What is Choice Based Lettings (CBL)?
Choice based lettings is a way of letting social rented housing. CBL can also be used to promote other housing options, such as private rented accommodation, mutual exchanges and low cost home ownership options.
Local authorities and registered social landlords advertise their vacancies through an advertising cycle and people who have applied to the scheme are invited to bid (express an interest) for the properties they would like to live in.
When the advertising cycle closes down, bids are sorted in order of their priority. The property is then offered to the first eligible person with the highest priority that appears at the top of the shortlist.
CBL is seen as a more open and transparent way of letting properties as applicants can actually see which properties are available and are invited to express their interest by placing bids.
Details of recent lets are also published openly so that applicants can compare their position against those that were successful in qualifying for the properties.
What are the advantages of the Tees Valley CBL scheme?
How does CBL work?
Click how the scheme works for details about how to register on the scheme; how to bid for properties; how we shortlist and offer properties; and how we provide feedback on recent lets.
What is a band?
A band is a way of describing the priority group in which you have been placed. The band you are placed in depends on your level of housing need. Most people are placed in band 4 when they first register. If you are later assessed as having high or urgent needs, you will be placed in a higher band, but this depends on your circumstances.
If your circumstances change at any time, you must tell us at the earliest opportunity as this may affect the band in which you have been placed and the type of properties you are eligible to bid for.
How do you decide who gets the highest priority?
The Tees Valley common allocation policy sets out who is eligible to join the Housing Register and how priority is decided. The policy has been written to reflect what the law says about how social housing should be allocated. Click common allocation policy to see the full details of how the scheme works.
I have a decant priority, can I bid for all the properties in the sub region?
Yes. You will be placed in the band that meets your assessed need, but will only be given additional priority (Band 1+) for the local authority area in which you live and not for the other local authority areas in the Tees Valley. We will write to tell you if you are to be given additional priority.
What happens if I am assessed as homeless and in priority need?
You will be placed in Band 1 and will need to bid for suitable properties that meet your needs. If you do not bid for properties, your officer will contact you to find out the reasons why and to establish if you need any help or support. If you have not bid for suitable properties that have been advertised within an 8 week period, your officer will place a bid on your behalf. The homeless duty will be discharged if an offer is made as a result of a successful bid.
What happens if I have a serious medical condition?
You need to tell us about this when you first apply to the scheme or when the condition is diagnosed by a medical professional. A medical assessment will be carried out and where necessary, an occupational therapist may visit you to assess the suitability of your current property and your future needs. We will discuss all the options available to help you make the right decision about moving. If you do decide to move home, you will be given a priority on the scheme and we will support you in bidding for suitable properties.
Will I receive support to help me bid for properties?
Yes. Our staff will help guide you through the scheme until you are familiar with bidding for properties yourself. If you are particularly vulnerable and are unable to access your housing office, property shop or the website, the system will automatically place bids on suitable properties on your behalf. We will talk to you about this first so we are clear about which areas you will consider.
What happens if I have a history of poor behaviour?
This depends on the circumstances when you apply to join the scheme. We will deny you access to the scheme if we think your behaviour is serious enough to make you unsuitable to be a tenant. Our decision will be made in writing and you will have the right of appeal.
If you have a history of e.g. low level rent arrears and have not made any effort to clear them, you will be allowed to join the scheme and bid for properties; however you will be overlooked until you enter into a repayment schedule and there is evidence of consistent payments. We will write to you if we decide to overlook you for offers and to tell you what you can do to put things right. You will have the right of appeal.
How are properties advertised?
Properties are advertised on a weekly cycle at the partners’ housing offices and property shops; through the Compass newsletter and on the website. Targeted mail shots will also be sent to other relevant organisations e.g. registered social landlords, supported housing projects and advice agencies.
The cycle opens at every Thursday morning at 00.01hrs and closes the following Tuesday at midnight. You will not be allowed to bid on a Wednesday.
Properties will be advertised where the current tenant has given formal notice to vacate; however they do have the right to withdraw the notice at any time, which means the property will be not available to let.
