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1 homes for rent how to apply for a home Please note that our Plus Dane customer contact telephone numbers refered to throughout this leaflet have now changed to: [free from most UK landline phones] [local rate from a mobile phone]

2 homes for rent We have a customer centred approach to letting homes that helps you make informed choices about where you want to live. We provide a range of housing options which cater for different needs including families, single and older people and those with disabilities. This leaflet tells you how you can apply for a home with us outside of Liverpool. Who can apply? Anyone can apply for housing with us even if you are under 18 years old. If you are under 18 you can apply for a home in the usual way but we will ask you to provide a guarantor and agree to a support package to help you with the first 12 months of your tenancy. A guarantor is someone who agrees to sign an agreement that if for some reason you could not pay your rent or comply with the conditions of your tenancy, will help put things right. However, there are circumstances when we would not accept your application for housing. This would be if you have: Had action taken against you for anti social behaviour or have a history of anti social behaviour in the last two years; Had action taken against you for any racially or hate motivated offence during the last 2 years; Certain convictions within the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, including offensive weapons, supplying drugs, assault on a member of staff or any offence which suggests you could by a danger to anyone; Current arrears or have owed money to your current or previous landlord unless you have fled from domestic violence, racial harassment or some other form of harassment; Left your tenancy with another housing association without giving the correct amount of notice; Knowingly or recklessly misrepresented your circumstances to secure a tenancy from another housing association. 2

3 If you fall into any of the categories above and you apply for a home, you will be suspended from our register. We will tell you how long your suspension will last. The suspension time depends on the reason why you have been suspended. If we suspend you and you do not agree you must tell us immediately and give us the reasons why you think your suspension is incorrect. We will then review the decision and tell you the outcome within 10 working days. There are also some restrictions that prevent us from offering tenancies to some people who are subject to immigration control. Ex offenders who have spent convictions are not required by law to disclose such convictions. A spent conviction is a conviction under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, that can be ignored after a set period of time. This time depends on the sentence imposed. What to do if you are homeless If you are threatened with or actually are homeless, you should contact your Local Authority Housing Aid Office immediately. They will be able to help you secure temporary housing as well as helping to secure your long term future. How to apply The type of application that you complete will depend on where you want to move to. If you are applying for a home in: Wirral - you need to apply direct to Wirral Homes; Sefton you need to apply to Homesearch through us; All other areas you will complete a plus dane application. You can apply for a home with us in a number of ways: By calling us on you can complete a telephone application or request an application pack which we 3

4 homes for rent will send to you within one working day; By visiting our website at By ing your details to We ask you for a range of information to support your application which includes: Landlord or character references; Proof of identity photographic identify is required; National insurance number; Proof of income. We cannot fully process your application until we have received all the correct information. We will tell you within five days if your application has been successful or if you need to give us more information to support your application. What happens next will depend on the area where you are choosing to move to. Applying for a home in Wirral Wirralhomes We advertise our empty homes in Wirral through Wirralhomes. This is the Choice Based Lettings scheme for Wirral. You can register with Wirralhomes by: Visiting any Wirral One Stop shop; Calling Wirralhomes direct on ; Visiting the website Applying for a home in Sefton Homesearch Applying for a home in Sefton can be done by applying to us direct and following the information in the applying for all other areas and by applying to Homesearch. Homesearch is the Choice Based Lettings scheme in Sefton. You can apply to Homesearch by calling We can also send you a Homesearch application 4

5 which you can request by calling or ing us. We allocate half of our homes in Sefton through our own waiting list and half through Homesearch so if you are looking for a home in Sefton it is important to make an application to us and Homesearch. Applying for all other areas To apply for a home outside of Liverpool, Wirral and Sefton you will apply direct to us. We will include all accepted applications onto our housing register. We will tell you what band your application is in. Our bands are: Band A B C Criteria Statutory homeless you will only be placed in this band if you have been accepted by the Local Authority as Statutory Homeless Decant you will only be placed in this band if you have been given a formal declaration of Demolition or a Clearance Order by the Local Authority or by your housing association Specific need you will only be placed in this band if you are in need of a home because you are vulnerable and need to move quickly. Examples of specific need include: Victims of domestic violence, harassment or racial harassment; Victim or witness of crime; Care leavers - this is someone who is leaving that has provided support; Relationship breakdown; If you suffer from mental health issues and your current home is having an adverse affect on your health and well being; If you are leaving the armed forcers. 5

