Frequently asked questions
The following information provides details to questions frequently asked about our Choice Based Lettings (CBL) scheme, Hometrak Woking:
1. The Housing Register
What is the Housing Register?
The Housing Register was set up to allocate vacant homes to individuals and families in the greatest need of housing. These homes may belong to the Council, a housing association, Thameswey Housing or to a landlord who is participating in the Council's Private Rented Scheme. There are also opportunities for low cost home ownership.
There is a shortage of housing in Woking and the demand far exceeds the supply - unfortunately, it is not possible for us to house everyone who applies. There are over 1600 households on our waiting list, meaning that there are likely to be a lot of people bidding for each available property and those in the most urgent housing need will get the highest priority. There is no money involved in placing a bid.
Who is eligible?
You may apply to join the Housing Register and become a member of Hometrak Woking if you are aged 16 or over. You will be accepted on to the Housing Register if you:
- Have applied to the Council as homeless.
Are an existing Council tenant who wishes to transfer.
Meet the eligibility criteria as defined in the 'Housing Allocation Policy 2013'.
You will not be able to join the Housing Register if:
you are not an `eligible person' under section S.160A of the Housing Act 1996. This could mean you are an asylum seeker or are not allowed to use public funds (help and assistance from the Government) because of your immigration status;
you or any member of your household has been found guilty of serious anti social behaviour and a possession order is being sought or has been obtained;
- you have assaulted a member of Woking Borough Council staff and an injunction is being sought or has been obtained;
- you have knowingly given false or misleading information or withheld information that has been reasonably requested.
We will write to you if you are to be excluded from the Housing Register giving our reasons for excluding you.
For more detailed information about eligibility please refer to the Choice Based Lettings Procedure.
How do I apply to the Housing Register?
To apply to the Housing Register you need to fill in an application form. You can get an application form by:
Downloading the housing application form.
Emailing the Hometrak team at email@example.com
In person at the One Stop Shop in the Civic Offices.
By using the Hometrak telephone service on 01483 755855.
You will need to complete the Housing Registration form if you wish to apply for rented or low cost home ownership properties.
You must keep Housing staff informed of any changes to your household, medical condition or housing situation. This is very important as it could result in cancellation of your application, a change to your band, or your eligibility for a home.
You will need to give us all the information we ask for or we will have to return your application form to you. You must also provide documentary proof of any other information that has been requested (originals not photocopies).
How do I know if I am on the Housing Register?
Once we receive your completed form, your application will be assessed and you will be placed into a priority band according to your housing need.
We will send you a membership pack which will tell you your Housing Application Number, which of the five bands you have been placed in and your priority date. You will also be told what type and size of accommodation you are eligible to bid for.
We will send you a Personal Identification Number (PIN) separately in the post.
How will I know if my application has been accepted?
We will write and let you know whether your application has been accepted or not. If your application is not accepted we will tell you the reason why.
How long will I have to wait for a property?
Waiting times will vary depending on the Band you have been placed in, the number of properties which become available, the area where you wish to live and the priority of other bidders in relation to you. For a summary of current waiting times, please click here.
Do you need to know if my circumstances change?
Yes, you must keep Housing staff informed of any changes to your household, medical condition or housing situation. This is very important as it could result in cancellation of your application, a change to your band, or your eligibility for a home.
Do you offer incentives to downsize ?
The Council positively encourages Transfer applicants who wish to downsize. They will be placed in Band B, given an incentive grant according to how many bedrooms they are giving up and have their removal costs paid by the Council.
Tenants of Registered Providers who apply to the Councils Housing Register to downsize will be placed in Band B but will not receive an incentive grant or removal costs.
2. What is Hometrak Woking?
How do I become eligible to use Hometrak Woking?
You will need to complete a Housing Registration form. You can download a copy of the application form, request a form by telephone on 01483 755855 or by visiting the One Stop Shop at the Civic Offices.
Once you have been accepted on to our Housing Register, you will be sent a Hometrak Membership Pack which will include details of everything you need to know to enable you to bid for properties through Hometrak Woking.
You will need to complete a Housing Registration form if you wish to apply for rented or low cost home ownership properties.
How does the Council decide what properties I am eligible for?
When the Council receives your Housing Registration form an assessment is made based on the information you provide. Your application will be prioritised and placed into a band depending on your housing need. You will only be eligible to bid for the size and type of property that you are assessed as needing.
How do I access Hometrak Woking for the first time?
You can access Hometrak Woking online using the Services Gateway, or by using the automated telephone service. To use either of these services you will need your application number and PIN.
- Once you have received a membership pack, Housing Application Number and PIN, you can register with Hometrak Woking and use the website to express your interest in a property. The PIN will be sent to you separately from the membership pack.
