Release Date: 16-Jul-2009
A new way of letting council homes has just been launched. The new choice-based lettings scheme, called choose ‘n’ move, puts customers in the driving seat by letting them choose which homes they’re interested in moving into.
The scheme has been developed as a partnership between Kirklees Council and Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH), the company which manages council homes in the borough.
It is a radical departure from the old system of matching applicants to empty properties and makes the whole lettings process much more transparent.
Under choose ‘n’ move, all the available homes will be advertised each week on a new website and in a special newsletter. Customers will be able to pick up a property newsletter at all Housing Options and KNH offices, libraries, and a number of other housing and advice services.
After looking at the adverts, they’ll be able to bid on homes they want to be considered for – by phone or text message, on the new website, in person and even through digital TV. Full details are explained in a new choose ‘n’ move leaflet, which is being sent to all customers currently waiting for a council home and which will also be available at all housing offices.
Normally, the property will be offered to the customer who has the greatest housing need and who has waited longest. The new scheme will not increase the number of homes available for rent. However, customers will be able to see which ones are available and how they are allocated.
Kirklees Council’s cabinet member responsible for housing, Cllr Andrew Marchington, says: “Choose ‘n’ move will help our customers in many ways. We’ll still give priority to those in greatest need but people will be able to actively seek a home rather than waiting to be offered properties, and they will have more choice over where they live.
“This kind of system is very well established in other parts of the country, and I think people in Kirklees will like the benefits it offers them.”
Kim Brear, the head of the council’s Strategic Housing Service, said: “The new scheme won’t create any new homes for rent, but as it gets more established, we’re hoping to extend it so that people will be able to find good quality, reasonably priced homes for rent from other social and accredited private landlords, all in one place.”
Anyone interested in renting a council home will need to register for the scheme and they’ll be given a registration number to use when bidding for properties. Existing applicants will automatically be sent their registration details.
The adverts will include full details such as location, rent and any service charges and will also be illustrated with clear symbols to show details such as number of bedrooms and whether it has stairs, a garden, parking, allows pets or is suitable for someone who uses a wheelchair.
Adverts will be produced every Wednesday, and customers will have until midnight on Tuesday to make a bid. It won’t be a ‘first come, first served’ system and the bidding phone line, website, text and digital TV facilities will be open 24 hours a day. Extra support and help with bidding will be available for those who need it.
Anyone interested in the new scheme should contact the choose 'n' move information line on 01484 416900 or email email@example.com. You can also find out more by visiting the two choose ‘n’ move self-service areas in Dewsbury Town Hall and Civic Centre 3 in Huddersfield.