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About Homes in the City

What is Homes in the City? +

Homes in the City is a scheme which advertises available homes for letting. This includes homes owned by City of Wolverhampton Council, registered housing providers (housing associations) and City Homes (private sector leased properties) managed by Wolverhampton Homes.

Who manages Homes in the City?+

Homes in the City is managed by Wolverhampton Homes on behalf of City of Wolverhampton Council.

Wolverhampton City Council’s stock is managed by five managing agents which are: Wolverhampton Homes an Arm’s Length Management Company, Springfield Horseshoe HC, New Park Village TMC, Dovecotes TMO and Bushbury Hill EMB.

Joining Homes in the City

How do I join Homes in the City? +

To join you will need to complete a housing options assessment before joining the housing register. It will only take a few minutes to complete. The link to the housing register will be displayed along with other housing options available, information and advice.

Before you begin the assessment, take a moment to consider if you are ready to be a tenant - can you afford the rent and pay all the bills? Homes are not furnished so you will need lots of essential items. You will also need National Insurance numbers for everyone moving with you aged 16.

For more details read our how to apply page.

Who can join Homes in the City? +

City of Wolverhampton Council operates an open housing register. However people are not eligible - please read our who can join? section for more details.

I'm already a council tenant, can I join Homes in the City? +

Yes you can join but you might find that you are placed in a low band and find it difficult to be successful with your bids. For example, only 19% (275) of all lets during 2016/17 were to tenants who wanted to transfer.

If you are already a council tenant, we recommend that you consider a mutual exchange as the best way to move. Find out more about mutual exchanges on the Wolverhampton Homes website.

I'm under 18, can I join Homes in the City?+

If you are 16 or 17 years old, you may join Homes in the City but you will not qualify for housing until you are 18.  Please read our who can join? section for more details.

What if I am homeless or at risk of becoming homeless? +

If you are homeless now or may be at risk of being homeless in the next 28 days you will need to see the council's Housing Options Team. 

Read our homeless page for more details.

What if I'm experiencing domestic violence and need to move?+

If you are experiencing domestic violence there are lots of people who can help you. Visit the Wolverhampton Homes safeguarding webpage for more details.

What if I have a medical condition?+

If you have a long term medical condition this can be taken into account if you fill in a medical form.

The important thing is whether there is medical evidence that your condition is made worse by your present accommodation. If you are unwell but your housing makes no difference to your illness then you will not be awarded any medical priority.

Please visit our medical assessments page to find out more and to fill in the form.

What should I consider before joining Homes in the City?+

It's a good idea to ask yourself these questions before you join:

  • Are you ready to move? If you bid and are successful, we expect you to move in as soon as the property is ready to let.
  • Can you afford to move? Bear in mind, apart from some homes advertised for City Homes, all homes are let unfurnished, without carpets, curtains or appliances.
  • Can you afford the rent? You will need to pay one month’s rent when you sign for a tenancy - so make sure you have this money saved up.

What do I need to know about paying rent?+

If you have a successful bid and we make you an offer, you will need to be ready to pay your rent.

You may be able to get help with your rent by claiming Housing Benefit. You can work out how much Housing Benefit you would get by using the online benefits calculator.  The amount you get depends on things like - how many people are living in your home, their ages, income, work status and disability or illness. It is paid weekly, directly to your rent account. Be aware this will change when Universal Credit replaces the main working age benefits. 

If you get Housing Benefit it will be reduced if you: 

  • are working age and you
  • move into a property with more bedrooms than you need (this is sometimes called under-occupying or bedroom tax)

If you have one bedroom more than you need, your housing benefit will be reduced by 14 per cent. So, if your rent is £90 a week, you would have to pay the shortfall of £12.60 every week.

If you have two or more bedrooms than you need, your housing benefit will be reduced by 25 per cent. So if your rent is £90 a week, you would need to pay the shortfall of £22.50 every week.

Universal Credit was introduced in Wolverhampton in 2016 for single people claiming out of work benefits for the first time and will be rolled out to everyone else in the future.  

Universal Credit is a single payment, paid once a month, like a salary. It will include an amount for your rent, so you will be responsible for paying the full rent yourself. To claim, you will need a bank, building society or credit union account and an email address and access to the internet. When you sign for your tenancy, you will need to pay a month’s rent in advance so please make sure you have the money ready or start saving now.

