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FAQs renting a home

1: I want to register for BVT Homes but I’m being told you’re not accepting new applicants, why?

There is very high demand for our homes which means the number of registrations we’re processing is also high. To help us manage, we’ve paused all new registrations for our BVT Homes portal so we can process awaiting registrations. If you’re in urgent need of a home, please contact your local authority’s housing options team in Birmingham or Telford. If you’ve already registered and been approved for BVT Homes, you can continue to bid on homes. If a home becomes available that we can’t let to a customer who has registered, we may offer it to an applicant being processed.

2: How can I register with BVT Homes one it’s open again?

You can register by going to BVT Homes – bvt.housingjigsaw.co.uk  – and selecting join. It takes around 20 to 30 minutes to complete an application. Please make sure you have your contact details, national Insurance number and the name and telephone number of anyone supporting your move, like a housing officer, support worker or homeless officer.

3: Will I need to supply any information?

Yes. As a minimum, you’ll be asked to upload ID for all members of your household. We may also ask to for documents to support your application. Here are some examples:

Birth certificate, passport or residency permit
Valid passport for each household member
Birth certificate where no passport is provided. Lead and joint applicant to also provide photo ID, such as a driving licence
Home Office documents / indefinite leave to remain letters, valid UK residence card (please upload a copy of both sides)
If you’re a tenantA copy of your tenancy agreement or licence detailing address of the property, landlord and the names of the tenants.
If are an owner occupier or shared ownerMortgage statement or other documents showing the address of the property, value of the property, the balance of your mortgage and the equity held. If the property is being sold please also provide documents relating to the sale e.g. valuation, memorandum of sale.

If you are a shared ownership, please also provide a document confirming, your share.
Confirmation of adoption or fosteringProof of placement or adoption
If you are homeless or threatened with homelessnessLetter from local authority confirming you are homeless or at risk of homelessness and what homeless duty (if any) is owed to you, evidence that the local authority has offered or placed you in temporary accommodation, eviction notice or notice of repossession.
If you need to move because of your health and wellbeingFor any household member with a medical condition affecting the type of housing the household requires:
1: Medical letters or reports,
2: Occupational health report
3: Patient summary (you could ask your GP for this)
Please do not provide copies of prescriptions or appointment letters.
For applicants with a need for an extra bedroom to accommodate an overnight carer or due to a medical conditionDocument from health professional confirming need for overnight care/extra bedroom
Document confirming receipt of disability living allowance or personal independence payments and that the person caring for you receives carers allowance.
If you need to move to give or receive supportInformal statement from the person(s) you need to move closer to, either to give or receive support, explaining why the support is needed and their full address
If you are experiencing harassment or anti-social behaviourAny official documents which confirm your situation or a letter of support/contact details for a support organisation who are working with you.
If you have former outstanding rent / tenancy arrearsCurrent statement of your rent account.
Proof of repayment plan (letter from your landlord)

If you don’t provide documents within 28 days of your application, it will be cancelled. If you’re having problems getting documents within that time, please call us on 0300 333 6540 or email bvthomes@bvt.org.uk

4: What happens after I’ve completed an application?

Your application will be reviewed and activated. You’ll get a notification on BVT Homes telling you the type of homes you can bid for. You’ll then be able to search and bid for homes.

5: What priority will my application be given?

When you register on BVT Homes your application will be placed in one of four bands, A to D. We’ll take into account your personal and housing circumstances when deciding your band. Your application will be placed in band A if you urgently need to move. Your application will be placed in band D if your current home meets your needs, but you’d like to move.

If your current home isn’t suitable for your needs but you’re able to stay while you choose another, your application will be placed in band B or C, depending on how quickly you need to move. Within each band, applications will be considered in date order. Below are examples of why you would be eligible for each band. This is not an exhaustive list:

Band A:

  • Homeless applicants where a duty is owed by the local authority. Applicants will need to be able to supply evidence such as a decision letter from the local authority and / or copy their personalised housing plan.
  • Social housing applicants under occupying their home by one or more bedrooms.
  • Applicants releasing a social rented property with major adaptations where there is an identified need for that type of property. Evidence for demand will be required from the landlord.
  • Applicants who are overcrowded and short of two or more bedrooms.
  • Applicants experiencing ongoing serious violence, harassment or targeted abuse that can only be resolved by living in alternative accommodation. This will include any applicants who have provided supporting information, from either the police, victim support or another support agency of incidents of domestic abuse or harassment.
  • Applicants or household members whose current home does not meet their ongoing physical needs, and that the medical condition or ability to live independently would be improved significantly by re-housing. Supporting medical evidence will be required. 
  • Applicants leaving the armed forces.
  • Applicants whose current home is not fit to live in due to disrepair or a lack of amenities. Supporting evidence would be required from the local authority.
  • BVT tenants who are permanently losing their current rented home for the following reasons: disposal, demolition, de-conversion, major improvement.
  • Applicants in short term supported housing and are required to move on to alternative accommodation urgently. Confirmation about these circumstances will be required from the organisation providing the supported accommodation.

