Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about our new lettings portal and refreshed allocations policy (effective February 2020)
Who can apply for a home with us?
To apply for one of our homes, you must be unable to afford to buy your own home or rent from a private landlord. We check your affordability based on your income and savings.
What type of home can I apply for?
This will depend on your household need and family circumstances. We always try to make sure homes are let to best meet your need.
We let our homes in line with the bedroom standard which has been set by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Extra bedrooms may be given to those with additional needs, for example those with medical needs, live in carers and/or foster children.
Depending on the property, we may restrict who can apply to live there. These can include when we have:
- A local lettings plan (LLP) – these are put in place to help us to create a balanced community where people want to live and more importantly, stay
- Age restrictions – some of our homes are restricted to certain age groups for example, over 55s
How are your homes advertised?
On Homes Direct, the bidding cycle runs from Wednesday to Sunday but on our website and app we’ll add new homes as they become available, any time of the week.
Homes will be listed as ‘coming soon’ for a week so that you can take a look, prepare your documents and information and ask any questions before applying. After that, we’ll advertise them for at least five days.
Each advert will tell you about the property and whether there are any restrictions or preference groups that we will give priority to.
Sometimes we may offer a home directly to an existing customer without advertising. And this may be because:
- They need an adaptation to their current home but it’s not possible
- We need to sell or refurbish a customers’ home
What are preference groups?
We’re moving away from bandings and instead introducing preference groups. The preference groups will be on the property adverts and may mean that we give priority to:
- Certain age groups (for example, over 55s)
- Households with spare bedrooms or those who need more bedrooms
- Those who need adapted homes
- Those who are homeless or in housing need
- Those who have a local connection to the area
- Workers, volunteers or carers
- We will only advertise one preference group on any advert and you and other interested people will be given priority if they can show they meet the preference group conditions.
We will also advertise a lot of properties (40%) with no preference group which means as long as you are eligible to join our waiting list then you can apply for a suitably sized home with us.
How do you choose who gets each home?
We’ve kept the process really simple, so the first person to apply and include all of the information and evidence needed will be given the chance to accept the home.
There may be some exceptions to this, such as if:
- The person can’t prove that they meet the preference group
- The person doesn’t respond to us or follow our lettings process
Why are some people excluded from applying?
We may exclude some people due to:
- Legal reasons
- Housing related debt or fraud
- A history of anti-social behaviour and/or crime, including domestic abuse
- Tenancy breaches and/or history of not looking after their home
- The person not being ready for independent living
- The tenancy being unsustainable due to affordability reasons
- The person being too young. We’ll accept under 18s if they’ve been nominated by their local council. All other 16 and 17 year olds will be referred to our young person’s services
I am already a Midland Heart tenant. Can I transfer to another of your homes?
If you have additional needs that your current home doesn’t meet then you can apply to transfer to another home. If you haven’t got additional needs but still want to move, you can look for a mutual exchange.
Additional needs usually mean:
- You’re under occupying or your home is overcrowded
- Your home isn’t affordable for you anymore
- You live too far away from work or education to commute (over an hour travel time)
- You need to move to another area to be closer to give or receive care
- You have medical needs that mean you can no longer get in or out of your home or you can no longer manage stairs
Do I need to register on this website if I have an account on the Midland Heart app?
No, if you have downloaded our customer app and have an account you can use the same email address and password to log in to this website.
Can I register on your website and Homes Direct at the same time?
Yes, you can have accounts on both websites however, from February 2020 we will only be listing our homes on homes.midlandheart.org.uk and not on Homes Direct.
How do I opt out of marketing emails?
We won’t send you too many marketing emails, but if you don’t want to receive them you can opt out by clicking the ‘unsubscribe’ button at the bottom of the email.
How do I reset my password?
On the login screen, click on ‘forgotten password’ to reset it.
If you originally created your account on our app, you’ll need to reset your password on the app.
Questions about Homes Direct
How do I bid on a property?
If you are applying for one of our homes for the first time you will need to register an account with Homes Direct. Once registered you can log onto Homes Direct and place bids on properties that meet your needs.
Please remember to check the property details before bidding, for example location, number of bedrooms or if the property has a garden. This is to ensure that you are bidding on properties that are right for you and that the property meets your need.
What is my Banding?
Your banding on Homes Direct will be determined by the answers you have selected when creating/ amending your housing application.
Applicants will be placed in the relevant band according to their assessed need. When bidding for properties please check that your circumstances are up to date as you will be asked for evidence to support your banding if you are successfully shortlisted for a property.
How will I be contacted?
You will be contacted by telephone, email, text or letter. It is important that your contact information with us is up to date and accurate as your application for accommodation may be bypassed if we are unable to get hold of you.
