Housing choice

Priority: extend housing choice and meet housing need.

CRHB wants to extend and encourage housing choice to help people secure affordable, good quality and suitable homes in the right locations; meeting housing, employment and community needs.

Home-Link

In 2006 the seven districts in our housing sub-region launched Home-Link, a system to help people choose the home they would live in, rather than being ‘allocated’ a home by the local authority.

The idea is that people are more engaged in the decision of where to live; have more control over what kind of home and location they would settle best in; and would bid for, and eventually move to, a home and an area they wanted to settle in.

Choice does not increase the supply of homes available.  It can still take a long time to find and successfully bid for a property.

The process (briefly) is:

  • Home-Link advertises available council and housing association homes across the sub-region, on-line every 2 weeks.
  • Existing council and housing association tenants who wish to transfer to a different property and new applicants seeking a home can use the system to see the homes coming up for let.
  • They then decide whether they want to be considered for any of the properties. If yes, they express an interest by making a ‘bid’. People can get help with bidding if needed by approaching their council or housing association.
  • Home-Link offers choice about where people want to live and gives a clear picture of the housing available across the housing sub-region.  The system gives feedback on previously advertised homes, to show the level of housing need of the successful bidder and how long they had been waiting.

Everyone registering on Home-Link is put in a ‘band’ summarised as Band A urgent need, Band B high need, Band C medium need, and Band D. To find out more please visit the Home-Link website.

Help to Buy 

This link takes you to the Help To Buy website. 

"If you want to purchase a home of your own, but can’t afford to buy on the open market, Help to Buy could be your way onto the property ladder. The Government has created the Help to Buy scheme to help you take your first steps into home ownership. There are a number of Help to Buy products designed to make buying a home more affordable. You can buy a home using one of the home ownership options, or rent a home at less than the market rent, allowing you to save for a future deposit."

 

bpha has been running Help to Buy in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Surrey, West Sussex, East Sussex and Kent since Spring 2014.

Tenancy strategies

The Government has introduced a new form of rent – known as ‘affordable rent’ – for homes provided by registered providers (mainly councils and housing associations) which can be set at up to 80% of local market rents. Registered providers are now also able to let their homes for a fixed term (rather than lifetime tenancies) if they wish to do so. Local authorities are required to publish a tenancy strategy, setting out the issues which registered providers operating in the local area must have regard to. Please visit our tenancy strategy page to find our local strategies.

Tenancy policies

Organisations which manage social and affordable housing (often housing associations or local authorities) each have a Tenancy Policy setting out their approach to the new tenures available to them, including affordable rent and flexible tenancies. These policies are available on providers' websites, and some links to local examples are provided on our tenancy policy page.

Our housing market assessment

Over the past six years, our SHMA has looked at the need for affordable housing, including the number of people on the Home-Link register and on the Orbit register for intermediate tenure homes such as shared ownership. The chapters are listed below, most recent first.