People of pension credit age are generally not affected by under-occupation (bedroom tax) or Universal Credit. Different rules may apply to couples where one if of pension credit age and the other is of working age.

What if I have rent arrears on my current or previous tenancy?+

If you owe more than £60, your application will be assessed with band 4 (the lowest band). If you owe debts to the council or a registered housing provider, please contact your landlord  as soon as possible and get a payment plan in place.

When you apply, we will ask you if you have arrears. If you are unsure, check before you apply. If we find that you have any debts to a council or registered housing provider that you have not told us about, your application could be considered as fraudulent. 

Before we make any offers we check your tenancy history with councils and registered providers. You could miss out on an offer if you have debts outstanding.

Assessing Your Application

How do you assess housing applications?+

Your application will be assessed and you will be given a priority band based on your housing circumstances.

There are five bands, ordered by housing need, simply called emergency, band one, band two, band three and band four. People in the emergency band have the highest priority and band 4 have the lowest.

Find out more on the your banding and how we allocate pages.

How do you decide my band? +

You will be allocated a band based on your housing circumstances. Find out more on the your banding page. 

What is a local connection?+

One in four homes are reserved for bidders with a local connection - this will be stated in the advert. The Allocations Policy states what counts as a local connection.

Can I have more than one local connection?+

There are 42 local connection areas but you will only be awarded a local connection to one of these. When you join Homes in the City you can choose the one area you wish to claim a local connection to.

I have children, how many bedrooms will my family be entitled to?+

Your registration letter will tell you the property types you are eligible for. The rules for childen sharing a room are:

  • Children of the same sex can share a bedroom until they are 16. (This has been reduced to 15 for eligibility for a 3 bedroom house.)
  • Children of the opposite sex can share a bedroom until they are 10. (This has been reduced to 9 for eligibility for a 3 bedroom house.)

Bidding

What is bidding? +

If you like a home we are advertising, you may want to begin 'bidding'. There is no exchange of money involved in the bidding process; it is simply a way to express your interest in a property. Find out more on our How to bid on properties page.

You are expected to bid on a regular basis. If you are not actively looking for a home and have not made a bid for a home six months, your application may be deferred.

Where will the properties be advertised? +

You can see currently advertised properties on this site and on our kiosks in our shops.

Homes are advertised each week, from 6pm on Tuesdays until 9am on Mondays.

How do I bid?+

Homes are advertised on this site each week from 6pm on Tuesdays until 9am on Mondays. Look at the adverts and tell us which properties you like by ‘bidding.’ You can make up to three bids each week. Find out more on our how to bid page.

I have registered - why can't I bid yet?+

Once you have registered you will need to book onto a pre-tenancy workshop, before your application is assessed and made live.

What should I consider before I bid?+

  • Are you ready to move? If a home is ready to let we expect you to move in immediately.
  • Can you afford to move? Bear in mind, apart from some homes advertised for City Homes, all homes are let unfurnished, without carpets, curtains or appliances.
  • You will need to pay one month’s rent when you sign for a tenancy - so make sure you have this money saved up.
  • Is the home in the right street in an area with the facilities you want?
  • Is the home suitable for your needs?
  • If you have children are there places available in local schools?

What kind of home can I bid for?+

You can only bid for property types you are eligible for

For example a person living on their own can't bid for a family house, or a family with three children can't bid for a one bedroom flat. Some homes are also reserved for people of a particular age group or people who need an adapted property.

Once you have logged into your account, the adverts that are displayed are the ones that you are eligible for. If no adverts are displayed, it means that there are no properties available which you are eligible for, so please try again next week.

How many bids can I make each week? +

You can bid for a maximum of three properties per week. Try and use all your bids if possible.

Find out more on our How to bid on properties page.

When can I bid?+

You can bid from 6pm Tuesday to 9am the following Monday.

If you do not bid in time then you will not be considered for that home.

Can I change my bids? +

Yes. As long as bidding is open, you can add or delete bids. You just need to log on to your account to update your bids.

Does it help if I'm first person to bid?+

Being the first to bid makes no difference at all to your final position.

