1. Who can apply to be a Homeseeker?
The housing register is open to any person aged 16 years or over. The transfer list will also include all Local Authority tenants and Registered Social Landlords (housing association assured tenants only) within the Borough of Swindon. Applicants age 16 or 17 must have a guarantor for a tenancy. Applications from lone parents under the age of 18 are suspended until their 18th birthday.
2. How do I apply to join the Housing Register?
You will need to complete an application form. Please click on online application form to complete. Guidance notes are available on our website.
Computers are available to use free of charge at the Council offices in Beckhampton Street. Any customer who cannot use a computer can visit the Council's offices and an advisor will assist them in completing the form on-line or alternatively, they can call us on 01793 445503 and an advisor will assist.
Please note: When completing an on-line application form you are given a unique reference number. This is for your records or in case you need to return to your form to supply further information.
3. Do I need to provide any documents with my application?
If you have been in the UK for less than 5 years you will need to provide proof of eligibility before you can be accepted to join the Housing Register
4. What to do if you have been asked to leave your accommodation and feel you are threatened with homelessness?
Please telephone 01793 445503 and ask to speak to a Housing Options Officer. The Options Officer will be able to provide you with assistance and advice and may need to carry out an assessment.
5. How long will I have to wait to get a property?
It is difficult to quote a waiting time as this will depend on the interest we have in properties from applicants who are bidding and it will also depend on the number of vacancies we have.
The waiting time will also depend on how flexible you can be with regards to property type and area. Those waiting for popular areas will wait longer because more people are interested in bidding on these.
Certain types of accommodation are more popular than others. Houses and bungalows are sought after accommodation so the waiting times will be longer.
If you are eligible for sheltered accommodation, the waiting time for this is considerably less than waiting for a bungalow.
If you are eligible for a two bedroom property, the waiting time is considerably less for a two bedroom flat than a two bedroom house.
If you are over 60 or over 50 and in receipt of disability living allowance and have no pets, there is a short waiting list and often there can be properties available to rent now. Please contact the Swindon Homebid team if you need assistance with applying or bidding.
There is an individual list for keyworkers. Please note that with exception of houses, keyworker accommodation has a strict policy of no pets.
Please ensure you indicate on your application that you are a keyworker and send a copy of your contract of employment to the Swindon Homebid team Team. If you are eligible, you can bid for keyworker accommodation as well as general housing. Both are advertised via Swindon Homebid. The keyworker waiting time is normally shorter (particularly with flats) as there are less applicants. For more information on the criteria please see question 34.
General purpose housing: (Singles, Couples and family accommodation, not elderly or sheltered accommodation)
There is an extremely high demand for a Council or Housing Association home in Swindon and the demand far exceeds supply of accommodation.
Applicants needing to move on emergency grounds.
Social Housing tenant living in Swindon Borough and releasing accommodation as follows:
Applicants are in priority need of accommodation. Band B recognises a priority need, however there are a large number of applicants in this band Most will still experience a long wait for accommodation. To see Housing Statistics for history of successful bids click here
These applicants are classed as adequately housed and are unlikely to be shortlisted because of the large number of applicants in Band A and Band B, however Band C applicants bidding on two bedroom flats in less popular areas have been successful. To see Housing Statistics for history of successful bids click here
6. How will I know if I have been accepted onto the Housing Register?
You will receive an acknowledgement letter to inform you of the outcome of your application. The letter will provide you with the following information to allow you to bid:
Please note: If you have been accepted as homeless, your banding date will be from the date you have been accepted as homeless.
The letter will be e-mailed to you if you have provided us with an e-mail address. If you have not, the letter will be sent out by Royal Mail post.
We process all applications where applicants are assessed as urgent housing need within 5 working days. We aim to process all other applications within 20 working days, however, when we receive a large number of applications, the team will prioritise applications by housing need and then in date order.
We update the home page on our website with the date of applications we are currently processing.
7. I feel I have medical / welfare grounds to move to a higher priority band?
Only those with a medical condition or disability which is directly affected and made worse by their accommodation will be considered for a medical assessment.
Medical priority is not given in relation to neighbour problems or if you are already in Band B which has already recognised your need to move and would not satisfy the criteria for Medical Category A. Please note it is rare that a medical assessment awards a Band A category, the need to move must be an emergency.
For all medical assessments, there must be no other alternatives available to the individual or family.
We do not request letters from Doctors or consultants to consider if an assessment is necessary. If you feel you have a medical condition, which is directly affected, by your accommodation, please write to the Swindon Home Bid Team with full details. If your circumstances require a Health/Disability Assessment form, we will write and send one to you.
