Coventry Homefinder Policy 2021

Section 3: How to apply to the Register

3.1 Who can apply to Coventry Homefinder?

Anyone over 16 years of age, who is eligible and who meets the qualifying criteria may apply to Coventry Homefinder.

Registered Providers have different policies in dealing with persons under the age of 18. Registered Providers will not normally allow an allocation of accommodation to anyone under the age of 18 years. However, there may be exceptional circumstances where a tenancy can be held in trust by a guarantor (for example where a young person leaving care is referred by children’s social care services, where they agree to hold the tenancy in trust and where a suitable support package is in place).

3.2 Application process – How to apply

If you believe you meet the eligibility and qualifying criteria outlined in Section 4, you can apply through an online application form at http://www.coventryhomefinder.com

Computers are available in the Customer Service Centre and Public Libraries to facilitate the online application process for applicants who don’t have readily available access to the internet.

If you require assistance to complete an online application, you can contact the Council at the Customer Service Centre in Broadgate. Support is also available from various advice agencies in the city. For further details go to https://www.adviceservicescoventry.org.uk/

Once a fully completed application form has been received along with the required supporting documentation, the information submitted will be assessed to determine if applicants are eligible and qualify, followed by an assessment of their housing need.

All applicants will be required to provide evidence to verify both their eligibility and qualification status at the point of application and again at the point of allocation of a property. This can include but is not limited to:

  • proof of identity for all those included on the application.
  • proof of current address.
  • details of any dependants and other household members.
  • confirmation of income and savings.
  • details relating to previous accommodation, where appropriate.
  • details and supporting evidence, where required of their housing need and circumstances.

All applicants will be required to give consent for third parties to be contacted in order to check information, and to obtain any further information relating to housing need and circumstances (if required).

3.3 Who can I include in my application?

Applicants can only have one live application either as the lead applicant or as a household member. Applicants should only include people in their application who will be part of their household and occupying the accommodation as their principal home. Applicants can only include people who normally reside with them or could reasonably be expected to do so. This can include:

  • a partner, civil partner, or spouse.
  • dependent children, including children for whom they have been approved to foster/adopt within their household.
  • siblings.
  • adult children.
  • other adults who are dependent upon them, or care for them.
  • other adults whom you wish to live with (e.g. friends who wish to live together) whereby one person agrees to become the lead applicant for the tenancy agreement.

Applicants should not include people they currently live with who will not be moving with them.

3.4 What size property will I be eligible for?

When assessing the size of property that a household will be eligible for, Coventry Homefinder will use the Bedroom Standard.

The Coventry Homefinder Policy will allocate a separate bedroom to:

  • Each married or cohabiting couple (including civil partners).
  • Each adult aged 21 years or more, not in a couple.
  • Any two children/adolescents of the same sex under 21.
  • Any two children of opposite sex under 10.
  • Any other child who cannot be paired with another as above.
  • A carer who does not live as part of the household but provides the applicant or a member of the household with overnight care on four or more nights per week.
  • Additional bedrooms (if required) for pregnant applicants will be awarded after 26 weeks of pregnancy. Proof of pregnancy will be required.

Living areas can be used as a sleeping area for occasional carers. Only in exceptional circumstances will applicants be eligible for an additional bedroom.

Where properties have two living rooms (also known as parlour houses) one of these rooms could be used as a downstairs bedroom with the agreement of the Registered Provider. This will be specified on the advert for the property.

Applicants must be able to show, through an affordability assessment, that they are able to cover the full rental costs of the property. If they cannot, the Registered Provider may not make an offer of accommodation for the property.

Access to children:

Where an applicant has a shared residence order or staying access for a child or children (under 18 years old), they may not be automatically entitled to bedrooms for their children, as the Coventry Homefinder Policy adopts the principle that the children need one home of an adequate size.

