What's the news?
Harborough District Council will be leaving the Leicestershire Choice based lettings partnership at the end of March 2018, and will be introducing a new choice based lettings scheme for the Harborough District. Oadby & Wigston Borough Council and Blaby District Council have already left the partnership and have their own individual schemes in operation (see their new websites www.oadbywigstonhomes.org and https://blabyhomes.org).
To facilitate this change, we (Harborough District Council) have recently procured a new integrated Housing system that will replace the existing Housing Register and Choice Based Lettings website. The new system is scheduled to go live in April 2018.
Some changes to the Council's existing Allocations and Lettings Policy were approved by Council Members on the 4th December, but these will not take effect until April 2018 when the new choice based lettings scheme is introduced. Information regarding these changes will be published on the www.harborough-homes.org.uk website shortly and there will be communication with existing applicants notifying them of the changes that have been approved and when they will take effect.
What are the implications?
Currently applicants wishing to join the housing register complete their applications on-line and that will still be the case with the new system. However, the new system will require applicants to upload their supporting proofs at the point of application, for example Photographic ID, Proof of Income, Relevant pages of their tenancy agreement etc. We appreciate that not everyone will have the equipment or knowledge to do this so we will initially provide support with this.
All existing applicants on the housing register will need to make a fresh application to join the new housing register when the system is live (we will keep you updated about this). All existing applicants will be notified in writing (nearer the time) of what they need to do and by when. Unfortunately, some existing applicants, who were accepted onto the housing register in accordance with our current Allocations Policy, may not be eligible to join the new housing register due to the changes in Policy – remember these changes will not take effect until next year when you have to apply to join the new housing register.
Where can I find out more?
Visit the Allocations Policy page on the website for more information about the policy changes.
Checkpoint service available - Click here to view leaflet
*STILL AVAILABLE* Properties available at Almshouse
Ground floor flat available immediately at Almshouse site with another becoming available in January 2018 (following refurbishment). Almshouses are for people who currently reside in the scheme area, which include Market Harborough town, Little Bowden and Great Bowden. Any interested individuals will need to complete an application form together with GP authority form. Please find both documents below.
Edwin Court, Kettering Road, Market Harborough
Waterloo Housing Group have developed in agreement with the Local Authority a Local Lettings Plan for Edwin Court, Kettering Road, Market Harborough. This will apply to the 36 General Needs flats at Edwin Court, 50% of which will be advertised through Harborough Home Search as and when they become available for letting.
The purpose of the Local Lettings Plan is one initiative adopted by the Waterloo Housing Group to create a more balanced and sustainable mix of residents within Edwin Court. The objective is to achieve a greater number of sustainable tenancies and reduce the number of failed tenancies.
Waterloo Housing Group may at their discretion and at the request of the Council make an allocation outside of the Local Lettings Plan (where an applicant may usually be rejected by Waterloo Housing Group for an offer of tenancy).
Waterloo Housing Group will notify Harborough District Council of any refusal of an applicant and provide reasons for the decision. The decision to refuse an applicant will be given by Waterloo Housing Group in writing to the applicant outlining the appeals process.
Change to Universal Credit:
Changes to Universal Credit regulations from 1st April 2017 for claimants aged 18-21 years making a new claim for housing costs. Certain renters will not be entitled to the housing costs element of Universal Credit click on the following link for an overview of the changes and who this will apply to: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/housing-costs-for-18-to-21-year-olds
The Waterloo Group have introduced monthly tenancies. These tenancies can start any day of the week and a month's rent is payable in advance at the start of the tenancy (this is stated on the property advert). Any prospective tenant that is invited to view a property must be prepared to sign the tenancy agreement at the property if made a formal offer of the tenancy. This is to minimise the time the property is empty and reduce any associated loss of rental income. All applicants who are bidding for properties advertised by the Waterloo Group (which includes Seven Locks Housing) should therefore be 'ready' to move.
Have you matched to a property and are single and under 35 years of age?
If you are an applicant who is single and under the age of 35 years when you are successful in your bid for accommodation, you may be affected (from April 2018 and beyond) by the Shared Accommodation Rate introduced under the Local Housing Allowance. If you need to claim Housing Benefit or for Housing Costs through Universal Credit, the amount of financial assistance you receive may not cover the full cost of your rent. However, there are some circumstances in which you may be exempt from this regulation.
If you are in paid employment when you are considered for a tenancy the Landlord may want to check your employment history, the type of contract you have and whether you have any previous dependency on welfare benefits before making an offer of the tenancy to you.
Many Landlords carry out an affordability assessment as part of their pre-tenancy checks. This may involve asking you to complete a personal budget sheet. You are advised to co-operate promptly with this assessment. If you fail to provide the information requested or you are assessed to have insufficient income to pay the rent the Landlord may decide not to offer you a tenancy.
More information regarding entitlement to housing benefit is available from the Council's website under Help Paying Your Rent – Housing Benefit, click on the link below:
Please click on the link below to complete our customer satisfaction survey:
Click on the link below for information on Seven Locks Housing Independent Living Schemes
Please note that if you successfully bid for three suitable properties and you fail to attend three arranged viewings or you refuse three offers of tenancy, your application may be suspended from the housing register for up to six months. You therefore need to make sure you only bid for properties you would be willing to accept a tenancy of. If you are not familiar with the area/property you are bidding on, you can obtain more information from our website (www.harborough-homes.org.uk) by clicking on Show on Map, Show Local Services and Show full details. You also need to ensure when you bid that you have sufficient funds available to pay any rent in advance required by the Landlord, removal costs ect.
Housing Options Kiosk
We now have a touch screen kiosk (in The Symington Building in Market Harborough) on which you will be able to search and bid for properties advertised through Harborough Home Search (providing you have previously applied and been accepted onto the housing register), and you will also be able to look for private rented properties in Leicestershire advertised through www.Homefinder.uk.com .