How long will I have to wait to get a property?
It is difficult to give accurate information about how long it would take to get a property. This is because the waiting time will be different for different areas and for different kinds of properties.
What happens if I reject or do not respond to an invitation to express interest?
As part of the shortlisting process we will contact you by phone call, text or email to confirm your interested in a property. It is important that you let us know before the deadline stated in any communication you receive from us.
If you do not respond it is assumed that you are not interested. Please note that you do not need to call us to explain that you are not interested in the property.
What happens after I am nominated for a property?
You may know before we do that you have been nominated for one of our homes by your local council. Once we are told we will usually contact you within two days of the advert closing.
We will then need to speak to you to review your application for housing, check you can afford to pay your rent in advance and can provide references. If you don’t respond to our contact then we will move onto the next nominated applicant.
What happens after I am shortlisted for a property on Homes Direct?
We will usually contact you within two days of the advert closing. We will need to speak to you to review your application for housing, check you can afford to pay your rent in advance and can provide references. If you don’t respond to contact then we will move onto the next applicant.
Please be aware that you will only be contacted if you have been shortlisted for a property. You will not be contacted if you have been unsuccessful. If you do not hear back from us you should continue with the bidding process.
What is my Priority number on a viewing?
We will tel you your viewing priority either by telephone call, text or letter. This will also be confirmed when you attend a viewing and any offer of a tenancy is made in order of priority of customers who attend the appointment.
Please note that if you are interested in a property it is important to attend the viewing even if you are not in position one as it may be that applicants with higher priority numbers do not attend the viewing or do not choose to accept the property.
How do I arrange a viewing appointment?
If you are shortlisted our lettings team will confirm any viewing appointment with you by phone, text or email.
To confirm you will attend the viewing please complete the form below within the deadline given in the message. If for any reason you have to cancel or reschedule a viewing please contact our customer hub on 0345 60 20 540.
If you are unable to attend a viewing that you have previously agreed to attend you must give us at least 24 hours notice. If you repeatedly miss viewing appointments without giving us notice or a valid reason then your housing application on Homes Direct could be suspended for up to 12 months.Insert form from Umbraco Contour
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What happens if I reject or do not respond to an invitation to a viewing?
If you do not respond to a request to view a property within 24 hours then we will assume that you are no longer interested in the property and your application will be bypassed.
Please note you can only accept a property if you have attended a viewing.
What documents do I need to bring to the viewing/signup?
When you attend a viewing a member of our staff will meet you outside the property. Below is a viewing checklist we have compiled for your convenience.
1) Let us know if you are attending the viewing by filling out the form below or contacting us by phone – if you don’t confirm we will cancel your viewing.
2) Bring an acceptable form of ID
3) Bring proof of your income
4) Be on time for the viewing – a member of staff will meet you outside
5) If you receive support bring your support plan and the contact details of the agency who provide your support
6) Don’t bring more than one other person with you – we can only let two people per household into the property to view it
7) Don’t bring your children with you - we can’t let them into a property where works are being carried out so please arrange care for them
If you aren’t able to do any of the above we may not be able to offer you a property so it’s best to contact us by phone.
It is possible that in some cases you may need to be available after the viewing to attend an assessment and sign your tenancy on the same day.
How do I know if I have been successful after a viewing?
You will be told your position number at the viewing. If you are in the highest position you will be invited for an assessment over the phone or at our Birmingham office and if we cannot make contact within 48 hours then we will move onto the next applicant who has expressed an interest at the viewing.
You will only be contacted if you are successful.
What supporting documents do I need for signup?
You will be asked to bring Proof of Identification for everyone moving with you (passports, driving licence, birth certificates including photographic ID), as well as proof of income including national insurance number.
If needed we will also ask you to bring other documents specific to your circumstances.
How much do I pay in rent up front?
If you pay your own rent then you will be asked to pay one month’s rent in advance before picking up the keys to your new home. If you receive some benefits to assist you in paying your rent then we will ask for one week’s rent in advance.
Before your tenancy begins you will be asked to make a rent payment, if you sign your tenancy agreement on the same day as your viewing you will be asked to make the payment then.
How quickly can I move in after sign up?
You can move into your new home the moment you receive your keys. You will need to make sure that you register all utilities in your name and book an appointment with our customer hub for any gas supply to be uncapped.
If you receive Universal Credit or Housing Benefit you must also remember to let them know your change of address and complete all the necessary forms to help you with your rent.
What do I do if I need time to move out my belongings?
You are responsible for moving in or out of a property at agreed dates. If you are unable to move out of your home by the agreed date then please ring the lettings team so that we can discuss options available to you.