In determining the size of accommodation required for a household, children from current or former relationships will only be counted as part of the household where appropriate evidence has been provided to determine that the applicant has the main responsibility for the children and where the children have their main home. In determining this, each application will be assessed on a case by case basis taking into account:

  • Receipt of Child Benefit
  • Court Orders
  • Percentage of time spent caring for the children
  • The regularity and permanence of the arrangement
  • Which parent has adequate housing where your child or children can reside
  • Any exceptional circumstances which mean that it is necessary for a child or children to have a home with both parents due to health and/or social care needs.
  • Affordability.

The applicant must be able to show they can meet the full rental costs associated with the property having an additional bedroom through an affordability assessment. If they cannot, the Registered Provider may not make an offer of accommodation for the property.

3.5 Joint Applications

  • Two people may make a joint application to Coventry Homefinder if they are eligible and qualify to register.
  • Where both applicants are under 18, they may not be considered for a registered provider tenancy until the oldest applicant reaches 18 years of age.
  • Joint applicants are both responsible for the security of their application and must ensure that the log in details and password are kept safe.

3.6 Multiple Applications

A person may only register one live application as a main applicant or as a household member.

In order to prevent duplication of applications the household must provide their National Insurance number to register. Once a National Insurance number is registered on Coventry Homefinder no further registrations can be made for that National Insurance number.

  • Applicants will keep the same Coventry Homefinder registration number for life, this is linked to the registered National Insurance number.
  • If the application is closed (for example, once an applicant is housed) any subsequent applications made under the same applicant’s name will have the same registration number

3.7 Applications from employees linked to Coventry Homefinder

Applications can be accepted from Coventry City Council employees, employees of Registered Providers, elected members, board members and their close relatives, provided they are eligible to apply and meet the qualifying criteria. Applicants must disclose any such relationship at the time of application and at the time that an offer of accommodation is made. Any application for priority for employees linked to Coventry Homefinder must be verified by the Operations Manager with responsibility for Housing or the Head of Housing and Homelessness.

3.8 Registration Date/Effective Band Date

All applications will be given a registration date which reflects the time that they have been registered. An effective date is the date from which an applicant has been in their current band for. For new applicants to the register the registration date and the effective date will be the same. If an applicant’s assessed housing need changes and they submit a change of circumstances form their effective date may change if there is a change to the applicant’s band.

The effective date will be used when shortlisting to determine how long the applicant has been assessed as requiring priority in the band and/or has been registered with Coventry Homefinder.

  • For applicants who apply to the housing need register after the implementation date of this policy – the effective date will be the date their registration was approved.
  • For applicants who transferred from the old scheme (pre 2020) and were previously placed in the old bands 1A-2C their effective date will be the date priority banding was originally awarded.
  • For applicants who transferred from the old scheme (pre 2020) and were previously in band 3A or 3B their effective date will be the date of their original registration.
  • If at any point an applicant is placed in the reduced preference band, they will retain their original effective date.

When applicants move to a different band due to a change in their circumstances, the following will apply:

  • Moving to a higher band: the effective date will be the date that the higher band priority was applied for.
  • Moving to a lower band, within the housing needs priority Bands 1 to Band 4: the effective date will be the earliest date that a priority need band was applied for which could be the original registration date.

3.9 Deliberately withholding or giving false information

It is an offence to:

  • obtain, or try to obtain, a social housing tenancy by deception
  • knowingly keep back information that we need to assess your application
  • knowingly or recklessly provide false information about your circumstances

Doing so could result in any or all of the following:

  • permanent removal from the housing needs register application, as they may be assessed as being unsuitable to qualify for an allocation.
  • changing a decision that an applicant is owed a statutory duty as a homeless person
  • possession proceedings against any tenancy obtained as a result of a false statement and may also attempt to recover any costs incurred. The Council will also work with a Registered Provider to consider legal action through the criminal courts.

Following investigation, if an applicant is found to have knowingly provided false information or withheld information and is consequently removed from the register, they will be notified of the decision and the reasons for it in writing and informed of their right to request a review.

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