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Derby Homefinder

Frequently Asked Questions

If you cannot find the information you want in our Frequently Asked Questions let us know.  This will help us improve our website.  Contact us.

 

 

 

I have come to the UK from abroad, am I eligible for Social Housing?

Not everyone living in the UK can apply for social housing.

The rules about who is eligible for Social Housing can be very complicated and depends on your immigration status.

You can apply for Social Housing if:

  • you are a British citizen; living in the UK permanently and have not recently lived abroad (except if you are on an assignment with the British Armed Forces)
  • a citizen of another country with the right to stay in the UK with no restrictions on how long you can stay.

The rules about people from the EEA and other countries are complicated and not everyone is eligible for Social Housing.

Please visit the Shelter website to see if you are eligible for Social Housing before you complete your housing wizard.

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English is not my first language, what can I do?

Our website has Google translate.

If we need to speak to you, we can use language line which is a telephone translation service. 

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Can I get help to use the website?

If you need help to apply for housing or using the Derby Homefinder website, contact us.  Please ring us before visiting the Council House.

If you cannot telephone yourself, you can ask a family member or care/support worker to contact us on your behalf. We will need you to confirm that you are happy for us to talk to them due to the Data Protection Act. 

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Can I make the text bigger on the website?

Yes you can but this depends on what type of computer and internet software you are using.

  • Window PC, using Internet Explorer: Either click the View menu then click Text Size, then Larger or Largest, or hold down the Ctrl key and use the scroll wheel on your mouse to enlarge or shrink the text.
  • Apple Mac using Safari: Click View, then Make Text Bigger.

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What does CBL mean?

CBL means Choice Based Lettings.

CBL is a scheme where you need to choose which properties you want to live in by bidding for advertised properties. The CBL scheme for Derby is called Derby Homefinder.

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What is Derby Homefinder?

It is a partnership between Derby City Council, Derby Homes and most of the Registered Social Landlords (also known as Housing Associations) who have homes to rent in Derby. See a list of our partners.

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What is Social Housing?

Social Housing is accommodation provided at lower rents and on a secure basis to eligible people in housing need. In Derby, Social Housing is provided by Derby Homes and several Registered Social Landlords.

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What does Social Housing CBL mean?

This is housing that is only available to people who are registered on the Derby Homefinder Housing Register and placed in the Emergency or Housing Needs Band.

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Can I join the Derby Homefinder Housing Register?

To join the Derby Homefinder Housing Register you need to be all the following:

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How do I apply for Social Housing?

For help applying for Social Housing see the flow chart below and the Housing Options Wizard and New Household and Social Housing Application hints and tips documents.

 

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Do I need to provide any documents?

Social Housing CBL applicants will need to provide verifications documents before they can go on the Derby Homefinder Housing Register. These must be original or certified copies of originals, up to date and valid. If you do not provide the required documents we will not be able to register you for Social Housing CBL.

If you are made a provisional offer you may be asked to provide verification documents before the offer is confirmed. The landlord will tell you what they need to see when they contact you.

They will also carry out checks, to confirm that:

  • your circumstances are still the same
  • you are an eligible person for social housing
  • you do not have outstanding tenancy related debt or have caused anti-social behaviour.

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How will my application to join the Derby Homefinder Housing Register be assessed?

We will assess your application in line with the Derby Homefinder Allocations Policy

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What does Social Housing Open to All (OTA) mean?

These are properties that any eligible person can apply for. You do not have to be on the Derby Homefinder Housing Register to bid for them.  See the Derby Homefinder Allocations Policy

People on the Derby Homefinder Housing Register will always take priority over Open to All applicants.

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Why is it better to be able to apply for CBL rather than OTA properties?

Even though it takes a little more time to process your application to join the Derby Homefinder Housing Register it is worthwhile because you will have a wider choice of properties, come higher on shortlists and stand a better chance of being housed.

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What is the difference between CBL and OTA Social Housing?

Social Housing CBL – properties that have been advertised to people who are on the Derby Homefinder Housing Register.

Social Housing OTA – properties that have been advertised to people who are on the Derby Homefinder Housing Register (CBL) and Open to All (OTA) applicants. Derby Homefinder Housing Register applicants take priority over Open to All applicants.   

You will have more choice and stand a better chance of getting housed if you are on the Derby Homefinder Housing Register and bidding on CBL properties rather than just bidding on Open to All properties.

