Skip to content | Saturday, 22-Jul-2017 | Text Only View | Site Map | Text size: A A A

East Surrey Subregional - Epsom & Ewell

Frequently Asked Questions





Joining the Housing Register

Who can apply for properties through Epsom and Ewell HomeChoice?

How do I apply to join the Housing Needs Register?

What other documents do I need to provide?

What happens if I do not provide the required documents?

How do I know if I have been accepted onto the Housing Needs Register?

Can you refuse to accept me onto the Housing Needs Register?

How are needs assessed and bands awarded?

How can I change bands? 

What do I do if my circumstances change or I move address?

Do I need to renew my application?

What if someone in my household has a medical condition?

Epsom and Ewell HomeChoice and other Bidding Queries

How often are properties advertised?

Where are properties advertised?

What information will the property adverts contain?

How do I apply for a property?

When I log in it says that I am not eligible for any properties. Why is this?

How many properties can I express an interest in?

How long will I have to bid for a property?

Will I know how many other people are interested in the same property?

How do you decide who is offered a property?

What is a Lettings Plan?  

If I successfully bid for a rented property, can the landlord refuse to let it to me?

If I am offered a property, will I be able to view it before making up my mind?

What if I don’t like the property when I have seen it?

How will I know what has happened to the properties advertised?

How will this information help me?

Are carpets and appliances provided?

Sheltered Housing

What is the social housing room size criteria 

Useful Documents

East Surrey Home Choice Queries

What is East Surrey Home Choice?

Which Housing Register do I need to join to use East Surrey Home Choice?

How do I use East Surrey Home Choice?

When are East Surrey Home Choice properties advertised?

How many bids can i make for East Surrey Home Choice?

What are the differences between East surrey Home choice and Mole Valley Home Choice?

How do you decide who is offered an East Surrey Home Choice property?

Other Queries

What other options are there for housing?

What Help can I get with buying a property through Homebuy or a low cost home ownership schemes?

What if I become homeless?

How do I request a review of a decision?

Cant find what you're looking for? contact us 

Who can apply for properties through Epsom and Ewell HomeChoice?

To qualify for inclusion on the Council's Housing Needs Register applicants must be over the age of 16 and be eligible and qualifying and not fall within any of the non qualifying groups outlined in the Housing Allocation policy.   Qualifying criteria has been introduced with strengthened criteria relating to local connection, financial resources and behaviour.  If you do not met this criteria you will not be entitled to join the Housing Needs register.

A summary of this criteria is available here. A full copy of the new policy is available here: New Housing Application Policy 2016

The new version of the policy will be implemented following the completion of the review in the meantime an interim policy is in place: Interim Housing Allocation Policy and Choice based Lettings Scheme November 2015

How do I apply to join the Housing Needs Register?

You will need to complete an on-line application form. You can apply on line by clicking here.  If you can not access the internet or need assistance please contact Housing Services and we will arrange an appointment. Click How to Contact Us  for contact details and opening hours.

What other documents do I need to provide? 

To enable us to accurately assess your application you must provide Housing Services with the documents from each of the categories listed below within 14 days of submitting your on-line application.

Please provide original documentation where requested. The date the documents are received by us will be the date we use as your registration date. We cannot process your application without this information and if we do not receive them your application will be cancelled.

Proof of identity for you and your partner

Original photographic proof of identity for you & your partner
Valid passport
Photo drivers licence or
Birth certificate together with a photograph signed on the reverse by a professional person, attached to their headed notepaper.

Immigration status (for non UK and EU applicants)

Original evidence for all members of the household of their right to reside in the UK if they are not British Citizens (eg.Passport and other relevant documents or visas from the Home Office.)

Proof of address

Proof of address for you and your partner
Tenancy agreement and
Utility bills or Council Tax Bills or official letters dated 2 years ago, 1 year ago and within the last month (approximately)
Proof of residence for all persons on this application (a recent bank statement or utility bill).

Proof of income

Proof of income and/or welfare benefits for you and your partner
Employed: Last 3 payslips (P60's for last 2 years, if not already resident in the Borough for 2 years)
Self- employed: annual earnings and tax certificate from HM Revenue and Customs.
Welfare benefits and allowances entitlement letters.

Proof of savings/capital/investments

Bank statements from current and savings accounts from last 3 months.
Details of any share, bonds or investments
Financial assets
Proof that you and/or your partner no longer have a financial / legal interest in any previously owned residential or commercial property in the UK or elsewhere.
Details confirming the sale of the property (usually a Solicitors final statement) which shows any equity received for a property sold within the last five years 
Current valuation if you own any property.

