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FAQs about Applying for a Rented Home

How can I apply for a new home with Bournville Village Trust (BVT)?

BVT Homes is our online portal where you can register and bid for a home with us in Birmingham or Shropshire. It makes applying and bidding for a home much simpler.

What if I am already a BVT tenant?

Demand for our homes is very high and we only have a small number of properties available to rent each year. Therefore to make the way we let homes as fair as possible to existing BVT tenants and those looking to become a BVT tenant, we have limited the number of properties on BVT Homes that are available for BVT tenants who wish to transfer to another home with us.

Who can join BVT Homes?

Everyone who applies to join BVT Homes is asked about their legal status. Applicants who are subject to immigration controls can apply and each application will be assessed to confirm that the applicant has the right to rent and access to public funds. If you do not have the legal right, you will not be eligible to join BVT Homes and we will offer advice as necessary.

Joining BVT Homes does not mean that you will be offered a tenancy. It means that you will be able to see the properties that we have available each week and choose to ‘bid’ on any property that you are eligible to apply for. Placing a bid and being top of the shortlist when the advertisement cycle ends, does not mean that the property is yours.  It triggers a process which may or may not end with you being offered the tenancy.

How can I register with BVT Homes?

You can register on BVT Homes by logging onto the website bvt.housingjigsaw.co.uk and selecting the join button. When you register on BVT Homes you will be asked for an email address and a password. You will need to enter this email address and password every time you log-in.

Completing your application will take approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Please make sure you have the following details to hand when you register:

  • Your contact details
  • Your National Insurance number
  • The name and telephone number of anyone supporting your move such as a housing officer, support worker or homeless officer.

Will I need to supply any information?

Yes. As a minimum, when you complete your application you will be asked to upload proof of identity for all household members. You may also be asked to supply documents to support your application.

Depending upon your circumstances, we may request other documents. These are some example of the documents that we may ask for:

Proof of identity for each household memberPassport, driving licence, birth certificate
Leave to remain or refugee statusPassport or right to remain papers
If you are homeless or threatened with homelessnessEvidence of homelessness from local authority (decision letter), Section 21 Notice
If you need to move because of your health and wellbeingGP/Hospital letter, occupational therapist report etc.
If you are experiencing harassment or anti-social behaviourCrime reference numbers
If you have former outstanding rent / tenancy arrearsProof of repayment plan (Letter from landlord or rent statement)

We will tell you what documents to provide and when to provide them. All documents provided must be up to date and valid.

What happens if I don’t provide the documents you have asked for?

If you do not provide the documents we have asked for within 28 days of the date of your application, your application will be cancelled.  If you are experiencing any difficulties getting the documents we have asked for within 28 days, for example you are waiting for a new birth certificate or passport to be sent to you, please contact us on 0300 333 6540 or email BVTHomes@bvt.org.uk and a member of the team will help you.

What happens after I have completed an application?

When you have completed your BVT Homes application and have uploaded all of the documents that we have asked for, your application will be reviewed and activated. You will receive a notification in the customer portal letting you know which band you have been placed in, what your effective date is and what size property you are eligible for. You will then be able to search and bid for a home with us. Please check your notifications using your registered email address and password for this update.

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 will take into account your personal and housing circumstances when deciding the band you are placed in. Band A is the highest priority band.

Your application will be placed in band A if your need to move is urgent.

Band D is the lowest priority band. Your application will be placed in band D if your current home meets your needs but you would like to move.

If your current home is not suitable for your needs but you are able to stay there 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 provides examples of why you would be eligible to be placed in 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 who are 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 who are 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 who are 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 who is threatened with homelessness. They are likely to become homeless within 56 days or if they have 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 (e.g. fire fighter, police officer, teacher, bus driver (public transport groups) health worker (NHS employee, social worker, BVT nursing/care 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 (for example; no access to a car or public transport, public transport would require multiple changes and any commute that would be excessive in time (over one hour each way).
  • Loss of tied accommodation. Applicants will need to provide a copy of the notice to quit from their employer.
  • Applicants who are 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 with any other reasonable housing needs. To include:

  • Applicants who are sharing facilities with more than one household, this could include sharing a bathroom or kitchen.
  • Applicants living in a property that has minor disrepair and/or in poor condition but is 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 who have 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).

I am not in band A, does this mean that I am unlikely to be offered a home?

No. We will be advertising 65% of our homes to applicants in band A, 20% to band B, 10% to band C and 5% to band D.

How many bedrooms am I entitled to?

In order to make best use of our housing stock, we use the following size criteria to offer accommodation. A bedroom is necessary for those 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 makes it imperative that the person in question has a separate bedroom.
  • We will generally not exceed a maximum of 2 people per bedroom.

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

When we allocate properties the following exceptions will apply:

  • Upper floor flats or maisonettes will not normally be offered to applicants with dependent children who are under seven years of age 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 who have 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.

