Please read the general information webpage fully before you fill in the application form.
You should write clearly, completing all the questions, and cross out questions if they do not apply to you. You should provide as much information as possible as this will help us to assess your points accurately. If there is not enough space on the form, please continue on a separate sheet. If the application form is returned incomplete we may have to contact you again, which will result in a delay in processing your application. No offers of accommodation will be made to you during this period.
Decisions relating to your application will be made by officers of this council, except the award of medical points which is assessed by an independent doctor. If you live out of the Harrogate district you may be asked to provide a letter from your doctor if you need to move on medical grounds.
Your application will be dealt with in the strictest confidence. However, it may be sent to some of the local Registered Providers (Housing Associations and housing partnership organisations) unless you state otherwise at Question 36 of the application form, under "Housing Provider". We would strongly advise you to consider Housing Associations when making an application to the council for housing, as their accommodation is increasing across the district.
How long will it take for my application to be processed?
Your Housing List application will be acknowledged within one week. You will receive a letter confirming your points award within 28 days of it being received at Housing Needs, unless we are awaiting third party information i.e. landlord tenancy checks.
If you have medical circumstances or a disability which are affected by your current housing, you may have to wait up to eight weeks before the council can give you your total points award. You may also have to wait for this period if you have special needs. This is because the council asks other agencies to assess your entitlement to medical or special needs points.
If you have stated on your application that your present home is in disrepair, the Council will have to visit you before we can award disrepair points.
Offers of Housing
When a property becomes vacant, it is allocated to the applicant with the most points and, therefore, the highest priority on the Housing List. All allocations of council properties are made to people on the Housing List, which includes homeless people and existing council tenants who want to be transferred to another property.
Who can I contact?
If you have any queries about your application, you should contact Housing Needs at the address below; or if you have received a letter confirming your application and points award, contact the officer stated.
What can I do if I am unhappy with any decision about my housing application?
Please write to the Housing Needs Manager to ask for a review of the council's decision. This is a legal right under the Homelessness Act 2002. You may wish to have the following items reviewed:
- The points award, including disrepair, medical, special needs, social/welfare needs and special case assessments
- The deferral of an application
- Removal or cancellation of a Housing List application
- A decision that you are ineligible to register on the Housing List
You will receive a response within 56 days of the date your letter is received by the council.
How long will it take to be housed?
It is not possible for the council to specify exactly how long you may have to wait to be made an offer of accommodation. This can vary according to the area of the district and the type of property you wish to live in. The council has many people in need of the small amount of family accommodation that becomes available each year. Whilst demand for flats is much less than for houses, flats are mainly for people aged over 60 and most of them have only one bedroom. The council has very few properties in some rural areas of the district.
I am going to be homeless. What should I do?
If you are homeless or are about to become homeless, you should contact the Housing Options Team based at:
Victoria Park House
18 Victoria Avenue
Tel: 01423 556699
They will be able to give you advice about what you should do and what assistance the council can give you. You will need to take with you any relevant documents, e.g. Notice to Quit or a letter from your landlord/parents.
Who else can I contact to get help finding a home?
The local area housing offices and the Housing Needs office have details of accommodation owned by a number of Housing Associations in the district. They can also give details of types of property available and rents charged. Housing Associations are increasing their housing across the district and your chances of being housed may improve if you indicate on your application form that you are prepared to be considered by Housing Associations.
What is a Housing Association?
Housing Associations are non-profit making, independent organisations providing similar accommodation to the council at affordable rents. The council may send your application to a Housing Association if we feel it is better able to meet your housing needs.
Do I have to re-apply each year on the Housing List?
Each year you will be sent a letter by the council asking if you still want to remain on the Housing List. You must reply to this letter if you wish to stay on the List.
I own my home, can I join the Housing List?
Yes. When you first apply to join the Housing List, you must provide a current market valuation of your property. You will also be requested to provide a recent mortgage statement. If you have less than £60,000 equity in your home, you will qualify for additional points. If an offer of accommodation is made to you, you may be asked to provide an up-to-date valuation.
My circumstances have changed, but I still want to be on the Housing List. Do I need to complete a new application?
Yes, you will have to complete a new application form if you move. Also please inform us of any new contact details e.g. new mobile numbers so that we can get in contact with you. If you have chosen to move to 'worse' accommodation, which would give you more points, the council may decide that you should not be given the extra points. These additional points could be deferred for six months.
