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Isle Of Wight

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Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q. Who can apply for properties through Island HomeFinder?

You must have registered to be able to apply for properties through Island HomeFinder. Anyone aged 16 years or over may apply to join but you must be able to demonstrate that you have a local connection to the Island.  See Local Connection Evidence tab on the Home page.

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Q. How do I apply to join Island HomeFinder?

To join Island HomeFinder you will need to complete an application form.  You can complete an online application or if you have already registered can login here.  Alternatively you can download and print a paper application form here

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Q. What other documents do I need to provide?

You may be asked for further information once your application has been assessed.  You will be advised what information you need to provide if this is the case. See the Local Connection Evidence tab on the Home page to see what information you need to provide to prove you have a local connection to the Island.

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Q. How do I know if I have been accepted onto Island HomeFinder?

You will receive a letter confirming that you have been accepted. This will tell you the band you have been placed in, the date your application has been registered from and the size of property you are eligible for. It will also provide you with your unique reference number and password (memorable date) which you will need to keep safe as you will need this information to log on to the website and apply for properties.

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Q. Can you refuse to accept me onto Island HomeFinder?

There are some people who are not eligible to be included, these are:
· Certain people who are subject to Immigration Control under the 1996 Asylum and Immigration Act.
· Certain people from abroad who are not subject to immigration control but who are not habitually resident in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland.

Furthermore, if you do not meet the local connection criteria you will not be able to join the register.  See Local Connection Evidence page for more information.  Certain owner occupiers and people who have been deemed guilty of Anti-Social Behaviour may also not be able to join the register.  See the Allocation Policy for more information.

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Q. What are Bands?

Your application will be assessed according to your level of housing need and placed in one of five bands. Within each band applications are placed in priority date order with the oldest application placed at the top.

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Q. What do I do if my circumstances change?

It is important that you tell us of any changes in your circumstances so that we can amend your application, even if it is a change of telephone number. A significant change in your circumstances, such as a change of address, may require you to complete a new form.  However you can update your form online here. We will tell you if this results in your application moving to a different band. If you move bands, then your application date will be amended to reflect when the change took effect.

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Q. Do I need to renew my application each year?

After each year your application has been registered on the Island HomeFinder scheme we will ask you to give us an update of your details.  This is to make sure that your banding is correct and that you are eligible to apply for the correct size properties.

You can do this by going to www.islandhomefinder.org.uk and logging on to your application using your reference number and memorable date and then completing the 'update or cancel your renewal'.  You will need to go through the process of checking all your details are correct even if there are no changes to be made, agreeing to the mandatory declaration and submitting the checked application.  If you don’t follow this process your application will be cancelled for failure to complete the renewal.

Alternatively, if you no longer wish to remain on the Island HomeFinder scheme you can request that your application be closed through the on line process.

If you do not complete your renewal on line within 28 days from the date of this letter we will assume that you no longer wish to continue with your application and it will be cancelled.

Please contact the Choice based Lettings team if you need any assistance with this process

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Q. What if someone in my household has a health or welfare condition?

If someone in your household has a health or welfare issue, please ensure you have included details of this on your application form. You may be asked to complete a further form giving more details and we may need to contact your GP or other medical professional involved in your care for further information if required. The Council will consider any information provided against the medical and welfare policy. For more information see the Prioritising Applications page and Appendix 4 'Medical and Welfare Assessment Framework' of the Allocation Policy.

You can continue to choose which properties to express an interest in but must be mindful of your condition and only express interest in suitable properties such as ground floor flat or bungalow if you cannot climb stairs.

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Q. What if there is disrepair in my current home?

If your current home is suffering from serious disrepair issues, please ensure you have provided details on your application form or notified the Council as soon as possible. The Council will consider whether the disrepair is serious enough to warrant intervention by the Housing Renewal Team. You may be given advice as to how to resolve the disrepair and it may not give you any additional priority.

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Q. How many social rented properties are there on the Island?
Each of the Island HomeFinder partners have produced a stock list of the properties that they rent and manage on the Island. Click the links below to view these stock lists.

Sovereign Housing Association Stock List (formerly Spectrum Housing Group)
Southern Housing Group Stock List
Vectis Housing Association Stock List

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Q. How often are properties advertised?

Properties available for rent are advertised each week from 00.01 hours Wednesday to 00.00 hours Tuesday. 

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Q. Where are properties advertised?

Properties are advertised in the following ways:
· Online here.
· In local Council and Housing Association Offices on the Island.
· Via a pre-recorded telephone service available on 01983 823045.

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Q. What information will the property adverts contain?

The adverts will tell you the landlord, location, size, rent and other features of the property. Where available a photograph of the property or a similar house type will be provided and you will be able to access information about the local area and facilities. The advert will also tell you if there are any special requirements that the applicant must meet, such as age requirements; whether you need to have an earned income; whether it is adapted for the disabled or whether there is a Local Lettings Plan attached to the property. It also tells you the number of bedrooms that applicants applying for the property need to be entitled to. If your bedroom entitlement is different to this you will not be able to be bid on that property.

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Q. How do I apply for a property?

You can express your interest or bid, as it is also known, in the following ways:
· Online by logging into our website here.
· Through our free phone 24hr automated telephone service (0800 130 3120)
· Through our text service (07781 486609)

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Q. What if I don't have access to the internet at home?

