Coventry Homefinder is the scheme that is used to assess housing need and to allocate the majority of social housing in Coventry. The policy sets out who can register, how properties are advertised and who is given priority for social housing in the city The scheme was reviewed, and the policy was re-written in 2020 following consultation with customers and stakeholders. The Policy changes will come into effect in September 2021. The Policy ensures that the scheme is fair, transparent and gives priority to the people who have the most urgent housing need.
The Coventry Homefinder Partners are:
This is a summary of the Coventry Homefinder Policy, for full details please refer to the full Coventry Homefinder Policy, also available to view in the Council’s Customer Contact Centre (Broadgate House, 3 Upper Precinct, CV1 1FS)
To join the Housing Register you must be eligible; over 16 years old and meet the qualifying criteria. If you do not meet the qualifying criteria you will not be accepted on to the Housing Register. Certain persons from abroad are not eligible to join the register – this is detailed in section 4.2 and 4.3 of the full policy. The rules are complicated, and if this section applies to you, you may wish to seek independent advice.
You may not qualify to join the Coventry Homefinder register if:
If you are already registered with Coventry Homefinder, you will need to re-register on the new system.
You should receive a letter and a message on your current Homefinder account with details of how to do this.
You must complete an online application on the Coventry Homefinder Website. Once completed, the online form will tell you whether you appear to be eligible and qualify for the Housing Register. As part of the application process you will need to provide the following documentation or information:
Computers are available in the Customer Service Centre and public Libraries for applicants who don’t have access to the internet. Support is also available from various advice agencies in the city.
The Coventry Homefinder Policy gives priority to people who have particular housing needs. This is required by law and is called ‘Reasonable Preference’. This is done using a banding system. In Coventry there are housing needs bands 1 to 4 and a reduced preference band. A higher band means higher priority. The band assessment will look solely at the impact of your current housing on your particular needs/situation.
|Level of Need and Homefinder Band||Housing Need Category|
|Urgent Housing Need Band 1||
|High Housing Need Band 2||
|Medium Housing Need Band 3||
|Housing Need Band 4||
More details about the different housing need categories is available in the full policy document. The full policy explains which housing need categories are due to ‘Reasonable Preference’ as set out in law, additional preference specifically related to the Armed Forces and other local housing priorities for Coventry.
Some applicants could be placed in the Reduced Preference Band, for example if they have rent arrears, for anti social behaviour, for refusing 3 offers of housing, or not placing bids on suitable housing (see full policy for details – www.coventry.gov.uk/homefindersignup). Applicants in the reduced preference band will only be considered for housing after those households in bands 1 to 4. It is very unlikely that applicants placed in this band will receive offers of housing. An applicant being placed in the reduced preference band could occur at any stage of the Housing Register process (e.g. at application or offer stage) and is subject to the right of review (the applicant must request a review within 28 days of receiving the notification of the decision). If an applicant is placed in reduced preference at offer or any other stage other than application, they retain their original registration and/or effective date for their identified housing need band once the issue that has reduced their preference has been resolved. The Reduced preference band is intended to be a temporary band – applicants who are placed in this band can apply for their banding to be re-assessed if their circumstances have changed and the reason they have been given reduced preference has been resolved.
The following list provides details of possible changes in circumstances:
Please note this list is not exhaustive and each re-assessment will be on an individual basis. Applicants will need to complete a change of circumstances form to have their banding re-assessed. Alongside completing the change of circumstances form applicants may be required to provide supporting evidence.
Local Connection is used to determine the level of priority you should have on Coventry Homefinder in addition to your housing needs.
You will have a local connection to Coventry if at least one of the following applies:
Applicants without a local connection to Coventry will only be able to register in exceptional circumstances and the reasons will need to be explained as part of the housing application process. The decision to register an
applicant without a local connection will be assessed on a case by case basis.
The local connection criterion does not apply to:
All applications will be given a registration date which reflects the time that they have been registered.
An effective date is the date from when the current priority band was awarded.
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.
Applicants who were registered on Coventry Homefinder prior to the scheme changing will keep their original application date provided they have completed the re-registration and were still eligible to re-register for housing based on their current circumstances.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
You will normally be able to bid on any type of property that matches your bedroom requirements.
Registered Providers may restrict the allocation of houses to households with dependent children under the age of 16.
Households made up entirely of household members aged 16+ would not normally be considered for the allocation of a house.
Some properties (or property types) may have an age restriction. This will be noted in the property advert.
Most Registered Providers will only let bungalows to people over the age of 55 or over the age of 60, if an age restriction applies, it will be clearly stated in the advertisement details. Some Registered Providers will consider applicants who are younger than the age restriction if the applicant has a health or social care need for bungalow accommodation.