Why can't I see any properties advertised?+

Once you have logged into your account, the adverts that are displayed are the ones that you are eligible for.

If no adverts are displayed, it means that there are no properties available which you are eligible for, so please try again next week.

Why has a property I bid for, been offered to someone in a lower band?+

Properties are let to the bidder in the highest band, the only time this might be different is if the property was advertised with a local connection or age restrictions and the bidder in the highest band did not meet those criteria. You can check this by looking back at the previous adverts in the reports section.

The other reason may be if it was advertised as an immediately available property, advertised on a first come first served basis (see below).

What are immediately available properties? +

These are properties that have been advertised before, but not let, so are advertised on a first come first served basis. When they are available, they will be advertised separately here on the website, so you can see which ones you can choose from and also included in the main property list, where you will need to bid on them.

Find out more on the immediately available homes explained page.

Allocating Homes

How do you allocate homes? +

We allocate the homes we manage in line with City of Wolverhampton Council's Housing Allocations Policy. Find out more on our How we allocate page.

If I'm the top bidder, will I definitely get an offer?+

You may be turned down, and we will contact the next bidder, for several reasons including if you:

  • Have unpaid rent or other housing debts
  • Failed a pre-leaving inspection of your current home if you are a council or registered provider tenant.
  • Cannot provide the evidence needed to support your application when we ask for it.
  • Have not told us of a change in your circumstances.
  • Have told us something misleading or incorrect, or failed to tell us something that would affect your application.
  • Do not meet a requirement of a local lettings variation or plan.
  • Are not eligible for the property type, size or age group.
  • Had legal action taken for breaking your tenancy if you are a council or registered provider tenant.

What are local lettings plans or local lettings variations?+

This is where the council has made a change to its Allocations Policy for a particular area or group of homes.

When we let these homes the additional rules will be applied when we consider the bids. The difference is that a local lettings plan is temporary and a local lettings variation is long term.

The property advert will state if there is a local lettings plan or local lettings variation and you can ask for a copy of the plan or variation.

If your bid is not successful

Will you tell me if I have been unsuccessful?+

No - but you can Log On to get personal feedback on your bids on this site. Find out more on our How did your last bid do? page.

Where can I get feedback on previous adverts?+

When you log on, you can see the last three months of properties that have been advertised and what is happening to each one at the current time. If a property has been allocated, you can see the successful bidder's date of registration, band level and number of needs.

Find out more on our How did your last bid do page.

How long will it take before I am offered a property?+

We cant tell you how long it will be before you make a successful bid. Things which will affect the time it takes include:

Please note that we may not be able to help you with a property due to the shortage of homes coming available for letting each week and the high demand for them. You will need to look at the other housing options which are available.

Why have I been waiting for so long?+

There is a very high demand for council and registered providers' homes in Wolverhampton and far more people who want a home than there are homes available.

The number of homes becoming available for letting is reducing; only 1,420 lettings were made in 2016/17 and we were only able to help around 14% that are registered for housing, so many applicants have no realistic prospects of receiving an offer of a home.

City of Wolverhampton Council is legally obliged to take account of people in the greatest housing need which means people with lower needs will usually have to wait longer.

What can I do to improve my chances?+

Remember you can bid for a home anywhere within the City of Wolverhampton and if you flexible about which area you would like to live in, it can improve your chances.

Things you can do include:

  • Bid in areas where we have lots of homes
  • Bid in areas where lots of homes become available to let
  • Bid in areas where there are lower numbers of other bidders
  • Use each of your three bids every week otherwise you lose that week’s chance. It doesn’t matter when you bid as long as you bid.
  • If you are in Band 2/3 - try to use your bids on homes with ‘preference to bands 2/3’.
  • If you have a local connection - bid on homes advertised with a ‘preference with a local connection’.
  • Consider all housing options.

What can I do if my application has been closed? +

Applications can be closed for a number of different reasons.

If your application has been closed for less than six months you can request that it is reopened by using filling in our update form - find out more on our update your application page.

If your application has been closed for more than six months you will need to reapply by starting a new application.

Getting an Offer

If you offer me a home can I look round it before I decide?+

Yes - you will be able to look round during an "accompanied viewing" before you make your mind up. Do not visit any property that we are advertising as there could be someone living there. If you visit a home without permission your bid may be removed.

