Section 3 - How to apply
Applicants must complete a Housing Register application form and supply additional information to support their application. Before applying for housing, applicants are advised to consider other housing options that may help improve their housing situation.
Applicants are encouraged to apply to join the Housing Register via the North Yorkshire Home Choice website. A paper application is available to download from the website.
The purpose of the application form is to assess eligibility and qualification to join the Housing Register, assess housing need, award priority banding, and identify any additional support needs in applying for housing or conducting a tenancy.
Applicants or their advocate who may need help in completing an application can request assistance from any partner landlord, whose details can be found on our website.
Partner landlords reserve the right to conduct a phone or face to face interview when accepting an application to join the register.
3.1 Joint applicants
Joint applications can be accepted. Both applicants must be eligible for an allocation of accommodation, aged 16 years of age or over (any person aged 16 or 17 years of age needs a trustee) and intend to occupy the property together as their only or main home. Joint tenancies will not be granted where one applicant is a person from abroad who is ineligible. In such cases, the eligible partner will be registered as the sole applicant.
Dependents, family members or other adults who are not partners of the applicant cannot usually be joint applicants. The partner landlord reserves the right to decide when and to whom they offer joint tenancies.
If joint applicants wish to change to sole applicants (for example due to relationship breakdown), they will need to notify us and one of the applicants will need to make a new application if they wish to remain on the Housing Register. The previous application will continue in the name of the partner with residency of any children.
3.2 Multiple applications
Multiple applications are not allowed, and an applicant can only appear on one application. If an applicant is already registered, they must decide which application they wish to remain on, and all other applications will be cancelled.
3.3 Applications from employees, Members, and their close relatives
Applications can be accepted from council employees, elected local authority Members, partner Registered Provider employees and their close relatives, provided they are eligible to join the housing register. The term employees include former employees. Applicants must disclose such status or relationship at the point of application.
Members of staff involved in the assessment of housing applications and allocation of both council and Registered Provider properties should declare an interest to their line manager if at any time, they become aware that they may have to deal with an application and/or allocation involving a member of their family or a close friend. This will then be passed to another member of staff to deal with. This is to protect staff from any allegations of bias or impropriety from members of the public.
A senior manager will approve an allocation to employees, Members and/or their close relatives.
3.4 Applicants of no fixed abode
Applicants of no fixed abode must give a contact address on their application form.
3.5 Applications from prisoners
Applications can be accepted from people in prison, but would not normally be made active as the applicant is clearly unable to take up a tenancy. Where an applicant is within 28 days of release, the application will be activated to take account of the anticipated housing circumstances post release and the applicant placed in the appropriate band. The registration date for the application will be the date placed in the band.
Under the Offender Initiative, a tenant of one of the partner landlords, sentenced to more than 13 weeks imprisonment, can receive a direct offer on release from prison from the landlord who originally housed them provided they meet the following criteria:
- the tenancy was given up promptly on imprisonment
- there were no rent arrears or damage to the property
- there were no anti-social behaviour incidents related to the tenancy
- they satisfy the acceptable behaviour test on release
3.6 Applications from hospital
Applicants can apply to join the Housing Register whilst in hospital and will be assessed in accordance with the allocations scheme based on the accommodation available to them upon their discharge from hospital.
3.7 Fresh applications
Applicants who have previously been regarded as ineligible, non-qualifying, or had their application cancelled may make a fresh application if they believe that their circumstances have changed, or the period of exclusion has elapsed.
Fresh applications will be assessed on the information provided, and where an application is accepted to the housing register, the banding date will be the date of the new application.
3.8 How applications are processed
Applicants applying to join the Housing Register will be required to provide proof of identity and supporting evidence to verify eligibility and qualification for the housing register and assess their housing need.
Verification will take place at the point of application, at the point of any offer of accommodation or at any point during any period of assessment or review.
During the application process, applicants may also be asked to provide evidence to verify their personal circumstances. This may include (but is not limited to):
- proof of National Insurance number
- proof of address
- proof of income and savings
- proof of child benefit
If requested, additional information must be provided within 28 days. Failure to do so will generally lead to cancellation of the application and the applicant will be notified in writing. Should an applicant wish to continue with their application, they will need to make a fresh application, which will start from the date that the new application is received.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide supporting information and evidence about their application.
3.8.2 Confirming registration
Applicants will receive written confirmation that their application has been assessed within 28 working days of all verifying information being provided. This will include:
- their unique application reference number
- their assessed priority band
- their registration date and/or priority band date if different
- the type and size of properties they are eligible to be considered for
- any bidding restrictions
3.9 Age restricted and sheltered properties
Some properties are restricted to applicants of a certain age or above. These will be clearly stated on the advert, and applicants who do not meet the necessary age criteria will not be considered for these properties.
Applicants with disabilities may in certain circumstances, be considered for an age restricted property even if they do not meet the necessary age criteria.
Applicants with disabilities must provide supporting evidence of their need for an age restricted property. This may include (but is not limited to) a report from an Occupational Therapist, a supporting letter from a specialist consultant, or the award of high-rate Disability Living Allowance (DLA)/ enhanced Personal Independence Payment (PIP). The age restriction would normally only be lifted if the applicant’s specific needs could only be met by allocating a property subject to an age restriction.
