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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 19/06/2006
Draft Housing Allocation Scheme 2006






















WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

DRAFT

HOUSING ALLOCATION SCHEME

2006






1. INTRODUCTION

This document sets out contains Waverley Borough Council’s Housing Allocation Scheme as required by s.167 of the Housing Act 1996. It identifies the priorities that the Council will follow in the letting of its own Council stock and those Registered Social Landlords (RSL’s) properties to which it has nomination rights.

In drawing up this scheme the Council has consulted with the Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) with which the Council has nomination arrangements, local voluntary and statutory agencies. Housing applicants and tenants on the Housing Register will also be consulted.

1.1 Legal Background

In framing the Housing Allocation Scheme the Council has had regard to the following:
The Housing Act 1996 as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002 and other relevant legislation
The ODPM Code of Guidance on the Allocation of Accommodation, November 2002
Existing case law

References in the Housing Allocation Scheme to statute and case law, regulations, and ministerial guidance are necessarily limited. They are not intended as a substitute for the original sources, which should be consulted directly where necessary.

1.2 Statement on choice

Waverley Borough Council seeks to extend choice to all eligible applicants for social housing by giving them an opportunity to express their preference for area and type of housing. Wherever possible individual preferences will be taken into account in allocating accommodation. However, this must be balanced with the requirement that the Council: meets its legal duties as a local authority to all housing applicants; addresses local housing need; and ensures the efficient management of its housing stock.

1.3 Equal Opportunities

This Council is strongly committed to fairness and equal treatment for all. The Council aims to treat all service users equally no matter what their race, ethnic origin, nationality, religion, cultural and social background, asylum or refugee status, sex, sexuality, marital status, age, disability, health (including mental health and learning disability) or HIV status. In doing so we aim to prevent unlawful discrimination and to take positive action to promote equality of opportunity for everyone.

1.4 Data Protection and Freedom of Information

Information regarding a person’s application for housing will not be disclosed to any third party or member of the public without the applicants express consent unless the Council is required to do so legally. By signing the housing application form an applicant gives consent for Waverley Borough Council to make relevant enquiries with regard to their housing need and their potential ability to manage a future tenancy. The declaration also gives express consent to share such information with partner RSLs or Social Housing providers when nominating applicants to be tenants of their properties


2. SCOPE
q The selection of applicants to be offered secure tenancies by the Council
q Transfers at a tenant’s own request
q Nominations for offers of assured tenancies from RSLs or other similar bodies e.g. other Social Housing providers
q Offers of non-secure Council tenancies to homeless households in pursuance of any of the Council’s duties under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002
q Transfers of tenancies made by Court Order under the: Matrimonial Causes Act 1973; Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984; Children Act 1989; Family Law Act 1996 or other family legislation
q Successions to secure Council tenancies on the death of the tenant
q Assignments of secure Council tenancies to a person who is qualified to succeed,
q Mutual exchanges of Council tenancies
q Any other situations, added by the Secretary of State through the making of regulations, in which the allocation scheme will not apply 3. TYPE OF SCHEME 4. REGISTRATION

*Other partner RSL’s may join the scheme from time to time.


5. WHAT IS THE HOUSING REGISTER?


Current tenants of the Council or its RSL partners wishing to move
New housing applicants
Homeless households
Applicants with special needs requiring supported housing 6. WHO CAN APPLY TO THE HOUSING REGISTER?
7. EXCLUSIONS FROM THE HOUSING REGISTER q Persons from abroad who are subject to immigration control within the meaning of the 1996 Asylum and Immigration Act 1996, unless they are:
a) An existing secure or introductory tenant or an assured tenant of housing accommodation allocated to them by a housing authority
b) In a class of persons prescribed by the Secretary of State as being eligible for an allocation. Subject to certain conditions these currently include:
Persons granted refugee status
Persons granted exceptional leave to remain
Persons granted indefinite leave to remain
Persons who are nationals of a country that has ratified the European Convention on Social and Medical Assistance (ECSMA) or the European Social Charter (ESC).
Certain Nationals from countries that have recently acceded to the European Union who have not complied with the Worker’s Registration Scheme or who are not exempt from the Scheme. q Certain persons from abroad not subject to immigration control but who are NOT habitually resident in the Common Travel Area (i.e. the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland). This includes British Nationals arriving from abroad and any person, who is a national of any of the countries in the European Economic Area (EEA), where habitual residence must be established unless an EEA National is a worker, or has a right to reside in the UK.

q An applicant or any member of their household, where the Council is satisfied that he/she is:
a) Guilty of unacceptable behaviour that is considered that which, if the applicant were a secure tenant, would entitle the housing authority to an outright possession order under the grounds for possession in the Housing Act 1985 Schedule 2 part 1. Such behaviour includes:
Breaching a condition of the tenancy agreement.
Failing to pay the rent.
Causing nuisance to neighbours.
Being convicted of using their home for immoral or illegal purposes.
Being convicted of an arrestable offence committed in, or in the vicinity of their home.
Causing the condition of the property to deteriorate by a deliberate act, or by neglect.
Making a false statement to obtain a tenancy b) The behaviour is serious enough to make the applicant unsuitable to be a tenant However, where the Council has reason to believe that unacceptable behaviour is due to a physical, mental or learning disability, the person will not be determined as ineligible without first considering whether they would be able to maintain a tenancy satisfactorily with appropriate care and support. In such cases the Council will consult as appropriate with any relevant agencies, including Social Services, the Medical Adviser and local providers of support services.

