Gateway to Homechoice is the choice based lettings scheme for council and housing association properties in the following seven local authority areas:
- Babergh District Council
- Braintree District Council
- Colchester Borough Council
- East Suffolk Council
- Ipswich Borough Council
- Maldon District Council
- Mid Suffolk District Council
How the scheme operates
The 7 local authorities in the Gateway to Homechoice scheme advertise vacancies in rented social housing using the same system that operates as follows:
- Each week the vacant social housing in the area of operation of the 7 local authorities is advertised on the Gateway to Homechoice website.
- Applicants who are registered can indicate up to 2 properties they are interested in either online or by phone.
- All of the vacancies advertised through the scheme are owned by councils or housing associations.
- All of the local authorities operate the same allocations policy.
Qualification and Local Connection
People register with the LA where they live (or would like to live if they come from outside the subregion of the scheme). Applicants with no local connection to any of the LAs are ‘demoted’ by one Band compared to someone with the same housing issue from within the area. An applicant will be considered to have a local connection to the sub-region if:
- their only or principle home is in one of the participating districts; or
- they were placed in specialised housing outside the sub-region, but previously lived here; or
- they are in permanent paid work in the sub-region; or
- they have an adult son, daughter, brother, sister, mother or father who lives here and has done so for at least 5 years.
The principle of the system is that properties are normally let to the household that wants the property, and has been waiting the longest in the highest Band. Available properties are advertised on the Gateway to Homechoice website for a week, starting on Thursday morning and closing on the following Wednesday at midnight. As people place their bids for housing, the system automatically compiles a shortlist of applicants. The order of the applicants is from Band A down to Band E. If 2 or more applicants have the same band, then the system will normally place the applicant with the longest date first.