8. Do I need to inform you if I move address or have a change in circumstances?
Applicants must notify the Swindon Homebid Team of the Council of any change of circumstances that occur. If there is a relevant change, the application will be reassessed and if appropriate, placed in a different band and this could also affect the date of your banding. For any change of address or if you are adding a partner to your application you must submit a new application form by applying on-line at www.swindonhomebid.org.uk
Other change in circumstances such as contact numbers and removing a partner or child from an application can be provided through our messaging system on Swindon Homebid, however, there are some changes that we need to receive proof of and these are:
9. What is my unique bidding / housing application number?
You will receive your unique bidding / housing application number when we have processed your application and sent you a letter advising you of your band, banding date and bedroom eligibility.
Your unique bidding reference number is the number supplied on your acknowledgement letter. The number normally begins with a '1' (unless your application is very old and it may start with a '8' or '9').
You will need to quote your number when contacting us and for placing bids or and accessing your account on the Homebid site.
Please note the bidding reference number is sometimes referred to as the housing application number or housing reference number..
10. I haveforgotten my unique bidding number. How can I find out what it is?
You can telephone Swindon Direct on 01793 445503 and they can provide you with your bidding number over the telephone after asking some security questions.
11. What is my pin number?
Your pin number will be the main applicants date of birth, unless you have amended your pin to a memorable date. If you have changed your pin and cannot remember it, you can access this by answering some security questions. If you require any assistance please call the Swindon Homebid Team on 01793 445503.
12. What are Bands?
There is a banding system consisting of 4 bands; A, B, C & D. Applicants will be placed in the relevant band according to their housing needs as defined in the Council's Housing Allocation Policy. To see the 'Application Bands' click here
13. How often are properties advertised?
Properties available for rent are advertised each week. The bidding cycle will commence from Wednesday midnight through to the following Tuesday and close at 11.59pm. However, it can take up to 10 minutes after close of bidding cycle for the IT system to configure.
15. What information is provided on the advert?
The advert will state a property reference number, landlord, location, property type, bedroom eligibility and other features of the property. Where available, a photograph of the property or a similar type of property will be provided and you will be able to access information on the local area and facilities. If properties require specific criteria, this will be stated at the bottom of each advert. Please ensure you read the criteria on each advert before placing your bid. If you bid on a property you are not eligible for, your bid will not be considered and or will be removed by the Housing Needs Department.
Please ensure you read the criteria on each advert before placing your bid. If you bid on a property you are not eligible for, your bid will not be considered and or will be removed by the Housing Needs Department.
Those not able to use the above will be assisted by the Swindon Home Bid Team.
19. Can I withdraw / remove a bid I have made?
Whilst the bidding cycle is open, you can withdraw a bid you have made by logging in to Login / My Account on the home page of this website.
20. How many properties can I express an interest in?
You can express an interest in one property in each bidding cycle. If you change your mind, you can withdraw the current bid and bid on an alternative property. Only bid for properties in an area you wish to live in and always read the advert criterea for the property.
21. Will I be able to find out how many other applicants have placed a bid for the same property as myself?
Yes, when you place a bid via the website or 24 hour automated telephone service, you will be informed of your current queue position, this is your position at the time you place the bid. Please note: your queue position is likely to change during the bidding cycle as and when other applicants place or withdraw their bids. Priority will be given to the applicant in the highest band and then the earliest banding date.
22. How can I find out who has been successful for the property I placed a bid for?
You can find out your final queue position on the 'Historical Bids' once the successful applicant has officially accepted the offer. This sometime can take a couple of weeks due to checks and viewings that have to be arranged.
23. How will I know if I have been shortlisted for a property?
Shortlisting is normally carried out on the Wednesday / Thursday after the bidding cycle. Once you are shortlisted you cannot bid so if your final queue position was relatively high and you cannot bid in the following cycle, please call the Swindon Homebid Team on 445503 and we will advise if you have been shortlisted.
If you have been successful on a Swindon Borough Council property, a Lettings Officer will contact you within five working days after the close of bidding. Once shortlisted, checks are required by our Lettings Team and a viewing is organised. A formal offer and viewing of the property will not be made until all our checks have been done and we are satisfied everything is correct.
If you have been successful on a Housing Association property, your details will be forwarded to the relevant Housing Association who will then contact you.
24. Can I place a bid even if I have been shortlisted?
No, once you have been shortlisted you will not be able to place another bid unless/until you have refused the offer and your refusal has been accepted.
25. Selective Lettings Policy / Sensitive Lets
Some areas or properties may have a selective lettings policy or a sensitive let criteria that allow these to be advertised in accordance with the criteria laid down within that policy. A copy of the Selective Lettings Policy is available upon written request.
26. How do you decide who is the successful bidder?
Once the bidding cycle has closed, bids received are collated and placed in order of band and then in banding date. The successful bidder must meet the criteria and will normally be the applicant in the highest band and earliest banding date. If the property is refused or the person who is top cannot be shortlisted then the next person on the list will be shortlisted instead. If you are successful for a property and we are unable to contact you to verify your circumstances, you may not be shortlisted. If your address has changed you will not be shortlisted.