In order to make the best use of available accommodation that is either a purpose-built disabled persons property or has substantial adaptations installed, these will be advertised on Coventry Homefinder to support the identification of suitable
applicants. Whilst all applicants can bid for these properties (apart from purpose build disabled persons accommodation); priority will be given in the first instance to those applicants requiring an adapted property, secondly to applicants who require
adaptations to a property and only following this to applicants who require general needs housing.
The property will be allocated on the basis of ‘best fit’ of an applicant’s specific requirements and how the property is adapted in consultation with an Occupational Therapist (where required). This may mean that offers made are
not prioritised in order of priority band or effective date. In the event two or more applicants bid for the property with similar needs, the property will be allocated by priority band and/or effective date.
More information about how adapted properties are categorised can be found in the full Coventry Homefinder Policy.
Applicants may register an interest (bid) for up to three homes every week. Applicants can bid for properties online by logging into their Coventry Homefinder Account.
The applicant bidding cycle will run from Monday morning (00.00am) to Sunday evening (11.59pm). Properties can be advertised on any day (Monday to Friday) and will be open for ‘bidding’ for 7 calendar days, (with the exception of the Christmas period when the bidding cycle usually runs for two weeks).
Applicants can withdraw a bid at any point during the bidding period (Monday to Sunday) and may then place that bid on an alternative property.
Auto bidding is available for applicants who cannot access the system themselves to place bids and have no other support available to them. Auto bidding means that bids are placed automatically on suitable properties, on behalf of the applicant. Auto bidding can only be added to an applicant’s account with their consent. To request auto bidding an applicant will need to contact the Council’s Customer Service Centre on 024 7683 4024 or email their request to [email protected].
Each week after the bidding cycle closes, the system will sort all of the people who have bid for each advertised property into a shortlist. Bids will be placed in order of priority band – Urgent Housing Need (Band 1) is first, then High Housing
Need (Band 2), Medium Housing Need next and so on.
If there are two or more bids from people in the same band, these will be placed in order of effective date (earliest date first). Housing Associations may prioritise their own tenants within the shortlist for an agreed percentage of their properties
– this will be clearly stated in the advert.
When the shortlist has been created, the Housing Association will contact the top shortlisted bidders to arrange a viewing, carry out their own tenancy checks and make the offer of a tenancy. If you are to be made an offer, the Housing Association will contact you directly.
There may be times that a Housing Association decides not to make an offer to the highest ranked applicant who has expressed a preference on the property on the shortlist. This is known as ‘skipping’ the bid. Shortlisted applicants may be overlooked for a number of reasons.
Where an applicant has been ‘skipped’ the Housing Providers will notify the applicant through their Coventry Homefinder Account when a bid has been skipped, and the reasons for the bid being skipped. This will include details of how the applicant can resolve any issues to prevent further skipped bids (if possible).
Depending on the reason applicant was ‘skipped’ the Housing Provider may contact the Coventry Homefinder Team to request the applicant is placed in the Reduced Preference Band or that their qualifying criteria are reassessed.
|Reason for skipping||Possible action taken (Moving to Reduced Preference Band or no
longer qualifying for the Housing Register)
|Anti-Social Behaviour||There is evidence which had not been identified at initial application, that an applicant or a member of their household has committed anti-social behaviour. In this case, the application will be reviewed and may be deemed non-qualifying due to seriousness of unacceptable behaviour or placed in the Reduced Preference Band.|
|Debts||There is evidence which had not been identified at initial application, that an applicant owes money to a Registered Provider partner, Local Authority or private sector landlord due to rent arrears, sundry debts, damage to property or any other identified costs. In this instance the application will be reviewed and may be deemed non-qualifying due to the significant amount of rent arrears or placed in the Reduced Preference Band.|
|Excess Income or Assets||The individual Registered Provider considers that the applicant or any member of their household has the financial means to resolve their own housing situation in accordance with their allocations policy. Having regard to income, equity, savings, and the price of buying or renting a home privately. In this instance the application will be reviewed and may be deemed non qualifying due to the amount of household income or savings.|
|Applicant already in
Band and cannot
demonstrate a change in
|An applicant in Reduced Preference who cannot demonstrate a change in their circumstances since they were place in Reduced Preference due to the fact that they or a member of their household has displayed unacceptable behaviour or have current or former rent arrears.|
|Affordability concerns||The applicant cannot demonstrate that they can afford to pay the rent. Consideration will be given to the welfare benefits that may be paid to the applicant/.|
|The property is specialist or has been adapted and the applicant does not require these adaptations; or the applicant requires specific adaptations that cannot reasonably be provided in that property.|
The criteria used when an applicant is overlooked for an offer of accommodation will be contained within the individual Registered Provider’s Housing Allocations Policy and may not necessarily result in an applicant being placed in the Reduced Preference Band or being disqualified from the register.
