What is Home-link?
Home-Link is the choice-based lettings scheme for all council and housing association homes (Social housing) in Cambridgeshire and West Suffolk.
Other types of property such as extra care and Equity Share properties may also be advertised here.
If you are already a social housing tenant, you can also register for a mutual exchange (swapping homes with another tenant).
East Cambridgeshire District Council has given responsibility for managing its housing stock on Home-Link to Sanctuary Housing.
Am I eligible to register on Home-link?
You must have what is called a ‘local connection’ to the area you are looking to move to. Home-Link will consider you to have a local connection if you meet at least one of the reasons listed below:
- You work in the local authority area for sixteen hours or more per week; or
- You have lived in the local authority area for at least 6 of the last 12 months, or 3 of the last 5 years; or
- You have family members who are resident in the local authority area. Family members are defined as parents, sons and daughters who have been resident in the local authority for a period of 5 years or longer. Other close family ties will be considered on a case by case basis; or
- You are owed a full housing duty under the relevant homelessness legislation by a Home-Link local authority partner; or
- You are a member of the UK Armed Forces or former Service personnel, where your application is made within five years of discharge; or
- You are a bereaved spouse or civil partner of a member of the UK Armed Forces leaving Services Family Accommodation following the death of your spouse or partner; or
- You are a serving or former member of the UK Reserve Forces who needs to move because of a serious injury, medical condition or disability sustained as a result of your service; or
- You are a relevant person as defined by a Regulation 4 of the Allocation of Housing (Qualification Criteria for Right to Move (England) Regulations 2015; or
- You or a member of your household needs to move away from another area to escape violence or harm; or
- You are a care leaver from one of the Home-Link local authority partners who has been placed (by Children’s Services) outside the Home-Link local authority partner area; or
- There are special circumstances that a Home-Link local authority partner considers which gives you a local connection.
How do I apply?
Complete an online application form
If you have any difficulty filling in the application form, contact Sanctuary Housing.
What do I need to supply?
You need to provide all the documents below to support your application at the point you make the application.
For all the Home-Link partners, along with your application form you will need to provide the following:
- Proof of identity for all household members (e.g. passports, birth certificates)
- Proof of current address (e.g. recent utility bill)
- Evidence of your right to reside in the UK if you are not a British Citizen (e.g. passport & other relevant Home Office documentation)
- Proof of income and other financial details
- Supporting information about any medical issues or support you receive (if this applies to you)
What happens if I do not provide the required documents?
If documents are not received within 28 days of making an application (or them being requested from you by the organisation you applied to), your application will be cancelled and you will need to make a new one. If you have a problem getting the requested information within 28 days (e.g. you are waiting for a new passport or birth certificate to be sent to you), please discuss this with the organisation you have applied to.
How do I know if I have been accepted onto the housing register?
You will receive an email or letter confirming that you have been accepted onto the housing register. This will tell you the band you have been placed in, the date your application has been registered from and the size of property you are eligible for.
Can they refuse to accept me?
There are some people who are not eligible to be included on the Housing Register. These are:
- Certain people who are subject to Immigration Control under the 1996 Asylum and Immigration Act.)
- Certain people who are not subject to immigration control but who are not habitually resident in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland.
- People (including members of their household) who have been guilty of unacceptable behaviour that makes them unsuitable to be a tenant
What is a Band?
You will receive a letter after your application has been made live confirming your banding (A, B, C or D) and band reason. Your assessed banding will depend on your household circumstances and housing need.
BAND A - (Urgent Need)
- You are a council or housing association tenant who needs to move urgently, for example because your property is about to be demolished or redeveloped.
- You are leaving Social Services care or are a current resident of supported housing and you have been assessed as being ready to move into independent accommodation.
- You are occupying a property which has been assessed as posing an urgent health and safety risk to you and your family.
- You have an urgent medical condition, and your current housing is having a major adverse effect on the medical condition.
- You have been assessed as needing two more bedrooms than you currently have.
- You are a council or housing association tenant with two or more bedrooms than you need and are willing to move to a smaller property. Or, you live in an adapted property and the adaptations are no longer required. For example, if the person requiring the adaptations has moved out or passed away.
- You are homeless and one of the partner councils owes you a main homelessness duty.
- You have two or more needs from Band B.
BAND B - (High Need)
- You are occupying a property which has been assessed as posing a high health and safety risk to you and your family.
- You have a high need to move because of a medical condition, and your current housing is having a significant adverse effect on the medical condition.
