The Allocation Scheme tells you who can join our Housing Register and how priority for accommodation is decided between different types of applicants. You can view our policy here
Anyone can apply to join the housing register. To be able to join the housing register the council will consider:
Whether someone is eligible to apply for housing?
Do they qualify under the scheme rules?
Do they have any housing need within the reasonable preference categories?
There are special rules for applicants aged 16 or 17
You can’t apply to join the housing register if:
you are subject to immigration control
you or a member of your household has been guilty of unacceptable behavour serious enough to make you unsuitable to be a tenant
you have no local/district connection to Cherwell
you own a property (exceptions apply)
You have household income, capital or assets of £60,000 or more.
If we decide you can’t join our housing register we will write to you and tell you why. Anyone is entitled to receive advice on alternative housing options
If you have made a previous application to the housing register, you will need to login with your reference number and password. If you do not know these details, please contact us on 01295 227004. If you have never made an application before to the housing register please apply using the following link
If you are unable to complete an online form then please contact us
If we receive an incomplete application form or supporting information is not provided, the application will be temporarily suspended. We will contact you to request the information. If the information is not received within 21 days of the application being made it will then be closed.
We have to carry out a number of checks and verify the circumstances of anyone who applies for housing. If you are a tenant in the private sector, with a council or registered provider (housing association), we will contact your landlord for a tenancy report. If it is unsatisfactory because of rent arrears or any other breach of your tenancy agreement we will close your application.
Your application will be unsuspended and made active once we receive all the requested information or documents and our assessment has been completed. We will email or send a letter to confirm once your application is active or if you do qualify to join the housing register.
We aim to make an initial assessment of all applications within 20 working days of the date it is submitted and we will let you know the outcome via email.
The law says we must give reasonable preference to you if you:
are threatened with homelessness and in priority need
occupy insanitary or overcrowded housing or live in unsatisfactory housing conditions
need to move on medical, welfare or disability grounds
need to move to a particular locality to prevent hardship
We can also take into account:
your financial resources
any behavour of you or your household which affects your suitability to be a tenant
any local connection with Cherwell District
When we have considered all the information about your housing circumstances, we put you into one of four bands.
You must have a local connection with Cherwell to apply to our housing register. You have a local connection if you have:
- lived in the district for a period of at least 6 out of the last 12 months continuously prior to acceptance onto the housing register or
- previously lived in the district for 3 out of the past 5 years or
- permanent employment within the district or
- immediate family members, who have lived in the district for at least 5 years, where there has been frequent contact, commitment and dependency immediately prior to the date of application or
- have a special reason for needing to live in the area.
NB. Immediate family are defined as parents, children, siblings, grandparents or grandchildren, including step relatives.
Once accepted as eligible to join the housing register, your housing needs are assessed and your application is placed in one of four bands. The bands are numbered 1 to 4. Applicants in band 1 are assessed as having the most urgent housing need and those in band 4 have the least urgent housing need. The full banding list can be found in our allocation scheme.
The banding scheme enables us to meet our legal responsibilities and also provides a fair and easily understood way of selecting applicants to receive offers of accommodation. Applicants are placed in the highest band for which they are eligible.
Once we have processed your application you will be told your band, your date of registration and the type of property you can apply for.
We take into account such matters as:
- domestic abuse
- tied accommodation
- lack of facilities
- no fixed abode
- under occupation
Once your application has been agreed you can start to apply for properties that are advertised through Homechoice. However, if your application has been suspended you are not allowed to apply for properties.
You will be removed from the housing register if you:
- are not eligible / do not qualify for housing
- don’t provide information we have asked for
- request your removal in writing or from a known email address
- don’t renew your application at the annual review
You must tell us.
On your Homechoice account you will be able to amend some of your details such as, you contact numbers and address
If you have moved address we will need to re assess your change of circumstances so that we make sure you are awarded the correct banding. Whilst we are re-assessing your change of circumstances your application is suspended and you cannot apply for properties.
The table sets out the type and size of property you can apply for. It is based on family size and calculated according to Housing Benefit and bedroom tax rules.
