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FAQs

 

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below will provide a useful guide to help you understand how Keyways works.

 

 

Index of questions;

 

1.   How do I apply to join the Keyways Housing Register?

2.   What do I need in order to apply?

3.   How long will it take for my application to be processed?

4.   Can you refuse to accept me onto Keyways?

5.   Why don’t I qualify for Keyways?

6.   Can I apply if I am an owner occupier or own a property?

7.   Can I apply if I’m under 18 years old?

8.   Can I apply if I am not a UK National?

9.   Can I apply if I am in the Armed Forces?

10. How do I know if I have been accepted onto Keyways?

11. Do I need to renew my application each year?

12. Can I cancel my application?

13. How do you prevent fraudulent applications?

14. Which Keyways council will manage my application?

15. What are the Bands?

16. What is a Band Effective date?

17. How do I know which Band I’m in?

18. How long will I stay in the same Band?

19. What if someone on my application has a medical condition?

20. What do I do if my circumstances change?

21. Can I add someone to my application?

22. How do I bid for a property?

23. How many properties can I bid for on each cycle?

24. How long will I have to bid for a property?

25. What happens to my application if I don’t bid?

26. How will I know how many other applicants are interested in the same property?

27. How long will it take to be offered a property on Keyways?

28. How does the council decide who is offered the property?

29. Will I need to pay rent in advance for a property on Keyways?

30. What does ‘Local Lettings Policy’ mean in the advert text?

31. I need disabled adapted accommodation – do I bid on Keyways for this?

32. What information will the property adverts contain?

33. Why can't I bid on some types of property?

34. What happens at the end of the advertising cycle?

35. If I successfully bid for a property how long will it be before I am contacted?

36. Will I be able to view a property before making up my mind?

37. Can the landlord refuse to offer me the property?

38. What happens if I refuse a property?

39. What if I become homeless?

40. What can I do if I disagree with a decision that you’ve made regarding my Keyways application?


 

How do I apply to join the Keyways Housing Register?

Applications can be made online at www.keyways.org.uk  If you are not able to use the online service and have no family or support worker to assist you, please call your local Housing Options Team to discuss other options.  Click here for contact details.

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What do I need in order to apply?  

Along with your completed application form you will need to provide: 

  • Evidence of Local Connection to North Northamptonshire (e.g. evidence of a close family member (parent, sibling or child)  living in North Northamptonshire for 5 years or more)
  • Proof of identity for all household members, including photographic identification for the main/joint applicants (e.g. passports, birth certificates).
  • Evidence of your right to live in the UK if you are not a British citizen (e.g. passport plus other relevant Home Office documentation)
  • National Insurance Number for each household member aged 16 and over
  • Full five year address history for all household members, including the tenure and landlord contact details
  • Proof of children living with you (e.g. copy of child benefit payment and/or child tax credits)
  • Any other supporting documents you may feel relevant to your current housing circumstances, or the type of property you need (e.g. Notice to Quit (NTQ), Occupational Therapist Report/GP Letter)

All documents provided must be valid/up to date and original documents. You are able to provide these documents to a Customer Service Centre of the council.

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How long will it take for my application to be processed?

We aim to:

  • Contact the applicant within 10 working days of receiving the completed application to confirm if any additional supporting information is required.
  • Contact the applicant to confirm that the application is active within 10 working days of receiving a fully completed application including any relevant supporting information that is required.
  • Let the applicant know within 10 working days of receiving a fully completed application is they are ineligble or do not qualify to join the housing register.

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Can you refuse to accept me onto Keyways?

Applications may be refused if it has been verified that you are; 

  • under 16 years of age or aged 16/17 without a suitable guarantor
  • not eligible for housing by virtue of your immigration status
  • home-owners unless you meet the criterion and wish to bid on sheltered complexes 
  • non-qualifying person

Non Qualifying Persons Criterion includes; 

  • No Local Connection to North Northamptonshire
  • Housing related debts to any social or private landlord
  • Unacceptable behaviour

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Why don’t I qualify for Keyways?

The Localism Act 2011 enables each council to make their own decisions about who does and who does not qualify to be included on their housing register in order to address their own local needs.  If you do not qualify, you may find alternative housing options here.

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Can I apply if I own a property?

Home-owners will usually not be eligible to qualify unless there are exceptional circumstances or they meet the criterion for sheltered accommodation and wish to bid on our sheltered complexes.  For more information please refer to the North Northamptonshire Keyways Housing Allocation Scheme.

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Can I apply if I’m under 18 years old?

Applications can be accepted from the age of 16, however, no bids can be placed until the age of 18 or until you have been accepted as having a suitable guarantor.

