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Choice Based Lettings Policy: Summary of Main Aims and Principles

The housing allocations policy gives priority to customers with urgent needs and at the same time aims to give customers choice and create successful, vibrant communities.

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Legislation

Relevant legislation, including the Housing Act 1996 and various Code s of Guidance provide the framework for the policy.

Categories

Applications are classed either as “Priority” or “Non-priority”, using a filtering system.

Priority

“Priority” will be given to people who meet any of the following criteria:

  • Statutory homelessness
  • Living in overcrowded conditions - This will be based on our property and size eligibility criteria, whereby an applicant is considered “priority” when they are overcrowded by 2 or more bedrooms
  • Staying in supported accommodation, fleeing violence or suffering severe racial or other forms of harassment
  • Severe medical condition or disability
  • Subject to possession order
  • Living in properties described by the local authority as statutorily unfit

Non priority

In order to ensure balanced communities, the Association will carefully consider the housing needs of “non-priority” applicants if they meet any of the following criteria:

  • In employment and able to afford renting without recourse to public funds, particularly, Housing Benefit
  • Access to private income or savings and can afford to rent
  • Moving to take up paid or voluntary employment (especially, if in a key worker role)
  • Moving to give and/or receive support in long term family / extended family situations
  • Moving to be close to a community in which they are active
  • Moving to have access to medical or other specific community support
  • Moving because they have a smaller family necessitating a smaller house

Please note that these lists are not exhaustive and not in priority order.

Waiting time will decide the priority between customers in the lists.

Management transfers and priority lettings

From time to time there may be a requirement outside of MHA Home Options to carry out management transfers and lettings. Examples where this discretion may be required are:

  • Customers on a low income who will face extreme financial hardship following the introduction of the Housing Benefit under-occupation rules and want to transfer to a smaller property
  • Customers facing domestic violence, racial and other forms of harassment where their wellbeing is at risk
  • Clients from our Domestic Violence project, OASIS, for move on accommodation

Exclusions / Refusals of Applicants

The Association is committed to rehousing those customers with the highest needs but there are sometimes grounds on which an application may not be accepted.

These include:

  • Unacceptable Behaviour

Examples of unacceptable behaviour are: incidents of anti-social behaviour, harassment (including racial harassment), violence or threats of violence, and involvement in criminal or immoral activities. Refusal of applicants on these grounds will be based on evidence. Evidence may include criminal conviction, previous eviction for ASB, or a previous injunction or ASBO within the last two years.

  • Housing Related Debt

An applicant who owes any housing related charges or is currently in arrears with their rent to their current or previous landlord will not be allocated a property until the monies have been paid in full or an agreement for payment by instalments has been complied with for a reasonable period.

New tenancies

These will be Starter Tenancies in the form of Assured Short-hold Tenancies. Starter tenancies are probationary tenancies. They allow the Association to manage and end the tenancy quickly when the tenant has persistently failed to meet the tenancy obligations. If the obligations are met, a starter tenancy will be converted to a full Assured Tenancy after 12 months.

Equality & Diversity

We are committed to a policy of fair and equal treatment for all our tenants, employees and applicants, regardless of religion, sexual orientation, age, class, racial origin, sex, disability or marital status as determined in the Association’s Equality and Diversity Policy.

Monitoring and Review

We will monitor and review this policy in conjunction with customers to ensure its effectiveness and relevance to the Association’s stated aims and objectives.

A full version of the allocations policy is available upon request.


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