The Council will write to anyone who is being excluded from the Housing Register giving their reasons. Applicants have the right to ask for a review of a decision to exclude them from the Housing Register. (See Section 35, Review Procedure)

Where an applicant who the Council in the past has decided is to be treated as ineligible, considers that his/her unacceptable behaviour should no longer be held against him/her and that therefore they should no longer be treated as ineligible, they may make a fresh application to the Council. On that fresh application it will be for the applicant to show the Council that their circumstances or behaviour have changed so that they should not now be excluded (unless there has been a considerable lapse of time). Any such change will be considered by the Council on its merits and against the Council policy and local conditions at the time of the fresh application. If there has been a considerable lapse of time since the Council decided that an applicant is ineligible that applicant may make a fresh application. The Council will consider that application on its merits and against the Council policy and local conditions at the time of the fresh application and in consultation with other relevant agencies.

If at any time the Council obtains information that leads it to believe that an applicant already on the housing list is ineligible, it will inform the applicant in writing. The applicant will be given 28 days to provide information showing that they are eligible. If they do not reply within this period, or if they reply but the Council remains of the view that they are ineligible, they will be removed from the housing register.

Where the Council decides that an applicant is to be treated as eligible it may nonetheless consider any behaviour by the applicant or a member of their household, which affects their suitability as a tenant when determining the priority to be awarded to their application. (See also Section 22 Rent Arrears and Other Housing Debts and Section 29 Factors Affecting Offers).

8. WHO CAN BE CONSIDERED PART OF THE APPLICANT’S HOUSEHOLD?

Members of the applicant’s household will normally be permanently residing with the applicant as their only or principal home at the time of registration and still be resident with the applicant at the time of allocation of a property.

a) Partners

q A partner who is living in a permanent relationship with the new applicant or tenant. b) Children

q New applicants: children born since the registration date and dependent children (under 18) joining the household, who now reside with the applicant as part of that household. The applicant may be required to provide proof that child resides with them and that this arrangement is reasonable. For this purpose consideration will be given to the details of any residence order or informal or negotiated agreements. In cases where a 50/50 residence arrangement exists consideration will be given to the way in which the arrangement is operated. Where the arrangement is that the child spends a greater part of the week with one parent than the other it will normally be concluded that there is just one principal home.
q Tenants: children born since the start of the tenancy and dependent children (under 18) joining since the tenancy started, who now reside with the tenant as part of that household. The tenant may be required to provide proof that the child resides with them and that this arrangement is reasonable. See new applicants for details to be considered.
q Where children of members of the household visit, for example as part of access arrangements, but have a permanent place of residence elsewhere, they will not be considered to be part of the household.
c) Separated Families
Where members of a household who previously lived together and are currently prevented from living together as a family unit due to lack of adequate accommodation.
Couples who wish to live together where there is a child born to the couple and they are prevented from living together because of a lack of accommodation where a joint application has been made.

d) Dependents

q A dependent relative who has joined the household because they are unable to live independently and there are no other reasonable options for the family. The family will be expected to provide evidence to support this. Where necessary the advice of the Medical Adviser may be sought on whether the relative needs to live with the family. Where this is not considered essential, other options, such as sheltered housing, will be discussed with the family before a decision is made by the Council as to whether the relative should be included in the application or advised to make a separate application.

e) Carers

q A carer, where the applicant can demonstrate that a live-in carer is necessary and in consultation with the Council’s Medical Adviser the Council agrees that a carer is necessary. The applicant would be expected to provide written confirmation from their GP, Hospital Consultant, or details of the community care assessment by their Care Manager (where SCC fund the cost of the care) that a carer is necessary.


9. REGISTRATION PROCESS

a) All new applicants requesting re-housing and tenants requesting transfers must complete an application form to register on the Housing Register. New applicants for rehousing must provide the required supporting documentary evidence. Tenants requesting transfers may also be asked to provide supporting documentary evidence if their circumstances have changed since their original application. Supporting documentary evidence will normally include: -
Proof of identity for all household members and evidence of their right to be allocated housing in the UK if they are not British Citizens. Note: Under recent regulations some people have the right to reside in the UK but no right to housing.
Proof of current address
b) If the application form is incomplete it will be returned to the new applicant or tenant for completion. The date of the application will be the date the fully completed form is received at the Housing Advice Centre.

c) If any required supporting documentary evidence is not received the application will be returned to the new applicant or tenant to provide the documents required.

d) If the Council is satisfied that the new applicant or tenant is eligible to be on the register, an initial assessment will be made based on the information on the application form and any other information available. All eligible applicants or tenants will be assessed and placed in the appropriate bedroom category for their household size and in one of the five priority bands in date order of registration.

e) If the new applicant or tenant is not an eligible person the Council will notify them in writing, giving the reasons for the decision and informing them of the right to request a review of the decision. (See Section 34,Review Procedure). A copy of this letter will normally be sent to Social Services or other voluntary or statutory agency if they are involved or if it is considered appropriate.

f) In Waverley more people need housing from the Council and RSLs than is available. Most new applicants and transferring tenants have to wait many years before they will be offered a suitable property and some may never be offered a property. Information will be provided by the Housing Team about alternative options in the housing market, which include private sector opportunities and shared ownership.