- To access the Hometrak Woking website for the first time you will need to register by selecting 'Services Gateway' on the home page of the Woking Borough Council website.
- Services Gateway is another way of accessing Council services online, such as looking up your Council Tax details and using the Hometrak Woking website to bid for a property online.
- You will need to provide some basic contact details and set up your own user name and password. Having completed this first step you will then need to subscribe to the Hometrak service. The system will prompt you for your application number and PIN at this point.
- Unless your circumstances change you will only need to do this once. As soon as you have entered this information you will be able to express an interest in suitable properties.
- Once you have registered for the Services Gateway, and the Hometrak Woking website, you will no longer need your Housing Application Number and PIN to use the Hometrak Woking website, however these numbers are still required if you wish to bid for properties using the automated telephone services.
2. Telephone service
- Once you have registered and received a membership pack, Housing Application Number and PIN you can register with Hometrak Woking and use the telephone service to express your interest in a property. The PIN will be sent to you separately from the membership pack.
- You will need your PIN every time you bid for properties using the telephone service so please keep it safe.
- The telephone service number is 01483 755855 - option 4. All you have to do is follow some very easy steps and in less than two minutes you can register your property selection over the telephone.
- There will only be one PIN per application. This will be sent to the lead applicant, but it can be used by all applicants in the household.
If you do not have your PIN you will not be able to use Hometrak Woking.
What do I do if I lose my PIN?
If you lose your PIN, or need a new one due to a change in circumstances, you will need to request for a new one be emailing the Hometrak team at firstname.lastname@example.org or by ringing 01483 755855.
Will I need to use my PIN everytime I bid online?
No, you only need to use your PIN to register for Hometrak Woking. Once you have registered you will not need your PIN to bid for a property online. You should keep your PIN if you wish to use the telephone service.
Will I need to use my PIN every time I bid using the telephone service?
Yes, you will need to use your PIN every time you want to bid for a property using the telephone service.
What is banding?
Everyone on the Hometrak Woking Housing Register will be placed in a band which indicates their housing need.
The idea of the scheme is that you should not overtake an existing member in a band. People in greatest need have priority and are placed in a higher band.
But priority within a band is based on date order, according to the date you were placed into that band.
You are only eligible for bands A, B, C, D and E if you are a Woking resident or work more than 35 hours a week within the Borough.
Overview of band eligibility:
Households who require an immediate move because of emergency/threat to life. One direct offer only.
This Band is used to facilitate Council-priority moves. Applicants will be allowed two refusals before having their application reassessed.
- Households who need to move because redevelopment proposals affect the availability of their accommodation
- Households seeking to down size (if in receipt of a Discretionary Housing Payment applicants will be expected to bid on the first suitable property in any area)
- An applicant who is a statutory successor tenant who is required to move to a more suitable property
- Households who are giving up specific property types in short supply as determined from time to time by the Council
This Band is time limited to three months to allow applicants a degree of choice while recognising the urgency of a move to more suitable housing. If an applicant has not exercised their choice within three months priority will be removed and the application will be re-assessed (this will be extended if there are insufficient properties). One offer only.
- Households suffering with a life threatening medical condition aggravated by their housing circumstances
- Households who need to move for social reasons including threats of violence e.g. Management Move
- Households who have no statutory right to succeed to a Council tenancy but where rehousing to more suitable accommodation has been agreed in exceptional circumstances
- Care Leavers who are able to live independently
- Armed Forces relevant personnel with Additional Preference and local connection to the Borough
Applicants in this Band will be allowed two refusals before having their application reassessed.
- Households who are statutorily accepted as homeless and the Council has a duty to house
- Households who are living in overcrowded (e.g. lacking one bedroom or more), insanitary or unsatisfactory housing conditions
- Households with non-life threatening medical conditions which are aggravated by their housing circumstances and affect quality of life by making treatment less effective
- Households placed by the Council in private rented accommodation or where homelessness has been prevented by the Housing Options Team
- Applicants who are rough sleeping (who have a local connection to the Borough)
- Households who have lost tied accommodation and are owed a rehousing duty under homelessness legislation
- One person households who are non priority homeless cases
- Households with a local connection to the Borough moving into Supported Housing who are likely to be considered ready for independent living following assessment by the SLAP
- Households assessed by the SLAP as needing Supported Housing or independent accommodation with a package of care
- Armed Forces relevant personnel with Reasonable Preference and local connection to the Borough
- Armed Forces relevant personnel with Additional Preference but no local connection to the Borough
Applicants in this Band will be allowed two refusals before having their application reassessed.
