Empty homes (North Tyneside Council)

Moving Home - Staying Safe Government Guidance

The team are working hard to arrange viewings and tenancy start dates for applicants, we will contact you once we have an update on homes which you have been offered, please do not contact the team for an update on viewings or tenancy start dates as we are working hard to move you into your new home as soon as we can safely do so, your patience is appreciated during this time, please see below guidance issued by the Government about moving home.  

The Government recently issued new guidance for people moving home in the social sector. A copy of the full guidance can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak we strongly advise all applicants to read the section Advice to the public

If you are shielding please consider whether you are able to move should we offer you a home.

The key points of the guidance have been summarised below.

Landlords have been advised to consider how to carry out their activities in line with the government’s advice on social distancing in the workplace. Practices should also be altered in line with this wider guidance, including:

property inspections for vacating tenants
collecting returned keys
conducting viewings
conducting tenancy sign-ups
preparing homes to be re-let

Some applicants and tenants may be anxious about moving at this time. It is important to ensure that they do not feel under undue pressure to move, if they are not ready or able to do so. 

It will also be important for the Landlord to discuss with applicants and tenants their state of health, level of vulnerability and their arrangements for moving (including any assistance required) before proceeding with the move.

Landlords should avoid moving tenants who are showing symptoms of coronavirus or self-isolating. There may be exceptions to this (e.g. safety reasons) and in these scenarios Landlords should speak to the local Public Health team about appropriate infection control measures before taking any action.

Landlords should also avoid moving residents who are shielding because they have been notified they are in the clinically extremely vulnerable group. If a home move is required, the landlord should speak to the local Public Health team for advice on appropriate measures to protect the resident. 

Although your Landlord will place no pressure on you to move where you are not ready or able to do so, they may also be unable to hold onto a property you have successfully bid for. We therefore advise that you only bid on properties where your circumstances have been considered and you are in a position to move. This is particularly important for those applicants who are shielding who will need to discuss any intention to move with their Landlord in advance, to consider whether this can be completed safely. 

If you have concerns about any of this guidance or would like further information about any of the revised practices, please do speak to your Landlord. 

 

Empty Homes Team

The Empty Homes Team is based at the Head Office of North Tyneside Council and can be contacted:

Telephone 0345 2000 102.
Email : emptyhomes@northtyneside.gov.uk

 

 

 

How to bid on a property?

Each week we advertise our available homes, the cycle runs from 12:01am Thursday until 11:59pm on Monday, please note that lettings cycles are subject to change or cancellation to accommodate Bank Holidays and other holiday periods.

Each advertised property will contain information such as: property size, the area where the property is located, weekly rent and the type of heating installed. It will also set out the minimum size of household that will be considered and you will need to meet this requirement to be eligible.

Applicants who have an active application with Tyne and Wear Homes can bid on 3 properties per week through the regular bidding cycle.

Properties which have not been let through the bidding cycle will be advertised as 'Available Now' and applicants are able to bid on as many properties as they wish which are being advertised in this way, these properties are listed continuously until a suitable applicant is offered the property.

Only bid on properties which you are interested in.

You can bid online through the Tyne and Wear Homes website https://www.tyneandwearhomes.org.uk, by text, telephone, in person or with your permission, through your carer/support worker or family member.

How will I know if I have been successful in getting a property?

All successful applicants who have made an expression of interest during a standard choice based lettings cycle will be contacted within 3 working days of the advert closing at 11.59pm each Monday (excluding the period between Christmas and New Year).

You will only be contacted if you have been successfully matched to a property which you have expressed interest, all properties are offered to the applicant placed in the highest priority band based on the date of their application.

We ask that applicants do not call to enquire as to whether they have been successful on a property as we will contact all successful applicants; you can also check your bidding position by logging onto your account on the Tyne and Wear Homes’ website.

Once you have been matched to a property and you have verbally accepted the offer of accommodation, you will be unable to express interest in any other properties.

Any offer made will be conditional until your tenancy agreement has been signed and your tenancy has commenced.

If you are contacted regarding a conditional offer and you have rent arrears over £500 your application will be closed and no offer of accommodation will be made.

If you have rent arrears under £500 you will be given 1 working day to clear these arrears, if the arrears are not cleared the offer will be withdrawn and this will be classed as a refusal.

If you place more than one bid in the same week and you are top of the list for more than one home, we will ask you which home you would prefer to be offered. We are unable to make more than one offer at any time and if we cannot get in touch with you we will decide which home you will be offered.

If we contact you regarding an offer of a property you will be given one working day to respond. If you fail to respond within this time we will remove the offer from you and this will be considered a refusal.

It is your responsibility to update your contact details on your housing application. We do not contact applicants by letter to make offers of accommodation.

When being made your conditional offer of accommodation you may take 2 working days to decide if you wish to accept the offer.

If you are transferring between two North Tyneside Council properties, a pre termination inspection will be arranged to ensure your property meets the moving out standard and your tenancy agreement has been adhered to, you will be given a short period of time to bring your property up to standard if it fails to meet the moving out standard, if your property fails to meet the moving out standard the offer of accommodation will be removed and this will be classed as a refusal.

What happens if I refuse a property?

In some circumstances a property may be refused and would be considered a ‘reasonable refusal’, such as:

  • The property does not have the correct adaptations for the applicant and cannot be adapted;
  • Medical reasons prevent the applicant accepting the property;
  • There was an error in the adverts details.