How many offers will I be given?
We will try to give you advance notice of an offer of accommodation but this is not always possible. If you receive an offer you should contact your local Housing Office within the timescale stated on the letter. If you do not contact the office within this timescale the council may offer the property to someone else.
If we are able to make you an offer of accommodation, we hope you will find this to be acceptable. As people are continually joining the Housing List, some of whom may have higher priority than yourself, we cannot always promise that we can make further offers in any given timeline. The council does have a rule that after three reasonable offers have been refused, the application will not normally be considered again for a period of one year.
If the council accepts a full homeless duty to you under the Homelessness Act 2002, you will be made one suitable offer of accommodation in order that the council can discharge its homeless duty to you. This may be by means of a nomination to a Housing Association, including both flats, maisonettes and houses. Please note that you will not be able to specify particular lettings areas in the district where you will be rehoused, nor the type of property that you will be offered. If you refuse this offer, you will be responsible for finding your own accommodation.
Are houses checked when they become empty?
Yes, all council properties are checked when they become empty to ensure that gas and electric installations are safe and any outstanding repair work is identified. If repairs are not urgent, they may be carried out after a new tenant has moved in. Internal decorations are the responsibility of the tenant. If decorations are poor, the council may give a small grant towards helping the new tenant purchase decorating materials.
How soon will I have to pay rent after I am given keys for a council property?
Where keys are received on Monday, the tenancy will start that day. If you receive the keys on any other day of the week, your tenancy will start on the following Monday.
What will I need in a council property?
All council accommodation is unfurnished, so if you are given a tenancy you will need to provide all furniture, carpets, furnishings and kitchen appliances. The Essential Needs Furniture store may be able to help you. Please ask Housing Needs or your local Area Housing Office for details.
I want a transfer from my council house. What are the rules?
You must complete a Housing List application form if you want a transfer. You will be given points which reflect how well your current accommodation suits your housing needs. For example, points may be given if you under or over occupy your current home. If the council feels that your present accommodation is suitable for your needs, and you therefore have a low award of points, we may not be able to transfer you.
In most cases, you cannot apply for a transfer unless you have lived at your current home for at least 12 months.
Tenants with arrears will not be transferred unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Your best chance of transferring to another council property is by finding another tenant and doing a swap, or mutual exchange, with them. You can also swap with tenants of some Housing Associations. You may seek a mutual exchange at any time during your tenancy, but you must always get the council's permission before you move. To register for an exchange you can also register with Homeswapper
I have my children only two or three days per week. Will this be counted on my application?
If you have your child or children only part of the week, you will be asked to produce two forms of evidence to show your childcare arrangements. This may be a letter from your solicitor or GP, for example. The council does not have a lot of family accommodation and is usually only able to give priority to people with permanent childcare responsibilities. However, the council will treat each application on its own merits.
I am suffering harassment from my neighbour. Will I get points for this?
Social/welfare points may be given for these reasons. If you are a council tenant you should also contact your local area housing office if you are suffering from harassment. If you are a private occupier, the council's Environmental Protection team on 01423 500600 may be able to help you. You may also seek advice from the Mediation Service. Please contact Housing Needs or your local Neighbourhood Housing Office for details. If you have any evidence of harassment occurring, such as a police incident number, this will be helpful.
I have a new job in the Harrogate district and need temporary accommodation until we can find a new home ourselves. Can the council help?
The council has a very high demand for its properties, especially family housing. Our ability to help people seeking even just temporary accommodation is very limited. For advice, contact Housing Needs.
My accommodation is provided by my employer and comes with the job. If my employment ceases, can the council help?
If you are an worker living in accommodation provided by your employer, and have been asked to leave please contact Housing Needs for further advice.
What is the Warden Service?
The council has six warden supported sheltered housing schemes of purpose built flats, with a warden call system for people 60 years or older, who are still able to lead an independent life but would benefit from the security and the support of a warden.
In addition there is floating warden support that can be delivered to any person 60 years or older, living in any council accommodation, it is provided by a Lifeline unit using the properties telephone landline.
Please contact Housing Needs or your local Area Housing Office for more details.
If you need to receive regular care from Social Services or other agencies, it is best to seek their advice on the suitability of council accommodation before making an application.