10. APPLICATION UPDATE AND RENEWAL
a) Applicants are required to notify the Council of any changes in their personal circumstances in order that any necessary amendments can be made to their application.
b) Once a year, normally on the anniversary of an application the Council will send out a renewal notice to those applicants who have not bid in the previous 12 months. All applicants who receive this notice must complete and return it within 28 days.

11. HOW NEEDS ARE ASSESSED q Placing them in one of 5 bands, A-E, as appropriate (See Section 12, Priority Bands)
q Identifying applicants with significant multiple needs, and carrying out an assessment to determine whether such households will be given additional preference by being placed in a higher band, as appropriate to their needs.
q Assessing the size of home that they require

The system for determining priority has been designed to ensure that reasonable preference is given to the following groups of people, as required by s167 of the Housing Act 1996:

q People who are homeless (within the meaning of Part 7 of the 1996 Act as amended by the 2002 Homelessness Act);
q People who are owed a duty by any local housing authority under s190 (2), s193 (2) or s195 (2) of the 1996 Act (or under section 65(2) or 68(2) of the Housing Act 1985) or who are occupying accommodation secured by any housing authority under section 192(3);
q People occupying insanitary or overcrowded housing or otherwise living in unsatisfactory housing conditions;
q People who need to move on medical or welfare grounds; and
q People who need to move to a particular locality in the district of the housing authority, where failure to meet that need would cause hardship (to themselves or to others).

The scheme has been framed to allow additional preference to be given to those households identified as having the most urgent needs and/or multiple needs. In addition the Council has taken into account local circumstances in determining which applicants are to be given preference under the scheme.

12. PRIORITY BANDS
q Band A - Emergency and high priority applicants who have a substantive and long standing local connection
q Band B - Applicants with an urgent need to move who have a substantive and long standing local connection
q Band C - Applicants with an identified housing need to whom the Council is required to give reasonable preference and who have a local connection, or where there is a more limited local connection but an agreement exists with a partner agency to provide move on accommodation
q Band D - Applicants with a local connection and either a low level of housing need or where no agreement exists for move on or it is not appropriate
q Band E - Applicants with no local connection and all other applicants

BAND C – local connection required
Medical Hardship
Homeless in temporary accommodation where a duty is owed
Other homeless households, where a duty is owed
Persons of No Fixed Abode who are actively engaging with the Housing Team to secure accommodation
Overcrowding (excluding single applicants)
Sharing Facilities
Insanitary Housing Conditions
Other Unsatisfactory Housing Conditions
Private Rented Accommodation (Assured Shorthold Tenants)
Tied Households not required to vacate their accommodation
Elderly approved for sheltered
Waverley Single Housing Panel cases ready to move on
Social/Welfare Hardship

BAND D – local connection required
Other homeless with a local connection e.g. Intentionally homeless
Permanent tenants of an RSL with an identified housing need – Where WBC has no nomination rights to the vacancy
Persons of No Fixed Abode, who are not engaging with services
Waverley Housing Panel cases who are not engaging with services
Move UK (Formerly National Mobility Scheme)
BAND E – no local connection required
Other homeless with no local connection
Transfers where adequately housed
Council or RSL Tenants from outside the Borough where Waverley BC has no nomination rights
All other applicants not included in Bands A, B, C or D
Applicants with sufficient financial resources to meet their own housing needs
Supported Housing applicants professionally assessed as not yet ready for independent living


13. TIME LIMITED AND DROPPING BANDS


14. ASSESSMENTS

q Band A - Medical Emergency will be recommended where the applicant or one of the household has a life threatening condition which is seriously affected by their current housing. Band A will also be given where current housing conditions and/or other circumstances are having such a major adverse effect on the medical condition of any member of the household as to warrant emergency priority. All recommendations for Medical Band A must be referred to the Council’s Medical Advisor.
q Band B – Medical Hardship (Major) will be recommended where the current housing conditions are having a major adverse effect on the medical condition of the applicant or one of the household, which creates a particular need for them to move. Medical Hardship will also be recommended where the applicant is ready to be discharged from hospital and is unable to return to their home because of unsuitability on medical grounds but would be able to sustain a tenancy in other more suitable accommodation. All recommendations for Medical Band B must be referred to the Council’s Medical Advisor.
q Band C Medical Hardship will be recommended where the current housing conditions are having an adverse effect on the medical condition of the applicant or one of the household, which creates a particular need for them to move. Recommendations for Band C will not normally be referred to the Council’s Medical Advisor. However, where there is a recommendation for Band C Medical Hardship and this is one of a range of needs, the Council’s Medical Advisor’s opinion may be sought as to whether additional preference should be given and the applicant placed in a higher band.
the applicant(s) move to alternative accommodation
there is a change in the composition of the household
there is a material change in the medical condition of an applicant or other member of their household.
the condition is pregnancy related following the birth of the child
the condition is acute and the applicant had been awaiting treatment and the treatment has now been completed.
14.2 ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PRIORITY o Food preparation facilities (i.e. sink and space for a cooker)
o Inside W.C.
o Bathing and personal washing facilities

The Housing Team may make a referral to the Environmental Health Team. The Environmental Health Team will provide an assessment of whether the applicant is living in insanitary conditions or other unsatisfactory conditions such as the presence of a category 1 hazard under the Housing Act 2004, which puts the local authority under a general duty to take appropriate action. Applicants living in housing found to be unsatisfactory on any of the above criteria will normally be placed in Band C.

