Island HomeFinder Scheme

Frequently Asked Questions for this Service

Question: I am homeless, what should I do?

Answer: You need to speak to the Homelessness Prevention Team. Please contact them on (01983) 823040 and state you are homeless and ask to complete an initial enquiry form. You will be asked for details of your household and current circumstances before the form is forwarded to the Homelessness Prevention Team for an officer to contact you by telephone. Alternatively you can visit Housing & Family Support at County Hall, High Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1UD to complete a form in person. The drop in service is available for Monday to Friday 8.30am - 4.00pm but please be advised that there can be a wait during busy periods.

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Question: Do you have alternative sources of heating I can use in an emergency?

Answer: If you live in a housing association property you should contact them first as they have emergency measures in place. However if you own your own property or rent privately, heaters and cookers are available on loan. Please contact the Duty Team on 01983 823340 (you should advise your landlord in any instance to arrange repairs)

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Question: Does the Council have a housing duty to those seeking asylum?

Answer: Councils do not have a duty to provide accommodation to asylum claimants who made a claim after 3 April 2000. If an asylum seeker has been given leave to remain in the UK and makes a homelessness application the council may refer their application to the local authority where they were provided with accommodation under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

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Question: I am 16 years old, can I go on the Island Homefinder Scheme

Answer: Anyone who is 16 or over can go on the Island Homefinder Scheme. However, anyone under the age of 18 needs to have a guarantor before they can accept an offer of accommodation through a Housing Association. A guarantor is liable for any rent not paid by the tenant so they need to be over 18 and be able to prove what income they receive.

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Question: I am on the Island Homefinder Scheme and my circumstances have changed, what do I need to do?

Answer: If you have moved address you will need to contact Housing & Family Support in writing or by email with the details of your new home. The Council will then change the address on your application and write to you with further instructions. If your circumstances have changed but your address remains the same, you can update the details online by logging into your application. Any letters should be sent to the Island HomeFinder Team, County Hall, High Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1UD and emails sent to housing@iow.gov.uk.

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Question: How do I apply for social housing on the Isle of Wight?

Answer: You need to register to apply for properties through the Island HomeFinder Scheme. The form can be completed online at www.islandhomefinder.org.uk. If you are unable to access the website or have specific needs, please contact the Housing & Family Support Team at County Hall, High Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1UD or on 01983 823040.

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Question: Where can I receive information and advice on Housing?

Answer: Contact Housing & Family Support at County Hall, High Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1UD or telephone on (01983) 823040

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Question: I have just been given Notice to Quit (NTQ) by my landlord what should I do?

Answer: You need to speak to the Homelessness Prevention Team. Please contact them on (01983) 823040 and state you are threatened with homelessness and ask to complete an initial enquiry form. You will be asked for details of your household and current circumstances before the form is forwarded to the Homelessness Prevention Team for an officer to contact you by telephone. Alternatively you can visit Housing & Family Support at County Hall, High Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1UD to complete a form in person. The drop in service is available for Monday to Friday 8.30am - 4.00pm but please be advised that there can be a wait during busy periods.

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Question: I am on the Island Homefinder Scheme and have moved address, what do I need to do?

Answer: You will need to update your application as any change of circumstances may affect your banding on Island HomeFinder. If you wish to update your form online, you will be required to inform the Council of your new address by writing to the Island HomeFinder Team at County Hall, High Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1UD or emailing housing@iow.gov.uk. Once the Council is aware of your new address, you will be written to with details of how to update your application. Alternatively, you can print out and complete a paper Island HomeFinder form. - Related Link

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Question: How do I exchange my council/housing association property for one on the Island?

Answer: If you wish to exchange your property you should register with HomeSwapper. This is an internet only mutual exchange website and their web address is www.homeswapper.co.uk. If you have trouble accessing this service then please contact your landlord for further assistance. - Related Link

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Question: I am in a council/housing association property, how do I apply for a transfer?

Answer: You should initially contact your current landlord to advise them of your need to move. Then, you will need to register with Island HomeFinder by visiting www.islandhomefinder.org.uk. If you are already registered with Island HomeFinder, you can amend the details online to ensure that your application is up to date and prioritised correctly. Alternatively, you can print out and complete a paper Island HomeFinder form. - Related Link

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Question: What is sheltered accommodation?

Answer: Sheltered accommodation is self contained accommodation where some support is provided by a warden or manager. Accommodation is usually within a housing complex and might include communal facilities such as a residents’ lounge or laundry room. Residents usually need to be of pensionable age. For further information please contact the Island HomeFinder Team at Housing & Family Support, County Hall, High Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1UD, telephone 01983 823040 or email housing@iow.gov.uk

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Question: I have a complaint about my housing condition (cramped/damp etc.). Do you do home visits?

