What is the Housing Allocations Policy?
The Policy sets out how social housing is allocated through the Housing Register so local people with the greatest housing need are prioritised. It sets out who can apply to the Housing Register, how applications and Bandings are assessed and how properties are allocated. The updated Policy applies to all new applications after 1 May 2019. If you are an existing applicant, your application will automatically be moved onto the new Policy at your next Annual Review.
Why has the Policy changed?
The demand for social housing in the Sevenoaks District outweighs the number of properties available. The Policy has been updated to ensure social housing is allocated to local people with the greatest housing needs. The updated Policy also includes changes to national housing legislation, such as the Homelessness Reduction Act.
As an existing applicant, what should you do next?
You do not need to do anything as your existing application will automatically be moved onto the new Policy at your next Annual Review. The updated Policy will then apply to your existing application.
If your application is affected by the changes, including a change to your existing Banding, you may be contacted by the Housing Register Team to discuss this with you. You may be asked to complete a Change of Circumstances form, so the information held about your application is up to date, and this will enable your application to be re-assessed against the updated Policy. This includes all applicants who are currently in Band E as this Band no longer exists in the updated Policy.
The most significant changes are the new rules for bidding and refusing property offers. The Housing Register Team will continue to communicate with you to remind you about these changes, particularly ahead of your Annual Review.
If the updated Policy means you are no longer eligible for the Housing Register, because you do not have an identified housing need or a local connection, we will offer housing advice, including other housing options for you to consider.
Who can join the Register?
- People with an identified housing need (eligibility criteria applies)
- People with a local connection (eligibility criteria applies)
- Ex-armed forces personnel and people fleeing domestic abuse (as exempt from local connection criteria, subject to eligibility)
Changes to the local connection criteria
- Change made to income limits based on bedroom sizes. Now £30,000 for 1 bedroom need and £40,000 for a 2 or more bedroom need
- Local connection now includes close family members where the circumstances are that the applicant needs to give or receive essential care/support for the foreseeable future
- Minimum number of hours of employment added for a local connection for a variety of employment types
- Minimum number of hours added for a Community Contribution as a local connection
- Detailed description added for ‘unacceptable behaviour’ for Housing Register exclusions
Changes to Banding
- Applicants with no identified housing need and/or no local connection are excluded (previously Band E)
- Removal of Band E, Banding is now A to D
- Changes to Banding criteria for Bands A to D
- Banding for lower priority housing needs added to Band D
- Over 55 year olds with low housing need who need to move into older persons’ housing and have a local connection have been added to Band D (previously Band E)
- Applicants with a parish connection for Rural Exception Site Housing (subject to eligibility) moved into Band D (from Band E)
Bids and property offers – removal, or loss of priority Banding
- Applicants who refuse two offers of a suitable and reasonable property in a 12 month period (subject to some specific exceptions) will be removed from the Housing Register or lose priority banding
- Applicants who do not bid on any suitable properties in their chosen areas within a 12 month period (subject to some specific exceptions) will be removed from the Housing Register or lose priority banding
- In both cases mentioned above, the applicant will be unable to reapply to the Sevenoaks District Housing Register in the next 12 month period
- Details added about how to access homelessness and housing advice as part of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.
- A new section called ‘Your Information and Your Rights’ added to provide clear information to applicants about confidentiality, protecting and sharing of personal data and information.
For further advice
If you would like to discuss your application or have a query about the Policy, please contact the Housing Register Team on 01732 227000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are concerned about your housing situation or are at risk of homelessness, please contact our Housing Advice Team on 01732 227000 or email email@example.com.