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Choice Based Letting Coronavirus FAQs

Choice Based Letting FAQs - Moving on to the next phase

On 21st May the Government issued updated guidance on how social housing landlords can manage their allocation and lettings processes so that moving home can resume and can happen safely.    

We are pleased to advise that we are taking the first steps in re-opening our choice based letting service. Thank you for your patience during this time and working with us to keep everyone safe.

Further details are available here: www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak#social-landlords

Q, Is the Choice Based Lettings (CBL) website, Finding a Home (FaH), open?
A. This will reopen on 3rd June, and there will be a fortnightly cycle until July when it will return to weekly whilst the team work on pre- allocated and those non- essential moves that were previously paused. You can still log onto the website to find useful information within the FAQ-s in budgeting advice when thinking about moving and what to expect from a council home www.findingahometamworth.co.uk. We recognise this may be an worrying time for some people and we will be working differently to prevent the spread of the Covid19.

Q. What if I have been already been offered a property?
A. You will now be contacted by the team as soon as the property is ready for re-letting to honour pre-lock down allocations.  Please bear with us as we have over 20 households to contact so this will be done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Q. Will you need to ask health questions?
A. Yes. We will need to discuss with you your current health, whether you or a member of your household are self-isolating or shielding. If you are unable to move due to self-isolation we will hold the property for you.

Q. Will I/we be able to view the property?
A. Currently the team are working towards a digital focus to comply with Government advice.  We need to work differently to keep you and our staff safe and alert. We have moved to e- sign ups and pass locks on properties. We are also pleased to announce that instead of accompanied viewings we will be trying to facilitate a virtual viewing. Where we have photographs and/or video footage of properties, we will email this to you so you can have a virtual look; currently we do not have this detail on all our stock – but it is something we are committed to developing very soon and will email you details if you are allocated as soon as we are able.

Q. What if I have been nominated for a housing association property?
A. They will contact you directly and discuss moving arrangements with you.

Q. I am eligible for sheltered accommodation, can I still move if I am allocated a property?
A. At present sheltered lettings will resume on 2nd June, however, they will be dealt with on a case by case basis due to some residents shielding or being clinically vulnerable. In conjunction with the relevant scheme manager we will be working closely with you to ensure the move takes place in the safest way possible.

Q. Are the Tinkers Green and Kerria sites included in this and what if I have been allocated a property?
A. Any new build properties that have already been pre-allocated have been honoured to ensure everyone who has already accepted a property can move. The building site has now re-opened and any pre-allocations will be contacted by the team.

Q. Moving out, how will property inspections work?
A. You will be asked to email in photos of your home and the team will talk through each room. If you have made any alterations and /or there is any damage to the property that hasn’t been addressed before you leave you may face a recharge for the council to undertake putting the property back to its original condition on your behalf.

Q. How do I drop my keys off as the Council office is still closed?
A. Tenants are advised to sign a disclaimer ( a letter agreeing that we can dispose of  any left items and that you agree to a recharge for the council to remove these), the name of the utility suppliers and  the location and type of meters. Post the keys through the letter box of Marmion House ready for us to process. Please ensure you return any communal door entry keys and fobs.

Q. How will I sign for my new tenancy?
A. We are excited to say that the new ‘contactless sign up’ trialled during the pausing of our lettings worked well.  We are keeping this going forward. This is now being completed with our e-tenancy form and you will also receive a moving in pack which the team will be happy to go through with you once you have moved in. The Council will give you a pass code to operate your contactless sign up as soon as the e-tenancy arrangements have been confirmed.

Q. If I am an accepted homeless case can I bid?
A. Yes you can from 3rd June, if you are an accepted homeless case and in a high need then you will be offered one suitable offer of accommodation.  If you have been accepted as homeless then please talk to your homeless officer who will discuss your housing options with you.

Where moves do go ahead, all those involved should take care to follow Government guidance here: www.gov.uk/government/publications

Q. Is the Council’s new Allocations Policy still going ahead following correspondence I have received?
A. Yes at present the Council is still on target to deliver the implementation of this for 10th June 2020.  This project is now gaining pace and is still on target to be delivered and implemented for said date.

Q. Can I still apply to be on the Council’s housing register at this time?
A. Yes you can. In fact again we are pleased to say that new e-application form launched during the pausing of lettings has worked really well.  Our register remains open as normal and you can contact by telephone, email and web chat. We’re pleased to say that we do not currently have a backlog so will aim (if you provide all necessary details) to register your application as soon as we can.

Q. What if I have a change of circumstances to my housing, how can I complete a change of circumstances form?
A. This is now also online; and can be completed online and submitted. If you are not online then please call 01827 709 709, option 9, to talk to the team.

Q. Are you still letting garages?
A. Yes. As from 3rd June we will restart advertising garages, a reduced number to begin with grouped in locations. If you are interested in renting one you can register on line and place a bid.

Q. Can I mutual exchange?
A. Yes, we are able to resume accepting mutual exchange applications.

May saw the successful bid from House Exchange for the council’s mutual exchange website service provider contract. 

We have partnered with House Exchange who are an exciting online mutual exchange service helping tenants swap homes with other council or housing association tenants throughout the UK. The new service will be launched on Monday 1st June 2020.

All existing tenants previously registered with Homeswapper have been contacted to advise them of the new website service.  

Q. What will happen with my account with Homeswapper?
A. Tenants’ accounts held with Homeswapper will close. If you decide to remain with Homeswapper there will be a charge

Q. How will House Exchange work?
A. From 1st June 2020 tenants can join House Exchange by visiting the website www.houseexchange.org.uk and follow the simple screen steps. Tamworth Borough Council will continue to offer this online service to its tenants FREE of charge.

Q. What if I had submitted a mutual exchange application before the service was paused?
A. The team will be in touch and discuss your individual circumstances with you.

Q. I have found a home to swap with; can I view it when it’s occupied?
A. The Government has provided practical advice and guidance for viewing occupied properties which should be followed to keep everyone safe, www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

Q. What if I am not a Tamworth Borough Council tenant?
A. All social housing landlords offer a mutual exchange service for their tenants. If you rent your home from a housing association please contact them direct to see how they assist you in finding a swap.