Each individual Registered Provider (Housing Association) has their own policy and they can have different rules. This means you may not be automatically skipped by all Registered Providers (Housing Association).
To find out more you will need to read the full Coventry Homefinder Policy and the Housing Allocations Policy for the Registered Provider who has skipped your application.
If your bid is skipped:
You will be contacted by the Housing Association on the first occasion to explain why they have skipped your bid via your Coventry Homefinder Account.
If you are skipped this may result in your application being place in the Reduced Preference Band or disqualified from the Housing Register (depending on the reason your bid has been skipped).
Applicants may then continue to be skipped until they can demonstrate that the reason for skipping has been resolved. For example, if the applicant has been skipped due to rent arrears, they may have to demonstrate that the arrears have been paid off
or a re-payment plan has been adhered to for a certain period of time.
If you are placed in Reduced Preference Band you need to resolve the reason why you were placed in reduced preference band.
Once you have done this you must complete a change of circumstances form on the Coventry Homefinder Website in order for housing application to be re-assessed.
The Reduced Preference Band is the lowest band on the housing register and applicants in this band are very unlikely to be housed.
The demand for Social Housing in Coventry is very high and this means available properties will have been allocated to applicants in the higher housing need bands.
Coventry Homefinder allows you to choose which properties you wish to be considered for. You must think carefully about the property and whether you want to move there before placing a bid
If you refuse three offers made to you following successful bids, your application will be placed in the Reduced Preference Band. You will need to contact the Coventry Homefinder Team within 28 days if you believe the refusals were reasonable in order for your application to remain in their housing need band and for this to be agreed by the Housing and Homelessness Service.
If you do not, the application will remain in the Reduced Preference Band for a period of six months (from the date your application was placed in the Reduced Preference Band) or closed if the application is not renewed.
The Coventry Homefinder Team will consider each household’s individual circumstances to decide if it was reasonable to refuse the offer.
If you do not respond to contacts made regarding the offer of a property, if you fail to attend a viewing or if you refuse a property following a viewing, these will all be considered to be a refusal.
It will not be considered reasonable to refuse a property on grounds that were made clear in the property advert (for example, the location of the property) unless there are exceptional circumstances.
You must consider all factors carefully when deciding whether to bid on a property.
You must make sure that the information on your application is accurate and up to date. This includes changes in personal circumstances, household members, contact details and household needs.
This ensures that:
You can update your housing application by logging into your Coventry Homefinder Account on the Coventry Homefinder website.
To update your current circumstances which may change the level of priority your application is given on the housing register you need to complete a change of circumstance form.
You must renew your Coventry Homefinder application each year. This will ensure that your details are correct and confirm that you want to stay on the register. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that they respond to the notification and carry out the review.
The annual renewal process takes place on:
On the anniversary of your application, you will be sent a message on your Homefinder application account (log in to your account to see your messages) and an email to the email address that has been provided by the applicant.
If you do not renew your application within 56 days of receiving the email, your application will be closed, and you will have to re-apply to the housing register. This means will be given a new registration date and effective date. This may mean that it takes longer for you to receive an offer of housing from the register.
Only in exceptional circumstances, where the applicant has demonstrated that they have been unable to review their application due to circumstances beyond their control (for example, due to prolonged hospitalisation), will the application be reopened by the Coventry Homefinder Team.
Computers are available in the Customer Service Centre and public libraries to facilitate this online renewal process for applicants who don’t have readily available access to the internet.
Support is also available from various advice agencies in the city.
Where the Homefinder Team have been informed that the applicant is vulnerable, cannot use the system and does not have any other support available to them, the Homefinder Team will contact the applicant directly using other contact details provided.
We collect your personal information for the following purposes: To process and assess your application in order to deliver the service to you; To share with housing associations who may allocate you properties; To comply with the Housing Act for the allocation of social housing; The prevention and detection of crime; To conduct appropriate checks e.g. former tenancies, criminal convictions.
Personal information will be shared internally within Council and with Coventry Homefinder Partner Organisations (Registered Providers) for the purposes of shortlisting and allocation of a property under this Policy.
In addition, information may also be shared with other organisations to make sure that it is correct or ask other organisations to share information with us to help us to understand your housing, personal health or family situation. Where you have had involvement with these services this may include: GP; Probation Services, Current/ Previous landlord, substance misuse or mental health services;
Social Services; The Police; Support Services you have told us you are engaged with.
