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You may need to move to a new home for a variety of different reasons. Your circumstances will determine the choices available to you.
Stratford-on-Avon District is a desirable place to live meaning it is a relatively expensive area and affordable housing options are in short supply and there is high demand for those that do exist.
The economic environment means that more and more households are approaching the Council to enquire about affordable housing options available.
Help with your housing options
You may use the information provided here to help you choose the most appropriate housing options for you. However, you will be free to seek further advice on your options from the Council's Housing Advice Team by calling them on 01789 267575 or emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staying where you are
If you are having difficulty meeting the costs of your home, there is useful advice that you could follow that will enable you to remain in your home on an affordable basis. If you are a tenant, you can get advice on maintaining your tenancy. Where you are an owner occupier, you can visit homelessness prevention for further advice.
As a young person, particularly when you are under the age of eighteen, it should be a priority for you to remain at home, when it is safe and reasonable for you to do so. Sometimes, when relationships get strained and communication breaks down, help through a third party mediator may help to resolve matters. You can also speak to Doorway, an independent organisation who provides specific advice, support and guidance to young people throughout the District who may be going through difficulties in relation to their housing.
For elderly and/ or disabled residents of the District, there could be aspects about your accommodation that make it difficult for you to cope and manage without some form of help. For example, you may have difficulty managing the stairs. There is a lot of help and support available through the District Council, Warwickshire County Council and other organisations such as Age UK where they can give specific help to assist you to remain in your home. The Council also employs an Independent Living Officer who will give advice and assistance on specific categories of help available to keep elderly, disabled and more vulnerable people in their home.
Repairs and maintenance responsibilities will depend on the type of accommodation that you live in. Where you are a tenant, it will often be the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that your home remains in a good standard of repair and free of any hazards. You can contact our Housing Standards Officer for further information on this.
In certain situations, where you are an owner occupier and if you require emergency or essential repairs to be carried out on your home, you may be entitled to private sector housing financial assistance to complete the repair.
Private rented accommodation
Private rented accommodation is accommodation that you can obtain, or you may be living in already, that is rented through a private landlord or via a lettings agent. The rents can be quite expensive and there is normally a sum of money that you would need to pay up front before a tenancy is granted to you. You will be given a tenancy agreement that normally lasts for 6 months at least. There is advice and information available to help to you identify and secure private rented accommodation.
It may be easier and quicker for you to identify and secure a private rented tenancy than to pursue alternative forms of accommodation such as social housing or owner occupation.
If you are registered on Home Choice Plus and have been advised that you may have a long wait before you are offered social housing through the housing register and you would consider a private rented sector tenancy to resolve your housing situation, you may qualify for assistance through the Rent Express Scheme.
Affordable home ownership schemes
Shared ownership is where you part buy and part rent a property. You will normally purchase between 25% and 75% of the property by securing a mortgage and a housing association will usually own the remainder of the property and charge you rent on this.
Help to Buy is government funded assistance to help people buy a property on the open housing market. To qualify, you will normally need to be able to secure a mortgage. There have been new additions to this scheme announced by the govenrment and if you want more information on applying, you should visit the local Help to Buy scheme.
Right to buy / Right to acquire are schemes that enable you to purchase the social rented property that you are living in. There are normally specific conditions that have to be met for example; you need to actually have ‘the right' within your tenancy agreement. The right to buy is within a secure tenancy that you normally get given when you become a “Council tenant". Here at Stratford, this right would have been preserved for former Council tenants before the transfer of stock to Orbit Heart of England (formerly South Warwickshire Housing Association).
Housing Association tenants have the Right to Acquire within their Assured Tenancy. The Housing Association would have to agree to sell you the property. Again, specific conditions will need to be met before you can go for this.
You would need to speak to your landlord if you wished to enquire into these options.
Applying for Social Housing
Stratford-on-Avon District Council no longer owns any Council housing and therefore, social rented accommodation is provided through housing associations throughout the District. However, to apply for this, you still need to apply through the Council. Home Choice Plus is the Council's housing register. In general terms the process is:-
- Apply for housing
- Application assessed in line with Allocation Scheme
- Eligibility/ Priority band awarded
- Application active to "bid for properties"
- Offered and re-housed if you are successful
There is a limited amount of social housing available through Home Choice Plus and the demand is high and therefore access to social housing may not always provide the quickest route to resolve your housing situation.
Under occupation/ down sizing
Therefore, there may be options for you to consider whether you are a private rented tenant affected by the local housing allowance rules or a social rented sector tenant, affected by the under occupation subsidy commonly known as the “bedroom tax".
Transfers and mutual exchanges
In general, housing associations with properties in Stratford-on-Avon District area do not operate their own transfer lists. If you are an existing housing association tenant in this District and you are looking to transfer to another property, you will need to register on Home Choice Plus.. You may wish to transfer for a number of reasons that include; being over crowded so needing to move to a larger property; under occupying so needing to move to a smaller property; needing to move to a different area ; needing to move to a different type of property (i.e. to ground floor accommodation).
Your application will be assessed under the Home Choice Plus Allocation's Scheme and for this you will need to bid for the properties that are advertised on a weekly basis.
If you need to move, another option is for you do it through a mutual exchange. A mutual exchange is when you identify another housing association tenant who also wishes to move and after establishing that you are happy to move into each other's properties, because they meet the requirements in terms of size and location that you are both seeking, with the consent of your respective landlords, you swap homes.
You can register for a mutual exchange through Home Choice Plus if you are looking to remain within Stratford-on-Avon District. If you happy to consider areas outside the district, you can register your details on national/ regional mutual exchange schemes such as:
- Let's exchange (West Midlands and Warwickshire)
- Swap and move
Remember, you and the tenant who you're looking to exchange with must have written consent from your individual landlord, before an exchange can happen.
Armed Forces Personnel
There are special considerations for certain serving and former members of the regular armed forces. This means that you may qualify for additional priority on Home Choice Plus. This is in line with the Armed Forces Community Covenant and the full detail is listed within the Home Choice Plus Allocation Scheme.
Mobile Homes, Caravans and Houseboats
Not all homes within Stratford-on-Avon District are traditional bricks and mortar type homes. You can enquire into renting or buying mobile homes, caravans and houseboats around the District through carrying out an internet search. There is some essential information about your rights and responsibilities in this that is useful to know about your rights and responsibilities in this type of accommodation.
Your housing circumstances need an urgent solution if you are homeless or threatened with homelessness. There are specific responsibilities that this Council will have towards you if certain criteria are met. There are measures that can be taken when you are threatened with homelessness that could help you prevent your homelessness.