Housing Moves FAQs
What is Housing Moves?
Housing Moves is a scheme that allows tenants of London boroughs or housing associations to move outside their existing borough to a different part of London. It is run by the Greater London Authority and the majority of London boroughs and housing associations are participating.
I am not a tenant of a borough or housing association. Can I still apply?
No. you must be a tenant of a London borough or a housing association with either a secure, assured or fixed term tenancy. If you are uncertain whether you are eligible contact your current landlord or the housing department in the borough where you currently live.
I don't have internet access. How can I apply?
You can ask someone who does have internet access to complete the form on your behalf. They will need to tell us that they have done this on the final page of the form and you will need to ensure the information provided is accurate. Alternatively you can contact your landlord or the housing department of your borough who will be able to advise you of other options.
If I apply, how long will I have to wait to be housed?
It is impossible to say as it depends on a number of factors including the availability of properties, how many other people are registered and the level of priority you have. You should note that Housing Moves cannot guarantee you a move. You can improve your chances by being flexible on the type of property you will consider and where you are prepared to live.
How do I find out which properties are available?
Properties are advertised on the website and once you have applied and your application has been approved by your landlord, you will be given log in details to allow you to search for properties on the site and bid for any that interest you. If you do not have access to the internet someone can do this for you.
How do I bid?
You can bid by logging in through the website, by mobile phone app or by SMS text message. You will be given more details when you join the scheme.
How many bids can I make?
You can place up to four bids at any one time. All advertised properties include a Friday and Saturday and you will be able to see how many other applicants have bid for those properties.
What happens if I want to change my bids?
You can change any of your bids at any time until the bidding period for those properties closes but you can only have a maximum of four bids at any one time.
What happens if I am being considered for a property?
Once bidding closes the landlords will be able to see the list of all those people that have bid for each property. They will work through the list starting at the person who is first and work down through the list. If you are being considered they will contact you to discuss your bid and the property in question. If you are interested they will need to check that the details on your application are still accurate and invite you to visit the property. The landlord will advise you if there is any information you need to take with you to the viewing. They may also ask you to complete one of their own application forms or other documentation they may require.
What happens if I refuse a property? Will I be prevented from bidding for other properties?
If you refuse the offer of a viewing or refuse a property having viewed it, this will be noted on the system by the landlord with a reason given. This will not prevent you from bidding for other properties. However, if you refuse three or more offers your landlord can suspend your application. If this is the case they will contact you to discuss your application, your choices and reasons for refusal.
If I have bid for some properties and the bidding has closed, can I still bid on other advertised properties?
Yes, but you can only have a maximum of four live bids at any one time. So for example, if you have two bids on properties where bidding has closed you will only have two remaining bids. However if you have been offered a viewing on a property you cannot bid for any more properties until you have refused it or decided you are not interested for any other reason.
How are bids prioritised?
Your priority will be based on the information you provide on your application form and the housingmoves system will place you in a band automatically. The prioritisation is explained here:
You must be underoccupying your current home and willing to downsize. You will receive additional priority if you give up more than one bedroom.
One or more members of your household must be either
• in employment, for at least 16 hours a week and continuously (although not necessarily in the same job) for the last 6 months
• in training that leads directly to employment (e.g. an apprenticeship).
You must be overcrowded in your current home and need to move to a larger property. You will be placed in this band if the number of bedrooms the system calculates you are entitled to is greater than the number of bedrooms you currently have.
One or more members of your household must be providing unpaid care or support to a family member or friend. This person must not be a member of your existing household.
If you do not meet any of the criteria in other bands, you will be a band 5 applicant.
I think my banding is wrong, what should I do?
Your banding is based on the information you have provided on your application form so firstly you need to check that the information on your application is correct. You can log into your application at any time using your log in details. If you still think it is incorrect then you should contact your current landlord.
Do you give any priority for my medical circumstances?
No, the scheme does not take medical circumstances into account.
What should I do if my circumstances change?
You need to log into your application and complete the change of circumstances section. Your application will then go back to your landlord for them to approve the changes you have made. It is possible that these changes could affect your banding and you may cease to be eligible for the scheme.
I am willing to consider a smaller property if I move. What size properties am I able to bid for?
You are able to bid on properties which are one bedroom larger than your assessed need. So for example, if you are a single person in a three bed house your assessed need would be for a one bedroom property. However under this scheme you could bid for two bedroom properties as this is one bedroom more than your assessed need. However, the scheme will not allow you to become overcrowded.
I want to be able to bid for properties in my own borough but the system will not let me. Why?
The Housing Moves scheme is for moves to a different borough. If you wish to stay in your current borough you should apply through your current landlord's transfer scheme. You can apply to both schemes if necessary.
The application form asks for my ethnic origin, sexuality and religion. Why do you need this information and will it affect my chances of being rehoused?
This information is only asked for statistical purposes and has no bearing on your application or chances of being rehoused. The application form allows you to select a 'prefers not to say' option from the list provided so you can choose not to disclose this information.
I have tried to apply but my borough is not listed so I cannot complete my application? Why is this?
Some boroughs have chosen to participate at a later date. If this applies to your borough you will not be eligible to register on the scheme. Please contact your borough to find out when they will be joining the scheme.
I do not live in London at the moment but wish to move there. Can I apply through this scheme?