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How do Login Numbers work?

You are given a Login Number to use with your memorable date when you first register on our website, these create your individual login information.

You should always use the same login as

  • any information you give us is kept together
  • you do not need to "start again", if your details change you update the existing online forms
  • your login number remains active even if you are housed or your application is closed.

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I have forgotten or need to change my Login number what do I do?

Derby Homes tenants contact your landlord. Other applicants  contact the Housing Options Centre.

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Where can I get a copy of the Allocation Policy from?

You can view a copy of our  Allocations Policy on our website.

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What if I am homeless or threatened with homelessness (for example given Notice by your present landlord)?

Contact us urgently if you are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

We will try and prevent you from becoming homeless. Our housing advisors will work with you and any relevant agencies to stop you from losing your home.

We will ask to see a copy of the original tenancy agreement and the Notice along with any other correspondence you have received.

Out of Office Hours

If you are homeless tonight, have nowhere to stay and the office is closed use the out of office hours phone numbers.

Start Bidding on Social Housing OTA Properties

Register an Online Application so you can bid on Social Housing OTA properties while your application to go on the Housing Register and bid on Social Housing CBL properties is being assessed.

 

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What if my circumstances have changed and I need to update my Housing Register Application?

It’s very important that you tell us of any changes in your circumstances. This is because it may affect the types and size of properties that you can bid on and makes sure we have up to date contact details.

Please update your application on line. Login, on the Login/Your Status page, select My Social Housing and follow the link to update your social housing form.

Some examples of changes that we need to know about are:

  • change of address
  • people leaving or joining your household
  • change of contact details; telephone number, email address
  • you become pregnant
  • you have had a baby

For all other changes, for example you have a medical problem that is made worse by where you are living please contact us for advice.

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I am suffering from domestic violence and need to move out

You can get help by calling one of the national helpline numbers

  • DV Helpline number (Refuge helpline) 08082000247
  • National Mens Adv Line –08000198668
  • Male helpline (SAM) - 08088010327

If you need help with re-housing contact us.

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What should I do if I cannot afford my rent?

If you receive certain Department of Work and Pension benefits such as Income Support, Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Jobseeker’s Allowance or you work but are on a low income, you may be able to claim Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

LHA is for private rented sector tenants and pays for accommodation charges. It doesn’t cover heating, lighting, food that may be included in your rent.

LHA is calculated on the number of rooms you and your family need. Before agreeing to take on a private tenancy, you should check the amount of LHA you will get so you know that you can afford to live in the property. You can check your entitlement to LHA on the www.gov.uk website.

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit are national benefits that local councils pay out on behalf of the government. Derby Benefits works out these benefits for people who live in Derby.

Housing Benefit is a benefit based on your income that gives help towards Social Housing tenants rent.

Council Tax Benefit is a benefit based on your income that gives help towards your Council Tax.

You can apply for Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and LHA at www.derby.gov.uk

For further general advice, you can also contact:

Derby Advice

Derby Advice provides free, confidential and independent advice on all welfare benefits including Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit, Pension Credit, Employment Support Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payments plus Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit and on any money/debt problems and on budgeting.

Contact us on 01332 643394 or 643395

Or look at website www.derby.gov.uk/advice-and-benefits/welfare-rights-and-financial-advice/

Citizens Advice and Law Centre

Offers information and advice on consumer, debt, employment, welfare benefits advice, www.calcderby.org.

Telephone: 01332 228711 (General Enquiries) 01332 228700 (for Assessments) or 01332 228748 (One Advocacy Derby)

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What does bidding mean?

A ‘bid’ is your way of telling us that you would like to be considered for a particular property which is being advertised.

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How do I bid for a property?

Login to the Derby Homefinder website and follow the instructions document.

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Why have I been allowed to bid for a property which is larger/smaller than my Minimum/Maximum bedroom eligibility?

Sometimes landlords may choose to extend eligibility criteria to allow applicants to bid for a property which has more or less bedrooms than they can usually bid for.  This is usually because of the property type or size. 

The Marketing Text on the property advert will state that the eligibility criteria has been extended.

The landlord will decide if the property will be offered to an applicant who does not meet the usual eligibility rules for the property.

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Bidding on Social Housing CBL properties?

