Council housing allocations policy
How we Make Offers of Properties
We will draw up a shortlist of all applicants who have bid for the property. We will verify each applicant in turn, working from the top of the list.
At this stage we will check the following:
- That the details of your application are accurate, including eligibility for the property and the priority band in which you have been placed.
- That there has been no change of circumstances
- That your current rent account, the condition of your property and conduct of your tenancy (for tenants of the council and local Registered Providers) is satisfactory
- Whether there are any support issues that require a support plan
- For an approved bidder, we will also check if the bid made is within the criteria we have agreed
When you are eligible for an offer of accommodation we will contact you. Offer letters may be emailed hand delivered or posted. We may also contact you by phone or email. If you are a WHBC tenant, any offer is subject to your home being in a satisfactory decorative condition, not damaged and with no unauthorised alterations.
Pre allocation Offers
We sometimes offer a property before it is ready for letting. The property may even still have a tenant living there under Notice that the tenancy is to end. This is called 'pre-allocation'.
We always aim for the Neighbourhood Officer to attend the viewing of the property with the successful applicant. For sheltered properties, the Independent Living Officer will also attend. Normally, no viewing will take place until the necessary repair works have been completed.
Provisional Offers for people with support needs
Properties that are reserved for people over 60, or with support needs only, may be offered on a 'provisional' basis, subject to a satisfactory Needs Assessment. The Independent Living Officer completes the assessment in order to find out whether the scheme is suitable for you, and that your needs can be met by the supported housing service.
Applicants who have Personal Connections with Council employees, Council Board members and representatives
Staff offering a property to any of the following applicants must pass the details to the Head of Housing and Community or the Head of Housing Operations. They will arrange for the offer to be checked.
- All Council employees
- Family members of Housing Services staff, or anyone else with whom they have a close personal connection.
- Any Welwyn Hatfield Council Member
- Any member of the Welwyn Hatfield Tenants' Panel
When are offers not made?
Offers will not be made if any of the following applies:
- 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.
- If we are made aware that you have rent arrears or a debt relating to a current or former tenancy.
- If you are below the age of 18 and have no guarantor and no support being provided by Social Services.
- If a local lettings policy is in operation and you do not meet the criteria.
- If you would be bringing pets that are not allowed.
- If a nomination to an Registered Provider would not meet the rules of that landlord about income, household size and or for any other reason.
- If you need a level or type of support that the property or scheme cannot provide.
When are offers withdrawn?
An offer may be withdrawn for one of the following reasons:
- If we find that the property is not suitable for your needs or circumstances.
- If we find that you are not entitled to the offer.
- If you are currently a WHBC tenant and the condition of your current property is not satisfactory.
- If you have not responded to the offer.
- Where an error has been made in the advertising criteria
- Where there has been a serious breach of tenancy subsequent to the offer, but before it has been accepted.
How long do I have to decide?
We would normally expect a decision from you within two working days of the offer being made.
If we have received no response within two days and have been unable to contact you, we may withdraw the offer and treat it as a refusal.
What if I refuse an offer?
Generally applicants may refuse any offer of accommodation they have successfully bid for without penalty. However, if an applicant refuses three offers, we will contact them to discuss this. In exceptional circumstances, where there have been multiple refusals, the Housing Allocations Manager will be asked to consider whether the application should be made 'non active' for a period of time. Applicants who we have accepted a duty to under the homeless legislation or are considered as a separated family/homeless at home are normally expected to accept the first offer that is made to them.
Time limited bidders
If you have refused an offer and you are a 'time limited' bidder, we will contact you immediately to check your reasons and to ensure that you understand any implications this may have. In certain circumstances, if you do not accept an offer of housing within the timeframe given, your priority will be reduced. (For example if you are an applicant who has been placed in Band B because the council believes you are likely to be homeless, and priority need, and we wish to prevent this).
What happens when I accept an offer of accommodation?
When the property is ready for letting, we will write to invite you to the Housing Office to sign for the tenancy and complete other paperwork.
If you are already a tenant of WHBC or a local RP, you must give up vacant possession of your current home and return the keys 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 or Universal Credit you will normally have to cover this cost yourself. You will need to contact Housing Benefits/Universal Credit teams for further advice.
Once you have accepted and signed for the tenancy, your HNR application will be cancelled. You will then be expected to use the property as your main home and otherwise keep to the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement.