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Norwich Home Options Allocation Scheme

Introduction objectives and how the scheme works

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Published July 2021

1.1  Introduction

1.1.1  This allocation policy explains the rules that determine how Norwich City Council (known throughout this document as ‘the council’) allocates social housing properties. It sets out the priorities and procedures that the council will follow in the letting of social housing to applicants on its housing register.

1.1.2  The Registered Providers (Housing Associations) that are part of the scheme are known throughout this document as ‘scheme landlords’. These are listed in Appendix A.

1.2  Background

1.2.1  The allocation scheme is also known as Home Options. Under the scheme, the council and scheme landlords advertise their properties for rent on a weekly basis on its website and invite bids on each property from applicants who are registered with the scheme.

1.2.2  Norwich is an area of very high housing need and it must be remembered that Home Options does not produce any more affordable housing but provides a fairer, more efficient and transparent way of allocating the social housing available

1.3  Scheme objectives

1.3.1  The key objectives of the scheme are to:

  • Meet the legal requirements for the allocation of social housing.
  • Focus resources on those in the most need.
  • Operate a scheme which is, fair, transparent and easy to use.
  • Help meet the housing needs of Norwich residents
  • Allow scheme users, through the transparent nature of the scheme, to have an understanding of their housing situation and, therefore, to make informed decisions.
  • Make best use of Norwich’s social housing stock.
  • Encourage and support balanced and sustainable communities.
  • Prevent homelessness and reduce the use of temporary accommodation
  • Encourage through flow from hostel accommodation in order to reduce rough sleeping.
  • Operate the scheme so that it improves accessibility and customer service for vulnerable groups in Norwich.
  • Make sure those who have the greatest need for housing have the greatest opportunity to get it
  • Pay due regard to the aims of the Greater Norwich Homelessness Strategy (2020-25)
  • Meet the council’s corporate priorities of ensuring a healthy city with good housing and a fair city.

1.4  Legal framework

1.4.1  This allocation scheme complies with the legal framework for allocating social housing, laid down in the 1996 Housing Act and takes account of government guidance on the allocation of accommodation.

1.4.2  This allocations scheme pays due regard to the Public Sector Equality Duty and the Equalities Act 2010

1.5  How does the scheme work?

1.5.1  Home Options is a choice-based lettings scheme. The council and scheme landlords advertise their vacant properties to those on the housing register. The adverts include a detailed description of the property. Applicants on the register can then bid for the property of their choice if they meet the qualifying criteria.

1.5.2  The successful applicant will be selected from those who have bid for the property and meet the stated qualifying criteria. Selection will be based on the highest band, followed by the banding date where there is more than one applicant from the same band.

1.5.3  Feedback will be provided on what demand there was for previously advertised properties. This will help applicants to make informed choices.

1.5.4  This policy and a summary scheme guide are available free of charge at the website A paper copy of the full policy is available upon request from City Hall at a cost of £25.00.

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