You can only bid for properties advertised to Social Housing CBL if you are on the Derby Homefinder Housing Register and are in the Emergency Band or Housing Needs Band.

You will be only be able to bid for properties that match your Band and eligibility criteria. This means the type and size of property you qualify for.

You can bid for up to three Social Housing CBL properties in a rolling seven day period. For example:

  • if you bid for 3 properties on one day you will have to wait a clear 7 days before being able to bid again, then you can make 3 more bids
  • if you bid for 1 property on one day and then bid on 2 properties 3 days later, you will have to wait a clear 7 days from the bid on the first property, then you can bid for 1 more property. After a clear 7 days from the second 2 bids you will get those bids back to use again.

When the advertising cycle has closed we create a shortlist of all the bids made and prioritise them by band, number of needs and length of time on the register.

 You can also bid on Social Housing OTA properties.

 

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Bidding on Social Housing OTA properties?

On the Social Housing OTA scheme you can bid for as many properties as you are eligible for.

When the advertising cycle has closed we create a shortlist of all the bids made and prioritise them by Housing Register Band, number of needs and length of time on the housing register. OTA applicants will be at the bottom of the shortlist in oldest application date order.

For further information, please see our Derby Homefinder Website Basic Instructions and our Top tips for bidding

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Top tips for bidding

 See our top tips for bidding document.

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Sometimes I can bid on properties which are larger/smaller than I am eligible for

Occasionally a landlord may decide to:

  • consider applicants who would under occupy a property.  Only bid on these properties if you can afford to pay the rent.
  • advertise larger properties to applicants who have more family members than would normally be considered for the number of bedrooms in the property

these properties will be offered to applicants who would make best use of them.

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Can I withdraw a bid?

The only way to get a bid back is to withdraw it. You can remove and change your bids at any time up until the close of each properties advertising cycle. You can do this by following the instructions below:

Login to Derby Homefinder on the ‘Login/Your Status’ page and select the ‘My Bids’ tab.

  • In the ‘Current Bids’ section at the top of the page, you will see all the bids you have placed this week.
  • To remove a bid, click into the ‘Withdraw’ box against the bid you want to remove so that a tick shows.
  • Click on the ‘Withdraw bids’ button of the bottom of the section.
  • The screen will refresh showing the bids you have withdrawn in a green box at the top of the page.

If you need to help to withdraw a bid contact us

Remember: bids can only be withdrawn from properties that are currently being advertised.

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Why does my position on the shortlist change?

Your position may change if people with a higher priority than you bid for the same property.

You can check your position on shortlists by going to the My Bids page. If you are not near the top you may withdraw your bid and use it on another property.

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What happens after the advertising cycle has closed (shortlist order, offers, skipping/bypassing)?

When the advertising cycle has closed we create a shortlist of all the bids made and prioritise them by Housing Register Band, number of needs and length of time on the housing register. If OTA applicants can bid on a property they will be at the bottom of the shortlist in oldest application date order.

Available properties will usually be offered to the bidder who has the highest priority for housing. However, being at the top of the shortlist does not guarantee you an offer. It only means that the Derby Homefinder Landlord will consider you for housing.

You may be bypassed for a number of reasons. For example:

  • you are already on offer for another property
  • you have rent arrears and you are not making regular payments
  • you have caused anti-social behaviour and cannot show that your behaviour has changed
  • your circumstances have changed and you are no longer eligible for the property
  • you will not make best use of the adaptations in the property
  • you may be bypassed if an applicant further down the shortlist needs ground floor accommodation and you do not
  • in some cases the Derby Homefinder Landlords together with Derby City Council, may decide to let properties within a local area or new development on a slightly different basis than normal. This would be done to create sustainable communities. These are called Local Letting Plans (LLP).

The Derby Homefinder Landlords are always responsible for offering and allocating properties. If you have been bypassed and do not agree with the reason why contact the landlord.

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Where did I come on a shortlist?

If you want to know where you came on any shortlist go to the Login/Your Status page on the website, click on the ‘My Bids’ box. This page will show all the bids you have placed in the last 30 days and your position on the shortlists. The properties showing in the ‘Current Bids’ section are still being advertised and your position on these shortlists may change if applicants with higher priority than you apply for the property during the advertising cycle.

To view bids that are over 30 days old, use the link ‘Click here to view all historic bids’ at the bottom of the page. Select the year from the drop down menu and then select the month for which you want to view the bids.

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What does ‘processed’ and ‘match suggested’ mean?

If you are in the ‘My Bids’ section when you are logged in to the website and the shortlist status is ‘being processed’ this means that the property is not currently on offer and it is waiting for the Derby Homefinder Landlord to process the shortlist.

If you are ‘match suggested’ this means that the landlord is considering your application. There is no guarantee that you will be offered this property as the landlord may be carrying checks. For example: checks for outstanding tenancy related debt or anti-social behaviour. Some Derby Homefinder Landlord’s offers have to be authorised by a manager.

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What is an unreasonable refusal?

Property adverts contain specific details such as if pets are accepted, if there are communal gardens or there is no garden etc. We expect you to read this information before you place a bid.

If you turn down a property because of a feature clearly described on the advert this is considered an unreasonable refusal. For example:

  • you have a pet and you have bid for a property where pets are not allowed
  • you do not want to live in an area and you have bid for a property there
  • you want your own garden and have bid for a property with no garden or a communal garden
  • you do not want to live in that type of property and you have bid for that property type
  • you are unable, or not ready, or cannot afford to move

If you are in the Housing Needs Band and unreasonably refuse 3 offers of housing your Derby Homefinder Housing Register application will be closed and your housing needs removed. You will become a Non Qualifying person for 6 months and will only be able to bid for Open to All properties. At the end of a six-month period, you can reapply to go on the Derby Homefinder Housing Register.

If you do not respond to an offer of housing your application will be closed and you will not be able to bid for any properties including Open to All properties.

This does not apply

  • if you are in the Emergency Band as different rules apply. This is explained in your homeless acceptance letter.
  • if the bid was placed automatically on your behalf by the Derby Homefinder system.

You can request a review on the decision made regarding an unreasonable refusal by contacting us.

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How long after bidding closes will it be before the landlord contacts an applicant to offer them the property?

Timescales vary between different landlords and landlords will offer properties as quickly as they can. Sometimes they cannot do this as quickly as they would like.

Derby Homes aim to offer a property within three days of the shortlist closing.

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How long will it take to be offered a property?

There are always more people that want housing than there are homes available.

It’s very difficult for us to say if or when applicants will receive an offer of housing. This depends on:

  • the number of people on the Housing Register and in housing need
  • the number of people wanting the type and size of property in the same area
  • the number of empty properties available to rent

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What happens if I’m offered a property?

If a Derby Homefinder Landlord offers you a property, they will contact you by phone and then send you an ‘offer letter’ to confirm this.

It’s important to remember that you have only three working days from the date on the letter to contact the Derby Homefinder Landlord to accept or turn down their offer. If you do not contact the Landlord, they will assume you no longer wish to be re-housed and will close your Derby Homefinder application. This means that you will not be able to bid for any more properties advertised on Derby Homefinder.

The Derby Homefinder Landlord is always responsible for offering and allocating properties.

You won’t automatically be offered a property – you’ll need to keep looking on our website and bid for any suitable properties.

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Getting ready to move into your new home?

Paying your rent

In most cases, you will not qualify for Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance if you do not move into the property straight away. The Council will only be able to pay from the date that you actually move into the property. If you do not move in straight away, it’s your responsibility to pay the rent. If you do not pay, this will result in rent arrears and action being taken against your tenancy

 

Help with furniture

While you are waiting to receive an offer of permanent housing, it’s useful to start planning ahead for the essentials you will need to live in your home.

If you’re on a low income you can sometimes get help or low cost items of furniture from the Local Assistance Scheme

If you have been offered a Derby Homes property, visit the Derby Homes website for help and advice if you are on a low income.

 

Low cost loans

If you need to borrow money to buy essential items we recommend that you avoid using unauthorised lenders or ‘loan sharks’ and expensive lenders like Shopacheck. Instead, why not consider the Derbyshire Community Bank.

If you save with Derbyshire Community Bank for up to 12 weeks you can apply for a low cost loan of up to three times the amount you have saved. For example, if you have saved £50 you may borrow up to £150 to buy an essential item.

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I can’t get housed via Derby Homefinder and am looking at private landlords

Other options are to look at privately-rented accommodation. You can find out about these by:

  • looking at the ‘Properties to Rent’ section on the Derby Telegraph website
  • contacting local lettings agencies online or by phone
  • look at the Private Renting page on our website

If you are on a low income and find a private property to rent, you may be able to get help through the Bond Assurance Scheme.

