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East Surrey Subregional - Reigate & Banstead

Frequently Asked Questions

These are some frequently asked questions which you may find of use. If you have further questions which are not listed here please call the Housing Register Team on 01737 276790.

  •  Who can apply for properties through Home Choice in Reigate & Banstead?

You must have been accepted onto Reigate & Banstead's Housing Register to be able to apply for social rented properties through Reigate & Banstead Home Choice.

  • How do I apply to join the Housing Register?

The process for applying is in 3 parts:

  1. Complete the self-assessment to establish whether you are likely to qualify
  2. Complete the main application form (allow approx 1 hour)
  3. Provide the documentation requested within 21 days of submitting your application (failure to do so will mean you need to reapply)
  • What documents do I need to provide?

Along with your completed application form you will need to provide the following: 

  • Proof of identity for all household members (e.g. passports, birth certificates for children).
  • Proof of current address (e.g. recent utility bill).
  • Evidence of your right to reside in the UK if you are not a British Citizen (e.g. passport & other relevant Home Office documentation).
  • Proof of income for all household members.  We require your last 5 consecutive payslips if you are paid every week or your last 2 consecutive payslips if you are paid every month, and any benefit letters if in receipt of any.
  • Proof of capital; in the form of 3 months recent bank statements

When we request a renewal of your application you will need to provide proof of your household’s income at this stage. If your circumstances change throughout your application (birth of new baby etc.) then we will request the relevant documents as shown above. Before you are offered a property we may ask you to provide up to date copies of the above documents.

  • What happens if I do not provide the required documents?

If we require further documents in order to process your application we will request these in writing. You will be given 21 days to send these documents to us. Failure to provide the necessary documents within the time frame will result in your application being rejected and you will then need to re-apply. Your housing register application will not be processed until you have completed the form correctly and provided all the necessary supporting documents within the given time frame. Your effective date will be the date that your completed form and required supporting information is supplied.

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

You will receive a letter confirming that you have been accepted onto the Housing Register. This will tell you the band in which you have been placed, the date your application has been registered from and the size of property you are eligible for.

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

Anyone can make an application to the register and all applications will be assessed in accordance with the Council's Housing Register & Allocations Policy. All applications will also be referred to the Council’s Fraud & Error team for verification purposes.

Prospective applicants should note, however, that due to the strict qualifying criteria, the majority of applications are rejected.  According to the policy, in order to be accepted, applicants must meet all of the following  criteria:

  • Have lived in the borough of Reigate & Banstead continuously for at least the last 3 years, OR worked here continuously for at least the last 12 months
  • Have gross annual household income under:
    - £25,000 (single applicants)
    - £30,000 (couples without children)
    - £50,000 (all other households)
  • Not have savings/capital/assets over £16,000
  • Not own their own home (this includes shared ownership
  • Not have rent or Council Tax arrears
  • Not have a record of unacceptable behaviour/ASB
  • Have a ‘housing need’ as defined in the Housing Register & Allocations  Policy (waiting list applicants only)
  • Be eligible for an allocation of social housing according to their immigration status
  • Other criteria as detailed in the Housing Register and Allocations Policy

  • Can I apply to housing associations to go on their registers? 

Reigate and Banstead Borough Council works in partnership with most housing associations operating in the area. The Council has nomination rights to most housing association properties in the Borough and nominates applicants from the Housing Register to any vacancies. The housing associations themselves tend not to hold their own registers and rely mostly on council nominations.

  • What are The Priority Bands?

Every application is placed into one of five bands (A-D or H) to reflect the level of housing need. In many cases, applicants making a community contribution through employment, volunteering or studying will be placed in a higher priority band than those who are not. Within each band, applications are listed in date order. For more information on the criteria for each band click here.

  • How long will I stay in the same band?

You will remain in the same band unless your circumstances change and your application is awarded a different level of priority.

  • What do I do if my circumstances change?

It is very important that you tell us of any changes in your circumstances so that we can amend your application. We will tell you if this results in your application moving to a different band or bedroom need.  If you move up or down a band or there is a change in your bedroom need the date used will be the date the change occurs.

  • Do I need to renew my application each year?

Yes, applicants will be notified to renew their application either six monthly or annually depending on their banding and circumstances. This must be completed via our online renewal form within 28 days. You must also provide evidence of your current circumstances and financial situation at this time. If you fail to return the form within the time frame we will assume you no longer require housing and your application will be cancelled accordingly. You will be notified of this in writing.

  • What if someone in my household has a medical condition?