No, the scheme is only open to tenants who currently live within a London borough and are tenants of that borough or a housing association. If you wish to move you will need to consider other options such as a mutual exchange.
Who should I contact if I have a question or wish to make a complaint?
You should always contact your current landlord in the first instance.
If I apply to the scheme does this mean staff from every participating landlord will be able to see the information I provide?
No. Only your current landlord and the GLA can see your information. If you are successful in bidding for a property the landlord of that property will be able to see some of your information as they need this information to enable them to contact you and check your eligibility.
If I apply, can I include people who are not currently members of my household?
No. You can only include people who currently live with you on the application. Your landlord needs to approve and verify your application before you can start bidding for property and they will not be able to do this if there are extra people they have no information about. It is also worth noting that if you move you must leave your current home with vacant possession. This means that no-one can remain living there after you have moved out.
What do I do if I cannot complete my application because do not have time or do not have all the information I need?
At most points during the application form there is a 'finish later' button at the bottom of the page. If you select this option the system will allocate you a temporary login so you can return to the application form at another time. This login will allow you access for ten days. If you leave it any longer than this you will need to start another application.
I do not want any information sent to my home address. Can I give a different address for post to be sent to?
Yes, At the end of the form there is the option of including a correspondence address. If you complete this, all mail will be sent to this address instead of to your home.
My rent account is in arrears. Will I be able to apply for the scheme?
In most cases, no. Your rent account should have no arrears or be in credit. However, in very exceptional circumstances your landlord may approve your application if the arrears were outside your control e.g. a late or incorrect benefit payment. The decision whether to approve your application lies with your landlord so If you have any queries on this you should contact them. If you bid for property through the scheme the landlord of that property will request a tenancy reference and rent check from your current landlord. In most cases bidders will not be offered a viewing if there are arrears on your rent account.
When I try to bid for properties it says my bidding is restricted, why?
The most likely reason will be because we ensure that each borough has the same number of moves in and out during the year. Occasionally this means that moves out of the borough will be restricted for a time until the number of moves in catches up. Please note that this does not apply to properties advertised directly by housing associations that are not being counted as part of the borough’s contribution e.g. when a housing association manages the properties on behalf of the borough, so these properties should always be available for you to bid for. Your bidding may also be restricted if you recently completed a change of circumstances form as your details will need to be verified again by your landlord as any changes could affect your eligibility, banding or bedroom entitlement. You may also get this message if you have used all of your four bids.
Will Housing Benefit cover my rent if I have a spare bedroom?
From April 2013, some people living in a council or housing association home who have one or more spare bedrooms may have their housing benefit reduced.
This could affect you if you move to a home with a spare bedroom through the Housing Moves or Seaside & Country Homes schemes.
Will this apply to everyone?
No. You will not be affected if you or your partner are of pension credit qualifying age.
You can find out the date from which you qualify by using this state pension age calculator.
But both the Housing Moves and Seaside & Country Homes schemes allow some people to move to a smaller home but still have one spare bedroom. Would I still be affected if I did this?
ou may still be affected, as the housing benefit rules for people moving through these schemes are the same as those for everyone else.
If you think you may have a shortfall in your housing benefit in the home you move to, you should speak to your current landlord.
If you think you are affected and have moved, or are currently moving, to a new home through either of the schemes, you should speak to your new landlord about your options.
You may also wish to seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau.
How do I know if my home is too big?
You are allowed one bedroom for
• every adult couple
• any other adult (16 or over), including those
• any two children of the same sex aged under 16
• two children under the age of 10 whether they are a boy or a girl
• any other child
• a child unable to share a bedroom because of severe disabilities
• a carer who does not normally live with you but provides you or your partner with overnight care.
You can work out whether a home you are interested in is too big by using this bedroom calculator.
How much of my benefit would be cut?
If you move somewhere with one ‘spare’ bedroom your housing benefit will reduce by at least 14%. If you move somewhere with two or more ‘spare’ bedrooms your housing benefit will reduce by at least 25%.
What is Affordable Rent?
Social landlords are now able to offer tenancies on an Affordable Rent basis. These can be charged at up to 80% of the local market rent although some landlords use a lower percentage to reflect the costs of renting in London. However, the weekly rent is likely to be higher than properties being let on a Social Rent. Therefore, before you place a bid on a property through Housing Moves you should check whether it is being let on an Affordable Rent basis. This will be made clear in the advert details.
What is a fixed term tenancy?
Many properties let on an Affordable Rent basis are also offered with a fixed term tenancy instead of a lifetime tenancy. This fixed term period is often for five years but can be less, so you need to check with the landlord if you are offered a viewing on one of these properties. This should be made clear in the property advert on the Housing Moves website. If you currently have a lifetime tenancy with your current landlord you will need to consider whether you are prepared to move to a property on a fixed term tenancy basis. If not, you should ensure you only bid for properties advertised as Social Rents.
Why are Housing Moves offering properties on Affordable Rents and fixed term tenancies?
We are keen to ensure you have as much choice as possible when considering a move and including these properties increases the number of properties being advertised. We have ensured however, that landlords clearly identify these properties on their adverts so you can make an informed choice whether you place a bid or not. If you are not interested in an Affordable Rent property or a fixed term tenancy then you should ensure the properties you place bids for are being advertised on a Social Rent basis.