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What if I’m not happy with a decision made about my Derby Homefinder application?

The Housing Act 1996, as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002, gives you the right to ask for a review if we:

  • decide not to allow you to join the Housing Register, or
  • make any decision that affects your housing application.

You can ask for a review about a decision we have made about your application if you can show we have:

  • made a mistake
  • failed to take into account a relevant fact, or
  • taken into account an irrelevant fact in assessing your application.

You must provide all the relevant information for us to consider as part of the review process.

You, or your representative, should make your request to the Housing Advice Manager at Housing Options in writing, within 21 days of getting our written decision. If it’s difficult for you to give us your reasons in writing, you or your representative may tell us in person.

For more information, see the Right to Review document.

 

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What is happening about my request for medical need?

After a medical form has been completed we will assess whether you are eligible for this need. If you have a complex Medical Need this will be assessed by our Medical Panel. The Medical Panel meets every fortnight but due to the large number of requests a decision can take several weeks.

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What happens if I need an adapted property?

Adapting your current property

  • Derby Homes tenants contact your landlord, visit their website
  • Housing Association tenants contact their own landlord for advice
  • Owner occupiers, private tenants and other applicants visit the Derby City Council website for information on available help

 

Adapted properties through Derby Homefinder

If you have a physical disability, we may refer to Social Services for an Occupational Therapist assessment. You will need to give your consent for this. Social Services will contact you via telephone to arrange this.

Adapted properties are advertised on the Derby Homefinder and are categorised depending on the level of adaptations. When we assess your application we will tell you what category of adapted properties you are eligible for. You cannot bid for properties that have a higher adaptation level than you need.

The categories are:

Category A – Properties suitable for someone in a wheelchair

Category B – Properties with some adaptations, for example, a stair lift and shower

Category C – Partially adapted and/or can be adapted, for example a property with a shower

Category Z – all other properties

There is a shortage of fully-adapted properties in Derby, especially for families. Even if you have a high priority for housing, you may have to wait a long time to be offered an adapted property.

Derby Homefinder Landlords aim to make best use of adapted properties and will offer them to the person who will make best use of the adaptations.

We understand how important it is to be near friends, family and support services but if you limit your areas and the landlords you want housing with, it may be difficult for us to help you even if you have a high priority for housing.

Very occasionally you may be contacted by a landlord directly if they have a property that they think would meet your needs.

If you are an owner occupier or private tenant living in a property that is no longer suitable because of a mobility problem or a physical disability, contact the Council’s Screening and Assessment Unit on 01332 640777. They will advise you if a Disabled Facilities Grant is an option so you can stay where you are.

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Is there help available for vulnerable applicants?

If you struggle to bid for properties our auto bidding system may help you. Our computer will put in one bid each week taking into account your eligibility, preferred areas and property types if there is a suitable property being advertised. If you want auto bidding setting up please contact us.

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What is a Mutual Exchange?

If you are a Derby Homefinder Landlord tenant living in Derby city boundaries, you may qualify to advertise your property for a Mutual Exchange on Derby Home Swap. See How to Use Derby Home Swap for more information.

If you find someone who is interested in swapping properties with you they will want to look round your home, you may find our Top tips for showing your home useful.

If you find someone who is interested in swapping properties with you, you will want to look round their home; you may find our Safety First when Viewing a Property useful.

If you have filled in an online Mutual Exchange form and ‘being processed’ is showing at the top of the Mutual Exchange page, this means that you are waiting for your landlord to process your application. The landlord will decide if you can advertise your property for an exchange. For further details, please contact your landlord.

‘Home Swapper’ is a national scheme that lets other council and housing association tenants know you would like to exchange your home. Visit the Home Swapper website for more information.

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I am a private landlord with a property to let

Derby City Council does not rent properties from private landlords but we can take details of your property and pass these on to prospective tenants.

We need information about you and your property please contact us.

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My property is in poor repair what can I do?

 If your property is in disrepair now or in the future:

  • Derby Homes tenants contact your landlord
  • Housing Association tenants contact their own landlord for advice
  • Owner occupiers, private tenants and other applicants visit the Derby City Council website for information on available help

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