If you refuse three reasonable offers of accommodation within a twelve month period you will be disallowed from bidding on North Tyneside Council properties for six months in line with North Tyneside Council’s Letting Policy.  In order to have your application reinstated you will need to contact us within 21 days of the final date which you are disallowed. If you do not contact us within the required timescale your application with North Tyneside Council will be closed and a new application will need to be made. This will mean that your date of registration and banding priority are subject to change.

If you are classed as statutory homeless and you refuse a reasonable offer of accommodation, North Tyneside Council will discharge its duty to find you accommodation and no further offers of accommodation will be made. 

If you disagree with the outcome, you have the right to request a review.

If you have been made a direct offer you cannot bid on other properties and if you refuse an offer you may have your priority reduced or be removed from the housing register.

How to Appeal

If you disagree with being disallowed from bidding on North Tyneside Council properties, you have the right to ask for a review of the decision. You must request your review and tell us your reasons for requesting a review in writing, within 21 days of the decision.

Can I afford a property?

As part of the North Tyneside Councils Letting Policy we can carry out an affordability assessment prior to any formal offer of accommodation to ensure a property is affordable to an applicant. The assessment takes in to consideration all current income and calculates the expenditure based on the property which you are being offered. 

The financial assessment is completed online via the following link, this link will be emailed to you at the point of offer: 

https://betteroffcalculator.co.uk/api/remoteAuth/5ddf0d9de236dbff36742cd...

If you are asked to complete an affordability assessment by North Tyneside Council, you must complete this within 48 hours, failure to respond will be considered a refusal of the property which you are being offered. 

An affordability assessment can be checked and verified by an officer at any point following the offer of accommodation depending on when a property is due to be available to let, you will be informed of the provisional available to let date of the property at the point of offer.

You must contact North Tyneside Council if you have been offered a property but may not be available to contact e.g. you are due a hospital stay or are going on holiday.

You must provide proof of Universal Credit, by returning screenshots to the email address within 24 hours of being sent your offer email. You must provide 3 months bank statements for the last 3 months within 24 hours to the email address which you were originally contacted on.

If the property is not affordable the offer will not proceed and this will not be considered a refusal of the property by you.

Further advice and guidance will be given to allow you to maximise your income and understand which properties are affordable.

If the property is affordable and is available an appointment will be made for the viewing and signing of your tenancy. If the property is not available yet, you will be contacted closer to the time to arrange a viewing and signing of your tenancy.

Things which you will need to complete the affordability assessment:

Any outgoing expenditure – we calculate this amount as a weekly figure but please ensure you have ALL outgoings detailed for your assessment. These details must be submitted on the 'budget' tab of the affordability assessment. 

Any incoming wages and benefits – Please ensure you have provided proof of all income as this will be required to ensure the assessment is accurate.

If you are unsure about any costs associated with the new property, please tick the 'average costs' box, please do not contact us to request this information. 

How long will I wait for my property?

Once you have been offered a property we will advise you when the keys are expected back from our void repairs team. 

North Tyneside Council advertise properties as soon as we receive the termination notice from the existing tenant therefore a property can be offered to an applicant weeks before the vacating tenant has moved out.

Once the vacating tenant has left their property we ask our repairs team to complete an inspection and repairs to ensure the property is in a lettable standard. 

This process can take anywhere from a few days to a few months depending on how much notice a departing tenant is giving and how much work is required within the property. 

On occasion properties are offered to applicants when they are ready to let, if you are being offered a property which is ready to let we will notify you at the offer stage. In these circumstances you may be rehoused within a few days of being offered a property.

What happens during a viewing?

A viewing will be arranged between 10am and 4pm on a weekday (Monday to Friday), you will be expected to be available during this time.

We ask all successful applicants to refrain from attending properties prior to the arranged accompanied viewing as our properties are advertised whilst still occupied.

An officer will meet you at the property, please ensure that a maximum of 2 people attend the viewing except in exceptional circumstances, after looking around the property you must make a decision as to whether you wish to accept the property.

The officer will complete a moving in standard as the property is ready to move into and this will allow us both to identify any outstanding repairs which will be reported after the viewing and sign up, If necessary, a decorating pack will be ordered and a delivery date will be arranged at your convenience.

Following the viewing any repairs which have arisen since your tenancy commenced must be reported to the Customer Service Centre.

A gas commissioning test will be booked with an appointment within 3 working days of your viewing.

If needed a furniture pack can be ordered depending on your circumstances.

You will sign your tenancy agreement and the tenancy will, in most cases tenancies start the next working day. and you will receive the keys to your new property.

What to expect from your new home?

The property may need decorating, if it does, you may be offered a decorating pack.

The property will have either a gas or electric cooker point.

The property will meet the North Tyneside Council Moving In standard.

What happens to my application for rehousing?

Once you have signed for the tenancy we will close your housing application. If you think you may want to move again in the future you will need to submit a new application using your previous reference number and memorable date.  

Find out about Council tenancies

Your tenancy agreement is an agreement between you and your landlord, It sets out your rights and responsibilities.

North Tyneside Council use Any Day tenancies for all lettings, your tenancy will start the day after your viewing and tenancy signing, there are some situations where vulnerable applicants may be given a longer period to start their tenancy, this will be discussed at the viewing of the property.

There are two types of tenancy used by North Tyneside Council:

Introductory Tenancies

Are offered to all new tenants who have not held a tenancy with a Local Authority or Housing Association immediately prior to their offer of accommodation, introductory tenancies are effective for a 12 month period and are converted to a secure tenancy If the tenancy is conducted in a satisfactory manner.

Secure Tenancies

Secure tenancies are provided to applicants who are transferring from another Secure Tenancy with North Tyneside Council, another Local Authority or are moving from a Housing Association as an Assured tenant.