually this will be priority banding and date, for example applicants in band A will be listed first, followed by those in band B. Some properties however may be advertised to applicants in a particular band, in which case applicants in that band would be listed first for that particular property.
You should contact our Housing Options Service on 0300 123 2442 and select option 2 to discuss your circumstances with one of our advisors. Your advisor will work with you to try to prevent you becoming homeless and will discuss your housing options with you. You may still bid for properties through West Cheshire Homes, providing your application has been accepted on the housing register but it may be possible to prevent you from becoming homeless through alternative solutions.
If you or someone in your household has a medical condition you will be asked to provide details which will be assessed in accordance with the medical criteria detailed in our Allocations Policy. A medical priority is only awarded when there is a direct link between an individual’s health and the property in which they live. If you are assessed as having a medical priority you will be awarded either an urgent or high medical housing need which will be dependent upon the type of health condition you have. You can continue to choose which properties to bid for but you must be mindful of your health condition, for example you should not bid for houses if your medical priority has been awarded due to an inability to manage stairs.
If you wish to move on medical grounds you will need to provide evidence of your medical condition. Ideally, you should provide us with a letter from your GP however, if your GP is unable to provide this to you without you having to pay for this, then we will accept any of the following: - Health professional letter – the letter must detail how your current accommodation is making your medical condition worse and how you need to be rehoused on health grounds. - Proof of medication / treatment – this can be a copy of a prescription and/or a letter confirming your attendance of treatment. - Proof of diagnosis – this could be the results of a recent test such as: an MRI scan or a letter confirming your appointment to see an oncologist for instance. - Copy of PIP award – this must detail the results of your assessment and the reasons for the award - Community Mental Health Team – the letter must detail how your current accommodation is making your medical condition worse and what measures would be required in your new home to meet your medical needs. - Proof of Disability Benefit - Signed letter from carer / relative / friend - Letter of support from your Housing Management Officer – this may be required if you are currently housed in existing social housing and you wish to move. Please be advised that it is your responsibility to provide the information to support your medical condition as we are unable to award a medical priority without this.
If you require an additional bedroom for your child, then we will only award a priority for this if your child lives with you for at least 50% of the time. You will also need to provide us with evidence that your child resides with you such as: - Proof of Child Benefit - A letter from the Family Court confirming that your child will reside - Residence Order or other supporting documentation to confirm long term guardianship. Please note that any allocation of property would be assessed for affordability at point of offer.