Finding an affordable rented home
BFC my choice - housing allocation system
If you are looking for an affordable rented home in Bracknell Forest, you may be able to apply to join the BFC My Choice housing register.
To join the register you must:
- be eligible to live in this country and not subject to immigration control
- have lived in the borough continuously for 12 months or have been a member of the armed forces (or spouse) and apply for housing within five years of discharge
- have an identified housing need
BFC My Choice gives you the opportunity to:
- register for housing if you are resident in the borough and have lived here continuously for 12 months
- find out about housing association properties that are available for letting
- make a bid on a property you express an interest in
When you join the housing register, you will be placed into one of four bands, A to D, depending on your housing need. You will be advised which band you are in and the types of property you are able to bid on (depending on family size).
When a housing association property becomes available for letting, it is advertised on the BFC My Choice website. Each year, approximately 500 housing association properties become available for letting. You can bid on-line for appropriate vacancies. The three bids with the highest priority are sent to the housing association who will arrange a formal offer and viewing of the property.
Bidding for properties
Properties available to let are advertised on BFC My Choice every week, from Friday to midnight on the following Tuesday.
You can only bid on properties for which you match the advert requirements, please read the advert description carefully.
You can find property adverts by logging in to your account and selecting the 'search for properties' option. This will show you all the properties which are currently available that you are eligible to bid on.
You can place a bid by selecting the 'apply now' option. When you confirm your bid you will be told that your bid has been successfully placed and your current queue position will be shown. Your queue position may change during the bidding cycle as other people bid.
Affordable housing in Bracknell Forest is housing with sale prices or rent levels which are substantially lower than the current market price or rent. It's accessible to local people in priority housing need who can't afford adequate housing on the open market.
Affordable housing is provided by housing associations that are also known as registered providers (RP). We work in partnership with preferred RPs to deliver new affordable housing to meet local housing needs and encourage sustainable mixed communities. These are:
- Bracknell Forest Homes
- Thames Valley Housing Association
- Radian Housing Group
- Sovereign Housing Association
- Ability Housing Association
- One Housing Group
In addition to the preferred RP partners we also recognise and work with the following affordable housing providers as local partners for the delivery of affordable housing:
- Affinity Sutton
- Home Group
- Guinness Trust
- London & Quadrant
- Southern Housing Group
- Look Ahead Housing and Care
Types of affordable housing
Affordable rented housing
This is normally provided by an RP and the properties are advertised on BFC my choice, which is the council's choice-based lettings system. Applicants are nominated from the council's housing register for each property.
Some of these are low cost home ownership products. However, other products include intermediate rent which is when a property is at a rent level above affordable rent but below market rent. This type of accommodation is normally provided by an RP. There is a range of Homebuy products that enable applicants to have more choice and achieve home ownership. These can be found on the Homebuy website managed by Catalyst Housing Group.
Finding private rented homes
Renting from a private landlord can be the best option available for many people looking for housing in the borough.
Six to 12-month contracts between you and a private landlord (known as private tenancies, or tenancy agreements) can be repeatedly renewed and can provide stable accommodation if both you and the landlord are happy with the arrangement.
Types of accommodation in the private rented sector:
- shared flats or houses – you have your own room but share the kitchen, bathroom and/or living room with other people
- lodgings – a room in someone’s home
- self-contained flats, houses or studios – you will have your own kitchen and bathroom
Looking for private rented accommodation:
- internet: you may find the following websites useful - Houseladder, Gumtree; or search on “accommodation in Bracknell Forest”
- local newspapers
- supermarket advert boards
- letting agents
Financial help for private rented housing
If you need help with meeting the cost of a deposit for a privately rented property, the council may be able to help you with a rent deposit bond. To be eligible for a deposit bond:
- you must be resident in the borough and able to provide proof of this
- you should be homeless or threatened with homelessness
- priority will be given to households who have a priority need for housing under the homeless legislation
Not everyone will qualify for help under this scheme. If you are eligible for help with a deposit, a bond equivalent to one month’s rent for a property of a size that you are eligible for under the local housing allowance rules will be offered to your landlord. In some circumstances, additional help with rent in advance may also be available. For more information about the council's deposit bond scheme please contact the Housing Options team or visit us.