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Presented by Judith Jones SLHD Director of Housing Services and Andrea Jarratt Access and Allocations Service Manager Consultation on Doncaster Council’s.

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Presentation on theme: "Presented by Judith Jones SLHD Director of Housing Services and Andrea Jarratt Access and Allocations Service Manager Consultation on Doncaster Council’s."— Presentation transcript:

1 Presented by Judith Jones SLHD Director of Housing Services and Andrea Jarratt Access and Allocations Service Manager Consultation on Doncaster Council’s Housing Allocations Policy November 2012

2 Purpose To confirm the consultation recommendations To note your feedback as part of the consultation process

3 Background Last policy review December 2008 effective 01 April 2009 Changing demand Localism Act giving new flexibility and powers including fixed term tenancies and reflecting local priorities New Housing Allocations Code Of Guidance published end June 2012 Additional preference to certain Armed Forces applicants July 2012

4 Housing Register as of 25 July 2012 Band%ActualOf which transfers Actual Of which transfers % Platinum0.5%47121% Gold2%292714% Silver4.5%53529619% Bronze67%7982112873% General26%3105413% Total100%11,9611548100%

5 Total Rehoused 2010/11 and 2011/12 Band2010/112011/12 Platinum5%827%98 Gold36%55929%428 Silver16%24313%195 Bronze41%64249%723 General2%292%36 Total properties100%1555100%1480

6 Recommendation 1 Introduce a local connection criteria of a minimum of 2 or 3 years through Continuous residence Lived here 2 or 3 years out of the last 5 years Employment Family connection ( spouse/civil partner, grandparent, parent, child, brother or sister) Other special circumstances Who is exempt? Households who have a local connection under homeless legislation Armed Forces personnel and their families where the housing application is made within 5 years of discharge

7 Recommendation 2 Do not register housing applications from applicants who own or have a financial interest and/or have transferred ownership but have continuing rights to reside in a property unless they have an assessed housing need. This will require a review of all applicants. Where there are potential medical needs we will identify those applicants who require further assessment by an OT. We suggest a dedicated OT resource for 9 months. (75% of General band have declared they are owners (2345 applications).

8 Recommendation 3 Being more prescriptive around non qualification to join the Housing Register or removal of priority re asb/convictions/housing related debt/poor tenancy conduct/behaviour We cannot apply blanket police checks, however when identified applicants are at a high risk of failing to conduct a tenancy they will be subject to a multi agency risk assessment process prior to their application being activated. Have a separate process for serious offenders defining what will be considered. Existing council tenants : Visit existing transfer and new transfer applicants before their application is activated to identify if they are in breach of their tenancy and if any estate management action is required.

9 Recommendation 4 Housing applications will not be fully registered until all supporting information has been received. This is within 28 days of application. Why? This will support properties being allocated more effectively and give ownership to the customer to provide information to confirm that they are eligible to join the housing register. This includes transfer applicants. NB We will provide support to vulnerable applicants

10 Recommendation 5 To consider the use of fixed term tenancies for 4 bed + properties Why? To link tenancies to the age of the youngest resident child. We have very few larger properties (411 in total stock) and only 16 to relet 2010/11 and 24 in 2011/12 (including some new build) This would enable us to assist with downsizing and make larger properties become more available to those who need them.

11 Recommendation 6 Have a separate transfer list for DMBC tenants who are not in ‘reasonable preference groups’ (excluding homeless/medical, give/receive support, overcrowded) Why? To allow more flexibility outside of the allocation policy rules to rehouse applicants under occupying housing and those in regeneration schemes

12 Recommendation 7 12 month qualification period for new tenancies before they can apply for a transfer unless assessed as homeless, in reasonable preference, downsizing from family houses or special circumstances Why? Currently 23% of housing allocations are to transfer applicants, many who are not in housing need. This limits the available homes for applicants who are and does not support sustainable communities. It is also costly in terms of void costs and is not value for money. We will promote mutual exchange as an alternative.

13 Recommendation 8 Remove cumulative need (where two or more reasonable preferences = higher priority) eg silver medical need + silver homeless need = gold priority Why? The legal requirement to consider cumulative need was overruled at the High Court, where it was agreed that a banding system based on time waiting and the primary rehousing reason was transparent and less open to legal challenge

14 Recommendation 9 Allow single eligible applicants to bid on 2 bed roomed bungalows Why? Currently single eligible applicants only qualify if they have an identified need for overnight care or need adapted accommodation. In some areas we have fewer 1 bed properties (East area). Older people feel this is unfair as want room for family to visit or have lower level support. Advice would be given to those affected by Welfare Reform before taking a tenancy.

15 Recommendation 10 Give Platinum Priority to Armed Forces and former armed forces personnel in housing need within 5 years of discharge - this will include those leaving armed forces with no suitable accommodation, those injured or disabled needing housing and bereaved spouses or civil partners Why? This will recognise the contribution made by our armed forces and provide a clear route into housing

16 Recommendation 11 Backdate the registration date of serving and former Armed Forces personnel with previous connection to Doncaster to reflect their length of service Why? To recognise the contribution made by Armed Forces including where the applicant is in low housing need and is not eligible for a priority eg where they are currently serving and are not leaving or where they are suitably housed or have suitable housing available to them

17 Recommendation 12 Introduce a 6 month suspension for applicants in the Bronze and General Bands who refuse 3 reasonable offers of accommodation including applicants offered suitable adapted accommodation Why? To reduce refusal rates and support applicants to make informed decisions about bidding. To limit serial bidders. Since introducing penalties for priority band applicants in April 2009 we have had less than 30 reviews and have only removed priority on a small number of applications.

18 Recommendation 13 Advertise adapted properties for bidding Why? DMBC’s Accessible Housing Register have requested this as the current nomination process is time consuming and has limited success and also impacts on rent loss. Applicants with an identified medical need who have been OT assessed (including underage applicants) will have a medical marker which will put them in a higher position on the bidding shortlist than applicants who do not. Any offer may be subject to an OT decision for these applicants and/or risk assessment (where an applicant is underage and has bid on an age designated scheme). This could exclude purpose built and extensively adapted property.

19 Recommendation 14 Only award Platinum priority to full duty homeless applicants who cannot be rehoused into suitable private sector accommodation Why? This will ensure that only those who do not have access to other tenures of housing are given the highest priority on the Housing Register

20 Recommendation 15 Give Platinum priority to applicants in hospital who cannot be discharged as they are not able to return home and where their home cannot be adapted to meet their needs Why? the local authority has a statutory duty to assist in rehousing

21 Recommendation 16 Give agreed foster carers Platinum Priority where they do not have suitable accommodation to foster and are not able to resolve their own circumstances, Consider the use of fixed term tenancies Why? This supports vulnerable children having access to foster care and recognises the importance of supporting this process.

22 Recommendation 17 Award Gold priority to households overcrowded by 2 or more bedrooms and Silver priority to those overcrowded by 1 bedroom Why? Currently applicants who are overcrowded are allocated Gold priority and this does not distinguish between those more severely overcrowded

23 Recommendation 18 Remove the property ratio where a certain percentage of each property type is advertised with ‘priority to’ a certain band Why? Applicants find this confusing and frustrating and cannot understand why applicants in less housing need are given priority. Consideration will be given to developing local lettings policies in areas of low turnover

24 Thank you for listening Any Questions?

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