I. If the Environmental Health Team has notified that a Prohibition Order or Demolition Order is being issued, i.e. properties containing a category 1 hazard where the service of a Prohibition Order or Demolition Order is the most appropriate course of action, or
II. If emergency rehousing is essential, e.g. Compulsory Purchase Order to enable site clearance for a road-widening scheme, or
III. Where there is a statutory duty to re-house

14.3 SOCIAL WELFARE PRIORITY q Band AExceptional Circumstances will be agreed where there are exceptional circumstances or multiple needs, which warrant emergency priority. This may include Schedule 1 Offenders, whose timely rehousing is a Public Protection issue and households, where an emergency move is required on the grounds of Child Protection and it would be unreasonable to expect them to remain in their current accommodation. It may also include extreme cases of violence or harassment where the victim is at substantiated and serious risk of harm if they remain in their current home. For such a recommendation to be made it is expected that full and detailed consultation had been undertaken with the relevant agencies and that the required supporting documentation had been provided. Authorisation by a senior Housing Officer is required. (See Section 14,Cumulative Needs)
q Band B Severe Social Hardship will be agreed where there are multiple needs that warrant high priority or following a welfare agency referral, where an urgent need to move is agreed through full and detailed consultation with Social Services, the Police or other welfare agency. Such cases may include where a household urgently needs to move to give or receive care or support; for child protection reasons or other social/welfare reasons or multiple needs that warrant high priority. Supporting documentation needs to be provided. It may also include cases of violence or harassment where a move to a different location is a critical factor in contributing to the safety and wellbeing of the victim. Authorisation by a senior Housing Officer is required. (See Section 14, Cumulative Needs)
q Band C Social/Welfare Hardship will be agreed where accommodation is required to assist Social Services in delivering a Care Plan e.g. by moving the household nearer to the source of care and support or to accommodate a carer; in cases where there is serious and substantiated fear of violence or harassment; or to relieve other social/welfare hardship. Supporting documentation needs to be provided.
q Move on from Supported Housing – Band B is awarded when a tenant is confirmed as being ready to move from Supported Housing within the Borough or via a nomination agreement, into independent accommodation. The Council will accept confirmation when an Independent Living/Social Care Assessment form is completed by an appropriate care professional who recommends independent accommodation. Applicants who register from Supported Housing but who are professionally assessed as not yet ready for independent living will be placed in Band E until they are ready.
q Young People Leaving Care – Band B is awarded where rehousing has been agreed between the Council, the Leaving Care Team and the young person as part of their Pathway Plan and they either have a local connection or are being rehoused under the terms of a Surrey wide agreed protocol.
q Voluntary Surrender – Band B is awarded where a commitment in writing has been made by the Council to rehouse a former Council or RSL tenant who has voluntarily given up their tenancy in special circumstances. These circumstances include a Council or RSL tenant going into an institution and the band is awarded when they are ready for discharge. Such a commitment would have been made with a Council or RSL tenant on them entering the institution e.g. prison, long term hospital stay, specialist rehabilitation project etc so that they can be assisted with accommodation on discharge. Another example of voluntary surrender is people that give up a tenancy within a very short period of occupancy, often returning to their family or parental home because they find they cannot manage an independent tenancy and require more suitable supported accommodation or need to receive support to develop independent living skills before being offered further accommodation.
q Management Transfers – Band A is awarded in exceptional circumstances if a transfer is recommended by the Anti-Social Behaviour Group where there are significant and insurmountable problems associated with the tenant’s occupation of a dwelling and there is significant personal risk to the tenant or their family if they remain in the dwelling. q Permanent Decants – Band A is awarded if a property is imminently required for essential works, which cannot be undertaken with the tenant in situ, and the tenant will not be returning e.g. development schemes, property disposal, structural work or modernization. If the need to move is not imminent the household will be placed in Band B. Note: The arrangements for Temporary Decants do not fall within this policy – see the Temporary Decants policy.
q Council interest moves – Band A is awarded to facilitate a tenant’s move from a Council in one of the following circumstances: -
o Release adapted property – at the Council’s discretion, on an individual case by case basis - if there is no need for the adaptations present in the tenant’s current property e.g. a walk-in shower or wheelchair access, and the Disabled Adaptations Panel? has identified an applicant for whom these adaptations are appropriate
o Make best use of adapted stock – where a tenant’s current property requires major adaptations to meet their needs, and those adaptations are either not feasible or cannot be carried out cost effectively and there may be a more suitable alternative property available.
o Underoccupation – to enable Council tenants underoccupying property to move to smaller accommodation if they are relinquishing two or more bedrooms. Transfers to smaller accommodation who will be relinquishing one bedroom will be placed in Band B. Disabled Adaptations – Band B will be awarded to Council and RSL tenants (where the Council has the nomination right to the resulting vacancy) where it is not reasonable or practical to carry out adaptations in the tenant’s current home and a move to more suitable accommodation has been agreed.