Type & size of property
|Single person under 35
|Studio or 1 bedroom flat (if meet eligibility criteria)
|Single person over 35
|Studio or 1 bedroom flat
|2 applicants not couple
|Household with 1 child
|Household with 2 children
Under our allocation scheme it states that a bedroom shall be allocated to the following family members:
- Children of the same sex can share up until the age of 16
- Children of opposite sex can share up until the age of 10
Sometimes we will say you cannot apply for a certain property because it is:
- too small/big for you
- adapted for the disabled and you are not disabled
- in a sheltered scheme for the elderly and you are not in need of sheltered accommodation
- part of a special agreement which only allows applicants with village connections to be considered
- part of an agreement with one of our partner housing associations where special rules apply called a lettings plan.
We will also tell you if certain types of applicants such as those waiting for a transfer or those who are homeless will get preference. This helps us to make sure we meet our annual targets of properties let. Our targets are:
General Needs- 35%
Our aim is to make a provisional offer of accommodation to the applicant at the top of the shortlist. The rules for shortlisting are:
- those in the highest band will be looked at first
- if there is more than one applicant in the highest band then the applicant who has been waiting the longest in that band will be top of the list
- if there is no one in the highest band who has applied we will go through the same process checking the other bands.
Sometimes there are special rules for properties for the disabled or schemes for the elderly. When we advertise these properties we will make it clear in the advert that special rules apply.
In circumstances where an applicant has successfully bid but refused 3 suitable offers of accommodation, their application will be closed and they will be disqualified from reapplying to join the housing register for 6 months. The exception to this rule is for statutory homeless households and refusal of their offer will result in the discharge of the council’s homelessness duty for which they will have a right of review under sections 202 and 204 of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended).
If you apply for accommodation with us you have the right to:-
- free advice and information
- help in making your application
- see the full allocations scheme
- ask for information about how we assessed your application
- ask for information, which will enable you to assess whether accommodation is likely to be made available, and if so, when
- have information about your application kept confidential.
We will write to you:-
- if your application is suspended
- when we make your application active
- if it is decided that you are not eligible because of your immigration status
- if it is decided that you are disqualified for any reason.
You can ask us to re-consider our decision. Your request should be in writing or by email and explain why you want to have your application reviewed.
They are advertised every week. The advertising period starts on a Wednesday and finishes at midnight on Monday one week later. This may vary occasionally to allow for holiday periods such as Christmas.
You can apply for accommodation if you are aged 16 or over and have been accepted on to our housing register. There are special rules if you are 16 or 17 and you will also need a guarantor.
You can’t apply if your application has been suspended.
If you have been offered accommodation via HomeChoice then you won’t be able to continue to apply for other properties
- apply for properties online
- come into our local office where you may use our computers free of charge. Staff can help you to apply (by appointment only)
- ask a friend or relative
- by phone
To apply for any property you need:
- your housing register reference number
- your memorable date and password
- the property references of the properties you want to apply for (if applying by phone)
When your application for the housing register is accepted you are told the number of bedrooms you need for you and your family. You can only apply for properties matching that information. If you try to apply for a property that doesn’t meet your requirements, your application will be rejected.
Each advert tells you the landlord, location, size, rent and other features of the property to help you decide which properties are right for you. The advert also tells you if there are any special requirements that you must meet to be able to apply.
At the end of the advertising period no more applications for properties are accepted. Every applicant who has applied for a property is placed on a list. This is called a shortlist. The shortlist is sorted by:
- effective date (applies only to Bands 1 and 2 - this is the date on which your application was placed in band 1 or 2)
- application date
If you are the successful applicant we will carry out checks to ensure your circumstances have not changed. If you are selected we send your details to the landlord of the property. The landlord of the property is always responsible for making offers. They may also carry out checks before offering you the property. When a provisional offer is made you can view the property and decide whether to accept or refuse it.
We will publish the results on this website once the advertising period has come to an end. We tell you the number of applicants that applied for the property, the band and the registration date of the applicant at the top of the shortlist. This information will give you a better idea of how popular a particular property or area is and how long you would normally have to wait.
You can then decide whether to look for other types of property or areas where you do not have to wait as long.