How our choice-based letting system works

After you've made a bid

Your active bid when the bidding cycle ends will be the one we take into consideration when we are allocating properties.

Your bid may be successful or unsuccessful. If you are unsuccessful, you will have the opportunity to make another bid during the next bidding cycle. If it's successful, you will be the "successful bidder". This doesn't necessarily mean the property is yours. Instead, it triggers a process that hopefully ends with a tenancy offer.

  1. Checking eligibility
  2. Shortlisting and verification
  3. Offer of tenancy

Checking eligibility

First, we check that you are eligible for the property.

If you have read the advert carefully and understood it correctly, you will have assessed your own eligibility before making your bid. In this case, we will also hopefully deem you eligible for the property.

If you haven't considered your eligibility, it could turn our that it's clear to us that you are not eligible. In this case, we will disregard your bid. The bidder who came after you in the queue when the bidding cycle ended will become the successful bidder.

If it's necessary, we or the relevant housing association will contact you soon after the bidding cycle ends to ask some questions about your eligibility.

For a Swindon Borough Council property, it can sometimes take up to five working days to contact you by phone or e-mail. It is likely to be much quicker and depends how easy it is to make sure you are eligible. If you were the top for a property when the bidding cycle ended and can't bid in the next one, this can be an indication that you are being considered for a property.

For housing association properties, the housing association should make contact with you within seven working days. We will send you a letter or e-mail with the contact name and telephone number of the housing association officer, so you can contact them if you do not hear from them.

Shortlisting and verification

Once we're happy you're eligible for the property, you will be shortlisted.

During this time, one of our lettings officers, or a lettings officer at the relevant housing association, will make verification checks. You will need to provide documents to support your application. They must be original, valid and up to date.

The lettings officer will tell you exactly what's required, but you will certainly need to provide the following documents:

  • Proof of identity for each adult - Passport, driving licence, Armed Forces ID, student ID, bank statement, EU ID card, entitlement to benefit letter (not child benefit or child tax credits)
  • Proof of current address - Utilities or Council Tax bill (not a mobile phone bill), driving licence, bank statement, entitlement to benefit letter (not child benefit or child tax credits), tenancy agreement
  • Proof of employment income for each applicant in employment - Payslips (2 x monthly, 3 x fortnightly, or 5 x weekly) and employment contract
  • Last three months' bank statements
  • Leave to remain or refugee status - Passport or right to remain papers
  • Proof of discharge date if you are or were in the British Armed Forces - Discharge papers
  • Proof of residency of dependent children - Full child benefit letter showing your children’s names or a bank statement showing receipt of payments
  • Proof of benefits or pension - Disability living allowance, personal independence payment, jobseeker’s allowance, Universal Credit, income support

Please note that one document can cover more than one purpose. For example, an entitlement to benefit letter proves your identity, address and receipt of benefit.

You will need to provide these documents by a certain date. If you don't, you risk the offer of accommodation being withdrawn. Or, if we find that information you have provided is false or incorrect, this could result in a change in your eligibility for housing, or in your application being closed in line with our social housing allocation policy.

Other reasons we may withdraw our offer:

  • You don't make your first rent payment when we ask for it. This might be at, or before, your sign-up appointment with us.
  • You owe rent or have other housing-related debts (you will also be removed from the housing register, and can re-apply once the debt is cleared).
  • You are a council or housing association tenant and legal action has been taken against you because you have broken your tenancy conditions
  • Your circumstances have changed, resulting in a change to your banding or application date
  • You don't meet the affordability criteria
  • You have a history of anti-social behaviour

Offer of tenancy

Once we or the housing association have successfully completed our verification checks, we will make you an offer of tenancy and advise if you are able to view the property or not. Viewings are only available for certain property types.

We will arrange an appointment to sign your tenancy agreement.

If you don't like a property and don't want to live there, you need to complete and return an offer refusal form. This will be included in your offer letter. Your reasons will be considered by a senior officer.

If you refuse an offer that has been deemed reasonable by us or the relevant housing association, you will be removed from the housing register.

You should visit the area before placing a bid. This is because refusing an offer based on area is not deemed reasonable, so may lead to you being removed from the housing register.

Paying rent in advance

As well as signing a tenancy agreement, you will need to pay rent in advance to secure the property.

If you intend to pay weekly, you will need to pay one week's rent in advance. If you intend to pay fortnightly, you will need to pay a fortnight's rent in advance. If you intend to pay monthly, you will need to pay a month’s rent in advance.

You will still need to pay rent in advance if you receive Universal Credit or housing benefit.

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