Connection to a Rural Village
The exception to the above is where a property has been advertised as requiring a Local Connection to a village, the person with the local connection ranked according to banding and banding date. The person with the local connection who is ranked according to band and banding date will be shortlisted first. If more than one applicant has an equal strength of connection then the applicant in the highest band and earliest banding date will be considered first. See frequently asked question number 35.
Connection to a rural village is considered as having one or more of the following:
Children attending school in the rural village
27. With a change of circumstances, how are the banding dates decided?
If an applicant should move into a higher band, their banding date will be changed to the date they moved into this band. This does not apply to those moving up from band D to C.
If an applicant moves into a lower band, their banding date will change to the date of their original application.
If an applicant is accepted as homeless by Swindon Borough Council then the banding date will always be the date they are accepted as homeless.
You have provided incorrect or misleading information, which has resulted in your application being awarded a higher priority than it deserves.
29. Once I have been offered the property, will I have the opportunity to view it before making my final decision?
Yes, you will be invited to view the property accompanied by a Lettings Officer or a Sheltered Housing Officer if supported accommodation once a key is available. Some viewings may be done whilst the current tenant is occuping the property. Please also note that the condition of the property will vary as works may still be required or being carried out. If the property is in need of decorating a paint allowance will be awarded. To view the Relet Standard of a council property click here.
30. What if I don't like the property once I have viewed it?
If you refuse an offer of a Council or a Registered Social Landlord property you will be required to complete a refusal form. Your housing application will be suspended until the refusal form is completed and returned. The Lettings Manager or Senior Lettings Officer will make a decision based on the information provided. A refusal of a property could make you ineligible to bid for another property for a period of 6 months. Your housing application will not be current for 6 months.
31. Do you provide information on the properties successfully let?
Yes, information on properties successfully let will be published on the "Recent Lets" page once the property has been formally accepted. This process can take a number of weeks. You will be able to find out the number of bids placed on the property, successful band and banding date. The outcomes are also available to view on the Homebid noticeboard in the Council's One Stop Shop Reception and local libraries.
32. Direct Matching applicants to a property
In some cases allocations will be made outside the scheme and further information can be found in the Council's Allocations Policy. Please note these categories are not exclusive and exceptional cases can be placed within a higher band on the recommendation of both the Housing Needs Manager and an Area Housing Estate Manager and only then on the agreement of the Head of Service. For further details please see the Allocations Policy
33. What other options are there for housing?
Due to a shortage of social housing in the borough, most applicants on the housing register will have to wait a long time and applicants in Band C are unlikely to be shortlisted because of the large number of applicants in Band A and Band B. Applicants in Band C who are eligible for Sheltered accommodation, Keyworker housing and two bedroom flats on the first floor and higher can be successful because the demand for this type of housing is considerably less.
Depending on your circumstances you may wish to consider other options such as renting in the private sector. We may be able to help you access the private rented sector. Please call 01793 445503 and asking to speak to one of the Housing Options Team. Interviews to discuss your housing options are available with the Housing Options Advisor in the One Stop Shop in Wat Tyler House, Beckhampton Street.
Another option you can consider is Shared Ownership. Low Cost Home Ownership is an affordable housing option for applicants who are not able to afford 100% home ownership on the open market. It is a part buy and part rent arrangement with options to purchase varying percentages of home ownership. The rent paid to the Housing Association for the un-purchased element reduces as greater shares are purchased. No rent is paid if 100% ownership is achieved. To visit the Low Cost Home Ownership page click here
Please ensure you indicate on your application that you are a keyworker and send a copy of your contract of employment to the Swindon Homebid team Team. If you are eligible, you can bid for keyworker accommodation as well as general housing. Both are advertised via Swindon Homebid. The keyworker waiting time is normally shorter (particularly with flats) as there are less applicants.
To see the schemes and criteria for keyworker accommodation click here
To view the keyworker flats at Isambard Place, Town Centre click here
35. Vacancies in Rural areas / Section 106 Policy
Where a development has either a section 106 agreement or it is a council property in one of the following rural villages then bidding will be restricted.
North area: Inglesham, Hannington, Castle Eaton, Blunsdon, Stanton Fitzwarren and South Marston
South area: Chiseldon, Wanborough, Liddington and Bishopstone
Wroughton: Some properties in Wroughton require a local connection, so please inform the Swindon Homebid team if you have a connection to Wroughton.
Bidding would only be available to those applicants who meet the criteria and who are in High housing need and eligible for the type of property that is available. (Please note: High housing need is defined as band A and B). If there are none in those bands with a local connection, then band C will be considered. If no applicants bid within the criteria then the bidding will open to all with NO local connection.
