Monday, 29 May 2017

Councils restrict access to housing waiting lists

Councils are preparing to bring in tough new allocations policies that will restrict access to their housing waiting lists.

Last week councillors in Newham, in east London, approved the Labour authority’s plans to make sure people have lived in the area for two years or have a ‘strong local connection’ to the area before they can go on the list.

They also agreed proposals that will give applicants who are in work greater priority than those who are unemployed, and to give current and former members of the armed forces the highest level of priority.

In west London, councillors in Hammersmith & Fulham Council will vote next week on some of the toughest proposals brought forward since councils were given greater freedom to set their allocation policies through the Localism Act.

These include introducing five-year fixed-term tenancies for all new tenants, with two year tenancies for under 25s, and a £40,200 cap on household income for anyone who wants to go on the waiting list.

Bournemouth Council has written to all 10,000 residents on its waiting list asking them to re-apply.

The applications will be assessed on the basis of revised criteria, including having a local connection, a clearly defined housing need, making a positive contribution to the community, and having been in the armed forces.

Robert Lawton, cabinet member for housing, said: ‘By making changes to the council’s allocations policy we can ensure that the housing register operates more efficiently as well as making it very clear to applicants from the outset the criteria expected and their chances of being re-housed.’

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