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Can I apply if I am not a UK national?

The legislation and accompanying regulations regarding housing are complex and subject to regular change.  Below is an overview of the main rules.

Below are specific classes of people who are not eligible to join the housing register:

  • Subject to immigration control (unless in a class re-included by regulations made by the Secretary of State)
  • Not habitually resident in the UK, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland
  • Other persons from abroad excluded by regulations made by the Secretary of State including:
    • EEA nationals whose only right to reside is derived from their status as an EEA jobseeker or as the family member of the EEA jobseeker
    • EEA nationals whose only right to reside if in the initial three month period under Regulation 13 of the EEA Regulations
    • Non-EEA nationals whose only right to reside is as the parent of a UK Citizen child who has no other rights to reside in the UK (known as a Zambrano Carer)
  • Persons granted limited leave (Pre-settled status) under the EU Settlement Scheme where their only right to reside is a non-qualifying right (i.e. as a jobseeker, is within his/her first three months or as a Zambrano Carer)
  • Required to leave the UK by the Secretary of State

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Can I apply if I am in the Armed Forces?

Yes.  The following are entitled to apply to any council;

  • Current member of the Armed Forces
  • Former members of the Armed Forces within 5 year of discharge  
  • Bereaved spouse or civil partner of a member of the Armed Forces where Ministry of Defence accommodation will cease following the death of their service spouse or civil partner and the death was wholly or partly attributable to their service
  • Divorced or separated spouses or civil partners of Service Personnel who need to move out of accommodation provided by the Ministry of Defence
  • Serving or former members of the Reserve Forces who need to move because of a serious injury, medical condition or disability which is wholly or partly attributable to their service.

(Verification will be required from the Armed Forces)

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How do I know if I have been accepted onto Keyways?

Once your application has been assessed, verified and accepted, you will receive a registration letter which will include your login reference, your Keyways band, band effective date and details on how to use the Keyways system.

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Do I need to renew my application each year?
 

Yes.  Once a year, normally on the anniversary of your application you will be sent an online renewal reminder together with an email and/or letter. You must renew your application within 28 days. If you fail to renew your application within 28 days, your application will be closed.  It is important to keep your application up to date with new telephone numbers, email addresses and correspondence address.  These can be updated online by logging into your account and making an amendment on your "My Account" page.

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Can I cancel my application?

Yes.  If you no longer wish to be registered on Keyways for housing you can request closure via your online account.  Alternatively you may contact your local Housing Options Team directly.

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How do you prevent fraudulent applications?

All applications undergo several verification checks against the information that is declared on the application form.  A declaration must be read and agreed at the end of every application by the main and joint applicants confirming that the application made is a true and accurate record of their current circumstances. 

Verification can include checks to/with; 

  • Current and previous landlords
  • Government Agencies
  • Credit Reference Agencies 

Any false statements given knowingly or recklessly may result in exclusion from Keyways, any offer of accommodation being withdrawn or any tenancy being repossessed.  You may also be prosecuted and fined up to £5,000.

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Which Housing Options Team of North Northamptonshire Council will manage/administer my application?

Your Keyways application will be managed by the area office in which you currently reside.  If you have a local connection to North Northamptonshire, however, do not currently reside here, your application will be managed by the area office that you would prefer to reside in.  You will be asked to choose which office on your housing application.

If you do not have a local connection to North Northamptonshire you will not qualify for Keyways.

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What are the Bands?

The scheme has 5 bands from A-E.

Band A is the highest priority band and can only be awarded by an officer of the council.  Any application in Band A is considered in the most urgent housing need and will therefore have their choice removed in order for the council to offer a timely resolution.  The application will be placed on autobid.  This is when the software system will automatically place bids at the end of each cycle.

Band E is for No Housing Need applicants only that meet to additional criterion:

  • Eligible to be considered for and seeking sheltered, supported or assisted living accommodation (Homeowners will be permitted to bid on sheltered complexes only)
  • An applicant has no housing need but establishes a local connection to a S106 or village exception site. (These are listed on the housing application as Legal Agreement Areas and any local connection will require verfication)

 

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What is a Band Effective date?

This is the date you registered your Keyways application or the date you were escalated into a higher band.

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How do I know which Band I’m in?

                        

Once your application has been verified and accepted, you will receive a registration letter which will include your login reference, your Keyways band and details on how to use the Keyways system.

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How long will I stay in the same Band?

You will remain in the same band until your circumstances change or you become ineligble or no longer qualify at which point your application will be closed.

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What if someone on my application has a medical condition?

