If you you are Band One on the bidding system for housing, do you have to accept it if you have not seen inside of property? My cousin is on list and she has been told if she bids on a property she has to accept it? she is 61 and losing her home of 57 years due to the death of my Auntie? what happens if this happens? Many thanks in advance for my knowledgable Forum Friends...
Depends where you live, Jan. Southwark operates "choice-based lettings" which means you're not obliged to accept a property you bid on, though if you continuously refuse properties they reserve the right to review and suspend as appropriate. Different councils operate different regimes. Portsmouth, for example, will deem that it has discharged its housing duty if the potential tenant refuses the offer.
One thing that remains is that, even if it is the particular council's policy that the property must be accepted, there will be a review process.
Credit where credit is due, Southwark is very good with its CBL. We were pipped to first place by a lady who had a disability and, even though she wanted the property, Southwark decided that the property wasn't suitable for her because it had stairs and made her a direct offer elsewhere.
Golden rule is to be very careful about what you bid on. Nothing to stop you going round and looking (obviously from the outside and through the windows, if it's empty) before bidding.
Thsnk you for that Gavin, my cousin lives in a small block of flats just outside southwarks boundaries, old kent road. My uncle died nearly thirty years ago and my aunt succeeded the tenancy, she died 18months ago leaving my cousin who suffers from Extreme anxiety and mental stress, she's a mental wreck with this going on ( she stayed at the same job for 37 years rather than go for an interview with anyone she did not know!) She saw a solicitor who in that time did not seem to be doing much, but I know caseloads can be vast concerning housing..
Gavin's advice to go look through the window is very good, and might make her less stressed if she can see it first, even just from the outside (and could talk to the neighbours). Often the builders working on it (if it needs repairs) will let you have a quick look around if you go during the working week. It is also right to say that she shouldn't bid on stuff she doesn't want. I think people just bid on anything as they are so desperate, but this is likely to be her home for a very long time, from the sound of it, so she shouldn't rush into anything.
Remember, if she has mental health problems you might be able to get extra help with bidding and can certainly use that as a reason to appeal. However, I don't think Lewisham are that different to Southwark in policy so maybe call them to ask.
In theory Zoe she is supposed to have a housing support worker, i have gone with her on several occasions and initially was council officers first point of contact because she could not handle answering the phone, or open letters. When my aunts died I went with her to housing office, they asked for bank statements, I had to sit there and open months of mail...trouble is Zoe I have a few problems myself and can't go with her every time, and was to frightened to bid for her in case it was the wrong property. It's so frustrating for someone like me who would bend over backwards to help anyone to be so limited nowadays ! Thank you Zoe.
Jan, I think you should ask for a social worker for her. Go back to the housing support worker and say you can't deal with this and need help. As you are worried about bidding on the wrong property I think you need to tell the support worker and ask if the general rule about limited number of bids could be waived for her, as she is so vulnerable. It's also worth going to her local councillor surgery and asking them to write in to emphasise how vulnerable she is.
If she is interested in sheltered housing you could get a list of all of them in Lewisham and go with her to visit (ask her support worker) which would then make it easier for you to bid, as it's on a much more limited set of properties.
You could also contact MIND or similar support group, who can provide advice.