- Households without dependent children who have sufficient bedrooms for their own use but are sharing facilities with others
- Households with a low priority medical condition affected by their housing circumstances
- Households who have some other compelling need to live in a specific locality in the Borough which if not met will cause hardship
- Households giving or receiving care which can only be delivered if they live in a specific locality in the Borough
- Households applying for WBC Sheltered Housing with no previous local connection to the Borough
- Applicants with financial resources to be considered for Low Cost Home Ownership/Intermediate/Affordable Rented properties/Thameswey Housing Limited
- Armed Forces relevant personnel with Reasonable Preference but no local connection to the Borough.
Restrictions (All bands)
You will not be made an offer of accommodation if you (or your household):
Have been evicted from your previous accommodation due to anti-social behaviour;
Have been subject to an Anti Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) within the last two years;
Have made a fraudulent claim for housing within the last two years;
Have deliberately worsened your housing conditions within the last two years;
Are under a Notice Of Seeking Possession (NOSP) from the Council or any other registered social landlord for breach of tenancy conditions or where there is an injunction, or
If you have the financial means to solve your own housing problem.
In addition, if you have sufficient income to be considered for shared ownership or other low cost home ownership schemes you will not be able to bid for rented Council or housing association accommodation.
What band will I be placed in?
You will be placed in a band that reflects your housing need based on the information you provided on your housing application form.
I am eligible for Intermediate Market. What does this mean?
Rents for intermediate housing are less than open market levels but higher than social rent. A typical intermediate rent is 80% of the equivalent open market rent. Applicants wishing to be considered for Intermediate Market vacancies must be satisfied they can afford an intermediate rent. For example, a household with a gross (before tax) income of £25,000 per annum would be paying 35% of this income (£8,750) in rent. This may include income from employment and benefits. In short listing bidders, consideration will be given to the household's ability to afford Intermediate Market rents. Applicants will therefore need to have their income details verified including a credit check and a home visit to discuss affordability.
Thameswey Housing Limited (THL) is an independent private company owned by Woking Borough Council. It operates a programme of buying and building homes to meet local needs. The properties provided by THL are not replacing social rented
Council or Housing Association properties on Hometrak but are in addition to them.
THL provides 'intermediate' housing for those unable to afford the cost of open market housing but who are also unlikely to access social rented accommodation because they
do not have a high rehousing priority under the Council's Housing Allocations Scheme.
As a private company THL accommodation falls outside the scope of the Housing Act 1996 and the Council's Housing Allocations Scheme. This means it is free to select applicants for properties in accordance with its Business Plan priorities and not those defined by the Council or national housing legislation.
THL properties will be let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST).
THL tenants do not have a Right to Buy
The rental level will be reviewed in individual cases for applicants leaving the Armed Forces in line with the Council and THLs Military Covenant.
3. Bidding Process
What is a bid?
A bid is when you express an interest in a property. You can only bid for advertised properties and you only have a maximum of 3 bids per bidding cycle. There is no money involved in placing a bid.
When can I make a bid?
Properties will be advertised every fortnight. This means the list of properties will be updated every two weeks. The deadline for bids will be advertised on the website and on the printed property list.
You can express your interest in a property any time during the following times:
Tuesday 7am - 10pm
Wednesday 7am - 10pm
Thursday 7.30am - 10pm
How can I make a bid?
You can express your interest in a property in the following ways:
- On line through the Hometrak Woking website.
- Through our Hometrak telephone service on 01483 755855.
- By calling into the Civic Offices.
How many properties can I bid for?
You will be able to bid for a maximum of three properties each time properties are advertised. However, you will only be able to bid for properties that are suitable for your household size.
Can I bid for any property?
No, the system will check whether you meet the eligibility requirements for the property you are bidding for, for example whether your bedroom need is appropriate for the property. If you do not meet the requirements you will not be able to bid for that property.
If you think that you do meet the eligibility requirements but are not able to bid this may be because the information held on your application is incorrect or not up to date. It is, therefore, essential that you inform us immediately of any changes that may affect your application.
Can I withdraw a bid?
You can withdraw a bid at any time during the bidding cycle. You can do this online and through the Hometrak telephone service on 01483 755855.
How do I get feedback on my bid?
Due to the volume of bids received it will not be possible to give feedback individually. If your bid has been successful you will be contacted by a member of the Hometrak Woking team
When will I know if my bid is successful?
If your bid has been successful you will be contacted by a member of the Hometrak Woking team. If you have not been contacted within 14 days of the closing date for bids, it is unlikely that your bid has been successful. Therefore, you should continue to bid. Please do not call the Hometrak team for individual results as we do not have the staff available to answer such enquiries.
What happens if a customer bids for more than three properties?
Once your maximum number of bids has been reached the system will not allow you to place any further bids in that bidding cycle. You can withdraw a bid at any time during the bidding cycle (see above for more details).
4. Where can I feedback my comments?
If you have any comments about Hometrak Woking, or questions that have not been answered above, please contact us:
Woking Borough Council
Tel: 01483 743833