Aberdeenshire applicants given greater control under ‘choice-based lettings’ approach

Aberdeenshire applicants given greater control under 'choice-based lettings' approach

Applicants for council housing in Aberdeenshire can now choose the specific properties they hope to secure, following the introduction of a new ‘choice-based lettings’ application process.

The approach forms part of the Housing Online platform launched earlier this year and is available to everybody registered on the system.

Choice-based lettings allows applicants to register an interest on available properties they feel best meets their needs, in the areas they wish to live. Previously, only a preferred area could be chosen, not individual homes.

Each week, a new list of properties will be advertised on the platform along with a range of information, including location, rent, facilities, floorplans and virtual tours where available.

There will be no limit on the number of bids an applicant can make and properties will be allocated to those assessed as being in greatest housing need.

A new list of available properties is uploaded on the platform each Tuesday at 9.30am and is available until the following Monday at 6pm.

An assistance tool called ‘auto-register’ is to be introduced for applicants who do not have regular access to the internet, allowing a note of interest to be registered on their behalf for any suitable properties.

The tool may also be used where someone has a need to move very quickly but has not actively registered an interest or been offered a property within three months.

Communities committee chair Cllr Anne Stirling said: “Choice-based lettings is a welcome addition to the Housing Online platform, allowing applicants to see a wide range of information before deciding whether to register an interest.

“It’s a key part of our local housing strategy and supports our rapid rehousing transition plan, and most importantly is the result of community involvement. Initial feedback has been encouraging and I would encourage those who are not yet registered to sign up.”

Committee vice-chair Cllr Judy Whyte said: “By allowing applicants to choose the specific properties they are interested in, we are confident that we will see a reduction in the number of offers that are refused.

“The successful applicants will be chosen based on housing need, and as there is no limit to the number of bids that can be made, this will give users the best chance of securing a property they wish to live in.”

Housing Online and the choice-based lettings platform can be access via a range of devices with connection to the internet, including computers, laptops and smartphones.

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