Additional information for other household members

Adults: Photo identification, proof of address, proof of income and savings, financial assets (as detailed above.)
Children: Birth Certificate, latest Child Benefit or Child Tax Credit letter or  Birth Certificate with a recent bank statement, showing the Child Benefit payment.
Proof of residence and parental responsibility for any dependent child(ren) who live with you, if applicable.

What happens if I do not provide the required documents?

If you do not provide the required documentation your application will not be processed. The date the documents are received by us will be the date  we use as your registration date.

How do I know if I have been accepted onto the Housing Needs Register?

You will receive a letter confirming that you have been accepted onto the Housing Needs Register. This will tell you the band you have been placed in, your band or priority date and the date your application has been registered from and the size of property you are eligible for. The letter will also give you your logging in details for the website and telephone bidding line.

Can you refuse to accept me onto the Housing Needs Register?

 There are some people who are not eligible or qualifying to be included on the Housing Needs Register. These are:

  • Certain people who are subject to Immigration Control under the 1996 Asylum and Immigration Act.

  • Certain people from abroad who are not subject to immigration control but who are not habitually resident in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland.

  • Applicants will need to meet the local connection criteria in terms of residence, employment or care and support needs.

  • People with sufficient household income and/or savings and/or assets or own their own home will not qualify to join the Housing Needs Register.

  • The behaviour of applicants, any member of their household or persons who might reasonably be expected to reside with them, will be taken into account in determining their qualification to join and to remain on the Housing Needs Register.

A summary of this criteria is available here. A full copy of the new policy is available here: New Housing Application Policy 2016

The new version of the policy will be implemented following the completion of the review in the meantime an interim policy is in place: Interim Housing Allocation Policy and Choice based Lettings Scheme November 2015

  

How are needs assessed and bands awarded? 

The housing allocation scheme is a Banding Scheme and has been designed to be more straightforward to administer, be fairer to all categories of applicants on the Housing Needs Register and reduce homelessness, whilst making the best use of the borough’s very limited social housing.

A system of re-housing quota targets will operate to ensure that different categories of applicants for housing have a chance of being offered accommodation. This will balance the needs of homeless households, waiting list applicants and existing local transfer tenants. 

A Banding Scheme ranks together applicants with different but equal housing need. Applicants will first be placed into an application category of either:  a homeless, waiting list or transfer applicant. Applicants in each category will only be able to bid on properties advertised in the corresponding category.

Applicants in each application category will then be placed in one of five  bands ranging from A (highest need) to E (lowest) which reflects their housing need in accordance with the ‘reasonable preference categories’ in the Housing Act 1996 Part 6 and the Council’s local priorities for housing allocation.

The position in that band will be determined by the band date and then the registration date. Waiting time in each band ensures that once assessed applicants will gradually move up towards the top of the band.

There are certain limited circumstances were the Council considers that it is appropriate to award a lower priority or reduce an applicant’s priority.

Click HERE to see the full banding Scheme. A full copy of the new policy is available here: New Housing Application Policy 2016

The new version  of the policy will be implemented following the completion of the review in the meantime an interim policy is in place: Interim Housing Allocation Policy and Choice based Lettings Scheme November 2015

How can I change bands?

The Council’s banding assessment does not allow for movement between bands unless there is a notified and assessed change of circumstances that meets the criteria for a higher or reduced assessment. This means that it is not possible to move from one band to another simply through time accrued on the Housing Needs Register.

Where a household’s circumstances change the application will be reassessed. If it is assessed that the applicant’s circumstances change so they qualify for inclusion in a higher band or bedroom category, the band date will be considered to be the date the Council were advised of the change in circumstances.
 
If a household’s circumstances change so that they require to be placed in a different application category their band date will be the date the Council made a decision that entitled the applicant to be included in that category.

If it is assessed that the applicant’s circumstances change so they are no longer eligible for their current band or bedroom category and they have to be moved to a lower band or bedroom category, their band date will stay as their original band date.

The banding scheme reflects broad levels of housing need which may mean that some changes in the applicant’s circumstances will make no difference to the band they are placed in.

What do I do if my circumstances change or I move address?

As your priority for housing is based on an assessment of your current housing situation it is very important that you tell us of any changes in your circumstances or address. If you failed to do it will affect your chances of being housed.

If you have a change of circumstance or move you will be required to update your on-line application form and we will then reassess your application. This can be done at any time.