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

Yes, you are able to for homes in a different local authority area to your current home but we will always give preference to applicants who have a local connection.

What is local connection?

To have a local connection you must be able to satisfy one of the following:

  • You or a member of your household 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 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 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.

Do I need to renew my application each year?

Yes, once a year we will ask you to review your application to check that all of the information is up-to-date. If you do not review your application within 28 days, we will close your application.

Where are your homes?

In Birmingham, we have rented homes in the Bournville, Northfield and Selly Oak areas.  We also have a very limited number in the Nechells area. 

In Telford, we have rented homes in the Wellington, Hadley, Oakengates, St Georges, Dawley, Doseley, Aqueduct, Lawley, Lightmoor Village, Randlay, Stirchley, Brookside, Madeley, Woodside and Sutton Hill areas.

How long will I have to wait?

How long it may take for you to be considered for one of our available homes depends on:

  • The number of  properties that become available in the area that you want to move to (if you want to move to an area which is popular, you will be waiting longer).
  • The size and type of property that you need (two bedroom homes, for example, are in high demand).
  • How many people have a higher priority (band) or have been waiting longer than you.

There is very high demand for our homes in Birmingham and Telford. There is also particularly high demand for certain property types. For example, two bedroom houses.

We have a relatively low number of available homes each year. In Birmingham there are approximately 150 homes available each year and in Telford there are approximately 60 homes.

High demand and the low number of available homes could mean that you may be waiting for a property for a long time.

Because you may be waiting for a property for a long time, if you are a council or housing association tenant you may also want to consider a mutual exchange. A mutual exchange is when you swop homes with another tenant. You will need to check your tenancy agreement to check that you have the right to exchange your tenancy. To search for a mutual exchange visit www.homeswapper.co.uk

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

Due to the limited number of properties that we have for rent and the high demand for transfers, we found that the vast majority of our available homes were being let to existing BVT tenants. Even when a home was made available by a transfer, the home was then being re-let to an existing BVT tenant. This meant that non-BVT tenants were at an unfair disadvantage.

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.

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 a lot of people who don’t currently live in a BVT home who need a home, sometimes this can be because they don’t have a home at all. There are a shortage of homes in Birmingham and Telford and because we only have a small number of properties available to rent each year,  we are not able to help everybody.

We need to make sure that the limited number of homes that become available go to those whose need to move is the most urgent. This is the reason why the register is divided up into priority bands, depending on how urgent the need to move is. We advertise more properties to the urgent bands so that people in those bands are housed more quickly.

I’ve been waiting to transfer for a long time and feel like I’ll never get another home with you. What should I do?

If you want to transfer to another BVT home, we will do what we can to help but it’s important to understand that because there is a shortage of homes in Birmingham and Telford it can sometimes take years to be offered a home. There is also no guarantee that you will be offered the home that you want.

To speed things up you will need to be flexible about what you are prepared to accept. If it is taking too long for you, you should also find out about all of your housing options and we can help you do this. As well as a transfer you could consider exchanging your home with someone else. You could also speak to the Council and other social housing landlords to see if they may be able to help.  

There are also other options that you may wish to consider, such as private renting or buying a home either outright or through shared ownership. If you are looking for a new home, please speak to your Housing Officer. They can advise you about all of the different options that are available to you and help you plan what you need to do.

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

If you are homeless or you are going to become homeless soon you should contact the Housing Advice or Housing Options Team at the local authority where you live. They have a legal responsibility to assess your needs and will advise you in more detail about your housing options.

The contact details for Birmingham City Council can be found at www.birmingham.gov.uk

The contact details for Telford and Wrekin Council can be found at www.telford.gov.uk

When will you advertise homes?

Each week we will advertise our homes which are available to let.  Adverts will usually run between Wednesday and Sunday at the minimum.

What information will the property advertisements contain?

Property advertisements will contain information about the location, size and other features of the property. They will also contain information about rent and other charges. Adverts will include a photograph of the property and you will also be able to access information about the local area and facilities. They will also tell you if there are any special requirements that you as an applicant must meet to be eligible to apply. For example; age requirements, which bands may bid for the property and 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 apply for the property.

I can’t find a property?

If you log-on to BVT Homes and you are unable to see any property advertisements, the reason for this will be that there are no homes available to let which are being advertised that week.

In some cases a property will not be advertised on BVT Homes. The reasons for this will be:

  • Nomination Rights – We have a nominations agreements with Birmingham City Council and Telford and Wrekin Council. This means that they have the right to nominate the applicants who meet their eligibility criteria to any of our available homes that 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.

How do I apply for a home with BVT?

When you have registered on BVT Homes you can express your interest or bid online through our website bvt.housingjigsaw.co.ukYou can place a bid at any time during the advertisement cycle.

