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Dorset Home Choice

Housing Options

Housing Options

Take a look at Low Cost Home Ownership, Mutual Exchange and Private Rental...

Help & FAQ

Help & FAQ

Frequently asked questions about and the bidding process...


Help & Frequently Asked Questions

Who is my managing local authority partner?
If you applied to more than one of the local authority partners in the scheme your managing partner will be the one that you expressed as your preference when you applied.

What is a Homeseeker?
A Homeseeker is any accepted Housing Register applicant that is not an existing social housing tenant.

What is a Transferring Tenant?
A transferring tenant is an accepted Housing Register applicant who is currently a tenant of a social housing landlord.

Who can apply for properties through Dorset Home Choice?
You must have been accepted onto the Housing Register to be able to apply for rented properties through Dorset Home Choice. Anyone aged 16 years or over may apply to join the Housing Register.

How do I apply to join the Housing Register?
You will need to complete an application form. You can do this using the online application form.

What other documents do I need to provide?
Once you have completed the online form you will need to provide us with any necessary proofs. You will definitely need to provide:
Proof of identity for the main and joint applicants (e.g. copies of passports, birth certificates)
Evidence of your right to reside in the UK if you are not a British Citizen (e.g. copies of passport & other relevant Home Office documentation). Details of the proofs that you need to provide are listed on the submission page when you apply online or on the manual application form.

Proofs for North Dorset, West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland areas

Proof of Identity for everyone on your application (including children)-
Passport or
Full Birth Certificate or
Picture Driving Licence

Proof of Address for all adults on your application -
Utility bill

Benefits letter
Bank statement

Proof of local connection -
Evidence that you have lived in Weymouth & Portland/West Dorset or North Dorset area for the last two years e.g. tenancy agreement signed and dated 2 years ago, bank statement or Council Tax bill dated at least 2 years ago

Financial Information for all adults on application -
Evidence of ALL income received, including any benefits received. For benefits this must be in the form of letters from the organisation awarding the benefit e.g. Pension, Council Tax Benefit, Universal Credit, Child Benefit, Disability Living Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit etc.

3 Months full bank statements for ALL adults - MUST be dated within the last 4 weeks and show the account holders name, address and all transactions. Screenshots are not acceptable.

Wage Slips - last 5 weeks or 2 months or the last 2 bank statements if you are self-employed.
Proof of any savings or investments

If relevant to your application please also provide the documents listed below:

Proof of Child Custody -
Child Benefit letter dated within 4 weeks. (We need to see both sides of the letter.) If dated more than 4 weeks ago, this MUST be accompanied by your most recent bank statement showing current address and the credit being made. Or any other DWP documentation showing dependants names e.g child tax credit, DLA, etc.

We also accept a Court Order or a signed statement from your former partner confirming that they have no intention of contesting a Residence Order.

Proof of pregnancy -
Maternity notes showing your Estimated Due Date or
Letter from GP or Hospital confirming the pregnancy and expected due date or
Mat B1

Proof that you have been asked to leave your current accommodation (as applicable) -
Section 21 Notice and Tenancy Deposit Protection Certificate or
Letter from the home owner/tenant/landlord asking you to leave and the reason why.

Please supply a copy of your Tenancy agreement, we only need to see the pages relating to the following information:
• The landlords details
• The tenants details
• Start date of the tenancy
• Property address
• The rent paid
• Signatures to the agreement
Moving on from supported housing -
The Project Manager of the scheme must confirm in writing that you are ready for such a move and you have acquired reasonable skills to sustain a tenancy

Under 18 year old applicants applying: -
Anyone over the age of 16 years of age may apply to the housing register. It should be noted however, that a tenancy will not usually be given to applicants under the age of 18 years without a 'guarantor' (Social Services, parent, guardian, litigation friend).

Proof of overcrowding -
Please provide details of who is occupying each of the bedrooms at your current address and a copy of your tenancy.

Medical / Welfare / Anti-social Behaviour as reasons for moving -
Please provide evidence to demonstrate how your current housing is having a detrimental effect on your household. Medical and or health issues need to be supported by written documentation. All evidence received needs to be from an independent source, such as your GP, Occupational Therapist, Housing Officer, Police, Social or Support Worker, Health Visitor etc.

Please note, if you are a housing association/council tenant, you MUST report any anti-social behaviour to your Housing Officer. You may need to record/note any events/issues so that advice/assistance can be offered.

Needing to move to give/receive support -
A letter from your family member that wishes to support you, detailing the type and frequency of support they will be providing. Proof that your family member lives within the Weymouth & Portland/West Dorset/North Dorset area and has done for 5 years e.g. Utility bill, DWP/Benefits letter or Bank Statement. They will also need to confirm, in writing, their relationship to you (mother, father, brother, sister). They will need to provide a copy of a full birth certificate to confirm this relationship.

Please provide a letter from a relevant practitioner stating medical diagnosis, what care and support you are required to give/receive and why it cannot be provided by any person or service in the area you currently live. The evidence also needs to detail what significant harm would result if this was not provided.

Shared Ownership -
You have stated on your application that you are applying for a shared ownership property. You will need to register with www.helptobuysw.org.uk

Proof of employment for all working adults (If employment is being used to establish a local connection) -
Please supply a copy of your contract of employment, we only need to see the pages the support the following information:
• That you have a permanent contract,
• That you are employed for a minimum of 16 hours per week,
• That your place of work is within the Weymouth & Portland/West Dorset or North Dorset area and
• That you have been employed for at least the last 6 months.
Local Connection to Weymouth & Portland/West Dorset/North Dorset area -
Please provide proof that your family member has lived within the Weymouth & Portland/West Dorset/North Dorset area for the last 5 years e.g. Utility bill, DWP/Benefits letter, Bank statement or tenancy agreement.