It is important that you update your on-line application form as soon as possible and provide the required documents. The date used to assess your change of circumstances will be the date the documentation are received by the Council. This will not be backdated and any delay will effect your priority for rehousing.

Do I need to renew my application?

Yes, once a year, normally on the anniversary of your application you will be contacted and asked to update your on-line application form which you must complete within 28 days. If you fail to review your online application form we will write and tell you that your application has been cancelled. 

What if someone in my household has a medical condition?

If someone in your household has a medical condition you can indicate this on the on-line application form and provide further details. These may then be considered by the Council’s Medical Advisor, who will put forward a recommendation. You can continue to choose which properties to express an interest in but must be mindful of your condition and only express interest in suitable properties such as ground floor flat if you cannot climb stairs. 

How often are properties advertised?

Properties for rent are advertised each week, if there are any available.  As soon as we are given formal notice that a property is due to become vacant we will advertise it. For more details click Step Two-Choosing, part of our step-by-step guide to using the service. 

Properties are advertised in the following ways:

What information will the property adverts contain?

The adverts will tell you the landlord, location, size, rent and other features of the property. Where available a photograph of the property or a similar house type will be provided and you will be able to access information about the local area and facilities. The advert will also tell you if there are any special requirements that the applicant must meet, such as age requirements or a lettings paln criteria. It also tells you the number of bedrooms that applicants applying for the property need to be entitled to. If your bedroom entitlement is different to this you will not be able to bid for that property.  

How do I apply for a property?

You can express your interest or bid, as it is also known, in the following ways:

  • Online through our website, www.eebc-homechoice.org.uk
  • Through our 24hr automated telephone service on  08452 710908
  • By auto bid if you are unable to access the system in any other way.  You will need to tell us if this is the case. 

When I log in it says that I am not eligible for any properties Why is this?

This simply means that there are no properties available that suit your needs in that weeks bidding cycle. To see other properties that are advertised you can use the property search tab at the top of the page. You should check the website every week as the properties advertised change every Thursday.

How many properties can I express an interest in?

You will be able to express an interest in a maximum of three properties each time properties are advertised. However, you will only be able to express interest in properties that are suitable for your family.  Applicants in each of the categories will only be able to bid on properties advertised in the corresponding category.

How long will I have to bid for a property?

Properties will be advertised from midnight on a Thursday and you will be able to register your interest in properties up until midnight the following Wednesday. 

Will I know how many other people are interested in the same property? 

At the time you place your bid you will be given your position in the queue. This will change during the week as other applicants also bid. At the end of the bidding week you can log back on and see your final position in the shortlist.

How do you decide who is offered a property?

Once the closing date for bids has passed a shortlist of interested applicants is drawn up. Generally the successful applicant will be the person with the highest band for the property they have bid for who meets the property & lettings plan criteria.  Applicants may be overlooked in certain circumstances for example if they have rent arrears or there has been anti-social behaviour. Each Housing Association will have its own criteria and they will make the final decision as to whether to accept any nomination and they will require an affordability assessment.Click Step Three-Offer for more details.  

Lettings Plans 

In order to ensure socially and economically balanced communities the Council operates two types of lettings plans; an annual lettings plan and local lettings plan for new build properties. The property advert will clearly state any criteria that applies.

What is a Lettings Plan?

The Council operates two types of lettings plans: an annual lettings plan and local lettings plan for new build properties.

Annual Lettings Plan - Rehousing Quotas & Targets 

As the demand for social housing in the borough is far higher than the supply, a system of re-housing targets operates to ensure that different categories of applicant for housing have a chance of being offered accommodation. The targets are balanced between the needs of homeless households, waiting list applicants and existing local transfer tenants. Applicants in each category will only be able to bid on properties advertised in the corresponding category.Targets will be set to take into account the likely availability of properties during the year. Progress in meeting the targets is reviewed and where necessary amended. If any categories are not achieving their re-housing target(s), properties may be advertised as only available to those specific target groups.

Local Lettings plan

For new build estates, the Council and the Housing Association will operate a local lettings plan. The aim of this plan is to establish additional criteria for allocation of new build homes in order to achieve a socially and economically balanced community. The criteria will clearly be displayed on the property adverts and applicants are then shortlisted according to these criteria.If an applicant bids on a property but does not meet the letting plan criteria they will be over looked. 

If I successfully bid for a rented property, can the landlord refuse to let it to me?