It is not necessary to have internet access at home to use this scheme, internet access is available free in all the Council Libraries on the Island, a list of which can be found on the Isle of Wight Council's website at http://www.iwight.com/living_here/libraries/Your_Local_Library/.  If you are resident on the mainland please contact you local council for a list of public access internet points.  Each Council and Housing Association Office on the Island will also have the lists available. You can also listen to property adverts and make bids on the telephone (see previous FAQ for information).

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Q. How many properties can I express an interest in?

You will be able to express an interest in as many properties are you are eligible for. For example, if you require a 2 bedroom property and there are three 2 bedroom properties being advertised, you can apply for all three, however, you will not be permitted to apply for any 3 bedroom properties.

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Q. How long will I have to bid for a property?

You will have one week to consider and express an interest in a property. It will make no difference to your position on the short list of applicants if you bid at the beginning of the week or at the end so long as you make your bid before the property advert closing date.

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

Yes, when you bid for a property you will be told your position at that time, however, this is likely to change frequently if other people bid for the same property after you in the weekly bidding cycle.

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Q. How do you decide who is offered a property?

Once the closing date for bids has passed a short list of interested applicants is drawn up. The short list is in band order, with Band 1 being first and then bids will be sorted by how long applicants' have been in the band. If more than one person from the highest band applies with the same band date, then which ever application has been registered the longest will be considered first.

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Q. If my bid is successful, can the landlord refuse to let it to me?

You may not be considered for the property if you have any outstanding housing debts or you don't meet the specific property requirements.  You can see the outcome of your  bids in the 'My Bids' page of the website and if you are 'skipped' for a property it will be indicated as to the reason why.  Even if you are short listed for a property, before you are offered it the landlord will meet with you to carry out further suitability checks which may include a home visit.

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Q. 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.

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Q. What if I don't like the property when I have seen it?

You can refuse the property once seen, however, any unreasonable refusal could result in your application being suspended for 12 months and in which time you will not be able to express an interest in any properties being advertised.

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

Information about homes that have been successfully let will be published on the website. We tell you the number of applicants that expressed an interest in each property, the band and the registration date of each property. We will not publish any personal information relating to the successful applicant.

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Q. How will property advert feedback information help me?

It will give you a better idea of how popular a particular property type 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.

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Q. Are carpets and appliances provided in the properties?

Properties are usually let unfurnished.

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Q. What other options are there for housing?

There is a severe shortage of homes on the Island. Most applicants will have to wait a long time for re-housing and many of those in the lower bands will have little chance of being re-housed. Depending on your circumstances you may wish to consider other options such as renting in the private sector. See Other Housing Options page for more information. You may also wish to discuss your circumstances in more detail, please contact the Housing Options Team at County Hall, High Street, Newport or on (01983) 823040 for more information.

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Q. What if I become homeless?

If you need accommodation because you are homeless or threatened with homelessness, you should contact Housing Services to arrange an interview to discuss your circumstances. We will work with you to try to prevent you becoming homeless and will discuss your housing options with you. If this is unsuccessful you may be offered temporary housing. You may still express an interest in properties through Island HomeFinder, providing your application has been accepted and is up to date, but in most cases it is unlikely that this will be in time to resolve your homelessness, as most applicants will have to wait a long time before being successful.  If you require further information, please visit https://www.iwight.com/Residents/Care-Support-and-Housing/Housing/Housing-Options-and-Homelessness-Prevention-Advice/Homelessness-Prevention

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Q. How do I request a review of a decision?

If you disagree with any of the following decisions you can request a review:
· You are not eligible to join Island HomeFinder
· You are not eligible for an offer
· Your application has been cancelled other than at your own request
· You think that you have been placed in the wrong band or given the wrong priority date

To request a review you must contact Housing Services within 21 days of the date you are notified of the decision and the reason for it. You may provide additional information in writing 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.

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Q. My application seems to have been closed and I can't bid on any properties.  Why is this?

A new Allocations Policy was introduced in October 2015. All applicants were asked to complete a review form and provide evidence that they have a local connection to the Island by the end of September 2015 in order to stay on the register advising that if they did not do so their application would be closed.

If people did not return review forms or did not provide proof of local connection as requested by the date specified, their applications have since been closed.

If your application has been closed and you still wish to be considered for housing via the Island HomeFinder scheme you will have to re-apply via the website at www.islandhomefinder.org.uk using your original log in reference. If you do not know your log in reference, please contact Housing Service for this information.

When you apply for housing you will need to complete a Housing Options Assessment first which will advise you if you are eligible to apply.

If you do not provide proof that you meet the local connection criteria your application will not be accepted.

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Q. I like a property but it will need adapting to suit my needs.  Will there be a wait before any adaptations can be completed?

Any adaptations will need the landlord’s consent and this may take some time whilst they consider what needs doing.  Also, if you are not paying for the adaptations yourself and need help with funding the works to be completed there will need to be an assessment of needs by an Occupational Therapist or other appropriate medical professional person (e.g. consultant, GP).

This assessment of needs and recommendations as to what adaptations need doing can take a period of time and you should contact the person or service providing that assessment for you to find out how long that might take before you decide whether you can take on a property that needs adapting to suit your needs. You will also have to take into account the amount of time it would take for any work to be completed.

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