South Kesteven District Council’s new choice-based lettings system is now up and running, giving housing register applicants more choice and control over the allocation process.
SK Home Choice places resident choice at the heart of the lettings process and provides those in the greatest need the opportunity to be active in searching for and bidding for properties they would consider.
One of the aims is to reduce refusal rates, minimise the time that available properties are empty, and increase transparency around housing stock, leading to fewer empty properties overall.
In conjunction with SK Home Choice, the Council also has a new allocations policy, simplifying the previous process with a strong focus on providing social housing for those who are most in need.
Now, instead of applicants being placed into one of six bands, ranging from Emergency Band – the highest housing need – to Band 5, for those with the lowest need, there are now four bands simply named 1 to 4.
Councillor Phil Dilks, SKDC Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning, said: “Adopting SK Home Choice will help us re-let properties more quickly when they become vacant.
“While new for us, it’s based on a system that has been widely used across the country for a number of years, so I’m delighted South Kesteven has finally caught up the modern way of letting homes which gives applicants more choice.
“Properties will continue to be allocated to those in most need, or who are best suited to them, but applicants are now more involved in the process and better able to make informed choices about where they wish to live.
“There is a clear benefit to all parties through this approach and I am sure our customers will feel empowered when they need to seek social housing through SKDC.”
Customers create an online account via www.skhomechoice.org.uk, which is accessible at any time. Through this, they can see the properties advertised, see where they would be on the shortlist if a bid is made, see existing bids on properties and know the outcome of an allocation.
As part of this process, the council has sought to validate its housing register by inviting all applicants to reapply. Anyone who has not yet reapplied but still wishes to be considered for a council owned property should submit their application online or contact the council without delay.
Vulnerable applicants or those who struggle to use online services can be assisted by the Housing team, if required, by calling the dedicated helpline number on 01476 406437.