Only general needs sheltered schemes will be advertised through North Yorkshire Home Choice. Those applicants requiring extra care facilities should contact the local authority or housing providers directly.
3.10 Adapted properties
Adapted homes will be advertised as part of the scheme to ensure that applicants needing this type of accommodation are given the widest possible choice.
Priority will be given on the shortlist to applicants who require, or best match, the specific adaptations within the property. The full circumstances of each case will be considered when deciding who will be offered the property and in some cases the offer may be given outside the tie-break order if the vacancy is suitable for the needs of a particular applicant.
Adapted properties will only be allocated to applicants who have supporting professional evidence, such as an Occupational Therapist or other specialist report.
Where there are no applicants with disabilities who require an adapted property, other applicants may be offered the property on the understanding that the adaptation will not be removed, or the property reinstated to its original condition.
3.11 Planning conditions – Section 106
Several properties, particularly in rural areas, are subject to a Section 106 (Town and Country Planning Act 1990) agreement, where there is a legal obligation that applicants must have a local connection to the specific neighbourhood (usually defined by Parishes) in which the property is situated. All other applicants can only be considered if there are no applicants with the required local connection.
3.12 Tenancy type
The council is required to publish a tenancy policy, explaining the different types of tenancy that we offer, when they will be offered and what the different tenancy types mean for new tenants.
The Localism Act allows all social housing providers to offer fixed term tenancies, rather than secure (or lifetime) tenancies, to help make better use of housing stock and increase the number of homes available for households in housing need in the longer term.
Applicants may be nominated to a vacancy with a partner Registered Provider. Every Registered Provider must publish information on the type of tenancy that they offer.
3.13 Cancelling applications
Applications will be cancelled in the following circumstances:
- a failure to provide verification information within the timescale specified
- a failure to advise of a change of address within the timescale specified
- a failure to re-register on the Housing Register within the timescale specified
- at the applicant’s request
- an applicant has been rehoused by the council or a partner Registered Provider, or has carried out a mutual exchange
- an applicant has purchased a property/shared ownership property and is now a homeowner
- a sole applicant has died
- an applicant does not qualify to join the Housing Register
- an applicant is no longer eligible to join the Housing Register
- contact lost with an applicant as they have moved addres
- an applicant has provided false information and/or deliberately withheld information
- an applicant has been found to have deliberately worsened their circumstance
- an applicant has declined two suitable offers of accommodation or refused a single direct offer of accommodation
Applicants have the right to request a review of the decision to cancel their application. Please see section 3.17 for further details.
3.14 Changes in circumstances
It is the responsibility of the applicant (or their advocate) to notify North Yorkshire Home Choice of any change of circumstance relating to or which may affect their housing application. Applications will be assessed using this information and where this results in an applicant no longer being eligible and/or qualifying for the register or results in a change in priority band the applicant will be advised in writing.
Any additional priority awarded as a result of a change in circumstances will only be effective from the date of the change of notification. Where a change in banding results in reduced priority, the band date will not change.
Applicants must update their application form if they move home, so that their housing need can be reassessed.
Partnership Landlords reserve the right to withdraw an offer of accommodation where it is found that there has been a change in circumstances which would have resulted in a change of priority band, eligibility and/or qualification for the housing register.
3.15 Review of banding
The Partnership reserves the right to review an applicants’ banding where they are not actively bidding on suitable advertised properties or where a material change has been identified. Applicants will be contacted to discuss their application, current housing need and/or the reasons for not bidding. Where banding is reduced applicants will have a right of review.
Applicants in Emergency band will have their application reviewed every four weeks. Applicants in Gold band will have their application reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they are not having difficulties with the scheme and to check and provide support in bidding on suitably advertised properties.
The Partnership reserves the right to remove or reduce priority banding where applicants are not bidding on all suitably advertised properties. Where banding is reduced applicants will have a right of review.
Applicants who have not bid on any properties within a 12 month rolling period will be contacted and asked if they wish to remain on the housing register. Where no response is received within 28 days the application will be cancelled. Applicants who contact the Partnership within 28 days and want to remain on the housing register will have their application reviewed, assessed, and banded based on their current housing need.
3.17 Right of review and general complaints
Applicants have a right to request a review against decisions made under the allocations scheme. These include:
- a decision that they are not eligible
- a decision that they are not a qualifying person
- a decision to cancel an application
- a decision in respect of any information which is being taken into account in considering whether to make an offer of accommodation
- a decision to withdraw or reduce priority banding
Further information on the review procedure can be found on our website.
3.18 Requesting information
An applicant has the right to request:
a) such general information as will enable him to assess how his application is likely to be treated under the scheme (including in particular whether he is likely to be regarded as a member of a group of people who are to be given preference by virtue of subsection 166A (3) of the Housing Act 1996); and
b) such general information as will enable him to assess whether housing accommodation appropriate to his needs is likely to be made available to him, and if so, how long it is likely to be before such accommodation becomes available for allocation to him;
c) the council to inform him of any decision about the facts of his case which is likely to be, or has been, taken into account in considering whether to allocate accommodation to him
The council will provide information to applicants on request as to which priority band they have been placed in, and the estimated number of properties of the size required by the applicant expected to become available for letting during the financial year.