Bill to create ‘premier league’ for housing allocation
Homeless families would only get priority access to social housing if they pass a ‘good citizenship’ test under proposals introduced to parliament this week.
Labour MP Frank Field has introduced a private members bill designed to create a ‘premier league’ for the allocation of social housing.
At present households who fall into any of six categories get priority access to social housing. These include being homeless or threatened with homelessness, and in unsanitary or overcrowded conditions.
Under Mr Field’s proposed law, households that are deemed to be good citizens would receive additional credit. ‘Good’ households that meet one of the six categories would get priority over other households that also meet the current criteria.
In a comment piece for Inside Housing Mr Field suggested good citizens who do not fit into the priority categories could even get preference over other households that do meet the existing criteria.
‘Homeless families, who now take priority, would only have priority status if they also pass the good citizenship test. Otherwise they will have to choose after hard working families have made their choice,’ he stated.
The bill would also require housing associations to tell potential tenants about the behaviour of any current tenants in neighbouring properties. In parliament Mr Field argued that homeowners selling a property have to state if there have been any problems with anti-social behaviour, and social tenants should receive the same protections.
He said there have been ‘underhand moves’ by housing associations in his Birkenhead constituency to place ‘neighbours from hell’ next to good tenants. His bill would give tenants the right to be consulted if there are problems with potential neighbours, and a right to object and have ‘legal redress’ if problems occurred.
The Housing (amendment) Bill had its first reading on 24 January and is scheduled to have its second reading on 30 March. As this is a Friday, when parliament is unlikely to be sitting, it will have to be moved to make any progress, although Mr Field has pledged to reintroduce the bill if necessary.