Changes to housing allocations policyPublished Tuesday, 25th November 2014
The Council has changed the way it allocates Council homes to make it easier for local people who need a house to get one.
The changes follow a year-long consultation with a wide range of people. Feedback showed there were three main areas that people wanted to see change:
- Council houses should be for people in housing need
- Rotherham Council homes should be for local people
- Council tenants with breaches in their tenancy shouldn't be given another Council home.
Cabinet Member for Safe and Attractive Neighbourhoods Councillor Maggie Godfrey said: “It is over four years since the Council last reviewed the Allocation Policy. We have responded to what people told us so we now have a policy that only provides houses for people with a Rotherham connection and concentrates on allocating the limited housing stock to those people in greatest housing need.
“We want people to apply when they need a house; not as sometimes has been happening, many years in advance. We are also making the allocations policy fairer and more efficient so that people only bid for a property that they actually want.
“The concern was that unless the policy changed, the numbers of applicants would continue to grow, and that the majority of these people would in reality have little real chance of getting a home for the foreseeable future. So rather than waiting on the housing register for many years they will now be offered advice on what their future housing options are.”
There were 25,314 people on the housing register but only about 5,000 people were actually applying for houses. The vast majority of people who were registered just put their name on the waiting list in case they need housing in the future.
The changes mean that in order to qualify for the housing register in future, applicants will have to:
- Have lived in Rotherham for the last three years, or
- Been employed in Rotherham for the last three years, or
- Have a direct family member who has lived in Rotherham for the last three years (direct family members include spouses, civil partners, parents, sons, daughters, brother and sisters).
Applicants will not qualify if:
- They do not currently need to move home but have registered just in case they may need to move in the future
- They are a home owner with no assessed medical or affordability need
- They are a tenant of a private landlord with no assessed medical or affordability need
- They have savings over £16,000 and have no assessed medical need
- Their behaviour has been unacceptable, which makes them unsuitable to be a tenant
Everyone on the Housing Register has received a letter explaining the changes to the Allocation Policy and the reasons why the Council is making these changes. Applicants were asked to update their registration form to request to stay on the Housing Register.
We would urge applicants on the housing register to update their application as soon as possible. Customers will have up to March 2015 to update their application, after this date customers will need to reapply.
Once an application is updated the Council will write to advise whether applicants are still eligible for social housing and let them know which group they are in. If they are no longer eligible the Council will provide information on other housing options.
Cllr Godfrey added: "I'd encourage people who haven’t updated their application and need housing to make sure they contact Key Choices so we fully understand each person’s circumstances."
For more information on the changes and what they may mean to you go to the Key Choices website where you can view frequently asked questions or download the new Housing Allocation Policy.