Latest news

New bidding cycles for DKO from 4th April 2017

Published: Monday 20 March 2017

We are changing the way we advertise our properties on Durham Key Options.

We will now advertise properties from midnight on the same day we become aware they are (or will be) vacant. So if we have a vacant property on a Monday, we will advertise it from midnight that day for 6 days (so you will still have time to bid) and we will then contact successful applicants the following Monday (on the 7th day). This means we can quicken the time it takes to offer you homes that we know are available.

Our first new cycle will begin at midnight on Tuesday 4th April. See below table for our new cycles, starting 5 times a week:

Advertising cycle Shortlisting day
 Monday midnight - Sunday midnight Monday
Tuesday midnight - Monday midnight Tuesday
Wednesday midnight - Tuesday midnight Wednesday
Thursday midnight - Wednesday midnight Thursday
Friday midnight - Thursday midnight Friday


To guarantee you see all properties available each week you will need to:

  1. Visit our website on a weekend (as all cycles will be running at that time)


   2. Visit our website twice a week during the week (weekdays)

If you have any queries, please contact your local housing partner here.

Have you considered Durham Key Options HomeSwap?

Published: Monday 16 January 2017

Did you know that you could move home more quickly by registering for ‘HomeSwap’?

HomeSwap is a mutual exchange scheme available through Durham Key Options, which enables two or more tenants (with our 7 housing partners- Cestria, Dale and Valley Homes, Derwentside Homes, Durham City Homes, East Durham Homes, livin and North Star Housin) to switch homes.

By swapping tenancies with another household, you may be able to move more quickly – and this includes to homes outside of County Durham.

Available homes for exchange are advertised online here (tick 'Mutual Exchange' when searching).

For further information please go to our DKO HomeSwap page.

The Housing Benefit that you may receive in the future is changing

Published: Thursday 28 April 2016

From 1 April 2019, the way Housing Benefit [or the housing element of Universal Credit] is calculated will be changing.

What does it mean for me?

If you have signed a new or renewed tenancy from 1 April 2016 [1 April 2017 for supported accommodation tenancies] onwards, the amount of Housing Benefit [or the Housing element of Universal Credit] that you may receive from 1 April 2019 could be restricted.

This is because if you rent from a local authority, a registered housing association or other registered social landlord the amount of Housing Benefit [or the housing element of Universal Credit] you will receive will be capped to the relevant Local Housing Allowance rate for your household size that currently applies to private sector tenants. The Local Housing Allowance rates for your area can be found at

If you are under 35 years old and do not have any dependent children living with you, your eligible rent will be capped to a shared accommodation rate even if you do not share your home with anyone else.

Will I also have to pay for any spare rooms?

If you are of working age and have one or more extra bedrooms, your rent and any service charges used in the assessment of your Housing Benefit [or the housing element of Universal Credit] is already capped.

If the difference between your rent and the relevant Local Housing Allowance rate for your household is higher than the reduction for under-occupied bedrooms, only the cap will apply. Similarly, if the reduction for under-occupied bedrooms is higher than the relevant Local Housing Allowance rate for your household, only the reduction for under-occupied bedrooms will apply.

If you are of pension age, you will not receive a reduction in the rent used to assess your Housing Benefit for any under-occupied bedrooms but your rent will be capped to the relevant Local Housing Allowance rate for your household.

Please note – in all cases, you will only receive one reduction.

What do I need to do now?

If you sign a new tenancy or renew a tenancy after 1 April 2016 [1 April 2017 for supported accommodation] you will need to think about whether the rent you pay in the social sector is higher than that allowed for private rented sector tenants.

In particular, if you are in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit on or after 1 April 2019, you will need to consider how your will afford any shortfall in your rent. The website links above will help you to determine whether your rent is above the Local Housing Allowance rates for your area.

If you are unsure if this applies to you, please contact Durham County Council or your local landlord.

North Star: A change of name for Teesdale Housing Association

Published: Tuesday 26 April 2016

North Star has recently launched a new Company brand, bringing together the identity of North Star, Endeavour and Teesdale Housing Association.

Both Endeavour and Teesdale have a strong heritage of giving people so much more than a place to live, and this is something that’s set to continue under the new North Star brand.

What does this mean for tenants?

You can still expect the same high quality services and friendly staff that have helped make Endeavour and Teesdale great. You shouldn’t notice any change at all to the services you use, you’ll just see a new name, and a new look.

Looking for a new start this new year? Contact livin now!

Published: Monday 7 December 2015

livin currently have a variety of homes available in the Shildon and West Cornforth areas. These villages offer excellent links to nearby cities and towns such as Durham, Bishop Auckland and Darlington- as well as being close by to townships such as Spennymoor and Newton Aycliffe.

Register your interest or sign up before Christmas! New tenants with livin may also qualify for start up assistance offers, to help you with the cost of setting up your new home for the new year. If you are interested, please contact us directly on