How to bid on a council housing property

If your bid is successful (getting an offer)

After you bid on a property we add you to a shortlist.

Then we check:

  • The details of your application are accurate, if you are eligibility for the property and which priority band you are in.
  • Your circumstances have not changed.
  • Your current rent account, the condition of your property and if your conduct as a tenant is satisfactory.
  • If you have any support issues that require a support plan.
  • If you are an approved bidder, we will also check if the bid made is within the criteria we have agreed.

Getting an offer

If you are successful we will contact you by letter, phone or email to offer you the property. If you are a council tenant, your current home must be in a satisfacty decorative condition, not damaged and have no unauthorised alterations.


Getting an offer on a property that still has a tenant (Preallocation Offers)

Sometimes we offer properties before they are ready for letting. The property may even still have a tenant living there (under Notice that their tenancy is to end). This is called 'preallocation'.


Going to see the property (Accompanied Viewings)

If the property you are offered is empty, we can arrange for you to view it. This is called an 'accompanied viewing'. Children under 12 will not be able to come to accompanied viewings.

We can only make the viewing if the property is safe and we have permission from our maintenance contractor.


Getting a provisional offer (for people with support needs)

Properties that are for people over 60 or with support needs may be offered on a 'provisional' basis. We will need to carry out a Needs Assessment to make sure it is right for you. We will carry out the assessment.


If you have personal connections with council employees and representatives

You must be reviewed and approved by us if you are:

  • a council employee
  • a family members of or a close personal connection to someone who work in Housing Services
  • a Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council member (Councillor)
  • a member of the Welwyn Hatfield Tenants' Panel.


If you do not get an offer

We are not able to make you an offer if:

  • a property has been purpose built or significantly adapted for a person with a disability and you do not need that type of property
  • you have rent arrears or a debt relating to a current or former tenancy
  • you are under 18 and have no guarantor and no support being provided by Social Services
  • a local lettings policy is in operation and you do not meet the criteria
  • you intend on bringing pets that are not allowed in the property
  • do not meet the Registered Provider rules of that landlord for income, household size or any other reason
  • you need a level or type of support that the property or scheme cannot provide.


Withdrawing offers

We may withdraw an offer if:

  • we find that the property is not suitable for your needs or circumstances
  • we find that you are not entitled to the offer
  • you are currently a council tenant and the condition of your current property is not satisfactory
  • you have not responded to the offer
  • an error has been made in the advertising criteria
  • there has been a serious breach of tenancy subsequent to the offer, but before it has been accepted.


Making a decision about your offer

You usually have two working days to decide and tell us if you want to accept.

If we get no response after two days, we will withdraw the offer and treat it as a refusal.


Refusing an offer

Generally you can can refuse any offer of accommodation without penalty.

If you refuse three offers, we will contact you to discuss this and check you understand the scheme.

In exceptional circumstances, if you refuse multiple offer we may make your application 'non active' for a period of time.

If you are homeless (and we have accepted a duty to under the homeless legislation) you are normally expected to accept the first offer you get.


Time limited bidders

If you refuse an offer and you are a 'time limited' bidder:

  • we will contact you immediately to check your reasons
  • we will make sure that you understand that this may affect your priority band
  • your priority band may be reduced.


Active Bidding

In exceptional circumstances we will make an active bid on your behalf. Such as if you are homeless and have not made a successful bid in the time limited bidding period.

If our bid leads to an offer, we will make you one reasonable offer of a property. The offer will take into account any special circumstances.

Refusing an active bid offer if you are homeless

If you are homeless and refuse this offer:

  • we have fulfilled our duty (under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996)
  • we will not make any more offers to you.

You have a right to request a review of that decision. We strongly advise you to accept the offer subject to the review decision.

If you still want to refuse the offer:

  • we will write to you to let you know our duty to them under homeless law has ended
  • you will no longer be able to stay in temporary accommodation.

Refusing an active bid offer if you are a non-secure housing tenant

We have no legal obligation to provide housing to non-secure tenants if you do not accept an offer of a tenancy on a permanent basis.

If this happens:

  • you will be allowed to remain on the Housing Needs Register
  • your banding will change to reflect your new housing circumstances.


Next steps after an offer of accommodation is made

When the property is ready to let we will write to invite you to your Neighbourhood Housing Office to sign for the tenancy

If you are already a council tenant you must:

  • move out of your current home (give up vacant possession)
  • return the keys to us on an agreed date (normally the date the new tenancy starts)

If you return the keys late, you will be charged rent on both properties. If you claim Housing Benefit you will normally have to cover this cost yourself. Contact our Housing Benefits team for further advice.

Once you have accepted and signed for the tenancy, your Housing Needs Register application will be cancelled. You will then be expected to use the property as your main home and keep to the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement.