Frequently Asked Questions and Summary of Salford’s Allocations Policy

First implemented 28th January 2020
January 2021 statutory update

  1. Am I eligible to register on Salford Home Search?
  2. Do I qualifying to register on Salford Home Search?
  3. Do I need a Local Connection to Salford?
  4. Who does not qualify to register?
  5. How are applications categorised?
  6. How are applications prioritised?
  7. How can I express an interest in a property?
  8. What kind of properties can I express an interest for?
  9. When should I place my expression of interest?
  10. How can I find out about the expressions of interest I have made?
  11. How many offers will I receive?
  12. Will my personal information be passed to other landlords?
  13. Will I keep my existing tenancy rights?
  14. Are private rented homes included in the scheme?
  15. What happens if I have a change in circumstances?
  16. What if I require additional assistance with my membership/application?
  17. What are SMS services?
  18. What is mutual exchange?
  19. If I am expecting a baby, how will this affect my application?
  20. What do I do if I disagree with any decision made about my housing register application?
  21. How do I contact Salford Home Search?
  1. Am I eligible to register on Salford Home Search?

    The Housing Act 1996 and associated legislation states that some applicants are not eligible for an allocation of social housing (except for certain existing social housing tenants including those seeking a transfer who are to be given Reasonable Preference).

    Salford City Council is required to check that an applicant is eligible for an allocation of social housing.

    A person may not be allocated accommodation under Part 6 if he or she is a person from abroad who is ineligible for an allocation under section 160ZA of the Housing Act 1996. There are 2 categories for the purposes of section 160ZA:

    (i) a person subject to immigration control – such a person is not eligible for an allocation of accommodation unless he or she comes within a class prescribed in regulations made by the Secretary of State (section 160ZA(2)), and

    (ii) a person from abroad other than a person subject to immigration control – regulations may provide for other descriptions of persons from abroad who, although not subject to immigration control, are to be treated as ineligible for an allocation of accommodation (section 160ZA(4)).

    The regulations setting out which classes of persons from abroad are eligible or ineligible for an allocation are the Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations 2006 (as amended) (’the Eligibility Regulations’).

    All persons from abroad and those from the UK returning to live in Salford, will need to provide evidence of their eligibility to register.

    Eligibility for an allocation may change over time therefore acceptance on to the register does not guarantee that the person will be allocated accommodation. Eligibility will be confirmed again at the point of consideration of making an offer of accommodation. Where a person’s circumstances have changed and they are no longer eligible, their application will be removed from the housing register.

    It is the applicant’s responsibility to update Salford Home Search / the Housing Options Service of any changes in their circumstances.

  2. Do I qualifying to register on Salford Home Search?

    Applicants aged under 16 years of age do not qualify. Applicants aged 16 or 17 years will be able to register an application with Salford Home Search but it will be suspended until they reach their 18th birthday. Exceptions may be made for example, young people leaving care, however this will only apply where appropriate support is in place to assist the young person with sustaining a tenancy and the young person agrees to accept the support.

    People (regardless of their existing tenure) do qualify if they are not excluded by law or another part of this policy and fall into one of the following categories:

    • People who have been assessed as being in housing need and who belong to one of the statutory ‘Reasonable Preference’ groups – described later
    • People who are under-occupying social housing
    • People living in temporary or supported accommodation in the city.
    • People who have served in the Armed Forces – see below for more details
    • Care leavers who have been the responsibility of Salford City Council
    • Households threatened with homelessness
    • Foster carers approved by the local authority
    • Where a move is required to safeguard children who are assessed as being in need or on a Child Protection Plan
    • Applicants who volunteer for a minimum of 16 hours per month for a registered charity, a recognised community group or a not for profit organisation.
     
  3. Do I need a Local Connection to Salford?

    In order to ensure that the needs of the local community are met, a person who does not have a local connection to Salford does not qualifying for the housing register.

    A local connection is defined as an applicant who:

    • Residence: has lived in Salford in settled accommodation for the previous 2 year period, or
    • Employment: has a contract of permanent employment and has been in continuous employment working within the city for a minimum of 6 months. The employment can be full-time, part-time, zero-hour contract or self-employed, or
    • Family association: has an active established relationship with a parent, adult sibling or adult child living in Salford in settled accommodation for a minimum of five years, or
    • Former asylum seekers: where an individual’s application for asylum was determined whilst living in accommodation in Salford provided under section 95 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 and they have been granted a right to remain, or

     
    Other special circumstances: there may be special circumstances that do not meet any of the above criteria but on consideration the applicant is deemed to have a local connection. These cases will be considered on a case by case basis and the decision will be made by the Service Manager. Such circumstances might include, but are not limited to:

    • Applicants fleeing violence (including domestic violence) and to whom the local authority owe a duty because they are homeless
    • Applicants who are not currently resident in Salford but who need to move in order to give or receive care and support
    • Members or former members of the Armed Forces who do not meet the criteria below but who might be in housing need

     
    Armed Forces - the following applicants will be exempt from the local connection criteria: –

    • Currently serving or former members of the armed forces who left the service within five years of their housing application.
    • Serving or former serving members of the armed forces who suffer from a serious injury or disability which is attributable to that service; and,
    • A spouse or civil partner who is or was living in accommodation provided by the Ministry of Defence and whose former spouse or civil partner was a serviceman/woman whose death was attributable to their service.
    • Divorced or separated spouses or civil partners of Service personnel who need to move out of accommodation provided by the Ministry of Defence.
     
  4. Who does not qualify to register?

    A person does not qualify under this scheme if they or a member of their household has been guilty of unacceptable behaviour serious enough to make them unsuitable to be a tenant of the council, for example:

    • Owing significant (current or former) rent arrears to any council, Registered Provider or private landlord. Applicants with arrears will be able to register on Salford Home Search if they are able to demonstrate that they have engaged with an appropriate repayment plan: i.e. At least 13 weeks repayment of arrears of up to £500, 19 weeks repayment of arrears up to £750 or repayment of arrears for 6 months for arrears over £750.
    • Owing rechargeable repairs to a landlord.
    • Owing significant mortgage repayments.
    • Serious neighbour nuisance/annoyance including anti-social behaviour
    • Unspent criminal convictions where the applicant is considered a threat to neighbours and/or the community, including perpetrators of domestic abuse or hate crime.
    • Being convicted of using/allowing accommodation to be used for illegal and/or immoral purposes such as drug dealing.
    • Serious neglect, damage or abandonment of a previous property.
    • Allowing deterioration (due to ill treatment) of furniture/fittings provided by a landlord.
    • Abusive or threatening behaviour towards members of staff at the council or any accommodation provider.
    • Having committed an act of fraud, withheld, falsified or misrepresented information pertaining to access to public funds and/or services including obtaining a tenancy by deception.
    • Having lost previous accommodation provided in connection with employment due to misconduct.
    • Having been evicted for any other breach of tenancy conditions, regardless of tenure including sub-letting without permission, failure to report repairs, failing to allow contractors to enter the property to carry out maintenance and running a business from the property.
     
  5. How are applications categorised?

    Housing applications will be placed into one of three categories on the housing register as follows:

    General Housing Needs Category

    This category will be for the ‘majority’ of applicants who according to the Housing Act 1996 fall within a ‘Reasonable Preference’ group (as defined by law) including:

    • People who are threatened with or are homeless and who:
      • Have an accepted s.195 (Prevention) duty
      • Have an accepted s.189 (Relief) duty
      • Are homeless but have been assessed as being either not in ‘priority need’ for housing or intentionally homeless
      • Are residents of temporary accommodation provided by the Local Authority under the homelessness legislation – pending assessment
    • People who are owed a duty by any local authority under section 65(2) or 68(2) of the Housing Act (1985) or who are occupying insanitary or overcrowded housing
    • People who need to move on health, medical or welfare grounds
    • People who need to move to a particular locality in the district of the local authority, where failure to meet that need would cause hardship (to themselves or others).

    In addition, the following will also be placed in the General Housing Needs Category:

    • Social housing tenants under-occupying their current home
    • Those needing to move to smaller accommodation on grounds of affordability
    • Members and former members of the Armed Forces who are exempt from the local connection criteria including:
      • Former members of the Armed Forces
      • Serving members of the Armed Forces who need to move because of a serious injury, medical condition or disability sustained as a result of their service
      • Bereaved spouses and civil partners of members of the Armed Forces leaving Services Family Accommodation following the death of their spouse or partner
      • Serving or former members of the Reserve Forces who need to move because of a serious injury, medical condition or disability sustained as a result of their service
    • Foster carers approved by the local authority
    • Households where a child/children are assessed as being a child/children in need or on a Child Protection Plan and alternative accommodation is required in order to safeguard the child/children
    • Applicants who volunteer for a minimum of 16 hours per month for a registered charity, a recognised community group or a not for profit organisation
    • Care leavers

     
    Main Duty Statutory Homeless Category - (section 193, Part VII, Housing Act 1996)

    This category will be for all applicants who have been awarded a main housing duty under Section 193, Part 7, Housing Act 1996 (as amended), by the Housing Options Service.

