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NottinghamSR Homesearch

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some questions that are often asked about the Homesearch scheme. Select any of the questions to see the response:

What is Choice Based Lettings?

How do I place a bid?

Do I need to use Homesearch?

Will the council still find me a home if I don’t use Homesearch?

What will I need to use Homesearch?

Does a ‘bid’ mean the person who can pay the most rent wins?

How many bids can I make?

If I place my bid early am I more likely to get the property?

Will Homesearch improve my chances of being offered a home?

I don’t have a computer. How can I see what homes are available and how can I bid?

I am in a band with a time limit. What will happen if I don’t find a home in that time limit?

Can I bid for properties in areas other than my local area?

Will I be penalised if I refuse a property I have successfully bid on?

What if I need support to use Homesearch?

What is Choice Based Lettings?

Choice Based Lettings is a new way of letting social housing in Broxtowe, Gedling and Rushcliffe. When a council or housing association home becomes available, instead of your local council offering the home through a waiting list, you will be able to place a bid for any suitable home you are interested in. This is not a financial bid but an expression of interest in that home.

Homes will be advertised every week on the internet, and in public places such as council offices and libraries.

Each Wednesday, the people who placed a bid for a property will be arranged into a shortlist, according to priority band and waiting time. The landlord will contact the person at the top of the shortlist to arrange for them to view the home. If that person does not want the home it will be offered to the next person on the list, and so on. It can take some time to work through the shortlists, so if you think you are top of a shortlist but have yet to hear anything, please be patient.

How do I place a bid?

Bids can be placed by in person at the Council offices, by telephone, post and text message as well as on the internet. You can find full details in the How to Bid guide. If you need any assistance, please contact us. We will be happy to help you.

Do I need to use Homesearch?

Yes. If you were previously on your council’s waiting list, you now need to register with Homesearch.

Will the Council still find me a home if I don’t use Homesearch?

No, not normally. The Council will only match you directly to a property in exceptional circumstances, such as if you have been accepted as homeless and living in council temporary accommodation for a very long time, or if you need a property with very particular adaptations for you to move around it.

What will I need to use Homesearch?

To use the service you will need:

  • Your USER ID – this is your unique reference number
  • Your MEMORABLE DATE – you will have chosen this when you registered online.

You should also know your housing need – this is your Band and the size of property you need.

Does a ‘bid’ mean the person who can pay the most rent wins?

No. Placing a bid is not about how much you can pay but is an expression of interest in a property. By bidding, you are just saying you would like to be considered for a particular home. If you don’t bid, you will not be considered.

How many bids can I make?

Properties are advertised on a weekly basis known as a ‘cycle’. You will be able to place a maximum of 3 bids for suitable homes every cycle. You do not need to make 3 bids. You should only bid on suitable homes that you are willing to live in. When you place your bid you will see your position in the queue. This position might change as more people bid after you. You also have the option of removing a bid and placing a bid for a different home at any point during the cycle. You cannot add or remove a bid once the cycle has ended.

If I place my bid early am I more likely to get the property?

No. It does not matter when in the cycle you place your bid. It is not a "first come, first served" system. No priority is given on when a bid is placed; priority is still based on your housing need (your band). If more than one person in the same band places a bid then priority is given to the person who has been waiting the longest in that band.

A shortlist of all bidders is put together at the end of each bidding cycle and those at the top of the shortlist will be the bidders who are in the highest bands. The person at the top of the list will normally be asked if they would like to view the home, at will have the first opportunity to rent it.

Will Homesearch improve my chances of being offered a home?

Homesearch will not increase the number of properties that are available and it does not change your housing priority (band) or the amount of time you have been waiting. The unfortunate reality is that there are many more people waiting for social housing than we can help.

Homesearch will, however, give you the opportunity to bid for a home you would like to live in, rather than waiting for your local council to allocate one to you. You will also be able to see which areas and types of homes are more popular and this might help you to decide which homes to bid for.

Homesearch also gives you a much better idea of your chances of getting a council or housing association home. If you are consistently being placed low on long shortlists, this indicates you are not likely to be sucessful in the near future. You may wish to consider other options, such as private rented property. Your local council can give you advice on this.

I don’t have a computer. How can I see what homes are available and how can I bid?

Every week the available properties will be displayed in all local libraries, at Council offices and in other public places around your local area. You can also place bids by post, telephone or by using your mobile phone to text.

The internet is simply one convenient way to use Homesearch. If you do not have a computer, you can use the kiosks in Council offices, or use the internet at your local library, where staff will be able to help you.

For help using any of the alternative methods, please look at the How to Bid guide.

I am in a band with a time limit. What will happen if I don’t find a home in that time limit?

A time limit applies for applicants in Band 1 or 2, with the exception of applicants who under-occupy their home. If you are in a time limited band you are expected to place bids for properties that match your needs during this period. The time limit starts on the date that you are awarded the Band.

If you have not applied for a property that meets your needs (size, type, adaptations etc.), your application will be reviewed. The review will determine whether the time limit should be extended.

If the time limit is not extended you will either be placed in another band, or you will lose the option to bid for a home and you will be offered a home by your local council as a direct let.

If no suitable vacancy has arisen, the time limit will automatically be renewed for a further period.

Can I bid for properties in areas other than where I live?

Yes, however priority will be given to those applicants with a local connection to the borough the property is in. Most people are not likely to be successful in bidding for a property if they do not have a local connection to the borough it is in. There are some people who do not require a local connection - full details are given in the Housing Allocation Policy.

Will my application be penalised if I refuse a property I have successfully bid on?

If you are successful with a bid you will be asked to view the home. If you decide not to view the home then you will not normally be penalised. If you view the home and decide it is not suitable for you then you will not normally be penalised, so long as you let the landlord of the property know promptly.

If you are in a high priority band, and you are consistently refusing offers of suitable homes, your local council may contact you to discuss your circumstances.

What if I need support to use Homesearch?

If you need help because English is not your first language or you have other support needs, please let us know when you send in your application form. If you have already sent in your application, please contact us for further information.

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