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East Surrey Subregional - Epsom & Ewell

Prioritising Applications

´╗┐The housing allocation scheme is a Banding Scheme and has been designed to be more straightforward to administer, be fairer to all categories of applicants on the Housing Needs Register and reduce homelessness, whilst making the best use of the borough’s very limited social housing.

A system of re-housing quota targets will operate to ensure that different categories of applicants for housing have a chance of being offered accommodation. This will balance the needs of homeless households, waiting list applicants and existing local transfer tenants. 

A Banding Scheme ranks together applicants with different but equal housing need. Applicants will first be placed into an application category of either:  a homeless, waiting list or transfer applicant. Applicants in each category will only be able to bid on properties advertised in the corresponding category.

Applicants in each application category will then be placed in one of five  bands ranging from A (highest need) to E (lowest) which reflects their housing need in accordance with the ‘reasonable preference categories’ in the Housing Act 1996 Part 6 and the Council’s local priorities for housing allocation.

The position in that band will be determined by the band date and then the registration date. Waiting time in each band ensures that once assessed applicants will gradually move up towards the top of the band.

One of the main aims of the new policy is to prevent homelessness by placing certain high need waiting list applicants in in the same priority band as homeless applicants who are living in temporary accommodation. By doing this we hope to give them an opportunity of being housed before the point of crisis is reached.

The housing allocation scheme is a Banding Scheme and has been designed to be more straightforward to administer, be fairer to all categories of applicants on the Housing Needs Register and reduce homelessness, whilst making the best use of the borough’s very limited social housing.

A system of re-housing quota targets will operate to ensure that different categories of applicants for housing have a chance of being offered accommodation. This will balance the needs of homeless households, waiting list applicants and existing local transfer tenants. 

A Banding Scheme ranks together applicants with different but equal housing need. Applicants will first be placed into an application category of either:  a homeless, waiting list or transfer applicant. Applicants in each category will only be able to bid on properties advertised in the corresponding category.

Applicants in each application category will then be placed in one of five  bands ranging from A (highest need) to E (lowest) which reflects their housing need in accordance with the ‘reasonable preference categories’ in the Housing Act 1996 Part 6 and the Council’s local priorities for housing allocation.

The position in that band will be determined by the band date and then the registration date. Waiting time in each band ensures that once assessed applicants will gradually move up towards the top of the band.

One of the main aims of the new policy is to prevent homelessness by placing certain high need waiting list applicants in in the same priority band as homeless applicants who are living in temporary accommodation. By doing this we hope to give them an opportunity of being housed before the point of crisis is reached.

Reduce Priority

There are certain limited circumstances were the Council considers that it is appropriate to award a lower priority or reduce an applicant’s priority. 

Reduce Priority may be awarded in the following situations:  

  • Waiting list and transfer applicants who refuse 3 suitable offers of accommodation
  • Applicants and/or members of their household where anti-social behaviour is not extreme enough to exclude from the Housing Needs Register but where it is considered sufficient to warrant a reduced priority being awarded. These applicants will be placed in Band D.
  • Applicants who have housing related debt and do not have in place (and are keeping to) an agreed repayment plan. This includes applicants who have been accepted as homeless. These applicants will be placed in Band D.
  • Applicants found to be Intentionally Homeless.  Applicants will be placed in Band D and will remain in this band for 12 months from the date of the intentionality decision.

A summary of this criteria is available here. A full copy of the new policy is available here: New Housing Application Policy 2016

The new version of the policy will be implemented following the completion of the review in the meantime an interim policy is in place: Interim Housing Allocation Policy and Choice based Lettings Scheme November 2015

Band A - Urgent Housing

 

 

Urgent Housing Priority - An application where the life of a household member would be in immediate danger if they continued to live in their current accommodation and this has been substantiated by other agencies. E.g. Victims of domestic violence, racial harassment and applicants accepted under the National Witness Protection Scheme or SMD. 

Medical Overriding Priority - Where the applicant or one of the household has a life threatening condition or disability which is seriously affected by their current housing and the current accommodation is wholly inappropriate to occupy. Band A will also be given where current housing conditions and/or other circumstances are having such a major serious adverse effect on the medical condition of any member of the household as to warrant emergency priority. 

Extreme Disrepair Priority - Households whose accommodation is assessed as being in extreme disrepair (Closure /Demolition Order) by the Council’s Environmental Health Officer and the Council are satisfied that the problem cannot be resolved by the landlord within a reasonable timescale and continued occupation will pose a very serious risk to the applicant health.

Band B – High Housing Need

Application Category

High Medical Need - Where the current housing conditions are having a major adverse effect on the medical condition or disability of the applicant or one of the household, which creates a particular need for them to move.

WL/TR 

WL/TR

Households whose accommodation is assessed as being in disrepair where the Council’s Environmental Health Officer has determined the property poses a category 1 hazard under the housing, health and safety rating system, the Council are satisfied that the problem cannot be resolved by the landlord within a reasonable timescale and continued occupation will pose a significant risk to the applicant health. 

WL/TR

Applicants living in unsatisfactory housing lacking basic facilities which cannot be provided by the landlord at reasonable cost within a reasonable timescale. This includes applicants without access at all to any of the following facilities: kitchen, bathroom, inside WC, hot or cold water supplies, electricity, gas or adequate heating.