There may be circumstances where Coventry City Council is required to make disclosures to other organisations (for example, law enforcement agencies) if there is a valid and lawful reason.
For more information as to how your personal data is handled, please refer to the Homefinder Privacy Notice.
Yes. There are certain decisions which an applicant can request a review of the decision made (appeal).
Under Part 6 of the Housing Act 1996, applicants for housing have the right to request a review of certain decisions made about their Housing Needs Register application. The following are examples of decisions that can be of reviewed under this Policy;
Coventry Homefinder will notify the applicant via the Coventry Homefinder system of any decisions that are made concerning eligibility, qualifying requirements and housing need band assessment. The notification of the decision will also contain details regarding their rights to request a review if they disagree with the decision made.
The following procedures will be used in administering the review process:
Where an applicant has ‘bid’ and has subsequently been skipped for that property, the applicant has a right to raise a complaint through the housing providers’ complaint process if they believe it was unreasonable for their bid to be skipped with the outcome of no offer being made. The applicant is required to make written representation to the Housing provider within 28 days of them being skipped for the property; The applicant would expect to receive a response within 56 days of the complaint being raised.
The applicant is required to make written representation to the Housing provider within 28 days of them being skipped for the property; The applicant would expect to receive a response within 56 days of the complaint being raised.
A request for a review is in effect an appeal against a decision which has been made with which you do not agree.
A complaint is different – it is an expression of dissatisfaction with the level of service received, or the way it was provided.
Coventry City Council’s complaints procedures should be followed if an applicant is not happy with the level of service provided by the Coventry Homefinder Team. Details of the Council’s Complaints procedure are available on request or can be found on the Council website.
The Registered Provider’s own complaints procedure should be followed if an applicant is not happy with the way that the landlord has dealt with their application relating to:
Details of each Registered Provider’s complaints procedures are available on request from the appropriate provider.
These procedures are available when an applicant feels that errors or omissions have been made in the way that their application has been administered. They are not intended to provide further reviews of decisions that have been taken – this is dealt with under the review process described above and in section 7.6 of the full policy.
To ensure that the aims of this Policy are met and that overall, priority for accommodation is given to applicants in the reasonable preference categories set out in legislation, robust monitoring will be carried out to monitor lettings outcomes.
The impact of the Policy will be monitored to ensure lettings are fair, transparent and in accordance with the allocations scheme, to ensure that the system is accessible to all, and does not discriminate on the grounds of: race, age, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religion or belief.
The day to day operation of the choice-based lettings scheme will be monitored by the Council’s Housing and Homelessness Service in conjunction with Partner Registered Provider staff who have responsibility for letting properties.
The Strategic oversight and co-ordination of this policy will be undertaken by the Coventry Homefinder Steering Group who will meet at least quarterly for the first year of policy and at least twice a year in subsequent years. The Homefinder Steering Group will include representatives from:
Reviews of this policy may be undertaken by the Council when required and in response to any updates required to reflect changes to administration of the choice-based lettings scheme, for example any change in IT Provider.
Further public consultation will take place if any additional significant changes are proposed in future due to changes in legislation and/or national guidance. The changes would also be subject to Cabinet approval.
|Coventry Homefinder||Customer Service Centre, 3 Upper Precinct, CV1 1FS
|024 7683 4024|
|Accord Housing Association||178 Birmingham Road, West Bromwich,
West Midlands B70 6QG
|0300 111 7000|
|Bromford Group||1 Exchange Court
Brabourne Avenue, Wolverhampton Business Park
Wolverhampton, WV10 6AU
|0330 1234 034|
|Citizen||4040 Lakeside, Solihull Parkway
Birmingham B37 7YN
|0300 790 6555|
|Clarion||Gee Business Centre
Holborn Hill, Aston, Birmingham, B7 5JR
|0300 500 8000|
Midland Heart Housing Association
|20 Bath Row, Birmingham, B15 1LZ
|Nehemiah UCHA||1-3 Beacon Court,
Birmingham Road, Great Barr, Birmingham, B43 6NN
|0121 358 0966|
|Optivo||41 Poplar Road, Kings Heath,
Birmingham, B14 7AA
|0800 121 60 60|
Orbit (Heart of England) Housing Association
|Garden Court, Harry Weston Road,
Binley Business Park, Coventry, CV3 2SU
|0800 678 1221|
|Starley Housing Co-operative||17A Starley Road, Coventry, CV1 3JU
|024 7622 3111|
|Stonewater Limited||Suite C, Lancaster House
Grange Business Park, Enderby Road, Whetstone, Leicester, LE8 6EP