About Home-Link

West Suffolk is a great place to live. There is, however, a shortage of housing in this area, so it’s not possible to house everyone who would like social housing. Because of this, those with the most urgent housing needs are given priority.

Find much more information about how the council prioritises and allocates housing to those on the housing register:

What is Home-Link?

Home-Link is a choice based letting scheme for all affordable housing owned by councils and other registered providers in West Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

Each week Home-Link advertises properties that are available to let. You will need to have a local connection to be registered for housing with the council. You can make up to three bids per week. Applicants in the highest need for housing will appear at the top of the shortlist.

If you have a low housing need and have no current circumstances that make you need to move accommodation, you may find yourself on the affordable housing list for a long time with no prospect of getting an offer of a property. If you wish to move, you will need to consider looking at other options.

Applicants with a history of rent arrears or antisocial behaviour may not be accepted onto the housing register.

For full details of our lettings policy download: West Suffolk Lettings Policy

Please note: If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness, please telephone Customer Services as soon as possible on 01284 763233 to seek advice on your next steps.

How do I apply to join the housing register?

Go to the Home-Link website and click register in the top right hand corner.  Once you have registered you will be able to start the application process. When you start your application, you need to remember to write down the reference number you are given, as you will need to log back in.

Who can apply for properties through Home-Link?

You must have been accepted onto the housing register to be able to apply for properties through Home-Link. Anyone aged 16 years or over may apply to join the housing register.

Anyone who wishes to join Home-Link for West Suffolk must have a local connection to the West Suffolk Council area.

An applicant will be considered to have a connection with West Suffolk Council area and accepted onto the housing register if they meet one of the following criteria:

  1. the applicant is in full time or part time employment in West Suffolk Council district for sixteen hours or more per week. See section below for further details.
  2. the applicant has lived in the local authority area for at least six of the last 12 months, or three of the last five years
  3. the applicant has family members who have been resident in the local authority area for a period of five years or longer and are currently resident in the local authority area. Family members are defined as parents, adult sons and adult daughters or brothers or sisters. Other family associations will be considered on a case by case basis,
  4. the applicant is owed a main housing duty under the s.193 (2) or 193C (4) of the relevant homelessness legislation by West Suffolk Council,
  5. the applicant is serving in the regular forces or who has served in the regular forces within five years of the date of their application for an allocation of housing under Part 6 of the 1996 Act,
  6. the applicant will cease to be entitled to reside in accommodation provided by the Ministry of Defence following:
    • the death of that person’s spouse or civil partner where the spouse or civil partner has served in the regular forces, and their death was attributable (wholly or partly) to that service, or
    • divorce or separation from a spouse or civil partner where the spouse or civil partner is a member of the regular forces
  7. the applicant is serving or has served in the reserve forces and who is suffering from a serious injury, illness or disability which is attributable (wholly or partly) to that service
  8. the applicant is a ‘relevant person’ as defined by Regulation 4 of the Allocation of Housing (Qualification Criteria for Right to Move) (England) Regulations 2015
  9. the applicant or a member of the applicant’s household needs to move away from another area to escape violence or harm,
  10. the applicant is a care leaver from the county who has been placed (by Children’s Services) outside West Suffolk Council area, or
  11. there are special circumstances that West Suffolk Council considers give rise to a local connection.

Applicants will be considered to have employment in West Suffolk Council district and therefore may meet the local connection criteria if:

  1. they are in paid full or part time permanent employment for 16 hours or more per week and their actual working location is within the district, or
  2. they are working within the district on a temporary or zero-hour employment contract that has been in place for at least six months and can demonstrate they have worked at least 16 hours per week since starting the employment contract, or
  3. self-employed applicants are required to demonstrate that their permanent base of operations is within the district, even if their work requires them from time to time to work outside of the district, or
  4. the employment must be the actual place of work in the district and not employment based on a head office or regional office situated in the district but from which they do not work.

West Suffolk Council reserves the right to waive the 16-hour requirement if necessary to avoid discrimination.

Applicants who are in one of the reasonable preference groups, but with none of the connection to the local area criteria above, may be eligible to join the register. Anyone who believes this applies to them should contact West Suffolk Council directly to discuss their circumstances.

I need some help filling out an application form

If you have a support worker allocated to you, you might want to complete your application together during one of your support meetings. Alternatively perhaps a friend or family member may be able to help you. If you cannot access a computer to complete an application, public access computers are available in most council offices and libraries. If you are not sure how to complete some or all of the form, you can speak to a customer services adviser on 01284 763233 who may be able to offer some guidance, or book an appointment with a housing advisor. Please be aware that appointments are in high demand and therefore this could take some time.

