Choice Based Lettings
Choice Based Lettings (CBL) allows eligible applicants to select properties that they are interested in, rather than the council allocating the property to the next applicant on the housing register.
The scheme follows an open and transparent process, helping applicants make informed choices about where they want to live and the type of property they would prefer. The council is fully committed to enabling applicants to play a more active role in choosing where they live, whilst continuing to house those in the greatest need.
The council believes that social housing should be seen as one of a range of options available to applicants and that they may also need to consider other Housing Options such as:
- Low Cost Home Ownership
- An exchange (the existing scheme is called ‘Homeswopper’, it applies to Council and Housing Association tenants)
- Renting in the private sector • Moving to other parts of the country where there is a better balance between supply and demand of social housing
Information on different housing options can be obtained from the council’s website, or from the Housing Team at the council.
How the Scheme Works
Step 1 Registration
Once your application has been registered, you will receive an email from the Housing Solutions team at Watford Borough Council. This will confirm your application number and password and tell you how to log onto your account. You will also recieve a provisional banding and bedroom entitlement. Once we recieve your application we will confirm your banding and bedroom entitlement and as long as we have the necessary information from yourself to confirm your entitlement we will make your application live.
You must keep your local Council informed of any changes to your circumstances, for example, changes to your household size or address. This is very important, as it could result in a change to your banding or the type of property you are eligible for. You will be able to notify us of any change in circumstances through your customer account.
Step 2 Bidding
Properties are advertised every week on the Home Connections website.
The adverts give you information about each property, for example number of bedrooms, rent level, garden and local amenities. A photograph will be included if available.
Every week there is a 5-day period when you can place bids for properties you are interested in. This is called the ‘bidding cycle’. Weekly bidding cycle runs from Friday at 9am to the following Tuesday, closing at 12 noon. Your bids must reach us by this time or they cannot be counted.
You can bid for up to 3 properties in each cycle, but you can only bid for properties that you are eligible for. For example, if you are eligible for a 2-bedroom property you cannot bid for one with 3 bedrooms.
We can give you help to bid if you need it. You can also ask a friend, family member or support worker to bid on your behalf. Please contact your local council if you need help bidding or advice about the process.
Step 3 The Offer
At the end of the bidding cycle, a shortlist of bidders is drawn up for each property. The shortlist will only include applicants for whom the property is suitable. We will also check whether bidders have any rent arrears or any other tenancy issues, and the condition of their current property, as offers will not normally be made in these circumstances.
The bidder who is in the highest priority band and has been waiting in that band longest will be at the top of the shortlist. The bidder at the top of each property shortlist will be contacted by the landlord. If they refuse the property, or if the landlord decides the offer is not suitable, the property is then offered to the next person on the shortlist, and so on until an offer is accepted. People at the top of a shortlist will normally be contacted within a week of the bidding cycle closing.
If you successfully bid for more than one property in the same bidding cycle, you will be asked which property you would prefer as your first choice. Whilst a property is under offer to you, you will not be considered for any other properties.
You do not have to accept an offer of a property, although if you are a homeless applicant to whom the council has accepted a main duty, special rules may apply. Please contact the Housing Solutions Team at Watford Borough Council if you have questions about this. For other applicants, if you refuse three offers we will contact you to discuss how we can support you to bid for a home you want. We may also review your circumstances, especially if you are in a high band and need to move urgently.
Step 4 Feedback
You can get feedback on your bids by logging into your customer account.
All properties that have been advertised will be listed on the Feedback page on the website once they have been let. This will show you the band of the person who the property was let to and how long they had been waiting in that band. It will also tell you the total number of bids received for that property. No personal information will be shown though. The feedback will help you decide whether you need to re-consider what to bid for. You may need to think about choosing a different area or property type