The whole process from applying for your new home to signing your tenancy agreement can be found below.
- Applying for a home to rent
If you are interested in moving into an Aster home, you will need to place your name on the local council’s housing register. We get our customers for our homes from the local authority. You'll usually have to bid through a choice-based lettings scheme.
Once you’ve registered, you’ll need to look at the adverts that come out every week and bid on the properties you are interested in. Please make sure you only bid on properties that you are interested in moving to and for which you are eligible.
- Before you start bidding
Moving home can be very expensive so we recommend that you start putting some money to one side. For example, as well as hiring a van or paying a removals company, you’ll need to pay approximately one month’s rent in advance; even if you are on housing benefit.
If you're setting up home for the first time, you'll need to think about what you'll have to buy such as curtains, carpets and white goods.
Start putting some money to one side now and please don’t borrow money from high interest lenders or take out door stop loans.
- What happens when my bid is successful?
When the advert closes, the local council will create a short list. They will send Aster the details of the person that they would like to be offered the property.
If you want to know where you have come on a short list you need to contact the local council.
Remember, even if you are nominated to us by the local council, Aster gets the final say whether you're offered the property.
- What happens after I am nominated?
We’ll get in touch with you and arrange to do some checks to make sure we’re able to offer you the property. This will include checking your current circumstances and household details, including your income.
In general, as long as you don’t have a history of rent arrears, anti-social behaviour and the property is suitable for your needs, then we are likely to offer you one of our homes.
- What we need from you
As part of the process we will need:
- Proof of identity for the whole household; including photographic proof for the main applicant(s)
- Proof of your national insurance number
- Proof of your household income and savings
- Your current landlord contact details, if you have one
- Your support plan, if you have one
- One month's rent in advance
We need to see how much money you have coming into your household to check that the rent is affordable. The amount of rent you need to pay should not be more than 35% of the total money coming into your home. When we work this out, we take into account any help you might get from housing benefit.
If you are moving to one of our properties and you are not a current tenant with Aster, you can ask housing benefit for help with paying both rents if there is an overlap of tenancies. They will only pay from the date you say you move in to your new home.
- Viewing the property
Once all the checks have been completed, we’ll book an appointment with you to show you around the property. We'll usually do this after we've done our checks, but occasionally we'll show you around beforehand. Please don’t view the property without us.
Once you've viewed the property, please let us know if you would like it. You may have decided before the viewing if you want to refuse or accept the property. In either case, please tell us of your decision as quickly as possible.
If you do refuse the property, we'll ask why. We’ll then let the local council know.
If you accept the property, we’ll get the property ready for you and make sure it meets our lettable standard and arrange a time for you to sign a tenancy agreement.
- Rent in advance
We ask you to pay approximately one month’s rent in advance, even if you are on housing benefit. The property advert will tell you how much the weekly rent is, so you can work out how much rent in advance you need to pay.
You will only be able to sign the tenancy agreement and take the keys to your home once the rent in advance has been paid.
- Signing the tenancy agreement
After you accept the property we’ll arrange an appointment for you to sign the tenancy agreement. You’ll need to provide proof that you have paid the rent in advance.
We recommend that you take a moment to look through the tenancy agreement. Please make a note of any questions you have so you can ask them at the sign up appointment.
- What if we say no?
If we can’t offer you the property, we’ll let you know why. You can appeal this decision, but you'll need to act quickly.
- Other things to consider
- Contents Insurance – Aster Group insures the building but we don’t insure your belongings. We recommend you obtain contents insurance. You can get contents insurance from the National Housing Federation. Aster doesn’t receive any commission if you take out insurance with this scheme. There are other providers of contents insurance.
- Credit score - in the past paying your rent on time hasn’t counted towards improving your credit score. We have joined the Experian Rental Exchange scheme to help our tenants enhance their credit score.
- My Account – sign up to My Account on our website. This is the easiest way to pay your rent, report a repair and update your personal details.
- Heating Instructions –a guide to how to operate the heating in your home.
- Help with paying your rent – you may be entitled to claim housing benefit for help with paying the rent. To find out if you can claim, you need to apply to your local council. You can also visit our welfare reform page for more information on government changes to benefits and universal credit.
- Universal Credit – You may get help with your housing costs through Universal credit rather than housing benefit. Click on the link for more information. We recommend that you register with one of the verification services to speed up any claim you may need to make.