o Eligible Successor moving to smaller accommodation – Estate Management will advise the Housing Team of underoccupiers who have succeeded to a Council tenancy, where the Council can and does wish to exercise the right to obtain possession by offering alternative accommodation. These households will initially be placed in Band B and will be supported to bid. They will move up to Band A once a Notice of Seeking Possession under Ground 16 of the Housing Act 1985 has been served
o Ineligible Successor where the Council approves rehousing to smaller accommodation – Housing Management will advise the Housing Team of those households resident in a Council property where the tenant has died and no other household member has succession rights to the tenancy, and they have been approved by Senior Housing Officers for rehousing to smaller accommodation. These households will be placed in Band A and supported to bid. After 3 months, providing suitable vacancies have arisen which they could have successfully bid for, they will be moved to Band E and action will be taken to recover the property. Length of time they resided with the tenant before their death.
The nature of the relationship between themselves and the tenant.
The age of the household members
Any medical and/or social factors
The level of demand for the type and size of property required
Whether the household would be likely to have been allocated a suitable property if they had made an application to join the Housing Register when they first moved into the property.
Their ability to finance accommodation in the private sector
Any other relevant considerations q Homelessness
o Homeless in temporary accommodation where a duty is owed and there are special circumstances – Band B is awarded where a homeless household, who is owed a duty under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996, have been provided with temporary accommodation by the Council, which is not suitable to meet the needs of the applicant or a member of their household and the only prospect of meeting them is through the provision of permanent accommodation e.g. disability, child protection issues. q Overcrowding
o Statutorily Overcrowding Tenants – Band B is awarded to tenants who are statutorily overcrowded as defined by Part X of the Housing Act 1985, or where there is a Court Order to rehouse, except where the tenant has caused the overcrowding by inviting additional persons to live with them.
o High Priority Overcrowding– Band B is awarded where a household is 2 or more bedrooms deficient, has not deliberately worsened their housing situation and has taken all reasonable steps to remedy the situation. Where a household is one bedroom deficient they will be placed in Band C.
o 2 Tenants wishing to become 1 Household – Band B is awarded where 2 Council or RSL tenants living in separate tenancies wish to live together and where occupying either property would mean that the household would be 2 or more bedrooms deficient. (See Section 24, Bed Size Eligibility)
q Tied, Agricultural Dwelling-House Advisory Committee (ADHAC) & H.M Forces cases required to vacate within 6 months
o Tied – Band B is awarded where a household with a substantive and long standing local connection living in tied accommodation is due to retire or has received notice due to redundancy and is required to vacate their accommodation within the next 6 months. Tied households where there is no requirement to vacate within the next 6 months will be placed in Band C.
o ADHAC – Band B is awarded where an agricultural worker resident in the Borough is to be displaced and is entitled to rehousing under the 1976 Rent Agriculture Act.
o H.M.Forces – Band B is awarded where an H.M.Forces applicant with a previous substantive and long standing local connection, who would be considered to be in priority need under the homeless legislation is required to vacate their service accommodation due to retirement or leaving the forces with at least 10 years service.
q Mobility
o Special Mobility Arrangements – Band B is awarded where a commitment has been made to assist a tenant from another local authority within Surrey under the Surrey Mobility Scheme in order to meet the Council’s obligations under this scheme.
o Reciprocal Arrangements – Band B is awarded where agreement with another local authority exists to carry out reciprocal rehousing and a reciprocal is owed under this agreement. The Housing Needs Manager reserves the right to initiate, accept or refuse reciprocal arrangements according to circumstances prevailing at the time. q Engagement with Services
o Some vulnerable applicants with support needs may disengage with statutory or voluntary services, which makes them less likely to be able to sustain a tenancy if offered accommodation. Often such applicants are of no fixed abode, or a “revolving door” homeless case and have chaotic lifestyles. Many are referred to the Waverley Single Housing Panel for this reason. If such applicants disengage with services, they will be placed in Band D until such time as they re- engage and co-operate with support workers, then they will be eligible to move up to Band C. Where such disengagement is due to a disability or chronic medical condition, e.g. a severe and enduring mental health problem, it is proposed that they retain their original application date when moving up to Band C.


15. CUMULATIVE NEEDS



16. LOCAL CONNECTION
q Either the applicant or partner has, by choice, lived in the Borough of Waverley for at least 3 out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date the application is made or reviewed; or
q Either the applicant or partner has, by choice, lived in the Borough of Waverley continuously for at least 5 years at any time in the past; or
q Either the applicant or partner has been employed in the Borough of Waverley for at least 12 months (In certain circumstances exceptions may be made to the time limit for employment where an applicant or their partner is considered to be a key worker and they are being considered for designated accommodation.) and
o remains in employment in the Borough continuously from the date of their application ,and
o the employment is not purely of a casual nature, and is for a minimum of 16 hours per week; or
q Either the applicant or partner has a close relative that lives in the Borough of Waverley and has done so for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date the application is made or reviewed. For the purposes of this paragraph a close relative means mother, father, adult son or daughter, brother or sister; or
q Either the applicant or partner has demonstrated to the Council’s satisfaction that a local connection applies to the Borough of Waverley through special circumstances.
17. FINANCIAL ASSESSMENT