Your relative will need to confirm, in writing, their relationship to you e.g. mother, father, brother, sister, and state how long they have lived in the area. (Immediate family are only eligible for local connection - grandparents, uncles, aunts do not count)

You will need to provide a copy of a full birth certificate confirming the relationship.

Proof of village connection -
If village connection is from a family member you will need to provide evidence of your relationship to that person and proof that they have lived in the village for more than 5 years. For example birth certificates and tenancy agreement, landlord letter or Council Tax bill showing residency for more than 5 years ago.

Proof of service personnel status -
Documentation relating to your discharge from the armed forces

Owner Occupier information:
A copy of your mortgage statement (if the property still has a mortgage on it)
A current valuation of property.
Confirmation from an estate agents that the property is on the market to be sold
When the property is sold, how much equity do you expect to receive?

Financial Assessment:
If You have stated on your application that you are unable to afford your current accommodation. If you wish for us to make an assessment of affordability, please complete and return the attached financial statement. We would also advise you to contact your local council to see if you qualify for any financial help towards your rent and your council tax, if you have not already done so. Alternatively you can go on-line at www.gov.uk/benefits calculator to complete an assessment.

Rent Arrears:
Please contact your housing association and ask them to send an email or letter to confirm the arrears amount. The payment plan agreed and the original figure. You will need to show that you have consistently paid a regular amount continuously.


What happens if I do not provide the required documents?
If you do not provide the documents or contact us within the required time (usually 28 days), your application will be cancelled.

How do I know if I have been accepted onto the Housing Register?
You will receive a banding letter and scheme guide confirming that you have been accepted onto the Housing Register. This will tell you the band you have been placed in, your effective date in band and the size of property you are eligible for for each of the partners you have applied to. It will also tell you how to start searching and bidding for properties.

Can you refuse to accept me onto the Housing Register?
There are some people who do not qualify or who are not eligible to be included on the Housing Register. These are:
Applicants that don't have a local connection to the area that they wish to apply to.
Applicants with no housing need.
Applicants to certain partners that have rent arrears.
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.
People (including members of their household) who have been guilty of unacceptable behaviour that makes them unsuitable to be a tenant.
For more detailed information contact your relevant local authority.

How long will I stay in the same band?
Your banding will stay the same until your circumstances change. You must contact us and complete a Change of Circumstances form of your circumstances change. We will then reassess your banding.

What do I do if my circumstances change?
It is very important that you tell us of any changes in your circumstances so that we can amend your application and reassess your banding. We will tell you if this results in you moving to a different band. You can do this using your online account.

Do I need to renew my application each year?
You may need to renew your application with us on a regular basis. This will normally be on the anniversary of your application but may be at a longer interval depending on the local authority managing your application. You will be asked to renew your application which within 28 days. If you fail to renew your application within the required period we will write and tell you that your application has been cancelled.

What if someone in my household has a medical condition?
If someone in your household has a medical condition which is worsened by your current housing you will be asked to provide details, which may then be considered when assessing the band that your application will be placed in. You can continue to choose which properties to bid on but must be mindful of your condition and only express an interest in suitable properties such as a ground floor flat or bungalow if you cannot climb stairs.

How often are properties advertised?
Properties available for rent are advertised every day between Monday and Thursday. The advert will be available for a minimum of five days.

Where are properties advertised?
Properties are advertised online at www.dorsethomechoice.org

What information will the property adverts contain?
The adverts will tell you the number of bedrooms in the property, the landlord, location, rent and other features of the property. A photograph of the property will be provided, and properties advertised on the website will also have links to 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, which bands may bid for the property and which will be given priority for the property. If your bedroom entitlement (household type) is different to the number shown on the property advert you will not be able to bid for that property. Please see - The Adverts explained for more information.

How do I bid for a property?
For information on how to bid (expressing an interest) please see the following links:
- Bidding using this website
- Bidding by text message

You can withdraw bids and bid for other properties if you change your mind or can see you have a better chance of being offered another property. You have a maximum of 6 bids in any advertising cycle.

Will I know how many other people are interested in the same property?
Yes, at the end of the bidding cycle, you will be able to log on and see where you are ranked within the shortlist for the properties you have placed bids on.

How do you decide who is offered a property?
Once the closing date for bids has passed a shortlist of interested applicants is drawn up. The shortlist is in order of eligibility according to the criteria stated in the advert details for that property. The applicant at the top of the shortlist will normally be put forward for the property to the landlord. The bidding cycle ends on Monday at 11.59pm.


If I successfully bid for a rented property, can the landlord refuse to let it to me?
If you are at the top of the list and the landlord feels there is a reason why you are not suitable to be offered the property they will tell you. If you do not agree with this decision you will need to contact the landlord direct.


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.

How will I know what has happened to the properties advertised? Information about homes that have been successfully let is published in the feedback area (that applcants can see when they have logged in). For more information please see the - Feedback section of the scheme guide.

How will this information help me?
The feedback information will give you a better idea of how popular a particular property or area is and how long you would normally have to wait before you might be successful given your band and effective date in band. You can then decide whether to look for other types of property or areas where you may not have to wait as long.

What other options are there for housing?
There is a severe shortage of homes in the Dorset area. Most applicants on the Housing Register will have to wait a long time for re-housing and many of those in the lower bands will still have little chance of re-housing in the local area. Depending on your circumstances you may wish to consider other options such as renting in the private sector. For more information please look at our - Housing Options information.


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