​Choice Based Lettings extended throughout Caithness

Anyone who wants to rent a council or housing association house in Thurso now has greater choice. This is because homes are now being allocated through ‘Choice Based Lettings’.

‘Choice Based Lettings’ is already in use across most of Caithness and due to its success the Highland Housing Register (HHR) partners are extending it to homes in Thurso.

This way of letting council and housing association houses gives people a greater say over where they live and the houses they are offered.

‘Choice Based Lettings’ means that:

  • Available houses and flats are advertised each week.
  • People have to ‘bid’ for the ones that they want to live in.
  • When the advertising period ends, the HHR landlord offers the property to the bidder with the greatest housing need and who requires that size of property.

Housing need is determined by the Highland Housing Register Allocation Policy.

To be able to register an interest (or ‘bid’) for advertised homes, people need to have an active Highland Housing Register (HHR) Application.

Everyone can see available properties on the websites of the HHR landlords. Applicants can also bid online or do this in each of the HHR landlord’s offices. Information on the available properties is also available in the Wick and Thurso Council Service Points and Citizen Advice Bureaux. 

People without computers or tablets can get free internet access at any library.

HHR landlord websites:

  • Albyn Housing Society - www.albynhousing.org.uk
  • Cairn Housing Association - www.cairnha.com
  • The Highland Council  - www.highland.gov.uk (search ‘choice based lettings’)
  • Pentland Housing Association - www.pentland.co.uk

Further information is available on the HHR landlord websites at:

Applicants are recommended to check regularly (at least weekly) to see what’s being advertised as new properties are always being added. Most available properties are open for bids for only 7 days.

Councillor Saxon said: “Caithness led the way in introducing choice-based lettings. It’s great that we are extending it throughout the county and our social landlord partners are also joining the scheme.

“As well as giving people more choice about where they stay, this process benefits The Highland Council and other HHR landlords (Albyn Housing Society, Cairn Housing Association and Pentland Housing Association) by making sure that offers are only made to people who are interested in that property. This cuts down the time that homes sit empty. As people are choosing where they want to stay, it also helps to develop stronger and more committed communities.

He added, “Because we want to make our processes simpler, we are also encouraging more people to apply for housing online. The new on-line form allows people to apply online anytime, anywhere and on any device. This cuts down the time it takes to complete the form and sends it to be processed straight away.”

Sheltered housing is not included in choice based lettings and will continue to be allocated as before.

Highland Council recognises that some people may want a helping hand with this new process. Housing and Service Point Officers will assist anyone who wants help to make their bids.   Anyone who wants to find out more is invited to contact their local housing team or ask their local Service Point.

For further information visit: www.highland.gov.uk/choicebasedlettings

31 May 2016