Home Options is the way that people can apply for social housing (council and housing association/registered providers) and shared ownership in the Norwich City Council area. The scheme lets you apply for the home of your choice, instead of having to wait for an offer.
There is limited social housing to rent in Norwich and far more households are seeking homes than there are homes available.
Depending on your circumstances, it may be realistic to think about alternative options, like renting privately; finding shared housing, lodgings or supported accommodation; or staying at home longer than intended. We can give you advice and support to help you decide which housing option is right for you.
If you wish to discuss your housing options or apply for council housing in Norwich, please contact us in person at City Hall or by calling on 0344 980 3333. If you want to arrange to speak to us via an interpreter, please let staff know when getting in touch so that they can arrange support, or let us know via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
This will enable us to discuss and assess your housing needs and wants (what you want or wish for in a home is not the same as a need) and to examine the housing options available to you.
Due to the small amount of social housing and the large number of applicants you are unlikely to be housed through the housing register if you already have a suitable home.
If you already have a tenancy with a housing association or a council, finding a mutual exchange (someone to swap with) would be the best way to move. Ask your landlord for more advice.
It is important to understand that deliberately making your housing situation worse, giving false information or failing to provide relevant information will affect your housing application. The council will take action against anyone making fraudulent claims to secure housing.
Social housing in Norwich is in extremely high demand and the council and other landlords need to ensure that their efforts and resources are focused on those in greatest genuine need of them.
Home Options policy is designed to enable the applicant to take responsibility for where they would like to live and to bid accordingly. In making this choice it is up to the applicant to decide which areas and property types they are prepared to consider and which would meet their housing need. As such, Home Options policy is that where an applicant has bid for and been offered five properties, which they have refused or failed to attend the viewing of, then their banding will be reviewed. If the refusals are considered by the Home Options team leader to be unreasonable or without grounds, then the Home Options application will be cancelled and no new application will be accepted for one year.
From April 2019, any new social housing tenancy started after April 2016 will have housing benefit or universal credit housing support limited to private sector local housing allowance rates. This is the cap applied to the eligible rent for housing benefit assessment
It means that housing benefit or universal credit housing support for single people who are social housing tenants, under 35 years of age and without children, will be restricted to shared accommodation rates. This means they will only be able to claim the same amount of benefit as a private tenant is able to claim for a room in a shared house (This is £63.91 as at the current date).
On current figures, those under 35 living in a one bed flat, if eligible for full support with their housing costs, would face an average weekly shortfall of £6.90. If they are living in a two bedroom flat there will be an average shortfall of £12.71.
All single applicants aged under 35 should be aware of this when bidding, particularly if considering bids for a two bedroom property.
Could discretionary housing payments help you?
Do you have rent arrears that are preventing you from moving to a more affordable property?
Do you want to move, but can't afford the rent in advance payments or deposit?
Discretionary housing payments can help people in a temporary situation where they need extra help with their housing costs.
To be eligible for a payment you must be claiming housing benefit or universal credit and we must be satisfied that you are in need of extra financial help.
Discretionary housing payments are temporary and can be made over a short period or as a one-off payment. They can help with:
- Shortfalls in rent payment when housing benefit or universal credit doesn't cover the full amount
- Deposit, rent in advance or removal costs where you have no other means of meeting these costs.
For further information, or to make an application for discretionary housing paymentsplease visit the council's website, www.norwich.gov.uk or contact the council's benefit team on 0344 980 3333.
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.
Do you know the consequences?
Whether you're late making mortgage payments, or cannot make them at all, not being able to meet your mortgage payments can have serious consequences. It is important to be aware of these consequences before taking on a mortgage.
To find out more about how Home Options works please access the Home Options Scheme Guide.
To access the Home Options Allocations Policy 2015 please click here
To find out how to get help and assistance on the scheme please click here.