Affordable Housing FAQ's
Q: How do I get onto the East Herts' Affordable (Social) Housing Register?
A: Anyone can register electronically for social housing in Buntingford via the EHC website, www.eastherts.gov.uk or Home Option website www.homeoption.org. Points are awarded according to housing need based on the criteria listed below.
Waiting Points, District Connection: Residence and Employment in East Herts, Bedroom Requirements, Statutory Overcrowding, Shared facilities, Poor housing condition, Lack of Facilities, Caravans and mobile homes, Limited Means, Children or pregnancy, Medical Assessment, Additional Preference, Armed Forces, Foster and adopters, No fixed abode, Security of accommodation, Social Factors
Q: What is the difference between Market and Affordable (Social) Housing?
A: Market Housing is all housing that is available to purchase on the Open Market whether it be new build or already built housing stock.
Affordable (Social) Housing is, in East Herts, owned by a number of housing associations. New tenants are nominated to new Affordable Housing or existing affordable homes either by EHC's Home Options team if they are for rent or via a "Help to Buy" organisation if they are Shared Ownership homes.
Q: How is Affordable (Social) Housing allocated in Buntingford?
A: All developers who build new houses in Buntingford and East Herts as a whole, are normally required to split their sites into the following proportions, at least 60% Market Housing and 'up to' 40% Affordable (Social) Housing. This split is recognised in the Council's Planning policies.
The Affordable (Social) allocation is then split into two sub-categories, Shared Ownership (25%) and Affordable Rented (75%).
The exact percentage of affordable housing achieved and split is dependent on viability assessment submitted with the Planning application.
When Affordable Housing is developed on private site a Section 106 legal agreement is signed between East Herts and the developer which states that the rented Affordable Housing must be allocated to people on East Herts Council's Housing Register.
During the build process the private developer will contact housing associations with regards to purchasing the affordable housing on the site. The sale of the Shared Ownership homes is administered in East Herts by Bedford Pilgrims Housing Association (BPHA). Anyone in the UK can register with BPHA but there are certain criteria that must be met for them to be allocated a house in this category.
The Affordable l Rented homes are managed by the successful Housing Association. At present the five main Housing Associations operating in East Herts are:
Riversmead – based in Hertford – www.riversmead.org.uk
Circle Housing South Anglia – based in Bishops Stortford - www.circle.org.uk
Aldwyck – based in Houghton Regis, Beds - www.aldwyck.co.uk
Paradigm – based in Chesham, Bucks - www.paradigmhousing.co.uk
High Town Praetorian – based in Hemel Hempstead - www.hightownha.org.uk
Anyone in the UK can register via Home Option www.homeoption.org to be placed on the housing register but the criteria for being allocated a house, is points based.
Q: How is it that people from outside East Herts are moving to Buntingford when our own residents can't get an Affordable (Social) house?
A: When Planning permission is granted on private developments in Buntingford, the new affordable housing is to meets District wide need. Anyone in the UK can register for housing through the East Herts website, Home Option www.homeoption.org and depending on the value of points allocated, based on circumstances, may be offered a house in Buntingford, if that is where they have indicated they would like to live. In practice only people with a connection to East Herts are allocated the affordable rented (non-elderly) accommodation because they meet the criteria for the award of local connection points.
Anyone can purchase an OPEN MARKET house in Buntingford. There may be some instances where a Housing Association may decide to purchase a block of housing from the OPEN MARKET allocation on a development and offer these to those who are registered on their housing list. The local council, be it EHC or Buntingford, has no control on who moves into these houses.
Q: How much would I be expected to pay per week for Affordable (Social) rented accommodation in Buntingford?
A: There is a maximum rent level operating in Buntingford at present but this may be subject to change
As a guide, for houses administered by a Housing Association in the northern part of East Herts the weekly rent payable is:
1 Bedroom - £122.36 per week
2 Bedrooms - £155.37 per week
3 Bedrooms - £186.46 per week
4+ Bedrooms - £238.80 per week.