It is important that you tell us of any medical condition(s) for any member of your household that is being affected by your current accommodation and/or requires you to be considered for either ground floor accommodation and/or a property with specific disabled adaptations. 

Not having the correct bathing facilities/adaptations or priority for ground floor properties recorded on your application could affect your position on any shortlist.  If priority is given for ground floor and/or adaptations, you will not be nominated to a property without these.

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What do I do if my circumstances change?

You are responsible for updating your own housing circumstances on your application form.  If your details change, it is very important that you log into your Keyways account online and update your application as soon as possible.  The changes will then be assessed and approved.  If this results in a change in your eligibility to join Keyways and/or your Keyways band, you will receive this decision in writing. 

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Can I add someone to my application?

Yes.  Anyone who will be living with you in the new property should be included on your application whether they currently live with you or not.   

You are able to add or delete members of your household online by logging into your account at www.Keyways.org.uk 

If any changes to your household members has an affect on your housing circumstances, please also update the housing application in addition to the household.

The Housing Options Team who administers your application will verify the changes you have submitted and update your application.

Please note that all new members of the household will be subject to eligibility and verification checks.

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How do I bid for a property?

 

You can express your interest or bid, as it is also known, in the following ways; 

  • Online at www.keyways.org.uk on any home computer
  • With support from any Customer Service Centre staff
  • With support from Housing Options staff via telephone

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How many properties can I bid for on each cycle? 

You will be able to bid on a maximum of three properties on each advertisement cycle.  However, you should only bid on properties that are suitable for your households needs and you are interested in accepting.  Bidding on properties which are not suitable will result in your application being skipped for that property.

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How long will I have to bid for a property? 

Properties are advertised in weekly cycles.  These start at 12:01am on a Thursday through to 23:59pm on a Tuesday. 

The Christmas and New Year cycle will usually last for 2 full cycles.  Information will be placed on the Home screen of the Keyways website to reflect this.

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What happens to my application if I don’t bid? 

Inactive applications for 12 months that have been awarded a priority band for having a housing need may have the application/band reviewed and/or cancelled.  A priority band is awarded to enhance your chances of receiving a nomination more quickly and there is an expectation that applicants will be actively bidding in order to resolve their housing difficulties. 

Band A applications will have choice removed and bids placed automatically by the software in order for the council to find a timely resolution.  This is called autobidding.

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How will I know how many other applicants are interested in the same property? 

When you bid for a property you will be told where you are in the queue.  This is likely to change frequently throughout the cycle due to other applicants bidding for the same property.  Using this information you may decide to withdraw your bid for one property and bid for a different property for which you are higher placed in the queue.  You can do this at any time before the cycle closes.

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How long will it take to be nominated to a property on Keyways? 

It is impossible to advise how long it will take for an applicant to be offered a property as this is dependent on various factors including: 

  • The level of priority awarded to their Keyways application
  • The type and size of property needed
  • The applicants preferred areas of choice
  • How many void/empty properties become available 

The demand for properties on Keyways far outweighs supply and even those in an urgent housing need can be waiting some time. It is therefore important for applicants to consider all other housing options available to them in order to resolve their housing difficulties.  You can find more Housing Options here.

Further information is available on the Keyways website that will help you to gain a better understanding on how long you might be waiting to be offered a property; 

  • There is a section called ‘Recent Lets’ where you can look at the band and band effective date of applicants that have been successful on Keyways.
  • There is also a sub-page called “Social Housing Stock” which contains interactive information on what social housing properties exist.  It might be that you are waiting for a particular property type and size to become available in a specific area which actually does not exist so we would encourage you to view this information in order to make an informed choice about which housing options you choose to pursue. 

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How does the council decide who is offered the property? 

Once the advertisement cycle has closed a shortlist of interested applicants is created.  The shortlist is in order of eligibility (according to the criteria in the advert details for that property) and those in most urgent housing need (Bands).  The applicant at the top of the shortlist will normally be nominated to the property.

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Will I need to pay rent in advance for a property on Keyways?

Most Keyways landlords require rent in advance and this will be stipulated in the advert before you place your bid.  If you do not have the rent in advance, you should not place a bid on that specific property.

Applicants who receive benefits towards housing costs MAY be accepted with a payment plan depending on the individual Keyways landlord.  You may also be able to apply for assistance towards the rent in advance from the council's Discretionary Housing Fund.  Please contact the council on 0300 126 3000 for more details on how to apply.

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What does ‘Local Lettings Policy’ mean in the advert text? 

The council may from time to time agree a Local Lettings Policy for specific areas or developments to reflect local circumstances.    Any such policy will have regard to housing management considerations such as the social mix of tenants, density, age range, vulnerability of tenants and community stability.  