q Has a level of income and/or savings that would enable them to purchase a shared ownership property, if eligible to do so; or to purchase a property, suitable to their needs, on the open market; or to put right problems with their current home.
q Has within 5 years of the date of their application disposed of or deprived themselves of an asset which they could reasonably have been expected to use to resolve their housing difficulties
q Are owner-occupiers with an asset that is capable of being used to obtain accommodation suitable for their needs.
q Have a legal interest in a property which can be utilised to obtain accommodation suitable for their needs. However, applicants who have an interest in a property may be assessed for a higher band, relative to their housing need, if the status and/or value of their interest prevents them from utilising it to obtain accommodation suitable for their needs.

18. PRIORITY DATES

q An applicant’s priority within the bands will normally be based on their application date and they will be considered on a date order basis i.e. the longer they have waited the higher their priority.
q If an applicant moves up a band their application date will be the date that they moved into that band. This ensures that applicants gaining a higher level of priority do not overtake applicants who have had that higher level of priority for longer. Certain exceptions may apply when moving up from band D to band C (see section 14)
q If an applicant moves down a band their application date will be the date that applied when they were previously in that band or any earlier date when they were in a higher band. This ensures that applicants do not lose out by having to start at the bottom of the lower band.

19. DELIBERATELY WORSENING CIRCUMSTANCES

20. TARGETS


q Band A 10%
q Band B 20%
q Band C 65%
q Band D 4%
q Band E 1%
21. LOCAL LETTINGS PLANS
q Where there are estate management problems or issues affecting the sustainability of an area. A local lettings plan may be used where steps are needed to prevent or reverse social conditions that are threatening the housing rights of most residents or the value of the stock. The local lettings plan must: -
o Cover a clearly defined geographical area
o Have clear objectives aimed at tackling demonstrable social problems in a specific area or street
o Be part of a wider strategy for tackling these problems
q On a new housing development/ or modernisation/refurbishment scheme normally in excess of 10 units to ensure that there is a reasonable mix of households to achieve a balanced and sustainable community. Any local lettings plan will be agreed with the RSL landlord(s).
q On Specific Rural Housing Schemes, where planning permission specifically relates to the housing being provided to meet local housing need. Normally for such schemes properties will be offered to those applicants that bid for a property, who have a local connection and who are in the greatest housing need. are living in the village or parish at present or
are employed in the village or parish at present
were born and brought up in the village or parish but now live elsewhere or
have close family within the village or parish e.g. mother, father, brother, sister 22. RENT ARREARS AND OTHER HOUSING DEBTS

22.1 TENANTS (COUNCIL OR PARTNER RSL)


q Housing Benefit Overpayment
q Court Costs
q Former Tenant Arrears
q Unpaid Recharges

22.2 HOMELESS HOUSEHOLDS IN TEMPORARY ACCOMMODATION


q Housing Benefit Overpayment
q Court Costs
q Former tenant arrears with Waverley Borough or any other social landlord
q Arrears from any hostel placements or Bed and Breakfast accounts
q Deposits paid by the Council to secure a private tenancy.
q Rent paid in advance by the Council to secure a private tenancy where an agreement has not been reached and maintained for at least 3 months
q Unpaid recharges
22.3 APPLICANTS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR
q Former tenant arrears with Waverley Borough or any other social landlord
q Arrears from any hostel placements or Bed and Breakfast accounts.
q Deposits paid by the Council to secure a private tenancy. This does not include the current tenancy. However, the applicant will be advised that the deposit for the current property must be returned as soon as it is vacated.
q Claims against Deposit Bonds previously provided by the Council where an agreement for repayment has not been reached and maintained for at least 3 months.
q Rent or fees paid in advance by the Council to secure a private tenancy where an agreement for repayment has not been reached and maintained for at least 3 months
q Housing Benefit Overpayment
q Court Costs
q Former tenant arrears with Waverley Borough or any other social landlord
q Arrears from any other hostel placements or Bed and Breakfast accounts.
q Deposits paid by the Council to secure a private tenancy.
q Claims against Deposit Bonds previously provided by the Council where an agreement for repayment has not been reached and maintained for at least 3 months.
q Rent or fees paid in advance by the Council to secure a private tenancy where an agreement for repayment has not been reached and maintained for at least 3 months
The applicant or tenants need to move is considered a sufficiently high priority to override the requirement to clear all housing related debts on social welfare or medical grounds
An applicant or tenant has substantially reduced a debt and has complied with an agreement to repay the debt and will continue to repay the debt on transfer
A Council tenant is eligible for a grant under the Transfer Incentive Scheme (for under- occupation moves) and this is sufficient to clear all outstanding housing related debts.
23. BREACH OF OTHER TENANCY CONDITIONS INCLUDING ANTI SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR
The applicant or tenants need to move is considered a sufficiently high priority to override the policy on social welfare or medical grounds, and the circumstances fall outside the remit of the Anti-Social Behaviour Group and the Housing Management moves policy.
24. BED SIZE ELIGIBILITY
Certain 2 bedroom properties designated for older people may be allocated to a couple or single older person
Underoccupation may be permitted in certain properties if there is a low demand for the property and it would be in the interests of achieving a sustainable community
Under local lettings plans

25. INCENTIVE SCHEME FOR UNDEROCCUPYING TENANTS TO MOVE TO SMALLER ACCOMMODATION

The above sums are maximum amounts payable, the precise amount will be at the discretion of the Deputy Housing Needs Manager.

