In late March 2020, we suspended the letting of social housing using the Locata IT system because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As lockdown restrictions have started to be lifted, and following updated guidance from central government, we can now begin to re-advertise Ealing council properties, as well as homes provided by other registered housing providers.
From July, properties that are safe and ready to let will be available on the Locata system. This will allow interested applicants the chance to bid on available properties. As COVID-19 is still a threat, we have made some changes to the way properties can be viewed and let.
- Properties will be advertised in the normal way on Locata and applicants can bid for properties that meet their assessed housing need.
- Applicants will be shortlisted in the normal way, but only the highest-prioritised applicant will be invited to view the property.
- Where possible, we aim to offer virtual viewings – but this will not be possible for all properties. In those cases, a physical visit to the property will be the only option.
- For physical viewings of a property, the applicant will need to follow a strict and safe viewing process. Steps include:
- Maintaining social distancing throughout the viewing.
- Only the applicant (or joint applicants) can attend. A viewing will be cancelled and withdrawn if an applicant brings anyone else, including children, family or friends, to the viewing.
- You cannot ask another person who is not an applicant to physically view on your behalf.
- No physical viewings will take place if the applicant (or joint applicants) have any COVID-19 symptoms, or are self-isolating, quarantined, shielding or clinically vulnerable. You must tell the council officer who contacts you if you fall into any of these groups, as the property will have to be withdrawn. In practice, however, you should not bid for properties requiring a physical viewing if you should be staying at home.
- The usual refusal rules are unchanged, so please be careful when you bid for a property and are offered a viewing; not being able to attend will be classed as a refusal.
- If you view and accept, the council will work with you to arrange a tenancy start date and the moving-in process. Make sure you have removals and furniture ready as social lets are unfurnished and no white goods (i.e. fridges, or cookers) are provided.
Before properties are advertised once again, make sure you check your housing register application and ensure everything is correct. If you have any questions or queries regarding your housing application, please email the allocations and applications team on Locatahelp@ealing.gov.uk
Ealing Council will continue to monitor public health information and advice and reserve the right to suspend social lettings again if national guidance changes and/or if applicants do not adhere to the rules set out, as the council will not put its staff at risk.