Frequently Asked Questions

I'm homeless will the council provide me with temporary accommodation? 

Possibly, it depends of what your circumstances are and if you're in priority need. 

I'm not in priority need does this mean the council won't help me?

Being non priority means South Somerset District Council (SSDC) does not have a duty to provide you with temporary accommodation. Regardless of your priority we will still provide you with the appropriate advice and assistance to resolve your housing situation. If you think you are priority need, please speak to a member of the team. 

Can I make an appointment to see a Housing Officer? 

Due to limited appointment slots we can only offer appointments to those who are homeless or threatened with homelessness and who we deem to be in priority need (see above). Additionally if your query is concerning your Homefinder application a Housing Officer will not be able to assist you and it may be better for you to speak to a Housing Advisor.

Can I register as homeless/make a homeless approach? 

Anyone who is homeless or threatened with homelessness can make homeless approach. This will mean SSDC will make a decision based on your circumstances on what assistance you're entitled to from SSDC. It is not always necessary to have an appointment as whoever is on the front desk can advise you of what assistance we can give you. 

Why won't SSDC do anything to help me resolve my homelessness? 

We ensure that everyone who approaches SSDC for assistance is given the correct and up-to-date advice on what they can do to resolve their homelessness. If you feel the advice you have been given has been inadequate please refer to our 'complaints and appeals' leaflet.

Am I eligible for the bond scheme? 

If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness we may be able to assist you in to securing privately rented accommodation. Please speak to a member of the Housing Options Team for details. 

I've found a property that is over the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) will SSDC provide the bond and I pay the rest as a top up? 

Unfortunately not, there may well be a small amount over the LHA that a Housing Officer would agree to but this depends on whether the accommodation is affordable. Our bond scheme is guided by Housing Benefit and although you may be in work, not reliant on any benefit and feel you can afford the top up, we have to ensure that if you were to lose that source of income you would still be able to afford to pay your rent through claiming Housing Benefit. 

What do you mean I have no local connection? 

If you are advised you have no local connection this means you may benefit from approaching another local authority for assistance. This is usually because you do not live in the South Somerset area, have a close relative who has lived in the area for the last 5 years continuously, work in the area or have another special reason to approach SSDC for assistance. 

Will the Council pay my rent? 

Any queries regarding Housing Benefit need to be dealt with by the Benefits Team at the main council offices at Brympton Way. At the Housing Advice Centre we can provide you with basic advice on the maximum amount you may be entitled to (known as the Local Housing Allowance) and issue Housing Benefit forms. We cannot process these applications or take any evidence of support of your claim. If we can't help you, we'll direct you to the people who can.

I'm now homeless, why am I not in Gold band? 

Gold banding is given to those who SSDC have accepted as having a homeless duty towards. Unfortunately simply being homeless is not enough to warrant gold banding. If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness please speak to a member of the Housing Options Team. For more information on each bands criteria please see our 'Your guide to expressing an interest for a home' leaflet. 

How long do I have to be in a particular band before I get moved up? 

The banding you are given reflects your current housing circumstances and not something you achieve over time. Each band has a set of specific criteria and if you do not fall into one of those categories you will not be allocated that band. If there has been a change in your circumstances such as moving address or the arrival of another child please speak to a member of the team to ensure you are in the correct banding and been assessed to need the correct number of bedrooms. For more information on each bands criteria please see our 'Your guide to expressing an interest for a home' leaflet. 

I've been on the housing register for some time now, why haven't I been housed? 

Due to the lack of social housing it can take a while to be housed and we would encourage you to use all three of your expression of interests each week to maximise your chances. If there has been a change in your circumstances such as moving address or the arrival of another child please speak to a member of the team to ensure you are in the correct banding and been assessed to need the correct number of bedrooms. 

I was first on the shortlist for a property, when will the Housing Association call me? 

We don't know.  Once the shortlist has been decided it then gets reviewed by the Housing Association who own the property, who will then decide on the allocation. This process can take quite a while if there are existing tenants occupying the property or there is renovation work that needs to be done. Any queries regarding a specific property should be directed towards the Housing Association that owns the property. 

I feel I'm in the wrong band, can I appeal? 

Yes you can. Please refer to our 'complaints and appeals' leaflet. 

I'm not able to place an expression of interest/There are no properties this week 

You can only place an expression of interest during the time the lists are open which is from midnight on a Wednesday to 1 minute before midnight on Sunday. If you are trying to place an expression of interest on a Monday or Tuesday you will not see any properties as the shortlists on any given week open on Wednesday. 

Alternatively you may be 'match suggested' which means the Housing Association is considering your application. Whilst you are match suggested you will not be able to place an expression of interest on any other property. 

If you have a fairly high bedroom calculation it is possible there is simply no properties available that match the number of bedrooms you need. We would encourage you to look each week to see if one does become available. However, we are unable to tell you when this will be likely. 

On my application I stated I wanted to live in Yeovil but all I'm seeing is properties in Taunton. 

When your application has been assessed you will be able to see all available properties within the Homefinder Somerset area for which you are eligible to place an expression of interest. Properties can only be advertised if they become available. If you are seeing no properties in Yeovil the reason is simply because there are no properties that week for which you are eligible to place an expression of interest.

I make sure I place an expression of interest every Wednesday at 1 minute past midnight and I still haven't been offered, why? 

Unfortunately the Homefinder Somerset system does not operate on a first come first serve basis. Any shortlist will be compiled based on what band you're in and then the amount of time you have been that band. There is no need to place your expression of interest so early. 

Do I have to use my expression of interest/bid?

No, you should only express an interest/bid on properties which are suitable for you and you would like to move to. We advise applicants to check the cycle on a weekly basis.