Answer: Island HomeFinder do not provide this service. If you have a repair issue in your property, you should initially contact your landlord as they may be responsible for the maintenance and repair. For independent advice regarding your rights, you can contact the Law Centre at Exchange House, St Cross Lane, Newport, by telephone on 01983 524715 or by emailing info@iowlc.org.uk. If you have contacted your landlord but repair issues remain outstanding, please visit the web pages for the Housing Renewal Team. - Related Link

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Question: Where am I on the Homefinder waiting list?

Answer: Island HomeFinder list is not a time or points based system. You are allocated a ‘band’ and an 'effective date' when you register with Island HomeFinder and together these will determine your position when you bid on a property against others that have placed a bid. You position on a property shortlist may change until the advert cycle closes and further bids can not be placed. For further information, including a copy of the scheme guide and allocation policy, please visit the Island HomeFinder website. - Related Link

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Question: How do I add someone to my Home Finder application?

Answer: You are able to add a person to your application yourself by logging on to your HomeFinder profile and updating the application form. Alternatively, you can email the details to housing@iow.gov.uk or write to Housing & Family Support, County Hall, High Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1UD. Please note that where necessary, we will write to you and ask you to complete a short form with further details of the person you are adding. If you are adding an unborn child to your application, this can only be done once you have provided valid evidence of your pregnancy, such as the MAT B1. Any changes to your bedroom entitlement may not show immediately and all changes are subject to approval. - Related Link

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Question: I live in a housing association property on the Island, how do I apply for an exchange?

Answer: If you wish to exchange your property you should register with HomeSwapper. This is an internet only mutual exchange website and their web address is www.homeswapper.co.uk. If you have trouble accessing this service then please contact your landlord for further assistance. You can also register for a transfer properties by registering with Island HomeFinder. - Related Link

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Question: After being released from prison, I have nowhere to live. Can you help?

Answer: If you are currently in prison and have nowhere to live once you are released, please contact the Probation Office on 01983 523265 who will liaise with Housing Services on your behalf.

If you have already been released from prison and are homeless, you need to speak to the Homelessness Prevention Team. Please contact them on (01983) 823040 and state you are homeless and ask to complete an initial enquiry form. You will be asked for details of your household and current circumstances before the form is forwarded to the Homelessness Prevention Team for an officer to contact you by telephone. Alternatively you can visit Housing & Family Support at County Hall, High Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1UD to complete a form in person. The drop in service is available for Monday to Friday 8.30am - 4.00pm but please be advised that there can be a wait during busy periods.


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Question: I would like to take my name off of the Housing register. What do I need to do?

Answer: You can cancel your Island HomeFinder application by logging into the website, clicking on My Social Housing and then cancel application. Alternatively, you can request that your application is cancelled by writing to Housing & Family Support, County Hall, High Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1UD or emailing housing@iow.gov.uk. - Related Link

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Question: Does the housing department build properties for affordable housing to meet local needs?

Answer: The Isle of Wight Council does not build properties, but as a strategic authority works with partner organisations to help deliver schemes to meet local need.

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Question: I have received a Notice Seeking Possession / Notice to Quit / Court Summons / Warrant for Possession of Property. What should I do ?

Answer: You need to speak to the Homelessness Prevention Team. Please contact them on (01983) 823040 and state you are threatened with homelessness and ask to complete an initial enquiry form. You will be asked for details of your household and current circumstances before the form is forwarded to the Homelessness Prevention Team for an officer to contact you by telephone. Alternatively you can visit Housing & Family Support at County Hall, High Street, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1UD to complete a form in person. The drop in service is available for Monday to Friday 8.30am - 4.00pm but please be advised that there can be a wait during busy periods. If you wish to seek independent legal advice you may also wish to contact the Law Centre, Exchange House, St Cross Lane, Newport, tel 01983 524715, or the Citizens Advice Bureau, Exchange House, St Cross Lane, Newport, tel 0845 1202959. Free advice will be available which may also include representation in court.

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Question: Under which circumstances can children share a bedroom in social housing?

Answer: Under the Island HomeFinder allocation policy a bedroom is allocated to each of the following:

• Every adult couple
• any other adult aged 16 or over
• any two children of the same sex until they are 16 or age gap in excess of 8 years
• any two children regardless of sex under age 10
• any other child (someone under 16)

The actual size property allocated will depend on the family’s individual circumstances and may vary from the above where special reasons have been proven. - Related Link

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Question: I am under 18 and homeless or faced with homelessness what should I do?

Answer: Housing Services do not deal with single people under 18. If you already have a Social worker you should contact them directly. If you do not already have a Social Worker and you are under 18 you should contact Hampshire Childrens Services on 0845 603 5620 during office hours or out of hours on 0845 600 4555. If you have dependent children or are pregant and under 18 initial contact should still be made with Social Services but you will also need to complete an inital enquiry sheet for Housing Services and an advisor will call you back.