6 homes for rent Band D E Criteria Medical if you need an adapted home because of a severe medical or mobility problems you will be placed in this band Overcrowding you will be placed in this band if you are overcrowded. Overcrowding is defined as: Parent(s) who have to share a bedroom with a child; Children aged 8 or over of a different gender having to share a bedroom; Adults over 21 having to share a bedroom if they are not partners. F General Needs you will be placed in this band if you do not fall into one of the bands above. This band includes: Threatened with homelessness; Cannot afford present home; Insecure tenancy; Living apart from family; Living in a house with other families; Nearer to current employment; Need a smaller property; Poor condition of property; To be near or to give support to friends or family; To receive support from family or friend; To get children into a better school; Want to live in the area or move to a better area; Want to leave home to be independent; Less serious medical conditions (such as asthma or eczema); Lodging. 6

7 How we let homes To make an offer, we interview the applicants at the top of the housing register. The reason for this interview is to: Make sure that the home matches your needs; Complete an assessment with you to make sure you can afford the home; Assess if you will need any support when your tenancy starts. Once we have completed the interviews we will contact the successful applicant within two working days to offer the property. This will be confirmed in writing. All offers include: The amount of rent and other charges you will be charged; The type of tenancy you will be granted; A copy of the tenancy agreement. We will then invite you to view the home. The viewing will be carried out with your Neighbourhood Officer and gives an opportunity for you to look around to check it meets your needs. At the viewing we will give you a copy of the Welcome to Your New Home leaflet which tells you what standard of works you can expect us to carry out. When you have accepted an offer, we will arrange for you to sign your tenancy agreement and other key documents. If you have never held a tenancy with a Local Authority or Housing Association, we may grant you a Starter Tenancy. A Starter Tenancy is a trial tenancy for 12 months. If you keep to the terms of your tenancy agreement during the first 12 months you will be granted an Assured Tenancy. If you breach the terms of your tenancy, you will be at risk of losing your home. Mutual exchange If you are already a tenant of a housing association or local authority and looking to move home you can try a mutual exchange. A mutual exchange is where you find another tenant who wants to move and you 7

8 homes for rent swap homes. This can be a great way of moving home as it allows you to search for a home where you want to live and find someone who wants to live where you do. You can find someone to swap with using the HomeSwapper scheme. This is a free national service which is quick and easy to use with powerful and effective matching. Hundreds of households swap each month through HomeSwapper. You can register with HomeSwapper by visiting their website direct at If you do not have access to the internet, contact us and we can register your application. Once you find someone to exchange with, you should contact us to complete a mutual exchange application. Once we have received this completed application, we will tell you if you can exchange homes within 42 days. We will only withhold consent if: You owe us money or your exchange partner owes their landlord money; There are chargeable repairs that you are responsible for and have not put right; There is a history of anti social behaviour caused by you, your family or your visitors or your exchange partner has a history of anti social behaviour; You or your exchange partner will be over or under crowded as a result of the exchange. You must not exchange homes until you have received written confirmation from us. When you complete a mutual exchange you step into the tenancy of your partner. This means that you take over their tenancy and keep their original tenancy start date and their tenancy rights. Tenancy changes under a mutual exchange may affect your tenancy rights. 8

9 If you are an assured tenant, whose tenancy started after 1989, you will not have the right to buy. If your exchange partner is a secure tenancy whose tenancy started before 1989 they will have the right to buy. After a mutual exchange you would become a secure tenant and gain the right to buy your exchange partner would become an assured tenant and lose the right to buy. The tenancy stays with the property and not the tenant under the mutual exchange scheme. Please speak to your neighbourhood officer to get more information about mutual exchanges. Transfers If you are already a plus dane tenant and want to move home but do not want to exchange, you can apply for a transfer in the same way you apply for a new home. When you ask for a transfer, your neighbourhood officer will visit you within five working days of your request to discuss why you want to transfer, where you want to move to and what type of home you want. We will also discuss your tenancy conduct as this will depend on whether we allow you to transfer. After this visit we will then contact you within five working days to confirm if your application for a transfer has been accepted. We will not approve your transfer application if: You owe us any money and have not kept to your agreed repayment plan; We have secured or applied for legal action against you for anti social behaviour, rent arrears or any other breach of tenancy; You have outstanding chargeable repairs that you have not put right; You have not lived in your current home for 6 months or more. Contact your neighbourhood officer for more information about transfers. 9