You may not be invited to view the property for the following reasons:

  • You owe rent or have other housing related debts
  • You are a Council or Housing Association tenant and legal action has been taken against you because you have broken your tenancy conditions
  • You have sufficient resources to solve your own housing problems
  • You have not provided the required documentary evidence to support your application by the date given
  • Anti-social behaviour from you or any member of your household
  • Your circumstances have changed and this results in a reduction in your level of priority  
  • You have provided incorrect or misleading information, which has resulted in your application being awarded a higher priority than it deserves 
  • The property is subject to a lettings plan and your application does not meet the criteria
  • Your application does not meet the advertised property criteria
  • The property is subject to a Direct Offer
  • Anti-social behaviour from the you or any member of the household
  • You have has a conviction for Housing/ Welfare Benefit fraud.

If I am offered a property, will I be able to view it before making up my mind?

Yes. You will be given an opportunity to view the property and decide whether you would like to accept it.    

What if I don’t like the property when I have seen it?

Homeless households and emergency medical cases will be made one suitable offer of nomination for accommodation within the borough.For homeless households where the Epsom & Ewell Borough Council has accepted a full statutory duty, a direct offer of one suitable property will be made anywhere in the borough. Applicants will be advised that this offer is a final offer and if the offer is refused the Council will discharge any duty that may be owed under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996  and possession proceedings will be commenced to evict them from their temporary accommodation.

Waiting list and transfer applicants will be allowed to refuse 3 suitable offers of accommodation. A reasonable offer of accommodation is one that is suitable for the households needs.  Applicants who refuse 3 suitable offers of accommodation will be entitled to remain on the Housing Needs Register but will have their priority reduced. Their degree of preference will continue to be determined by their housing need assessment but their Registration Date will be amended to be the date of refusal of the third offer and any time points will be removed, therefore reducing their priority. 

How will I know what has happened to the properties advertised?

Information about homes that have been successfully let is published. We tell you the number of applicants that expressed an interest in each property, the band and the registration date of each property. To see the results of properties that have been let click Recent Lets.

How will this information help me?

It will give you a better idea of how popular a particular property or area is and how long you would normally have to wait. You can then decide whether to look for other types of property or areas where you may not have to wait as long. Yes, when you bid for a property you will be told where you are in the queue. This is likely to change frequently due to other people bidding for the same property. You will not know your final position until after the bidding cycle has closed  as auto bids are placed on Thursday mornings.  Using this information you may decide to withdraw your bid for one property and bid for a different property for which you are higher placed in the queue. You can do this at any time before the closing date.  Please be aware that due to our local lettings plan and property criteria your queue position may not be a true reflection of your chances for being offered any particular property.  

Are carpets and appliances provided?

No, you will have to provide your own carpets and appliances.

Sheltered Housing

Support services are provided at Rosebery Housing Association sheltered accommodation but there is no Warden on site.  The level of support provided will depend on the individual resident’s needs and will vary from the provision of the emergency alarm service (the minimum level) to a full package of care and support.  An assessment of the support level required will be agreed with the resident once they have moved in. Mount Green Housing Association provide sheltered accommodation with a Warden.

What is East Surrey HomeChoice?

East Surrey HomeChoice is a sub regional choice based lettings scheme that aims to help a small number of households move within the East Surrey area.  Epsom & Ewell, Mole Valley, Reigate & Banstead and Tandridge Councils can advertise a small number of properties, especially sheltered housing, that become available as East Surrey Home Choice properties. This means housing register applicants on all four registers can apply for these homes.   

Which Housing Needs Register do I need to joint to use East Surrey Home Choice?

To use East Surrey Home Choice you need to have been accepted onto any of the four East Surrey Council's housing registers.  The four East Surrey Councils are Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, Mole Valley District Council, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council or Tandridge District Council. 

How do I use East Surrey HomeChoice?
  • Available East Surrey HomeChoice properties are advertised on each of the four East Surrey Council's HomeChoice websites.  You must be registered on the housing needs register on one of the four East Surrey Councils. You can apply for suitable homes or place a bid in the following ways:
  • Online through Home Choice website www.eebc-homechoice.org.uk
    Through our 24 hour automated telephone service 0845 270 1908  
    Visiting Housing Services.   
When are East Surrey HomeChoice properties advertised?

East Surrey Home Choice properties will be advertised weekly alongside your local Council's Home Choice properties provided homes are available.  This is a small number so there is no guarantee that East Surrey HomeChoice properties will be advertised every week. 

How many bids can I make for East Surrey Home Choice?

Each housing register applicant can place a maximum of three bids each time properties are advertised. These bids may be placed for East Surrey HomeChoice properties and/or the local Council's Home Choice properties. You can only bid for homes that suit your household's needs. 