    Accessible Accommodation Category

    This category is for those applicants (or household members) who, due to a physical disability, require an accessible property.

    An accessible property is a property: on the ground floor, that has level access or is wheelchair accessible.

    All accessible properties will be advertised in this category enabling the Authority to ensure that this very scarce resource is reserved for those families with physical disabilities who require it.

    Applicants must complete the medical questionnaire on Salford Home Search. The applicant (or household member) will need to have an assessed need for either level access, ground floor or wheelchair accessible accommodation.

  6. How are applications prioritised?

    Applicants in the General Housing Needs and Accessible Accommodation categories can receive points for the following reasons:

    • Insecurity of tenure (1 point)
    • Where a move is needed due to none physical health needs (1 point)
    • Where a move is needed to receive or give care and support (1 point)
    • Overcrowding (1 point)
    • Under occupying (1 point per room under-occupied)
    • A child leaving care where Salford are the corporate parent (2 points)
    • The applicant is threatened with homelessness and owed a Homelessness Prevention Duty under the Homelessness Reduction Act (2 points - time limited for up to 112 days)
    • The applicant is currently homeless and is owed a Relief Duty under the Homelessness Reduction Act (1 point – time limited for 56 days)
    • The applicant is ready to move on from supported accommodation to their own settled accommodation (2 points)
    • The applicant is an approved Foster Carer and needs to move to facilitate the foster caring role (2 points)
    • The applicant is a previous member of the armed forces (½ point per full year of service)
    • Management points awarded in exceptional circumstances (1 point - time limited for 6 months). In exceptional circumstances additional preference may be awarded to applications in order to meet housing need within a reasonable timescale for example: those who need to move urgently because of a life threatening illness or sudden life changing disability, families in very severe overcrowding where that overcrowding poses a serious and evidenced health hazard, those who are homeless and require urgent rehousing as a result of immediate and high risk violence or threats of violence, including intimidated witnesses, and those escaping very serious anti-social behaviour.

     
    It should be noted that homeless prevention and relief points will only be awarded to those applicants who have been assessed by the Housing Options Service and have been formally accepted as being owed a homelessness Prevention Duty (section 195) or Relief duty (section 189) under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017. These cases will be dealt with under the General Housing Needs category and the points will be awarded for a time limited period only while the duty applies. Once the Homelessness Relief Duty has been discharged the homelessness prevention and relief points will be removed.

    At the end of the bidding process each applicant that has expressed an interest in that bid will be prioritised based upon their eligibility for that home, the number of priority points awarded to the application and then by the date of their application.

    All main duty statutory homeless cases in the Main Duty Statutory Homeless Category (section 193, Part VII, Housing Act 1996) will be prioritised for housing based on the (Section 193) main statutory homelessness duty decision date.

  7. How can I express an interest in a property?

    You can express your interest in a property either online, texting, visiting our Salford Home Search office or by telephone.

  8. What kind of properties can I express an interest for?

    You can express an interest in/bid for any property. However, you may place only 3 bids per week.

    Therefore, you should prioritise your bids for properties that are advertised in your band and whose specifications meet your household’s requirements in terms of type and size of property.

  9. When should I place my expression of interest?

    You can express your interest between 10am Wednesday to midnight the following Sunday.
    You can do this a maximum of three times per week, but only once per property.

  10. How can I find out about the expressions of interest I have made?

    Successful bidders will be contacted by the property landlord and given the chance to view the property. You will be able to see your final position in your ‘expression of interest history’ on Salford Home Search.

    The landlord will contact the winning bidder by telephone and email – it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that their application contains their most up to date telephone number and email address and that they have a device upon which they can send and receive emails.

    In addition, offer letters are also generated on Salford Home Search and can be accessed via the correspondence page. Bidders should check their correspondence page on a regular basis (daily if a bid has been placed) for information about offers.

  11. How many offers will I receive?

    All applicants who qualify for the housing register can receive 2 offers of suitable accommodation.

    If the applicant refuses 2 offers of suitable accommodation which meets their (and their households) housing needs, then the application will be cancelled, and the applicant may reapply 12 months later.

    If the applicant feels that the accommodation offered is not suitable then you should request a review of the suitability of the offered accommodation, along with any supporting information and this will be considered. You may request a review through the Housing Options Service.

    IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR HOMELESS APPLICANTS

    All homeless applicants who are owed a housing duty under Part VII (homelessness) of the Housing Act 1996 (including Main Duty - s.193, Prevention Duty – s.195 and Relief Duty: s.189 cases), in line with that act, will be made only one offer of suitable accommodation which will then bring the housing duty (under the homelessness legislation) owed to them, to an end. At that time, any interim/temporary accommodation provided by the Local Authority as part of its housing duty will be also brought to an end.

    Your housing register application will then be updated with your change of circumstances and if you still qualify for the register your application will be moved to the General Housing Needs Category and you can receive a second offer of accommodation.

    Those applicants who are owed a housing duty under the homelessness legislation (described above) must follow the Housing Act 1996, Section 202 process for requesting a review of the suitability of accommodation offered. This should be undertaken by requesting a review within 21 days of the offer of accommodation or the discharge of duty date, by contacting your housing advisor. Please refer to the Offer Information Fact Sheet for more details.

  12. Will my personal information be passed to other landlords?

    Salford Home Search is Salford’ partnership approach to the advertisement and allocation of housing as Salford City Council does not manage any of its own accommodation.

    As such the partner organisations (who have all signed an information sharing agreement) automatically have access to the applications of bidders.

  13. Will I keep my existing tenancy rights?

    Your new landlord will advise you of your new rights before you are asked to accept a property. You should check with the new landlord about any particular tenancy rights that you may be concerned about.

  14. Are private rented homes included in the scheme?

    Yes. If you are interested in a private rented home, help maybe available to pay a deposit if you qualify through the Rental Bond Scheme.

  15. What happens if I have a change in circumstances?

    It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that their Salford Home Search application is kept up to date and the applicant is expected to update any changes in address, telephone number and email address directly.

    You must also contact the Housing Options Service by: logging on to www.salfordhomesearch.co.uk, visiting the Salford Home Search office or by telephone and notify us of any change in circumstances as soon as possible, this may alter your category or application points and failure to do so may result in your membership being cancelled or any offers of properties being withdrawn.

  16. What if I require additional assistance with my membership/application?

    If you are over 55 or have special needs such as a learning disability then specialist help maybe available.

    If you are over 55 then more detailed advice can be obtained from our Housing Choice service.

    If you have special needs such as a Learning Disability for example and require support to access Salford Home Search then you should contact the Housing Options Service for assistance.

  17. What are SMS services?

    Text notifications are used by us to let you know if a property you have expressed an interest in is removed from a property cycle before it ends, and you are in the top 10 ranking.

    SMS services also allow you to place expressions of interest and withdraw them using your mobile by sending us an SMS message.

    We will hold your number in confidence, and never sell your number to a third party and we will never use your number for marketing or advertising purposes.

    It is your responsibility to ensure that Salford Home Search has your most up to date telephone number.

  18. What is mutual exchange?

    The mutual exchange register is an innovative way of finding a new home where you can swap homes with another social tenant. Please see the Mutual exchange information leaflet (PDF document) provided in the leaflet library for more information.

  19. If I am expecting a baby, how will this affect my application?

    When you have proof of your pregnancy provide this to any of the partner offices to add the unborn baby to your application. Once this has been provided and added to your application, 12 weeks before the baby is due is when this will take effect on your application.

  20. What do I do if I disagree with any decision made about my housing register application?

    Applicants have the right to request a review of certain decisions or in the following circumstances:

    • If the application has been refused or cancelled because the applicant is not eligible or does not qualify
    • If an application has been cancelled due to making false or deliberately misleading statements in connection with the application
    • If an application has been cancelled because they failed to respond to a request for further information
    • Decisions about which category the application should be placed, the size of the property which should be allocated or whether an allocation should be made.
    • The suitability of accommodation offered which constitutes one of the 2 offers of accommodation that can be made.

     
    The applicant should contact the Housing Options Service: 7 Wesley Street, Swinton, M27 6AD or on 0161 793 3282 explaining why they are requesting a review and providing as much evidence and information to support their review request as possible.

    Statutory Homeless Applicants

    In cases where the council has discharged a statutory housing duty (under the homelessness legislation) after a homeless applicant has refused a reasonable offer of accommodation, any requests for a review relating to that offer will be dealt with under the statutory homelessness review procedures (section 202), Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996.

    Requests for reviews must be made within 21 days of being offered the accommodation or the date that their housing duty has been brought to an end. Details of where to send the request will be included in the written decision and offer letter received by the applicant.

    Requests for reviews can be submitted by a representative of the applicant on their behalf with their signed consent.

  21. How do I contact Salford Home Search?

    Visit our contact page for more information.

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