If someone in your household has a medical condition that is worsened by your current housing situation you should complete our online Medical Assessment Form and will be asked to provide details. Your case may then be referred to the Council’s Independent Medical Advisor, who will put forward a recommendation for your housing register application. If applicable you must only bid on properties which are suited to your medical needs, for example if you struggle with climbing stairs only bid for properties which are ground floor or have access to a lift.

  •  How often are properties advertised?

Properties are advertised each week from midnight on a Thursday until 23.59 the following Wednesday. You cannot place bids on Thursdays.

  • What information will the property adverts contain?

The adverts will tell you the landlord, location, rent and other features of the property. Where available a photograph of the property or a similar property type will be provided. The advert will also tell you if there are any special requirements that the applicant must meet, such as age requirements and which band the property is prioritised for. It also tells you the number of bedrooms available at the property. If your bedroom entitlement is different to this you will not be able to bid for that property. You will not be able to bid for a property if it has been prioritised for a Transfer applicant if you are a Waiting List applicant and vice versa. 

  • How do I apply for a property?

For instructions on how to bid click here

  •  How many properties can I express an interest in?

You will be able to express an interest in a maximum of three properties each week. However, you will only be able to express interest in properties that you are eligible for.

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

Yes, when you bid for a property you will be told where you are in the queue. This is likely to change over the course of the cycle due to other people bidding for the same property. Please be aware that this information may not be accurate because although we may prioritise a property for a particular band, applicants in other bands can also place a bid for example a property may be prioritised for band C, but band B and band D applicants can also bid.  We will consider bids by Band C applicants first and only if there are no suitable band C applicants we will consider bids from other bands. 

 You can use information about your queue position to 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. But please beware that your queue position may not be a true reflection of your position.

  • 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. The shortlist is in order of eligibility according to the criteria stated in the advert details for that property. Subject to checks, the applicant at the top of the list will normally be offered the property.  Click Step Three-Offer for more details.

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

Yes. Housing associations undertake their own checks and you may not be invited to view the property for the following reasons:

  • You have outstanding rent arrears 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 not provided the required documentary evidence to support your application by the date given.
  • 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 housing association feel that the property is unsuitable for you due to support needs etc.
  • 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?

If after viewing the property you decide to refuse it, it will be offered to the next person on the priority list. If a reasonable explanation for refusal is not given this will be considered as one of your reasonable offers. Applicants should be aware that the Council has placed a limit of two reasonable offers on applicants that are eligible for bidding. This means if an applicant bids for a property and refuses a second reasonable offer their application will be removed from the Register.

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

Information about homes that have been successfully let is published. This information can be used to help you decide which properties to bid for, by giving you a better idea 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.

 To see the results of properties that have been let click Recent Lets.

  • Are carpets and appliances provided?

You will normally have to provide your own carpets and appliances. This should be confirmed at the viewing with the Housing Association. You should ensure you have the finances available before placing a bid.

  • Will I have to pay a deposit if I am sucessful with my bid?

Usually you will be required to pay at least 1 weeks' rent in advance at the sign up plus any additional days rent if your tenancy does not start on a Monday. Some Housing Associations require 1 months rent in advance at the sign up. Each advert will details the amount of deposit required. Please ensure you have the funds to pay this before placing a bid.

  • What other options are there for housing?

There is a shortage of homes in the Reigate & Banstead area. Most applicants on the Housing Register will have to wait a long time for re-housing. Depending on your circumstances you may wish to consider other options such as renting in the private sector. 

The Housing Advice Self-Help Tool. Use the Housing Advice Self-Help Tool to get practical advice about your housing options.  Please be aware that you must use the Self-Help Tool before contacting the Housing Advice team.

  •  What if I become homeless?

Households who are homeless or threatened with homelessness may be dealt with outside the scheme. You should contact the Housing Advice team on 01737 276790 for practical advice and if necessary a housing options appointment will be booked. 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 Reigate & Banstead Home Choice.

  • What help can you offer people experiencing domestic abuse?

If you are experiencing domestic abuse there are many options that are available to you. We would advise you to contact East Surrey Domestic Abuse Service (ESDAS) for more information on services available. For further information please refer to our Housing Advice Self-Help tool or our website.

  • How do I request a review of a decision?

If you disagree with any decision made regarding your register application where you have been found to be ineligible or do not wualify to join the housing register and your application has been cancelled, you can request a review. To request a review you must submit a letter of appeal within 21 days of the date you are notified of the decision and the reason for it. You may provide additional information 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 if you disagree with the outcome of your appeal.

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