Before making an application you will need to complete a brief pre-assessment questionnaire.
After completing the questionnaire you will be presented with a personal action plan outlining your most suitable housing options. If you are eligible for social housing you will be asked to complete a Housing Needs Register application.
We aim to assess all applications within four weeks of receiving your application and any supporting information we have asked for.
Click on section titles below to find out more information about the application process:
Dependent on the band you are placed in, we will register your application once we have received the proof of identification and address requested. If anything is not provided, we will contact you to tell you what we need. The documents we can accept are:
You will need to provide one form of photographic proof of your identity for you, your partner and any other person over 16 included on your application. This would normally be a passport or a photo driving licence. You will also need to give us at least one other form of identification for every person on the application.
The documents we can accept are listed below:
- Birth Certificate
- Marriage Certificate
- Medical Card
- Driving Licence
- European Union Identity Card
- Immigration Documentation
- Proof of Benefit.
We need one proof of current address each for you, your partner and anyone else over 16 included on the application. The documents we can accept are listed below:
- Rent book/card
- Tenancy Agreement
- Recent Bank or Credit Card Statement (within last three months)
- Recent Utility Bill (also within last three months)
- If you are living with a parent or guardian, a letter from them confirming your residence, plus proof of their address.
Children under 16 included on an application who live with you
We need a copy of the Birth Certificate for each child and satisfactory proof that the child lives with you. This would normally be proof of Child Benefit and/or a letter from the child's school and any other agencies supporting your family.
If your only connection with this borough is through your place of work, you will need to provide evidence of your employment when you apply. We will also contact your employer for confirmation that you are still employed in the borough before making an offer of accommodation.
We carry out checks for rent arrears or other outstanding debts with any council or Registered Providers and can cancel applications or make them non-active as a result of current or former debts.
If you have current or former arrears, or there is a current breach of tenancy which your landlord is taking action against you for, you may not be eligible to join the register until we consider the situation to be resolved. Each case is considered on its individual merits, taking account of specific needs, reasons for the debt, any repayment plans that are in place and whether they are being maintained.
We also check with the Register of Electors, employers, landlords, and conduct home visits. If you are a council tenant, your Neighbourhood Housing Officer will visit after you have applied to inspect your home. They will tell you if you need to do any repairs or decorations before you will be offered a property.
Your application will be made non-active if we need to find out whether you qualify to join or remain on the Housing Needs Register, or where we need to check whether you are eligible for a particular band or property type.
You need to tell us before your circumstances change or as soon as possible afterwards so we can make sure our records are up to date and that your application is prioritised correctly. You can inform us of a change in your circumstances on the Herts Choice Homes website.
If we think you have deliberately worsened your circumstances to gain extra priority on the Housing Needs Register you will be placed in the priority band you held or would have held before your circumstances changed. This will be reviewed after one year from the date you were considered to have deliberately worsened your circumstances.
We will only share details about your application if you give us permission to do this or, in the case of a criminal/Fraud investigation. The police have the right to request information from us.
If we find that you have given us false or misleading information, or have withheld relevant information, we will exclude you from joining the register. This will be agreed by the Senior Officer Panel.
If we have already housed you, we can take action to repossess the property and may also prosecute.
Sole to Joint applications
If you are a sole applicant who does not have a tenancy with the council or Registered Provider and wish to become a joint applicant with another non-tenant, we will reassess your application and update it to include the other applicant. If you are both already registered on the Housing Needs Register we will reassess both applications, keep and update the application which has the highest priority, and cancel the other.
If you are a sole applicant who does have a tenancy with the council or Registered Provider, we will reassess your application and update it to include the new joint applicant. If that person is already registered on the Housing Needs Register their sole application will be cancelled.
Joint to sole
If we need to end a joint tenancy (for example in the event of a relationship breakdown) the main applicant will normally keep the original application number. We will ask them to complete a change of circumstances form so that the application can be updated and reassessed. The other applicant will be removed from the original application and asked to complete a new Housing Needs Register application so they can reapply for a sole application. We will assess the new application and write to the applicant with confirmation of their band and banding date.