- You have been assessed as needing one more bedroom than you currently have.
- You are a council or housing association tenant and are living in a property with one bedroom more than you require and you are willing to move to a smaller property.
- You have a high need to move because of harassment or threat of violence or abuse.
- You are threatened with homelessness and are working with the homelessness prevention service to try and prevent your homelessness.
- You are sleeping rough and have no other accommodation available to you. The council will verify this before awarding this priority.
- You have three or more needs from Band C.
BAND C - (Medium Need)
- You have a medium need to move because of a medical condition, and your current housing is having a minimal effect on the medical condition.
- You have a need to move for social reasons, for example to give or receive support to a family member, or for employment reasons, are more than 24 weeks pregnant or you have a child under 10 years and live above the ground floor.
- You are lacking or sharing facilities within your home with people who are not family members. Facilities may include a living room, kitchen or bathroom.
- You are homeless or threatened with homelessness and are either intentionally homeless, not in priority need or are owed a main homeless duty by a local authority that are not a partner organisation in the sub-region.
- Any applicant who does not meet any of the criteria in Bands A, B or C will be assessed as having a low level of housing need and placed in Band D.
- Any applicant assessed as having sufficient financial resources to resolve their own housing need will be placed in Band D. These applicants will only be considered for an offer of a property once all other bidding applicants who do not have sufficient financial resources to resolve their own housing need have been considered.
If you consider that the band you have been placed in does not reflect your circumstances you can discuss this with the Lettings Team at Sanctuary Housing.
How to bid?
Properties available to rent are advertised every week on www.home-link.org.uk. Properties will be advertised from midnight on a Thursday and you will be able to register your interest in properties up until midnight the following Wednesday. You can bid for up to 3 properties per advertising cycle. It doesn’t matter when you make your bid during that cycle. It is not first come, first served!
You can bid for a property in one of the following ways:
- At www.home-link.org.uk
- Ask a Sanctuary Housing member of staff to place a bid for you
- Ask an ECDC Housing Options Officer to bid for you if you are registered as a homeless.
How long do I need to wait before I get a property?
There is no straightforward answer to this question. It depends on:
- The number of bids for the same property,
- Your banding
- The length of time you have been registered on Home-Link
How do I know my bidding was successful?
Once the bidding cycle has closed,
- The bids received are put in priority order to produce a shortlist of eligible applicants for each property.
- The Housing Association who manages the property will contact you to establish your interest in the property and arrange an appointment for you to view it.
You do not get penalised for refusing a property you have successfully bid for (unless the Council has accepted a statutory homeless duty to you), however, Sanctuary Housing may review your circumstances if you refuse several properties, especially if you are in a high housing needs band and you need to move urgently
Whilst a property is under offer to you, you will not be able to place a bid on another property (only one property may be on offer to an applicant at one time).
Contact the landlord if you receive an offer but do not intend to attend a viewing appointment.
Are carpets and appliances provided?
Social Housing is not private renting and so usually you will have to provide your own carpets and appliances. As often the houses are rented to you as an empty shell.
- Only bid for properties that closely match your needs
- Properties available to rent are advertised from midnight on a Thursday to midnight the following Wednesday every week (6 days).
- You will be able to bid for a maximum of 3 properties during the time they are advertised.
- Make sure Sanctuary Housing have your latest phone number and address and email address
- It is important to keep Sanctuary Housing informed of any changes to your circumstances (for example: changes to your household size, housing situation or medical condition) as these may affect your band or your eligibility for certain properties.
- Be aware that you have to renew your registration every year. You will receive a reminder letter from Sanctuary Housing. If you don’t return it, your application will be cancelled.
- Home-Link is not the only way to find a home you can try other housing options as well: Home Swapper, Private Rented Sector, Share home, Home Exchange etc.
Who to contact for further advice
The housing register in East Cambridgeshire is managed by Sanctuary Housing.
Telephone: 0800 131 3348 (free from a landline)
Telephone: 0300 123 3511 (free from a mobile)
Sanctuary Housing also have a Front of House service at the East Cambs offices if you wish to visit them.
The Grange, Nutholt Lane, Ely, CB7 4EE
0808 800 4444
Free housing advice helpline
01353 66 55 55
The CAS is a free support and advice service providing unbiased confidential advice to members of the public in the East Cambridgeshire District. Covering advice and support for problems with housing, employment issues, money and debt advice and much more.
We want to listen we want to help
Telephone: 01353 665555