How the HomeOption scheme works 

Under the HomeOption scheme, applicants must express an interest (bid) for a property in order to join a shortlist of eligible applicants by using the HomeOption website

There are five steps for you to follow:

You are automatically a member of HomeOption if you are on the participating council’s housing register as a homeseeker (looking for your first affordable home) or an existing tenant of any of the participating councils and have registered for a transfer to another affordable home.

Once your Council has accepted you onto their housing register, HomeOption will write to you to give you a HomeOption Identification Number (HOIN) and will tell you your date of application, priority band, or how many points you have been awarded.

You must keep your Housing Department informed of any changes to your household, medical condition, housing situation or circumstances. This is very important as it could result in changing your priority or eligibility.

Available properties are advertised on this Website. If you are unable access the website to see the available homes, please contact the Council who will advise what alternative arrangements can be put in place. In most cases this will involve an agreement between you and the Council to set up an "auto bidding" function on your application to ensure that your interest is expressed on any suitable homes on your behalf. The properties are usually advertised every Friday. Your expressions of interest (bids) must reach us by 1pm the following Wednesday.

Before you express an interest in a property

Please read the information on the property advert very carefully to ensure you are making the right choice. Expressing an interest inappropriately creates a longer waiting time for others.

Age restriction on the property

Some properties have a minimum age requirement, for example, in some cases only people over 60 years of age can apply. Any restriction will be indicated by the icon in the property advert. Retirement housing with support will usually only be available for applicants over 60 years of age. However, there may be certain circumstances where younger applicants with support needs or mobility needs can be considered. If you are interested in retirement housing with support you will be visited by a Scheme Manager who will undertake an assessment of your needs.

Mobility sign

This is intended to provide a guide to people who have various levels of mobility needs. This does not restrict anyone else from expressing an interest for these properties but the advert will often say that priority will be given to applicants with mobility needs

Choice of area

You can only express an interest in areas where you have a live application on the district or borough register. If you wish to express an interest in a property in another district or borough you must be registered with them. You can join as many registers as you wish providing you meet the qualification criteria, although your priority may vary. Expression of Interest (bidding) You will be able to express an interest (bid) for a maximum of 3 properties in each cycle. To express an interest, log in to your account on the HomeOption website.

If you have questions about how the scheme applies to you or about expressing an interest for properties, there are fully trained housing staff available to help and support you.

HomeOption puts the expressions of interest received, for each property advertised, in priority order to produce a list (known as a shortlist) of eligible applicants for each property.

The property is offered to the applicant who is top of the shortlist by the landlord after making further eligibility checks. Following these checks if your name is still at the top of the shortlist, you will normally be invited to view the property. If you refuse this property, the next person on the shortlist will be invited to view the property.

Some councils will automatically penalise you for refusing properties you have chosen. Your council / landlord will advise you if any action will be taken because you have refused a property.

Many landlords invite more than one applicant to view their properties at the same time, although the property is always offered first to the applicant with the highest priority who attends the viewing. You may not be invited to view or be considered for a property if:

  • You have any rent arrears or other debts to the Council, Housing Association or other landlord for current or former rent arrears, a recharge for damage to a property or an outstanding private rented deposit loan.
  • You have a current Notice of Seeking Possession or Notice to Quit from your Council or Housing Association landlord.
  • Your Council or Housing Association landlord is not satisfied with the conduct of your current tenancy such as management issues, anti-social behaviour or your property has not passed a home inspection.
  • You are ineligible for an allocation via the Council’s allocation policy because you have sufficient financial resources to access housing to meet your needs.
  • You have not supplied information requested by the Council to verify your application. If you are at the top of more than one list, the council will decide which property to offer you and the other properties will be offered elsewhere.

If you are offered a home you will not be shortlisted for other properties until you make a decision whether to accept or refuse the offer.

If you receive an offer to view but you do not wish to or are unable to attend you must contact the landlord.

You do not need to contact your Council or Housing Association to find out if you have been successful. If you have come to the top of a shortlist, they will usually contact you within a week of the closing date. However, a lot of properties are advertised some time before they are ready for occupation. If a person who was top of the list refuses, the next person who was on the list may be invited to view some weeks after the closing date. These shortlists will show as “under offer” on the website.

Once properties have been let they are listed on the “Feedback” page on the website. The feedback tells you how many people expressed an interest for each property, as well as the band/points and registration date of the successful applicant. This helps you to see how long the successful applicants had been waiting.

It is not possible to notify you individually when your expressions of interest have been unsuccessful.

Support for vulnerable customers

Some customers will require help in applying to go on the register or in placing bids on properties. Each partner will offer assistance and support to these customers. If you feel that you may need help completing the online form or bidding on properties, please contact the relevant council.