10 homes for rent Other housing options As well as offering homes for rent we have other options that you could benefit from. These are: Shared ownership We also offer a range of low-cost home ownership products known as HomeBuy to help first-time buyers or those who cannot afford to buy a home outright to get a foot on the property ladder. Shared ownership is a great way into home ownership. If you can't afford to buy outright, you can part buy and part rent your home. You might buy a 25%, 50% or 75% share in your home. You pay a small rent on the share that you don't buy. The bigger the share that you buy, the less rent you have to pay. Rent-to-HomeBuy Rent-to-HomeBuy is designed for people who want to buy their own home, but are not ready yet. It allows you to plan for becoming a homeowner, and means you can save some money whilst renting a new home. Rent-to-HomeBuy could be for you if: You are unable to buy a home at the moment; You would like to try a property out before you commit to buying; You need to save up for a deposit; You are unsure about buying in the current market. Rent to HomeBuy means you can rent the home for up to 5 years maximum, and the rent you pay will be about 80% of the normal market rent for the property. This allows you to begin saving to own your home. We are the dedicated HomeBuy agent for Merseyside and have set up HomesHub, a one stop shop for anyone considering low cost home ownership on Merseyside. We have properties available across Liverpool, Runcorn, St Helens, Sefton and Chester. For more information contact HomesHub on or visit 10

11 Frequently Asked Questions Here s some questions we often get asked about applying for a home. Q How quickly will I be offered a home? A It is difficult to estimate when you will be offered a home. The length of time you wait will depend on the type of home you need and where you want to move to. We have a Where Our Homes Are guide which tells you exactly where our homes are and how often they became empty in the last year. This gives you an indication of how long you might wait. Q How many offers will I receive? A We will make a maximum of three offers to you. If you have refused all three offers we will contact you to discuss your application to make sure we have your correct areas of choice and type of home and discuss alternative options with you. Q What does bidding mean? A Bidding is the process used in choice based lettings schemes where you have to bid for a property. By bidding you have the opportunity to look at the information about the available properties and decide for yourself which properties you are interested in. Q How many bedrooms am I entitled to? A If you have a partner you will normally be expected to share a bedroom. A bedroom is then added for the following people that live with you: Pair of children aged 7 years or under regardless of gender; Pair of children aged 8 to 20 years old of the same gender; Any single adult 21 years or more; A carer or group of carers. 11

12 homes for rent If you have children that don t live with you but you have access to them, we will consider your circumstances when deciding the number of bedrooms you are entitled to. Q A family member has just moved in and I have already made an application for housing. Will I be considered for a larger home? A Your application will need to be reviewed. You will need to provide us with information that shows that the member will be moving in permanently and they are using your home as their only and principal home. who has been on the register the longest. Q Do you let homes to staff, their relatives and Board Members? A We can offer homes to our staff and board members on a case by case basis in circumstances where we are clear that they fully meet plus dane s published criteria and priorities and the necessary regulatory requirements. This is to make sure that we let our homes in a fair and transparent way. When we let homes to staff, their relatives or Board Members we will report this to our Board. Q I had an interview but was not offered a property. Why? A We offer the property based on priority housing need and the information we receive in the interview. If all applicants were equal with their application, we would select the applicant 12

13 Your rights You have the right to check any information that you have given to us as part of your application, this includes receiving a duplicate copy of your application form. Please contact us if you would like a copy of information relating to your application. Customer Feedback We value your views and would like to hear what you think about the service you receive from us. If you wish to make a complaint, compliment or give us a suggestion you can do so by contacting us on

14 notes 14

15 Translations available on request Other languages, Braille, audio format & large print available on request Plus Dane Group 172 Park Road Liverpool L8 6SJ 2.4 M Produced by Plus Dane Group communications team June 2012

homes for rent how to apply for a home

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