Will you advertise all your properties?
The majority of properties will be advertised on the scheme; however a small proportion will not be advertised and instead will be let directly to certain groups of applicants e.g. if a person needs to be housed in an emergency situation due to a fire or flood or where a person is faced with an imminent risk of violence.
The number of direct lets will be published when we provide feedback on recent lets.
Will you advertise properties for people with disabilities?
Yes. This is to ensure that applicants assessed as needing this type of accommodation are given the widest possible choice of accommodation. Priority will be given to people with an assessed need for this type of accommodation. On occasion we may have to offer the vacancy to somebody further down the shortlist if the property is particularly suitable for the needs of a certain person.
What information will be included in the adverts?
We aim to ensure that the descriptions on our adverts are as accurate as possible and contain sufficient information to help you make an informed decision about whether or not the property is right for you.
The adverts will include the following information:
How do I bid for properties?
Online through this websitewww.compasscbl.org.uk
Can I bid for properties outside my local authority area?
Yes. However there is a local connection rule, which generally means that local people will get priority for a property over people living outside of the local authority area. Please refer to the common allocation policy to see full details of how we assess local connection.
Will I be offered the property if I am the first person to place a bid?
Not necessarily. The time of your bid has no bearing on whether or not you are offered the property. All bids are sorted in order of the priority bands when the cycle closes down, meaning that the person with the highest priority who is ranked first will usually be offered the property. If the property is refused, it will be offered to the person who is ranked in second position, and so on.
How many bids can I place?
You can place up to 3 bids per advertising cycle and you will be told of your position when you place the bid. If your position is ranked lower down the queue, you can withdraw your bid whilst the cycle is open and place it on another property, if you think you have a better chance of qualifying for it because you appear higher in the queue.
Will I be told if my bid is unsuccessful?
If you try to bid on a property that does not suit your needs, you will be told that you are not eligible to bid for it. We will contact you if your bid is successful and you qualify for the offer of the property.
What if I am successful in qualifying for more than one property?
You will be contacted and asked to make a decision about which property you want to accept. The property you refuse will be offered to the next qualifying person on the shortlist.
Will I be penalised for refusing a property I have bid for?
If 3 reasonable offers of accommodation are unreasonably refused then applicants with a priority banding will have the priority removed.
If an applicant has refused a direct offer of accommodation, they will only be given a second offer in exceptional circumstances.
Note: Statutory homeless applicants who are owed the main homeless duty will be offered accommodation in accordance with sections 193(7) and 202 of the Housing Act 1996. The statutory duty owed will be discharged where a reasonable offer is refused in these circumstances. This includes those discharged to private rented accommodation.
Can I view the property I am offered, before deciding to accept it?
Yes. We would encourage you to view the property before making your decision. However where the property is undergoing repairs, we will still ask you to confirm if you are interested in the property, but you may have to wait until the repairs are complete before you have the opportunity to view.
On occasion, we may invite more than one person to view the property; however the person ranked first will be given the first opportunity to accept the property and if they refuse, it will be offered to the next qualifying person and so on.
Applicants will be allowed 2 working days to respond to an offer to make a decision about whether to accept. If there are extenuating circumstances, we may allow slightly longer. Individual circumstances will be taken into account and applicants with specific needs will be given more time e.g. if an assessment for adaptation works is needed or someone with a disability needs more time to consider the move.
How will I find out about which properties have been let?
You can see how properties in previous bidding cycles were let on this website or in the Compass newsletter by clicking recent lets. You can see the band of the successful bidder and how long they have waited to be housed; however we will not publish any personal information about the successful applicant, such as their name and address.
In providing you with feedback about recent lettings, we hope it will give you a better idea of how popular a particular property or area is and how long you would normally have to wait. You can then decide whether to look for other types of properties or areas where you may not have to wait as long.
What if I disagree with a decision you have made about my application?
You have a right to request a review if you are unhappy about a decision we have made e.g. if we deny you access to the scheme because of your unacceptable behaviour. To find out more about your right to a review, please contact the partner organisation that assessed your application.