The applicant with the local connection within the highest band and banding date will be shortlisted first, e.g. Band A then Band B etc.
A local rural connection is defined as follows:-
There may not be any vacant properties available for you to bid on this week. You can check the 'Property Search' section on the Homebid website to see if what properties are available in the current bidding cycle.
Your application may not be current whilst we are waiting from information from you. Please contact the Swindon Homebid team on 01793 445503 to enquire why you cannot bid.
37. I have my child / children staying with me for a few nights a week, can they be included on my application?
A child or children have to be permanently resident with the applicant in order to be included on the application. Receipt of child benefit proof is required. If you have a one-bedroom eligibility, please look out for two bedroom flats above the 2nd floor as these are normally open to single people and couples to bid on.
38. Can I include my child/children on the application if I have joint residency arrangements?
If you have joint residency arrangements with your child/children's other parent, proof is required to ensure that this is equal as child benefit can only be paid to one parent. Only a legal document such as a Court document will be considered and it will be the Lettings Manager's decision as to whether a bedroom allocation can be made.
39. Is there an age limit for my children to share a bedroom?
No, there are no legal requirements that state that children of a certain age or different sex cannot share a bedroom. Those in band B for lacking one or more bedrooms have already been recognised as requiring additional bedroom(s) to meet their family's needs.
40. I am currently an owner occupier (under 60 years old) but would like to register for social housing?
Any owner-occupier under pensionable age will only be able to bid if their application is supported on medical/welfare grounds and approved by the lead member of Health, Housing & Adult Social Care. These applicants will be placed in Band D and their band and banding date reviewed should their circumstances change. Their present accommodation must be unable to be adapted to suit their needs and they must be unable to access other accommodation themselves.
Any owner occupier housed from the housing register must undertake to sell their property within 12 months of accepting a tenancy. They will be asked to sign a form and agree to sell their property unless there are legal grounds preventing the sale.
41. I am currently an owner occupier (over 60 years old) but would like to apply for social housing?
Applicants over 60 years old are eligible to bid for sheltered accommodation and bungalows. Their application will be assessed according to their current tenure and they will be informed of their band and banding date.
Any owner occupier housed from the housing register must undertake to sell their property within 12 months of accepting a tenancy. They will be asked to sign a form and agree to sell their property unless there are legal grounds preventing the sale.
All new tenants are offered an introductory tenancy unless they are already a secure council tenant or an assured tenant of a housing association.
An introductory tenancy normally lasts for a period of 12 months. After this - if there have been no breaches with your behaviour or rent payments - your tenancy will become a secure tenancy. This decision will be made by the landlord of the property. You are unable to swap from your property until you have a secure tenancy.
Secure tenants have to keep to the tenancy conditions but they have more security and more rights. Secure tenants have the right to exchange their home, the right to make improvements to their home (with permission), the right to buy their home, the right to take in lodgers and the right for someone to take over their tenancy after their death (subject to succession rules).
A housing association will give you a starter tenancy on a 12-month period at the beginning of your tenancy and it is converted to a full Assured Tenancy provided your tenancy has been conducted satisfactorily.
This type of tenancy agreement is usually issued by a housing trust or housing association. They offer some security in that as long as you do not breach the terms of the tenancy agreement you may continue to live in the property.
43. Swindon Borough Council Tenant Handbook and Tenancy agreement
To view the Tenant's Handbook and Tenancy agreement click here. This provides information should you be successful in an offer of council accommodation.
44. School Transport
Please note that if you currently receive school transport for your child then you may not receive this if you move. "It is your responsibility to ensure that your child is able to arrange transport to school should you move".
45. Supported Housing for people with Learning Disabilities
When properties are advertised through Swindon Home Bid, all bids placed are discussed at a meeting with representatives from the Council, Housing Association and the Learning Disability Team. Any person who bids will need to have had an up to date assessment completed regarding their housing need for this type of property. It will not always be the case that the first person at the top of the list will be shortlisted.
Any new scheme of this type will also have 1/3rd mix of tenants, homeless applicants and all others on the housing register where possible with the first lets.
A 1-bedroom bungalow for people aged 60 or over; applicants under 60 should have a bungalow need or be in receipt of high-rate mobility Disability Living Allowance;
A 1-bedroom cottage or house attached to a sheltered scheme (group dwelling) or a warden service;
A studio-flat (i.e. a bedsit);
A 1-bedroom, general purpose flat;
A 1-bedroom flat with Homeline service (for those with a recognised medical or welfare need or those aged over 50).
47. Energy Performance Certificate (EPCs) : A tenant's guide
This booklet gives advice to tenants on Energy Performance Certificates which will be required if renting a new home from 1 October 2008. Please click here to download a copy.