Housing Allocations Scheme 2021

Closes 4 Apr 2021

Opened 11 Jan 2021

Overview

Summary and purpose

We are reviewing Havering’s Housing Allocations Scheme and need your help. Social housing is provided by social landlords – generally, local authorities or housing associations.

Demand for social housing in Havering significantly exceeds the number of properties available. In the financial year 2019-2020, only two in every 10 households on the housing register had a realistic prospect of securing social housing.

The Allocations Scheme sets out how the Council will prioritise access to the available housing in line with legislation and for the benefit of Havering residents.

The Council Housing Demand service has recently published our new Prevention of Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2020-2025 that makes our commitment to tackle homelessness and end rough sleeping by 2024. Havering are committed to advising and helping those who approach us in times of difficulty when they are at risk of homelessness or are already homeless.

The Housing Allocations Scheme applies to all new applicants, including homeless households, and to existing tenants transferring from one property to another. The purpose of this scheme is to clearly explain how Havering Council decides how available social housing is allocated and how we assess applications to the Housing Register.

It sets out the Council’s eligibility, qualifying, and housing need criteria to ensure priority is fairly assigned and allocated to households in the greatest need. It also sets out how the Council will enable access to other forms of affordable housing such as shared ownership and intermediate rented housing.

We value your knowledge and input, as residents, tenants, partners and staff of Havering; you know better than anyone how important it is that the Council’s Housing Allocations scheme is fair and transparent. 

We therefore welcome your comments and feedback. This consultation will be your opportunity to tell us your opinion on our proposed changes.

 

Amendments proposed to the previous Allocations Scheme

The aims of the revised Allocations Scheme are to:

  • ensure that we make the best possible use of the social housing stock;
  • provide housing that is suitable to the specific needs and requirements of households;
  • prioritise households that have been assessed to be in most need and/or to those who make a positive contribution to our community;
  • help build sustainable communities and neighbourhoods, and
  • Ensure social and affordable housing is allocated in a clear, fair and transparent manner.

The key changes we are proposing to make are as follows:

Qualification Criteria

  • 10 years continuous residency:
    In a change to the previous policy of 6 years, in order fulfil the Council’s qualification criteria to join the Housing Register, an applicant will be required to demonstrate a continuous residency of ten years in the borough of Havering.
     
  • 10 years residency exemption:
    Within this criterion, a residency exemption will be granted to applicants of refugee status or of traveller background of five years, provided they have resided in the borough for five years continuously, and can demonstrate a community contribution such as paid, unpaid or voluntary work in the borough or being a recognised carer for an elderly or disabled adult or child.
     
  • Income threshold:
    In a change to the previous policy, the gross income threshold for applicants has been raised from £36,000 to £50,000 with a savings cap of £16,000. This is proposed in recognition of the changing financial climate. Applicants who come above this threshold will not qualify to join the register.
  • It is proposed to change the savings limit to £30,000, based on the fact that people should be able to save up for a deposit for purchase without being penalised.

Banding Changes

  • There will be five bands. This will enable those that wish to move to be allocated to the best level of banding based on eligibility. This action will reduce the size of those in the current Community Contribution level 1 band.

Why we are consulting

We are consulting because seeking views on what you think of our proposed changes, or receiving information about how the proposals might affect you or someone you know, is really important in making sure that we have taken important evidence on board before making a final decision.

Give us your views

Audiences

  • Tenants
  • Landlords
  • Managing agents
  • Solicitors
  • Estate agents
  • Letting agents
  • Residents
  • Businesses
  • Communities

Interests

  • Tenants
  • Housing