Green Light to Housing: New tenant affordability checks
From 1 August 2017, the Green Light to Housing programme has been set up in Swindon and other areas across the country to ensure that those moving into Affordable Housing are able to afford and maintain their tenancies without falling into rent arrears. Applicants coming first for properties on Swindon Homebid will need to complete an affordability check to make sure they can afford the property they are applying for. If an applicant fails the affordability check they will be supported by the Tenant Academy, where possible, in finding a solution, so that they are able to afford council (affordable) housing in the future.
How does the Affordability check work? The affordability check calculates all costs of running a tenancy; including Rent, Council Tax, and other expenses that you will have to pay for such as food and clothing.
The affordability calculator is used to determine each families financial circumstances based on their current income and out-goings, the family size, and the size of property they are looking to move to.
The basic cost of living has been based on the based on the Helena Partnerships report, ‘The Cost of Running a Home’, taken from www.under-one-roof.org.uk (July 2017). All figures given are estimates and by way of illustration only. The figures will vary depending on your personal circumstances
Who will need these Affordability checks done? Those who have been offered or are close to being successful for a property through Swindon Homebid, will need to go through the affordability checks, along with other verification checks, before they are able to be offered the property.
Applicants aged 60 and over or eligible for Sheltered Housing will not be affected.
Why have I been referred to this? If you have shown in the affordability check that, in your current circumstances you are unlikely to be able to afford a tenancy with Swindon Borough Council, or Housing Associations advertised through our Swindon Homebid website; you will be written to and invited into the council to discuss this with a Tenant Academy Officer to see what your next steps could be to help you be successful in the future.
What happens now I have been referred to Green Light to Housing? You will be invited into the office to review your current financial situation and discuss further actions to help you pass the affordability check in the future. This could mean you receive support with training and getting into work, reducing your outgoings, debt management advice or ensuring you are receiving the correct benefits that you are entitled to.
What happens to my housing application? If you work with the Green Light to Housing programme, you will not lose your time on the waiting list and therefore when you are able to afford a tenancy with the Council, you will be allowed to bid again. Please Note, your application will need to be reviewed again at offer stage if you have had any changes in your household circumstances.
What happens if I DO NOT want to be a part of the Green Light to Housing Scheme? You will be contacted up to three times over the course of three months and if you do not work with us, your housing application will be closed and you will need to re-apply in the future. Keep in mind that all applicants will need to pass the affordability check before they are able to secure a property with the Council.
What is the difference between Social rent and Affordable rent? Some council properties are advertised as social rent which is the lowest level of rent available and some properties are advertised as affordable. The rent on these are higher than social rent but lower than market rents, for instance the landlord (Swindon Borough Council) can charge up to 80% of what it would cost if you were renting the property privately. The rent information is put on the property advertisement to avoid any confusion.
Can I do an Affordability check before I bid for a property? Yes, if you would like to find out whether you would pass the affordability check, or you have any other queries, please contact either Nicky on 01793 463320, or Jenna on 01793 464446.