How many properties can I apply for?

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

I can’t place a bid?

If you log-on to BVT Homes and you can see a property but are unable to place a bid, the reason for this will be that you:

  • May be trying to bid on properties that are too large or too small for your assessed needs.
  • You may not match the requirements of a property that is advertised (for example, you may be too young or not have a medical need or local connection to the area).

When I have placed a bid how will I know if I am likely to be successful?

When you have placed your bid you will be able to see what position you are in for that property at that moment in time. 

Your position on the shortlist will depend on your date and priority band.  Your position will also depend on any special requirements that may have been detailed within the property advertisement.

Your position on the shortlist is likely to change throughout the advertisement cycle for that property, as other applicants are placing bids.

Placing a bid and being top of the shortlist when the advertisement cycle ends, does not mean that the property is yours.  It triggers a process which may or may not end with you being offered the tenancy.

What happens after I have placed a bid?

When the advertisement cycle ends we will shortlist for the property. Applicants who have placed a bid for a property on BVT Homes, will be considered in band and date order. Applicants who have placed bids are not ‘reassessed’ when we shortlist. This means that the applicant who is in position one on the shortlist will be contacted first.

Sometimes it could take up to five working days for us to contact you either by phone or email. If you do not hear from us within five working days, it means that your bid has not been successful.

If we contact you we may ask you some questions about your application to check that you are eligible to be considered for the property and to be offered a tenancy with us.  We may also ask you to provide us with additional documents to support your application.

If you are already a tenant or you have previously held a tenancy we will ask your landlord for a reference. We will ask you landlord if you have ever breached your tenancy agreement, fallen behind with your rent payments and if you have kept your home in good condition. We will take the landlord reference into consideration when deciding if we are able to offer you a tenancy.

If we find that any information you have provided is false or incorrect this could result in a change in your priority band, your eligibility for the property or in your application being closed.

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

  • If you are 16 or 17 you will 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 are already a BVT tenant and you have not been in your tenancy for more than a year or you have a ‘starter’ tenancy.
  • You are already a BVT tenant and you fail a transfer inspection.
  • You have a history of anti-social behaviour.
  • You are a council or housing association tenant and legal action has been taken against you because you have broken your tenancy conditions.
  • You owe rent or have other housing related debts.
  • You are unable to afford to pay the rent and service charges for the property and have enough money left to live on.

If we are unable to consider your application we will explain the reason(s) why and let you know what you need to do to enable you to be reconsidered in the future.

What happens if I am offered the tenancy?

When we have completed all of our checks and if we are able to offer you the tenancy we will arrange an appointment for you to view the property and to sign the tenancy agreement.

When you sign the tenancy agreement, we will ask you to pay a month’s rent in advance. You will still need to pay a month’s rent in advance if you receive universal credit or housing benefit.

What type of tenancy will I be offered?

We have two main types of tenancy agreements and when we offer you a tenancy we will explain to you what type of agreement you will have.

All tenancies are legal contracts between you (the tenant) and us (the landlord) and they set out conditions which we both have to follow.

During the first 12 months, we will work with you to review how you are managing your tenancy, including visiting you at home.

If you are not currently a BVT tenant or you do not currently have an assured non-shorthold tenancy with any other registered landlord we will offer you an assured shorthold ‘starter’ tenancy for the first 12 months. This gives you time to settle into your new home. It also give us the power to take possession of your home if you seriously breach your tenancy agreement during this period, for example by committing serious anti-social behaviour.

Towards the end of your first year, we will decide whether to offer you an assured non-shorthold tenancy, extend your assured shorthold starter tenancy or end your tenancy with us. If the decision is to extend or end your tenancy, you will have the right to appeal this decision.

If you are already a BVT tenant or you already have an assured non-shorthold tenancy with another registered landlord we will offer you an assured non-shorthold tenancy.

What should I do if my circumstances change?

You are responsible for updating your application if your circumstances change. If things do change, it is important that you update your application as soon as you can because it could mean that your band changes. If this happens, we will let you know what band your application has been changed to.

Help…I have forgotten my password!
Not to worry, it’s really easy to get a new password:

  • Go to bvt.housingjigsaw.co.uk and click “Forgot Password?”
  • A password reset box will appear and you will be asked to enter your email address.
  • Click ‘Send me the link’ which illuminates once you enter your email address.
  • Check your emails, one from us is on its way to you.
  • Click the link in the email and you will be taken to a password reset screen where you can set up a new password.

I don’t have access to a computer or laptop?

The BVT Homes website is mobile friendly. This means if you don’t have access to a computer or laptop you will still be able to register and apply for a home via your smartphone or tablet. If you don’t have a smartphone or tablet, or access to the internet, please contact us on 0300 333 6540 or email BVTHomes@bvt.org.uk and a member of the team will help you.

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