If your application is made non-active you will not normally be considered for offers of accommodation but will stay on the Housing Needs Register. We will usually make an application non-active for a set period of time or until an action has been completed. We can make applications non-active if you:
- have not responded to an offer of accommodation, or to a request to contact us about your application. In these circumstances we write to you asking that you contact us within 28 days. If you do not make contact us within that time we will cancel your application
- have breached your Tenancy Agreement. Examples of breaching your Tenancy Agreement include acting anti-socially, subletting your home and failing to keep the property in good condition.
We will consider the individual circumstances including exceptional circumstances, health issues or support needs of an applicant before making an application non active. We will also consider the reasons for any debt, the efforts made to repay any debt or arrears and/or a change in a pattern of behaviour.
Application are cancelled if we give you a secure tenancy, or a local Registered Provider has given you an assured tenancy or starter tenancy.
We can cancel applications if you:
- ask us to cancel your application
- are re-housed as a result of being made an offer of secure accommodation from the council, an Registered Provider or another Local Authority
- have a sole application that is being replaced by a joint one, or vice versa (see further explanation below)
- are no longer permitted by law to remain on the Housing Needs Register
- have not told us that you have changed address and we are unable to contact you
- have succeeded to or been assigned a secure tenancy or an assured tenancy of a local Registered Provider
- have had a secure tenancy or an assured tenancy of a local Registered Provider vested in your name
- are a secure tenant or Registered Provider tenant and buy your current property under the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire
- are a secure tenant and mutually exchange to another property we will cancel your application unless you tell us you want to remain on the Housing Needs Register
- are a secure or Registered Provider tenant and have given up your property or been evicted
- have not made a bid on the Herts Choice Homes scheme for 6 months or more. An exception will be made for those who are:
- waiting to downsize from a council/Housing Association tenancy as a result of under occupation
- living in general needs accommodation who wish to move to sheltered accommodation
- care leavers we are dealing with under the Joint Housing Protocol with Hertfordshire Council Council
- living in supported housing schemes who are not ready to move on
- have a change of circumstances which means you no longer qualify for the Housing Needs Register.
Can I reapply after my application has been cancelled?
You can reapply to join the Housing Needs Register but your new application will not usually be backdated and may not be included in the same priority banding as before.
You may be excluded from the Housing Needs Register if:
- you are subject to immigration control
- you are under the age of 60 and do not have a recognised housing need or local connection as outlined in this policy
- the Senior Officer Panel has decided that either your behaviour (or that of your household) has been unacceptable or anti-social and is serious enough to make you unsuitable as a tenant. Unacceptable behaviour includes supplying false or misleading information.
We will write to tell you why we are excluding your application from the Housing Needs Register, and tell you how long it is to be excluded for. This period can be indefinite if the behaviour has been seriously anti-social. You have the right to ask for a review of the decision. Details of how to do that are below. Otherwise, you can apply again at the end of the exclusion period, when the Senior Officer Panel will reconsider your circumstances.
In some cases, the council may decide that the behaviour is not serious enough to remove you from the Housing Needs Register but that your application should not receive any reasonable preference (to which you would otherwise be entitled). 'Reasonable preference' is the term used to describe the factors which are used to decide what priority your application has on the Housing Needs Register.
If there is a link between a serious medical problem and an applicant's housing conditions they can apply for a medical assessment. To do this the applicant must fill in a medical information form.
Medical priority varies according to circumstance and is assessed by the council's independent medical advisor. Priority can be awarded where applicants, or people included on their application, have a health problem made worse by their present living conditions or where their home is unsuitable for medical reasons. The most pressing medical circumstances will be placed into the higher bands.
There are three medical categories: Urgent Medical Priority, High Medical Priority and Recognised Medical Priority. We will consider all medical circumstances of the household, where there is more than one. The application will be placed in a band appropriate to their combined need.
Where medical priority is given to an application, this may be for a particular type of accommodation, for example accommodation on the ground floor or with a certain number of bedrooms. In such circumstances, we will only allow the applicant to queue for type of accommodation specified.