26. VERIFICATION OF APPLICANTS CIRCUMSTANCES

q Provide evidence of addresses to confirm extent of local connection – See Section 16
q One proof for each adult included in the application that they are resident at the property they are applying from. Acceptable documents include: Tenancy Agreement, Rent Book, Letter from Landlord or Agent, Driving Licence, Medical Card, Letter from Mortgage Company, or other official correspondence if none of the above is relevant.
q One proof of identity for each adult included in the application. Acceptable documents include: Driving Licence, birth certificate, UK Residence Permit, Passport, Marriage Certificate or EU Identity Card.
q One proof that any dependent children live with the applicant. Acceptable documents include: Child Benefit book front and inside page giving names and dates of birth of children, Child Benefit entitlement letter or most recent Child Tax Credit Award letter.
q Proof of pregnancy.
q Proof of Earnings for each adult included in the application. Acceptable documents include: Last 2 months pay slips if paid monthly, last 3 months pay slips if paid 2 weekly, last five pay slips if paid weekly or completed accounts for the last financial year or trading records so far if trading for less than 1 year.
q Or Proof of other Income for each adult included in the application through benefits or pensions or allowances. Acceptable documents include: Award Notices or letters from Benefits Agency, Award Notices or letters from Department of Work and Pensions.
q Proof of Assets, Savings and/or investments. Acceptable documents include: Last 2 months full bank statements, last 2 months building society statements, post office book, certificate of premium bonds, national savings certificates, individual savings accounts, stocks, shares, unit trusts.
q Proof of current value of property if applicant is homeowner.
q Proof of entitlement to reside in the UK or other Proof of eligibility for local authority housing, if anyone included in the application has arrived in or returned to the UK in the last 5 years after living abroad, or other Proof of eligibility for local authority housing. Acceptable documents include: Passport and Entry Visa if relevant.
q Other proof requested as appropriate

27. OFFERS OF ACCOMMODATION


a) Carry out any further eligibility checks considered necessary
b) Check that all documentary evidence required for verification purposes has been provided

28 VIEWING A PROPERTY


29. FACTORS AFFECTING OFFERS OF ACCOMMODATION


q The applicant is a Council or RSL tenant with a valid Notice of Seeking Possession or equivalent or a demoted tenancy has been obtained through the Courts. (See Section 23, Breach of Tenancy Conditions)
q The applicant has current rent arrears and/ or owes other housing related debts. (See 22, Rent Arrears and Other Housing Debts Policy)
q The applicant is a private sector tenant who has a Court Order against them in relation to their accommodation. (See Sections 22 and 23).
q Applicants who do not meet the financial criteria (See 17, Financial Assessment)

An applicant may not be considered for an offer of accommodation in a specific geographical area if any of the following apply:

q The applicant or a member of their household is excluded from a geographical area as a result of Court action e.g. subject to an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO), injunction or non-molestation order relating to a person known to be living in that area.
q There are other valid housing management grounds to exclude the applicant or a member of their household from a specific geographical area e.g. they were previously evicted from the area. Such a decision would be based on issues of community safety and reached following full and detailed consultation with all the relevant agencies.


30. HOUSING FOR OLDER PEOPLE
q Properties particularly suitable for older people
q Sheltered Housing
q Enhanced Sheltered Housing
q General
31. ASSESSMENT FOR SHELTERED HOUSING

Note: Consideration may be given to transferring existing Sheltered Housing tenants between or within the schemes where they are registered for a transfer, and there is a clear reason as to why such a transfer would be beneficial to the tenant concerned.
32. SUPPORTED ACCOMMODATION FOR PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

There is some supported Housing in and around Waverley that is suitable for people with support needs. This includes: -

Young people
Younger single parents
People with learning disabilities
People with mental health problems
People with substance misuse problems
People with other vulnerabilities

The Council has nomination rights to Supported Housing providers. Some of the schemes provide long-term accommodation whereas others assume that there will be a requirement for the resident to move on either after a certain period or when they are capable of living independently.



33 SELECTION CRITERIA AND PRORITIES FOR SUPPORTED HOUSING

Before any nomination is made to a Supporting Housing provider clients are assessed according to their needs and support requirements at the time of the referral, together with any potential risk they may present to themselves and others. An assessment is made in respect to their suitability for the scheme and respective priority compared to other applicants.

Normally overall priority is given to homeless applicants that are assessed as suitable, to whom the council has or may have a statutory duty to secure accommodation, unless there is a suitable applicant with a higher need for supported accommodation at that time.

Where there is more than one suitable applicant for the vacancy and the applicants are assessed as having a similar level of need for housing and support, given that there is a shortage of supported accommodation in the Borough, priority will be determined on the basis of the applicants local connection followed by their application date. (An applicant with a local connection will normally be given priority over an applicant without a local connection even if they have an earlier application date).