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Question: I have forgotten my Homefinder log in details, how can I find these?

Answer: Due to the confidential nature of information contained in Homefinder accounts, we are no longer permitted to provide this information over the telephone. If you have forgotten this information a copy will be provided to you in writing; this can be requested by calling Housing Services on 01983 823040 or by e-mailing housing@iow.gov.uk.

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Question: How do I apply for a shared ownership property on the Island?

Answer: In order to be considered for the Shared ownership schemes currently available on the Island you need to register your details with Help to Buy South (www.helptobuysouth.co.uk) and also register on Island HomeFinder (www.islandhomefinder.org.uk).

For further information on Low Cost Home Ownership schemes and developments, please contact Help to Buy South at Collins House, Bishopstoke Road, Eastleigh, Hampshire, SO50 6AD, by telephoning 0800 456 11 88 or by emailing info@helptobuysouth.co.uk.
- Related Link

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Question: I have had a letter to say my banding has changed. Why is this?

Answer: A new Allocation Policy has been introduced and applications have been re-assessed against this new policy. This has resulted in some applicants banding being changed, either going up a band or going down a band.

To see the changes made by this revised Allocation Policy please go to the Island HomeFinder website at www.islandhomefinder.org.uk and go to the 'Allocations Policy Changes' page.

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Question: My application seems to have been closed and I can't bid on any properties. Why is this?

Answer: A new Allocations Policy has been introduced. All applicants have been asked to complete a review form and provide evidence that they have a local connection to the Island in order to stay on the register by the end of September 2015 advising that if they did not do so their application would be closed.

If people did not return review forms or did not provide proof of local connection as requested by the date specified, their applications have been closed.

If you still wish to be considered for housing via the Island HomeFinder scheme you will have to re-apply via the website at www.islandhomefinder.org.uk using your original log in reference. If you do not know your log in reference, please contact Housing Service for this information.

When you apply for housing you will need to complete a Housing Options Assessment first which will advise you if you are eligible to apply.

If you do not provide proof that you meet the local connection criteria your application will not be accepted.

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Question: I like a property I’ve seen through Island HomeFinder scheme but it will need adapting to suit my needs. Will there be a wait before any adaptations can be completed?

Answer: Any adaptations will need the landlord’s consent and this may take some time whilst they consider what needs doing. Also, if you are not paying for the adaptations yourself and need help with funding the works to be completed there will need to be an assessment of needs by an Occupational Therapist or other appropriate medical professional person (e.g. consultant, GP).

This assessment of needs and recommendations as to what adaptations need doing can take a period of time and you should contact the person or service providing that assessment for you to find out how long that might take before you decide whether you can take on a property that needs adapting to suit your needs. You will also have to take into account the amount of time it would take for any work to be completed.


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Question: Do you offer help with rent deposits?

Answer: The Isle of Wight Council does have a Rent Deposit Scheme but it is not available to everyone. It is only available to households that are homeless or threatened with homelessness, that are considered to be in priority need under current homeless legislation, who do not have the financial means to fund a deposit themselves and have explored and exhausted all other ways to finance a deposit.
If you think you are eligible under the above criteria you will need to complete an Initial Enquiry form on line at https://www.iwight.com/Residents/Care-Support-and-Housing/Housing/Housing-Options-and-Homelessness-Prevention-Advice/Tasks or by contacting (01983) 823040 and a Homeless Prevention Officer will contact you back to provide further advice.
If you have been short listed for an offer of social housing through the Island HomeFinder scheme and are being asked to provide a deposit before you can take up the accommodation you can only be considered for assistance with a deposit if the above criteria applies at the time of the offer.


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Question: I have been asked to renew my Island HomeFinder application. Why is this and how do I do it?

Answer: After each year your application has been registered on the Island HomeFinder scheme we will ask you to give us an update of your details. This is to make sure that your banding is correct and that you are eligible to apply for the correct size properties.

You can do this by going to www.islandhomefinder.org.uk and logging on to your application using your reference number and memorable date and then completing the 'update or cancel your renewal'. You will need to go through the process of checking all your details are correct even if there are no changes to be made, agreeing to the mandatory declaration and submitting the checked application. If you don’t follow this process your application will be cancelled for failure to complete the renewal.

Alternatively, if you no longer wish to remain on the Island HomeFinder scheme you can request that your application be closed through the on line process.

If you do not complete your renewal on line within 28 days from the date of this letter we will assume that you no longer wish to continue with your application and it will be cancelled.

Please contact the Choice based Lettings team if you need any assistance with this process.


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