If the property is ready to let, you will need to move in straight away so make sure you're ready.

Find out more on our viewings page.

What happens when I am invited to a group viewing on a home that I have bid on?+

Group viewings are organised to speed up the lettings process so new tenants can be identified more quickly. 

They are organised once the advertising cycle closes. Bidders of a property are invited to the group viewing so that they can look round and see if the property is right for them. If your bid is successful and the property is ready to let, you will need to move in straight away so make sure you're ready.

Please note: an invitation to a group viewing is not an offer of a property. 

Find out more on our viewings page.

When will I be able to view the property I've been offered?+

We will contact you to arrange an appointment for a viewing. The advert gives you a rough guide about when the property will be ready for letting and viewings will usually take place near that date. 

Sometimes work is still going on to prepare the home for letting but it will be safe for you to view. Our lettings officer will contact you as soon as the property is ready to be viewed. If the property is ready to let, you will need to move in straight away after you have accepted the offer, so make sure you're ready.

Find out more on our viewings page.

What happens if I refuse a property that I bid on?+

If you refuse three properties in a 12 month period your application will be deferred for three months. This means that you will not be able to bid or be offered any properties during this time. Your priority may also be reviewed and reduced.

If you are priority homeless and in the emergency band and you refuse a new home, you must contact the Housing Options team within 21 days to discuss why the property is not suitable for you. If you fail to do this you may lose your priority.

What standard will my new home be in?+

We make sure homes to be let are clean, safe, secure and in reasonable repair but they are empty, so you will need to buy furniture, carpets and curtains and some may need to be decorated. Find out more about the Wolverhampton Homes Lettable Standard. (Other housing providers will have their own lettable standards.)

Other questions

Can I help family or friends with Homes in the City?+

We know that not everybody has access to the internet or is comfortable using a computer. If this is the case you can help a friend or family member to join or make bids on Homes in the City. It is important that you have their permission and you explain everything to them during the application and bidding process. 

My circumstances have changed, what should I do?+

You must update your application straight away if your circumstances change . This includes a change of address or people joining or leaving your household. Use our update form giving all the details and upload copies of any documents. Your banding level might change because of your change in circumstances, we will let you know if it does change.

You do not need to complete a new housing application unless your application has been closed for more than six months or you have been rehoused using your application. 

Find out more on our update your application page.

I'm expecting a baby, do I need to add it to my application?+

You should let us know about your pregnancy after your three month scan. We don't need any evidence before you add the pregnancy but we will need to see evidence, in the form of the green book, if you are offered a home while you are still pregnant.

Adding a pregnancy can change your eligibility: i.e. a couple would no longer be eligible for one bedroom properties but your priority will not change until your child is born and you have updated us (i.e. band 2 for lack of a private garden).

To let us know about your pregnancy, please update your details.

How do I request a review of a decision?+

To request a review you must contact us within 21 days of the date you are notified of the decision and the reason for it.

If you want additional information to be taken into account, you can provide it in writing when the review is carried out. We will normally tell you the result of the review within 56 days.

What is a tenant management organisation (TMO)?+

A TMO is an organisation set up by tenants and leaseholders to manage their own homes on behalf of the Council. TMOs can also be know as EMB (estate management board), TMC (tenant management co-operative) or a Housing Co-operative.

There are four TMOs in Wolverhampton

What can I do if my application has been closed? +

Applications can be closed for a number of different reasons. If your application has been closed for less than six months you can request that it is reopened by updating your application. If your application has been closed for more than six months you will need to reapply.

Find out more on our updating your application page.

I've forgotten my application/bidding number, how can I find out what it is?+

Go to the look for a property page and click "Log On". Under the log on section there is a link for you to Request Application Number. You will need to enter your email address and your bidding number will be emailed to you.

I have a question which hasn't been answered+

This website tells you everything you need to know about how to join Homes in the City, how to bid, what happens once you've placed your bid and how to improve your chances of a successful bid. Please make sure you have read our Homes in the City explained pages and the frequently asked questions on this page. 

If you have read all of our frequently answered questions and you have a question which is not answered here, please contact us.

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