34. ALLOCATIONS TO SUPPORTED HOUSING

The process for allocating vacancies varies slightly between the different landlords but is similar to that followed by the Council as detailed below.

a) Vacancies or prospective vacancies are notified to all the potential referrers by letter, or e-mail, inviting nominations by an agreed date. Referral organisations include those represented on Waverley Single Housing Panel and any others as may be appropriate including:
Housing Advice Team
Homelessness Team
Neighbourhood and Housing management services
Community Mental Health Team
Community Learning Disability Team
Adult and Community Care services
Single persons hostels
SCDT
Voluntary agencies
b) Referrals are requested on a standard form. All applicants must be on the Housing Register or be eligible to join the register at the time of the referral. Self-referrals to supported housing are not normally accepted, as most schemes require the applicant to have a key worker from a statutory or voluntary agency.
c) On receipt of referral forms all applicants are assessed by the Supported Housing provider according to their eligibility criteria for the scheme and to see if any further information is required. Referrers will be advised if an applicant is ineligible or if further information is required e.g. occupational therapy reports, risk assessment, etc. Once the appropriate referral documents have been received, interviews will normally be held with all those who have been identified as potentially suitable for the vacancy.

d) Allocations for supported housing (subject to the number of applicants considered suitable for the scheme) are normally considered at a multi-agency panel meeting, which is called specifically for this purpose. This will normally include the Scheme Manager, the Chair of Waverley Single Housing Panel or Housing Officer and any key workers of the applicants being considered together with any other professionals that may have an interest in the particular project or scheme.

e) At the allocation meeting each professional who has made a referral should present the case for their client. A full exchange of information should then occur before the panel makes their recommendations. The decision as to who should be offered the vacancy should be based both on housing and support needs of the individual concerned and the scheme where the vacancy is occurring. The group dynamics of other residents will be taken into account where there is shared accommodation or flats. Of paramount importance are the needs and vulnerabilities of existing tenants and the likelihood of a person engaging successfully with the supported housing staff working at the scheme.

f) This arrangement may be subject to a fast track procedure where there are only a minimal number of referrals of 2 or less suitable applicants. In such instances the discussion would normally be by telephone between the Scheme Manager and the Chair of SHIP unless either party or the applicants key worker requests a face-to-face meeting. The final decision on suitability and allocation rests with the Supported Housing Scheme Manager.

Any appeals against allocation decisions in respect to supported housing are dealt with under the Council’s review procedure (See Section 35, Review Procedure) in the case of a decision made by the Council. Where the appeal is against the decision of a voluntary agency or RSL the applicant will need to follow that organisations appeals process.



35 REVIEW PROCEDURE

q That they are ineligible to join the Housing Register or that they have become ineligible
q That they are ineligible for an offer
q That their application has been cancelled other than at their request
q Any other decisions relating to the Waverley Borough Housing Allocation Scheme, including banding and priority dates.

An officer senior to the officer making the original decision and who was not involved in making the decision will carry out these reviews.

Procedure: -

q A request for a review must be made by writing to, visiting or telephoning the Housing Team within 21 days from the day on which the applicant is notified of the authority’s decision and the reasons for it. The Council has discretion to extend the time limit if it considers this would be reasonable.
q An applicant may provide any additional information that they think the Council should take into account when reviewing its decision. This must be in writing and provided within 14 days from the date the Council notifies the applicant that it is carrying out a review.
q The applicant will be advised of the outcome of the review within 8 weeks unless the applicant has agreed to an extension of time.
q There is no right to request a further review.

Reviews of decisions made under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 (Homelessness) are outside the scope of this Scheme.


36. DISCRETION AND DELEGATED AUTHORITY UNDER THE ALLOCATIONS SCHEME

This Allocation scheme has been designed to provide a comprehensive policy framework and follow current legislation, government guidance and case law. In addition it takes into account local housing need and provision at the time of writing. It is important that the Allocation Scheme remains sufficiently flexible and responsive to individual needs, changing legal requirements, case law and local circumstances.
Clearly, the Council must retain the ability to act appropriately in such situations. Therefore, as the Council considers every case individually on its own merits, the Council’s most Senior Housing Officer, or his/her delegated senior officer or officers, is permitted to exercise his/her discretion (subject to compliance with the provisions contained in legislation and in any regulations or guidance laid down by the Secretary of State):
To depart from the policy framework set out above where there may be situations which would operate unfairly to restrict an applicant’s entitlement to housing:
In such situations where the applicant can demonstrate exceptional circumstances,
To offer accommodation to housing applicants assessed as requiring care and support on the condition that they comply with an agreed care plan or such supervision requirement as he may deem appropriate;
To vary the Council’s standard Terms and Conditions of Tenancy as necessary (other than those stipulated by statute under Section 103 of the 1985 Housing Act) on an individual basis in appropriate cases by agreement or in accordance with Section 103 of the Housing Act 1985 (apart from Terms and Conditions required by law).
As otherwise set out in this document.

And in consultation with the Lead Member or Portfolio Holder:

To implement such amendments as may be required to ensure compliance with the legislation and Government Guidance.
To make minor amendments to the scheme to ensure that it remains responsive to individual and local housing needs

comms/o&s2/2006-07/022