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Lincolnshire councils merge housing stocks on new Lincs Homefinder website

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: November 24, 2012

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Thousands more homes will be available to council tenants when three local authorities merge their housing stocks online.

Vacant properties in Lincoln, North Kesteven and West Lindsey will be listed on the new Lincs Homefinder website from mid to late-December.

It will include council houses as well as properties belonging to housing associations, such as Acis.

Potential tenants will be able to browse the properties and complete an application form online.

They will then be assessed based on their needs, which will allow them to "bid" for properties.

The site will replace the Lincoln Homefinder website, which only operates across the city.

It will also replace the current system in West Lindsey and North Kesteven, where tenants are offered a house chosen for them by the council.

Housing officers say that the unified scheme will make it easier for applicants, giving them the power to choose the property, area and tenure they wish to live in.

Councillor Stewart Ogden, executive member for housing at NKDC, said: "The scheme has been designed as easy to use, with the highest level of customer service, and enables people to make the best choice for their needs from the full range of housing options available to them.

"It will be a fairer, more efficient and transparent way of letting the current supply of social housing.

"By widening the options for people and giving them a more active choice in where they live, we also hope that tenants will be more active in contributing to their neighbourhood.

"And by opening up the full range of properties available, we also hope to level out areas of high and low demand, prevent homelessness and reduce the use of temporary accommodation."

Lincs Homefinder was initially approved in August 2010 after extensive consultation between those on the housing register, tenants, support agencies and housing associations.

But "technical issues" with the development of an IT system means that there has been significant delays in implementing the new scheme.

Malcolm Parish, chairman of the Prosperous Communities Committee at West Lindsey District Council, said: "This has been a long time in coming forward but we were keen to make sure we developed the scheme as effectively as possible.

"What we have now is the opportunity for people to have a real choice in where they can live.

"This scheme is not only for would-be tenants but it is open to existing tenants who wish to change their current home.

"We are excited to be part of this scheme, which is a fantastic example of local authorities working together to improve services for all our residents."

And the City of Lincoln Council's strategic housing manager, Alison Timmins, added: "It will be a much more user-friendly system with better information for applicants.

"The key is that the partnership should make it easier for people to move within central Lincolnshire when they need to do so for work or personal reasons and will mean greater mobility for people across the three areas."

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  • Pete67  |  November 25 2012, 7:48PM

    Oldernwiser - I never said there would be 'Thousands more homes will be available to council tenants' - It's just what I read so in other words the same amount of houses, but advertised once instead of three times. Unless of course Government policy throws thousands of people out of their homes (which is quite likely under the Government's new rules).

  • Oldernwiser  |  November 25 2012, 5:51PM

    Sorry, Pete, but you seem to have got hold of the wrong end of the stick ...... Between them these three councils manage thousands of houses - but all affairs are entirely independent of each other. At the moment, if you want / need a house in the City of Lincoln you have to be on their list and search their (limited) availability. Then you might, perhaps, think that a house in one or other, (or both,) of the other districts would meet your needs and you have to do the same for each of them - a second search / application ....and possibly a third. Which is both time consuming and frustrating. As a result of this sensible amalgamation, in the future people will be able to access one combined list and thereby search /apply across each of the three councils at the one visit. There won't, of course, be more or fewer vacant homes in total .... but greater and simpler access for home hunters. I don't like many of the policies of the present government, particularly those which force people to move away from the family and friends, but we should remember that houses become vacant for many more reasons than eviction ..... tenants move away, or buy, or die for instance. And anything which makes finding a home simpler has to be applauded, don't you think?

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  • Pete67  |  November 25 2012, 1:34PM

    So all these thousands of houses are unavailable now? Maybe the thousands will be what people have been thrown out of by that time thanks to Government policies. Advertising the same thing once equals one, but it still only equals one if you advertise the same thing three times.

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  • Oldernwiser  |  November 24 2012, 7:08PM

    What a terrific idea .... well done.