Thursday, 8 September 2011

City Council launches online housing choice scheme with drop-in sessions

Lancaster City Council is launching 'Ideal Choice Homes', on 19th October. Choice-based lettings is the brand new way the Council will be letting council accommodation in the Lancaster district.

If you are already on the housing register you will need to re-register and you can do this online at www.idealchoicehomes.co.uk from next Monday 12th September. When you re-register for the new system, you will keep any waiting time you have already built up.

The new scheme will allow people registered on the city council’s housing register to bid for the properties that they are interested in, subject to eligibility.

Over this coming week the council is holding a number of drop-in sessions (listed below and in the Virtual Lancaster events listings) in libraries across the district, to guide people through the new system. Staff will be available to to help you register on the new system, show you how the new system works and answer any questions you might have.

The scheme will include: housing association properties, shared ownership properties and social housing tenants who are looking for a swap (mutual exchange).

Currently, council accommodation is let by council officers who offer vacant properties to the next applicant on the housing waiting list, based on their housing need.
Under Choice Based Lettings vacant properties will be advertised, on a weekly basis, online and in a newsletter available at the Town Halls and the Housing Office on Cable St, Lancaster and applicants will be able to express an interest online, via text, by phone or in person at Lancaster or Morecambe Town Halls.

At the end of the advertising period, the person in the greatest housing need out of all those who have placed a bid for a property will be offered and invited to view it.

A bid does not involve any money. By bidding applicants are simply expressing their interest in being considered for the vacancy.

As part of the change to choice based lettings the council will also be moving from a points based assessment of housing need, to a simplified banding system. Some properties will only be available to people in a particular band, and so the person with the longest waiting time within that band will be successful.

To be eligible to bid for properties through Ideal Choice Homes you must apply to join the Lancaster City Council housing register. From next Monday you will able to do this on-line at www.idealchoicehomes.co.uk.

The council has written to people already on the Housing Register explaining the changes and explaining what to do.

The drop-in sessions will be held on:

Monday September 12, 10am – 2pm, Morecambe Library

Tuesday September 13, 10am – 2pm, Lancaster Library

Wednesday September 14, 10am – 12pm, Carnforth Library

Thursday September 15, 10am – 2pm, Heysham Library

Friday September 16, 10am – 12pm, Bolton-le-Sands Library

Monday September 19, 10am - 12pm, Halton Library

• Further information is available from www.lancaster.gov.uk/idealchoicehomes


• The website http://www.idealchoicehomes.co.uk/ will be operational from Monday 12th September

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