Band B:

  • An applicant threatened with homelessness. They’re likely to become homeless within 56 days or if they’ve been served a valid section 21 notice that expires in 56 days or less. Applicants will need to supply supporting information such as a letter from the local authority and / or copy their personalised housing plan.
  • Homeless applicants where the local authority does not owe a duty.
  • Applicants who are overcrowded and short of one bedroom
  • Key workers who need to be closer to their place of work or have an offer of employment and need to be closer to that workplace. Evidence of employment or an offer of employment will be required and that travelling from the current address is unreasonable.
  • Loss of tied accommodation. Applicants will need to provide a copy of the notice to quit from their employer.
  • Applicants left in property following a relationship breakdown and have no right to remain in their current tenancy.
  • Applicants who are owner occupiers who are selling their property due to affordability and the sale will not release more than £50,000 in equity. If the applicant is selling their home to move into extra care or sheltered housing a higher equity level maybe considered.
  • Families with children under the age of seven and are in an upper floor flat with no lift. 

 Band C:

  • Applicants sharing facilities with more than one household, this could include sharing a bathroom or kitchen.
  • Applicants living in a property with minor disrepair and/or in poor condition but not a risk to health or safety.
  • Applicants who need to be closer to family and friends to give or receive support.
  • Applicants who have been approved as foster or adoptive parents and require an additional bedroom to facilitate a placement. Evidence of approval will be required.

Band D:

  • Applicants with no identified housing need. 
  • Applicants who have deliberately worsened their housing circumstances e.g. debt or anti-social behaviour will be considered on a case-by-case basis and may be eligible to join our waiting list (in band D).

6: I’m not in band A, does this mean I’m unlikely to be offered a home?

No. We advertise 65% of our homes to applicants in band A, 20% to band B, 10% to band C and 5% to band D. Bournville Works Housing Society (BWHS) homes are not advertised to applicants in band D. This is because BWHS was founded in 1919 to provide housing specifically for those in housing need and employees of Cadbury Brothers Limited. We will advertise 70% of BWHS homes to applicants in band A, 20% to band B, 10% to band C.

7: How many bedrooms am I entitled to?

We use the following size criteria to offer homes. A bedroom is necessary for people being permanently rehoused as follows:

  • Each couple living together.
  • A parent in a single parent family.
  • Each person 16 years or over.
  • Each child aged 10 years or over who would otherwise have to share a bedroom with a child of the opposite sex. An expected child is included in the bedroom calculation from 12 weeks prior to the confirmed due date.
  • Medical conditions or disability that means the person in question has a separate bedroom.
  • We’ll generally not exceed a maximum of two people per bedroom.

When we allocate homes, the individual circumstances and requirements of the household will be considered.

When we allocate homes, the following exceptions will apply:

  • Upper floor flats or maisonettes will not normally be offered to applicants with dependent children under seven or where a household members have mobility problems.
  • Bungalows are predominantly for applicants aged 55 years or over. Two-bedroom bungalows will be offered to elderly couples or single elderly applicants. Preference will be given to applicants who are able to demonstrate a medical or a care and support need for an additional bedroom.
  • In order to make best use of our bungalows, consideration will be also given to applicants below pensionable age with a medical need for accommodation on one level.
  • Extra care apartments are for applicants aged 50 years or over (either couples or single applicants) with an assessed housing, care and support need.

8: Will I be able to bid for homes in other local authority areas?

Yes, but we’ll always give preference to applicants with a local connection. To have a local connection:

  • You or a member of your household must have lived in the local authority area for six months out of the past 12, or three years out of the past five (excluding prison or hospital).
  • You or a member of your household must have close family (e.g. parents, siblings, children) who have lived in the local authority area for at least five years.
  • You or a member of your household must have permanent full or part time work in the local authority area.
  • There may be other reasons why you have a local connection to the local authority area. For example, to receive specialist health care, or because you had lived in the area for a long time in the past.

9: Do I need to renew my application each year?

Yes, once a year we’ll ask you to review your application to check all information is up to date. When you log-on to BVT Homes, you’ll see a pop-up box when it’s time to renew.  If you don’t review your application within 28 days, we’ll close it. You may also get email reminders to renew if you were happy to be contacted by email when you registered.

