Residents impressed by Birmingham Home Choice

By on 28/04/2010 in News

Phase one of Birmingham City Council's Home Choice service has been successfully rolled out and Birmingham residents are already seeing results.

Mrs Sandra Wighton, who said, “I'd been on the waiting list for about a year when I got the letter about Birmingham Home Choice. My daughter helped me use the website to look at the homes available, and I decided to place a bid. The following day, I got a phone call inviting me to view the flat.”

Following the viewing, Sandra was given first refusal.  “I snapped it up,” she said, “I was happy with the size and location - it's close to my daughter, so was ideal. Everything has happened so quickly!”

The scheme launched in February is open to people registered for housing with Birmingham City Council that are applying for 1 bedroom properties. Later in the year larger properties will be made available on the same system, replacing the traditional method in which properties are let by a housing officer.

Each week Birmingham Home Choice publishes a list of properties that are available to rent. Registered customers bid for the properties they are interested in, and the customer with the highest points rating based on need is given first refusal on the property.

The properties listed are a range of Council properties and some Housing Associations, including Midland Heart and Family Housing Association.

There is significant demand for housing in Birmingham and each year fewer and fewer properties become available for the Council to let to people needing a home. Birmingham Home Choice makes the system more transparent and allows residents to see what is truly available.

Adverts can be viewed through the dedicated website at www.birminghamhomechoice.org.uk, the property letter available at points across the City and, through Digi TV. Bids can be placed using the website, by telephone, Digi TV and text message.

Customers who are not able to use a computer at home can come along to the Birmingham Home Choice property shop on the ground floor at Central Library or use the internet for free at other libraries and access points across the city.

Elaine Elkington, Strategic Director of Housing and Constituencies at Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham Home Choice will offer tenants across Birmingham greater mobility, choice and flexibility when looking at their housing options. It gives them more power and control to make their own choice and this is a great new service that is already proving very popular.

As part of this new partnership with Midland Heart and Family Housing Association, we will also be advertising properties from other registered social landlords, with the Birmingham Home Choice website providing a central point of access for all customers.”

Michelle Musgrave, Customer and Communities Director at Midland Heart, said: “The ethos behind choice based lettings is to increase customer empowerment and provide them with the tools required to make fundamental decisions on where they live.

The results of the Urban Choice pilot were extremely positive and reflected increased levels of customer satisfaction. The new system will put customers firmly in the driving seat and allow them the freedom to take control of their future.”

Carmel McCarthy, Director of Homes and Neighborhoods at Family Housing, said: “We have been using Urban Choice to let our properties for a number of years and have seen the benefits a choice based lettings system offers to our customers, including more sustainable tenancies. We are hopeful that Birmingham Home Choice will extend these benefits and offer greater choice to more individuals and families across the City.”

For more information about Birmingham Home Choice, social housing tenants can visit www.birminghamhomechoice.org.uk, visit their local housing team or their local neighbourhood office.

Ends

Further information from Belinder Kaur Lidher on 0121 303 6969

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  1. mrs l fox says:

    i have been on homechoice for a while now and im not impreesed with the property offers.

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