Any policy in place will be attached to the advert for the property so that applicants can make an informed choice as to whether they wish to place a bid on that property or not.

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I need disabled adapted accommodation – do I bid on Keyways for this? 

Yes.  It is important that your application includes medical information for any member of your household.  You will also be asked which disabled adaptations you require.  

You may be asked for supporting evidence of your requirements.  Once your application has been assessed, you may be given priority for ground floor properties and/or adaptations. 

You will only be offered a property that is suitable for your needs.

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What information will the property adverts contain? 

The adverts will tell you; 

  • the landlord
  • location
  • number of bedrooms
  • number of bed spaces
  • floor level
  • heating type
  • garden type
  • parking
  • bathing facilities
  • disabled adaptations
  • tenancy type
  • rent charges
  • council tax band
  • other eligible criteria such as; age restrictions 

Where available a photograph of the property or a similar property will be provided and allow you to access information about the local area and facilities. 

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Why can't I bid on some types of property? 

The council make best use of their stock and will therefore only permit households to bid on properties that are suitable for their housing needs.  You may be able to bid on a larger property, however, this will be prioritised to those who can fully utilise all bedrooms/facilities first. 

Some properties have a specific criterion to bid e.g. sheltered housing for the elderly.  This will be stated clearly in the advert. 

If you try to bid on a property that you are not eligible for a pop up box will appear giving you the reason.  Please refer to the marketing text on the advert for more information.

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What happens at the end of the advertising cycle? 

Once the closing date for bids has passed a shortlist of interested applicants is created.  The shortlist is in order of eligibility according to the criteria in the advert details for that property and most urgent housing need. 

The applicant at the top of the shortlist will normally be nominated to the property, however before this can happen their application will be assessed and verified.  The Housing Options Team will then contact the applicant by telephone to discuss the nomination further before sending this to the landlord of the property.  It is therefore extremely important that your contact telephone details on your application are always up to date.  If Housing Options fail to make contact with you within 24 hours your application will be skipped and the property will be offered to the next eligible applicant on the shortlist. 

If you agree to be nominated to the property the application will then be passed to the landlord of the property who will complete their own verification checks and contact the applicant directly. 

You will receive a letter from the Housing Options Team to confirm that you have been nominated to a property. 

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If I successfully bid for a property how long will it be before I am contacted? 

You will only be contacted if you are to be nominated to a property.  When the advertising cycle has closed all the properties advertised will have a shortlist created.  The Housing Options Team will work through these in turn and prioritise those properties that are available to be let first.  Depending on the number of properties advertised it may take up to 10 days before the successful applicant is contacted.

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Will I be able to view a property before making up my mind?

 

Yes.  Once you are nominated to a property the landlord of that property will complete their own checks to verify the information submitted on your application form and may include a home visit.  The landlord will then give you the opportunity to view the property and allow you to decide whether or not you would like to accept it.

Each property advertised on Keyways will have a different time-scale for being ready to view.  This is depending upon the reason for it becoming vacant, the condition and repairs that the property will require before being let.

Please be patient following a nomination and the Landlord of the property will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

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Can the landlord refuse to offer me the property? 

All Keyways Landlords may refuse to offer you the property if; 

  • you have failed to disclose a change of circumstances on your Keyways application
  • verification checks reveal issues that are not included in the Keyways application
  • verification checks confirm that the applicant(s) would be a non-qualifying person
  • notice to vacate the property is withdrawn or the property becomes unavailable for letting
  • a financial capability assessment reveals that the property is unaffordable
  • you are unable to pay the required rent in advance
  • you are a current social tenant and your current home has failed an inspection

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What happens if I refuse a property?

Applicants in housing need that refuse an offer of accommodation may be required to attend a Housing Options appointment to discuss their requirements and expectations.  

If applicants refuse two offers of accommodation that are reasonable and suitable in any 12 month period their application will be closed for a period of 12 months.  You can reapply once this time period has passed. 

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What if I become homeless?

You should contact your local Housing Options Team as soon as possible.  They will discuss your circumstances and provide you with advice and assistance on all available housing options to either prevent or relieve your homelessness.  The Housing Options Officer will assess your Keyways application band and advise you in writing if this changes.

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What can I do if I disagree with a decision that you’ve made regarding my Keyways application?                                                                                                                          

All applicants have the right to ask for a review if we decide not to allow you to join Keyways or make any decision that affects your application. 

This should be in writing, within 21 days of the decision and clearly state the reasons you feel the original decision is wrong.

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