What are the differences between East Surrey HomeChoice and Epsom and Ewell HomeChoice?

To ensure all Housing Needs Register applicants are treated equally, an East Surrey HomeChoice Nomination Policy has been produced.  This policy is different to the Housing Needs Register Policy and Nominations Policy operated by the Council whose register you have joined.  A copy of the East Surrey HomeChoice will soon be available on your local Council's website, on this website or you can contact Housing Services for a copy.The main differences relate to the way each applicant's housing needs are assessed and prioritised, and how we decide who is offered a property. Other differences include bedroom needs and how an applicant's change of circumstance is managed. Contact your local housing services for more information. 

How do you decide who is offered an East Surrey HomeChoice property?

Once the closing date for bids has passed a shortlist of interested applicants will be drawn up. The shortlistis in order of East Surrey HomeChoice band starting with band 1, within each band applications are placed in priority date order.Following checks, including a home visit or office interview, the applicant in the highest placed band who has waited the longest is nominated to the landlord advertising the property. What other options are there for housing?
There is a severe shortage of homes in the Epsom and Ewell area. Most applicants on the Housing Register will have to wait a long time for re-housing and many of those with lower points will have little chance of re-housing in the local area. Depending on your circumstances you may wish to consider other options such as renting in the private sector. We may be able to help you with a deposit for private rented if you meet certain criteria. Interviews to discuss your housing options are available by appointment with the Housing Advice Officers. 

What Help can I get with buying a property through Help To Buy or a low cost home ownership schemes?      

The government has appointed a number of not-for-profit agents to manage Help to Buy and  Bedfordshire Pilgrims Housing (bpha) is the agent for Surrey and the link is www.helptobuyese.org.uk .

bpha provides a 'one stop shop' for all government supported homeownershipand rental opportunities. You must register with bpha to be assessed for all schemes and to be kept informed of all opportunities offered by housing associations, private developers and local authorities.

For more information contact Help to Buy East and South East by visiting www.helptobuyese.org.uk  or call 03333 214044.

What if I become homeless?

Households who are homeless or threatened with homelessness will be dealt with outside the scheme. You should contact the Housing Adviser to arrange an interview to discuss your circumstances. We will work with you to try to prevent you becoming homeless and will discuss your housing options with you. You may still express an interest in properties through Epsom and Ewell HomeChoice, providing your application has been accepted on the Housing Needs Register, but in most cases it is unlikely that this will be in time to resolve your homelessness, as most applicants will have to wait a long time before being successful.How do I request a review of a decision?

If you disagree with any of the following decisions you can request a review:

  • You are not eligible or qualifying to join the housing register
  • You are not eligible for an offer
  • Your application has been cancelled other than at your own request
  • You think that you have been awarded the wrong band or given the wrong priority date

To request a review you must contact the Housing Services within 21 days of the date you are notified of the decision and the reason for it. You may provide additional information in writing that you wish to be taken into account when the review is carried out. You will normally be advised of the outcome of the review within 8 weeks. You may not request a further review.

Social Housing Room Size Criteria

In April 2013 the Welfare Reform Act introduces new social housing room size criteria (also known as the Bedroom Tax) for social housing tenants claiming housing benefit. The criteria will mean that any working age household deemed to be under-occupying their home, as defined by the criteria below, will lose part of their housing benefit from April 2013.

 The new rules will allow the allocation of one bedroom for: 

  • each adult couple
  • any other person aged 16 or over
  • two children of the same sex under the age of 16
  • two children under the age of 10 regardless of their sex
  • any other child
  • a disabled tenant or partner who needs a non-resident overnight carer. 

The cut will be a fixed percentage of the housing benefit eligible rent and this will be set at initially 14% cut for one extra bedroom and 25% cut for two or more extra bedrooms. This will apply to social rented and to the new affordable rented properties.  In order to prevent future inability to pay rent this room size criteria will be used to assess an applicants’ bedroom need and entitlement. 

Useful documents

Brief guide on how to update your existing application using the on-line form.

Brief guide to how to apply on-line for the first time.       

Summary of the New Housing Allocation Policy

New Housing Application Policy 2016 - The new version policy will be implemented following the completion of the review

Interim Housing Allocation Policy and Choice based Lettings Scheme November 2015 

Income & Expenditure Form 

Document you must provide within 14 days to support your Housing application

Independent Living Assessment form - to be completed by Support Workers only

 RETURN TO TOP



  

Site powered by Abritas  |  Cookie policy
Click here to download the browsealoud software