10: How long will I have to wait?

This depends on the number of households waiting on BVT Homes. When you join, you’ll be joining at the back of the ‘queue’ for your priority band. There is very high demand for our homes and if you want to move to a certain area or street, you’ll be waiting longer. We know how distressing it can be to wait and, high demand and a low number of available homes, means you may be waiting for a long time. To speed things up, please be flexible about what you’re prepared to accept. There are also other housing options like speaking to the Council, another social housing landlord or private rent. If you’re a council or housing association tenant, you may also want to consider a mutual exchange, where you swap homes with another tenant. Please check your tenancy agreement to see if you’re eligible. To search for a mutual exchange, go to www.homeswapper.co.uk

11: I’m a BVT tenant, if you move me to another BVT home it will free up a property for you to rent to someone else.

We want our lettings process to be fair and therefore, we have placed a cap on the number of homes available for existing BVT tenants to bid on. This gives everyone the opportunity to rent a home from us.

12: I’ve rented from you for a long time, surely I should get priority over a new tenant?

A lot of people who live in a BVT home would like a transfer. There are also lots of people who need a home, sometimes because they don’t have one at all. We need to make sure the limited number of BVT homes that become available go to those whose need is most urgent. This is why the register is divided into priority bands.

13: I am going to be homeless soon – what should I do?

Please contact your local authority’s housing options team. Contact details for Birmingham City Council can be found at www.birmingham.gov.uk and for Telford and Wrekin Council go to www.telford.gov.uk

14: When do you advertise homes?

We advertise homes to let every week. Adverts generally run weekly, closing midnight on Sunday. You can set up alerts for adverts on BVT Homes and choose how often you receive them.

15: I can’t find a home?

If you can’t see any adverts, it means there are no homes available to let that week. In some cases, a property will not be advertised on BVT Homes because:

  • Nomination Rights – We have nomination agreements with Birmingham City Council and Telford and Wrekin Council. This means they have the right to nominate applicants who meet their eligibility criteria to any of our available homes they have nomination rights over. 
  • Direct Match – The property has been directly matched to an applicant in special circumstances. This might be in an emergency case or where the property has been adapted to meet specific needs.

16: How many homes can I apply for?

You can bid for up to three homes each week. If you place a bid, it doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get the home you bid for, but it does mean you can choose homes you’d like to be considered for rather than us do it for you.

17: Why can’t I place a bid?

If you log-on to BVT Homes and see a home but can’t place a bid, it could be that you’re trying to bid on homes that are too large or small for your assessed needs or you’re not matching the requirements for a home.

18: What happens after I’ve placed a bid?

When the advertisement cycle ends, we’ll shortlist. Applicants will be considered in band and date order and we’ll contact the applicant in position one on the shortlist first. If we contact you, we may ask questions about your application to check you’re eligible and for additional documents to support your application.

If you’re already a tenant, or you’ve previously held a tenancy, we’ll ask your landlord for a reference. If any information you’ve provided is false or incorrect, this could result in a change in your priority band, your eligibility for the home or in your application being closed.

Other reasons we may not be able offer you a tenancy include (but are not limited to):

  • If you’re 16 or 17 you’ll generally not be offered a tenancy (we will only offer limited accommodation to under 18’s in our specialist accommodation, where the tenancy is held in trust by a recognised agency and relevant support is in place).
  • You’re already a BVT tenant and have not been in your tenancy for more than a year or have a ‘starter’ tenancy.
  • You’re already a BVT tenant and you fail a transfer inspection.
  • You have a history of anti-social behaviour.
  • You’re a council or housing association tenant and legal action has been taken against you because you’ve broken your tenancy conditions.
  • You owe rent or have other housing related debts.
  • You’re unable to afford to pay the rent and service charges for the property and have enough money left to live on.

If we can’t consider your application, we’ll explain the reason(s) why and let you know what you need to do to be reconsidered in the future.

19: How long will I have to wait for you to contact me after I have placed a bid?

It can take up to five working days. If you don’t hear from us within five days, your bid hasn’t been successful.

20: What happens if I am offered the tenancy?

We’ll arrange an appointment for you to view the property and sign the tenancy agreement. When you sign the agreement, you’ll be asked to pay a month’s rent in advance.

21: What happens if I refuse the offer?

If you refuse three reasonable offers your banding on BVT Homes will be amended to band D.

22: What should I do if my circumstances change?

If things change, please update your application as soon as possible as your band could change. If this happens, we’ll let you know.

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