There are also other organisations that may be able to help you to complete application forms

When you have registered you must provide us with documents for everyone on the application, if you do not supply these documents it will delay your application.

Once you have supplied all relevant documentation as proof of your circumstances, your application will normally be processed within 28 days of the complete set of documents being received.

Please note that during busy periods, you there may be a delay to applications being processed. To avoid any unnecessary delays, please ensure that you provide all your documentation at the same time and as soon as possible.

When will my application be processed?

Once you have supplied all relevant documentation as proof of your circumstances, your application will normally be processed within 28 days of the complete set of documents being received.

Please note that during busy periods, you there may be a delay to applications being processed. To avoid any unnecessary delays, please make sure that you provide all your documentation at the same time and as soon as possible.

I want to go to a specific place, when will there be one available?

Home-Link is only able to offer properties which have become available due to someone vacating their property, or from a new development. It is important to be as flexible as possible about where you want to like to increase your chances of being successful for a property quicker.

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 to bid for.

Can you refuse to accept me onto the housing register?

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 if someone in my household has a medical condition?

If someone in your household has a medical condition you will be asked to provide details, which may then be considered by the home-link assessment team. As well as considering whether to add any extra priority to your application, they will look at which properties are suitable for you and your household, such as whether you need a ground floor flat or bungalow if you cannot climb stairs. If you bid for properties that have been assessed as unsuitable for you after the medical assessment your bid will not be considered.

In order for the assessors to fully understand your medical needs, it is advisable to send in as much supporting information as you can such as hospital/GP letters or a report from an occupational therapist. This must demonstrate what it is about your current accommodation that is effecting your health and what diagnosis/medication you have. Also what your needs are for new accommodation.

When seeking supporting evidence from professionals who are advocating for you, please make sure their correspondence answers the following:

  • what are the main health conditions of the applicant?
  • what (if any) medication/physical aids do they use?
  • what are the main factors in their current home which are impacting on their health and what effect are they having?
  • what specific features do they require in alternative accommodation? For example ground floor/wet room.

It is impossible to fully and accurately assess medical priority without this information. Please make sure you send this in full as soon as possible.

My home is overcrowded what can I do?

There are many different classifications of what it means to be overcrowded. Public health and housing are able to carry out assessments and apply Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) standards to assess your home. This will measure the sizes of the rooms and apply it to the living needs of the household members. Home-Link can offer a degree of priority depending on the severity but this is still not a necessarily likely to mean you will be re-housed quickly due to lack of availability of social housing. It may be a much quicker option to consider mutual exchange (see below).

My home is damp and mouldy what can I do?

Damp and mould are caused by many different factors, many of which are easily resolvable with some small lifestyle changes. If you feel unable to manage it in your home, you should first contact your landlord to see what they can do to alleviate the issue. Public Health and Housing are able to visit your property if you feel you have a severe case of damp and mould which either you or your landlord has not been able to resolve and they can make recommendations to you, your landlord and to Home-Link if necessary. Your banding on Home-Link will only increase if the damp and mould is not resolvable, which can be determined by a full housing standards assessment.

More information:

I want to find someone to swap my home with by Home-Link - Mutual exchange

If you have a social tenancy already, mutual exchange is a much faster option. Also some landlords will allow you to mutually exchange into a larger property and allow an extra bedroom than you would otherwise be entitled to bid for on Home-Link. Once you find a suitable property to swap with, an exchange can be completed, if agreed by both landlords, within a few weeks.

Current housing association tenants may find social media house exchange or house swap groups and pages useful. Visit your own housing association website where more mutual exchange information can be found:

Mutual exchange websites include:

There are many people out there who would like to move but don’t know how to seek alternative accommodation. For many, this will remain as an idea and they will never pro-actively seek an exchange or advertise their property. However they are far more likely to respond to an advert that they have seen in their local shop/café/community centre and so on.

Just like Rightmove, people love pictures. A good advert will capture the attention of onlookers much easier with pictures, so have a good housework day and get some good shots for your advert.

Think of all the selling points, such as schools, bus links, shops, employment and activities.

Place your adverts all around the town or village that you want to move to, shops, notice boards, post offices, and so on.

Does West Suffolk have any council houses?

No – at present all housing offered by Home-Link for West Suffolk is owned by registered providers of social housing (housing associations) following stock transfers. St Edmundsbury Borough Council transferred its stock to Havebury Housing Partnership on 24 June 2002 and Forest Heath District transferred its housing stock to Kings Forest Housing Ltd on 11 October 2004 under the Large Scale Voluntary Transfer (LSVT) regime.

Any permission required of the council to make changes to property or other terms were also transferred at these times.

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