How we allocate our homes
We provide homes across Kent for people who need housing and can’t afford to buy or rent a home on the open market. During the application process we use the relevant local authority rules on income and savings to check whether you can afford a shared ownership home, or to rent privately.
All prospective tenants must bring at least one week’s full rent to the viewing, or the property will go to the next bidder. This includes anyone receiving full housing benefit.
Viewings of West Kent homes are by appointment only. We understand applicants are often really keen to view a property, but please don't attempt to visit or look at a property without an appointment. A full viewing with a West Kent staff member will be arranged.
Offering our homes
We usually allocate our homes to those bidding through Kent Homechoice and we will normally offer it to you if you have the highest priority of all bidders for the home and it is the right size and type for you - as specified in the advert.
Sometimes we offer homes to someone who needs emergency housing, or is very vulnerable, without advertising it on Kent Homechoice.
We may let homes to 16 to 18 year olds who the local authority have accepted for housing, as long as they can show they can pay the rent and look after the home. A responsible adult will have to share the responsibilities of the tenancy and sign the agreement.
Why we might refuse to offer housing
We make the final decision on whether to offer a home based on the criteria set out in our Move or Stay Policy and in consultation with the local authority. An applicant’s previous or current behaviour sometimes means we won’t offer them a home.
Other reasons we may refuse to house you:
- You own your home or have enough capital to be able to buy a home. Unless we agree with your local authority that you need to move for medical reasons and can’t buy somewhere suitable. However, if you own your own home and are over 55, you can apply for one of our Emerald homes. We expect you to sell your home and you must be able to afford our rent. We may assess your care and support needs to make sure the home you choose is suitable.
- We find out during the assessment process that you don’t meet our agreement with the local authority; such as arrears, anti-social behaviour or posing a risk to our tenants or staff.
- The home is not suitable for you due to concerns about the safety of yourself or the neighbours. We call this ‘sensitive letting’.
- Our affordability check indicates you can’t afford the rent. If you fail an affordability check we’ll offer advice on how you can increase your income through work, training or benefits.
- You don't meet the UK residency and immigration control criteria.
- Some other reason. Also called ‘exclusion.’
You can view the full guidance here. Here is a summary.
Why might West Kent exclude me from their homes?
West Kent will exclude you (including your partners, spouses and household members) from our homes for any of the following reasons:
Losing a previous tenancy
- Losing a West Kent home for any reason, including eviction or failing a starter tenancy. We can reconsider you after two years but you must show you’ve taken action to resolve the issues that led to the eviction.
- Eviction from another landlord’s home for any reason and posing a risk to the community.
- Eviction from temporary or supported housing, making yourself homeless through your own actions.
Owing money to your current landlord
Owing money to West Kent or any other landlord and not keeping to a repayment agreement for at least six months.
- Attacking, threatening, harassing or abusing our staff, tenants or other people in the community.
- Being subject to a Criminal Behaviour Order, Noise Abatement Notice or Order or an injunction related to anti-social behaviour.
- Posing a risk to your household, neighbours or the wider community.
Exclusion by local authority
If the provisions of the nominating local authority would exclude you from their housing register.
- West Kent’s assessment team concluding that you have support needs greater than we can cater for in our Emerald extra care or supported schemes.
- Having a vulnerability and:
- refusing help from external agencies, such as social services or our support staff
- not keeping to the terms of your tenancy even with help from social services or our support staff.
Obtaining a home by deliberately lying or failing to disclose relevant information on the application form or during interviews.
Until we receive any information requested from other agencies (local authority, police, social services, probation) because of concerns about your ability to manage a tenancy, or the risk you may pose to our staff or the community.
How does West Kent decide whether to exclude me?
Before excluding you we'll explain why we're considering it and give you the opportunity to tell us why we should not exclude you. We'll talk to you and any external agencies who may have information, and we may need to assess your support needs.
If a local authority nominates you for a West Kent home outside the Sevenoaks area, and we assess there are reasons for exclusion, we'll tell the local authority. If the local authority challenges this decision we will have to show why we're refusing your nomination.
For West Kent homes in the Sevenoaks area we assess your application against the Sevenoaks District Housing Register, which West Kent manages on behalf of Sevenoaks District Council. If there are reasons to exclude you, we'll refer your case to a tenancy panel to make sure you are being treated fairly. After the tenancy panel has met we'll tell you the outcome and explain what you should do next including how you can appeal.
How long does exclusion last?
Exclusion will be for one year initially. You can ask us to reconsider your application earlier if you have resolved the issue that caused you to be excluded.
How do I appeal an exclusion decision?
An appeals panel of two West Kent Board members will review the information used in the decision to exclude. You may come along and bring someone to support or represent you. The panel will talk to you and decide if they agree with the original outcome or not. If you disagree with the appeal panel’s decision you can approach a designated person (such as an MP or local councillor) or the Housing Ombudsman Service.
- Why might West Kent exclude me from their homes?