Bidding for a property
Once you are accepted on the Housing Register you will have to bid for a property. We advertise properties weekly from Friday at 9.00am to Tuesday 12.00pm on our St Albans Home Choice website. At the end of each period we will look at the shortlist for each property and decide who to allocate the property to. We will contact you when you are successful. Read below for details of how to bid, how we allocate properties, and what happens when you are offered a property.
Bidding and shortlisting
How do I bid for a property? Toggle accordion
Bid for properties on our St Albans Home Choice account where you can see adverts for available properties. They will give details of the size and type of property.
Each advert will say who is eligible to place bids on the property. Some properties are prioritised for transfer applicants, applicants in Bands C and D (see our Housing Allocations Policy at the bottom of this section for details of banding) or advertised for a particular group of applicants, for example, accommodation for the elderly, supported accommodation or where a local lettings policy applies. Only bid for properties you are eligible for.
To bid for a property:
1. Log into your customer account by clicking the button below.
2. Click on 'login' using the same login details you used to create your housing register application.
3. Click 'Search for a Home'.
4. On the upper section of the page you will see various search filters for properties. Use them to narrow your search results.
5. The system will automatically show your results as a grid. To show them as a list or on a map of the district click on the 'View as' buttons on the screen.
6. On the lower part of the page you will see the properties available for you to bid on. Click on 'view details' for more information on each property.
7. On the upper part of the property page you will see images, key facts and charges. The key facts also show the closing time for bidding and the number of bids that have already been placed.
8. On the lower part of the property page you will see key features of the property, a description and details of local amenities close by. To see the property's location on a map click on map view. The map will also show local amenities.
Placing a bid
9. To place a bid click on the 'Place a bid ' button underneath the images of the property. You can also print the advert by pressing the 'print' button.
10. Fill in the 'confirm bid' form. Please review your contact details to make sure that they are up to date. You may also be asked to answer an additional question before placing your bid. Once you have done this, click 'save'.
Guidance on how to place a bid with pictures
For guidance on how to place a bid with screenshots see the 'Guide to Placing a Bid on St Albans Home Choice' at the bottom of this section. (The document is not accessibly formatted).
Can I get help with bidding? Toggle accordion
You can ask for assisted bidding to be set up if you need help to bid. Email us at email@example.com to request this help.
What happens while the bidding is open? Toggle accordion
While the bidding is open you can change your bid and check where you are in the queue for a property at any time. Your queue position is likely to change during the bidding cycle period (Friday 9am –Tuesday 12pm) as more people make a bid or withdraw their bid. If someone makes a bid after you and they are in a higher band or in the same band with an earlier priority date, their bid will be placed higher than yours in the queue.
Your queue position may also move up and down from week to week. During one week, you may have the second position in a shortlist but the following week, if applicants with a higher priority band or an older priority date bid on the same properties as you, your position on those shortlists will be lower. The more popular the home advertised, the more bids we receive and the more likely your position will change.
To check your current bids:
11. Login to St Albans Home Choice and click 'housing register'.
12. Click 'view my application'.
13. At the top of the page, select 'my bids'.
14. You will see your current, previous and deleted bids. To calculate your shortlist position click on 'calculate shortlist position'. Please note your shortlist position may change during the bidding cycle.
15. If you change your mind or place a bid in error click on 'remove bid' to cancel your bid.
After bidding closes on available properties we will shortlist the applicants that have expressed an interest in the property and allocate the property.
How does shortlisting work? Toggle accordion
After the bidding has closed we will look at the bids that have been made for each property advertised. Being first on the list when the bidding closes does not automatically mean that you will be offered the property.
We will carry out a number of checks to shortlist applicants:
- Eligibility criteria - size of property, need for any adaptations in the property, any specific requirements for the property advertised (transfer applicants only, identified need for ground floor, local lettings policy etc). For age restricted property, only applicants who met the age requirements will be considered
- Priority Band on the Housing Register
- Priority date in the Priority Band
- For applicants meeting the eligibility criteria, the order on the shortlist is dependent on their priority band and then their priority date. The day and time when the bid was placed does not have any effect on their position on the shortlist.
If more than one qualifying applicant meets the criteria for the property, we will offer the property to the applicant with the highest priority band and earliest priority date.
If two qualifying applicants have the same priority band and priority date, we will offer the property to the most suitable applicant for the vacancy.
The Council reserves the right to bypass bids in some cases, examples include (but are not restricted to):
- Where the applicant is already under offer for a different property.
- Where the applicant poses a risk to individuals or the community.
- Where the applicant has bid for a property for which they are not eligible due to a system or administrative error.
- Ground floor properties would generally be allocated to applicants who have a medical need for a ground property over those who don’t.
- Where the applicant has bid for a property for which they are no longer eligible following a change in their circumstances.
- Where the applicant is in rent arrears.
When will I know when my bid is successful?
We will contact you when your bid is successful and we are able to offer you a property. There is no need to contact us.
What do I do when I am offered a property? Toggle accordion
When we offer you a property you will need to let us know if you wish to accept it. We will give you details of who to contact and by what date to respond to the offer of accommodation.
Please think carefully before refusing an offer. It could be some time before you have another successful bid.
Documents you must provide
When we offer you a property we may ask you to provide further documentation so that we can check your current circumstances. For example you may have to provide bank statements, proof of earnings/benefits, confirmation of any medical issues (if applicable), proof of address and landlord details (if applicable). We will also check ID for all household members. This list is an example - we will tell you what you need to provide.
Make sure you have your documents ready for the verification process. You MUST provide them within 48 hours of receiving our offer. If we do not receive them you may lose the property.
Please note: You will not be able to bid on other properties when we have contacted you to provide documents for verification.
What if I successfully bid for more than one property in the same week?
If you successfully bid for more than one property in the same bidding cycle, we will ask you which property you would prefer as your first choice. Whilst a property is under offer to you, we will not consider you for any other properties.
After you have accepted a property
Read below to find out about moving into your property, your rents and the furnishings you will need.
How soon can I move in after accepting a property? Toggle accordion
Usually you can move into your property very soon after you have accepted the offer. Sometimes there may be a delay if any work needs to be carried out before you move in. We will tell you when the property will be available and when your tenancy begins. You will be responsible for rent payments from the day that the tenancy starts. We or your social housing landlord will tell you the amount. You may be required to pay up to four weeks rent in advance.
Are the properties furnished? Toggle accordion
The properties are unfurnished and you will need to provide your own furniture.
Lettable Standards for Council Homes in the document below.
If you have been offered a Registered Provider home please contact them if you have any queries.
Signing a tenancy agreement Toggle accordion
Before moving in you will need to sign a tenancy agreement. Either the Council or Registered Housing Provider will contact you to arrange this with you.