WL/TR

Households who are assessed as being statutorily overcrowded Council’s Environmental Health Officer.

WL/TR

Households with insufficient bedrooms for their needs as assessed against the Councils bedroom standard.

WL/TR

Households with dependent children where the facilities such as kitchen and bathroom are shared with others who are not members of the applicant’s household.

WL/TR

Households with dependent children with no living room or those sharing a living room with another household

WL/TR

Applicants who are part of a reciprocal arrangement agreed with another local authority or RP and have an urgent need to move on welfare grounds.

WL/TR

Applicants who need to move due to domestic abuse, actual violence or threats of violence or extreme harassment/intimidation. This has to be substantiated by other agencies.

WL/TR

Applicants who are considered to have special circumstances requiring them to move where this is substantiated by two or more agencies.

WL

Applicants who have a local connection with the borough who are Armed services, former armed forces personnel or their bereaved spouse/partner who need to move urgently and have either an assessed housing need because of a serious injury, medical condition or disability sustained as a result of their service or are no longer entitled to reside in Ministry of Defence accommodation due to retirement, honourable discharge or redundancy.

WL

Vulnerable applicants who are retiring or whose contract is terminated on health grounds from tied accommodation.

WL

Applicants who are care leavers and who have been referred by Surrey Children Services and who are assessed as ready to move into independent settled housing and have the life skills to manage a tenancy will be included in Band B when they are within 12 months of having to leave their care placement.

WL

Households moving on from supported accommodation where the original referral was made by the Council and they are ready for independent living and where a move on report has been completed in full by a support worker or landlord, identifying any on- going support that may be needed.

WL/TR

Multi agency public protection cases following liaison with the Police the Public Protection Team, Probation and registered social landlords.

WL

Households for whom the Council has arranged an Assured Shorthold Tenancy in the private rented sector in order to prevent their homelessness and they have been in the accommodation for 12 months or more.

TR

Social housing tenants living in the borough looking to downsize from their existing accommodation.

TR

Social housing tenants living in the borough  in a property adapted for a disabled person which they no longer need and cold be used by someone else with a need for this type of accommodation.

TR

Social housing tenants living in the borough qualifying for and wishing to move from general needs accommodation to sheltered accommodation or accommodation for older people.

HL

Households for whom the Council has accepted a duty to provide housing under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 from the date of their homeless application once the application have been determined.

Band C - Identified Housing Need

Application Category

Medium Medical Need – Where the applicant needs to move on medical and/or disability grounds where the housing circumstances have an adverse effect on the applicant’s or household member medical condition or disability but rehousing would only have a marginal impact on long term improvement and where there are no other suitable housing options.

WL/TR

WL

 

Households whose accommodation is assessed as being in disrepair where the Council’s Environmental Health Officer has determined the property poses a category 1or 2 hazard under the housing, health and safety rating system, the Council are satisfied that the problem cannot be resolved by the landlord within a reasonable timescale and continued occupation will pose a risk to the applicant health

WL

Couples and single people over 35 without dependent children sharing a bathroom and/ or  kitchen with another household. 

WL

Couples without dependent children with no living room or those sharing a living room with another household.

WL

Households who are renting accommodation with limited security of tenure e.g. Bare Licence or an Assured Shorthold Tenancies.

WL

Households for whom the Council has arranged an Assured Shorthold Tenancy in the private rented sector in order to prevent their homelessness and they have been in the accommodation less than 12 months.

WL

Applicants who have no local connection with the borough who are Armed services, former armed forces personnel or their bereaved spouse/partner who need to move urgently and have either an assessed housing need because of a serious injury, medical condition or disability sustained as a result of their service or are no longer entitled to reside in Ministry of Defence accommodation due to retirement, honourable discharge or redundancy.

WL

Applicants who are care leavers and who have been referred by Surrey Children Services and who are assessed as ready to move into independent settled housing and have the life skills to manage a tenancy will be included in Band C until they are within 12 months of having to leave their care placement.

WL/TR 

Applicants who are part of a reciprocal arrangement agreed with another local authority or RP and have a need to move on welfare grounds.

WL/TR 

Households who need to move on welfare grounds including to give or receive care or support, to take up a particular employment, education or training opportunity, to recover from the effects of violence (including racial attacks) or threats of violence, or physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

WL

Homeless households who accept an offer of private rented accommodation to end the main homeless duty.

HL

Applicants who are roofless or rough sleeping who have made a statutory declaration that they have no accommodation in which they can reside and whose circumstances are confirmed by the Housing Options Team.

HL

Applicant assessed as being threatened homeless and in priority need within the meaning of Part VII of the Housing Act 1996, as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002.

HL

Applicant assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness but is not in priority need within the meaning of Part VII of the Housing Act 1996, as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002.

HL

Applicants who have made a homeless application to the Council which is currently under investigation, whether they are in interim accommodation or not.

Band D - Reduced Priority or Low Need Housing

Application Category

Low Medical Need – Where rehousing is unlikely to improve the applicant’s health or where accommodation in itself is not affecting the illness then no medical need will exist and no priority will be given on this basis.

WL/TR 

ALL

Qualifying applicants and/or members of their household where anti-social behaviour is not extreme enough to exclude from the Housing Needs Register but where it is considered sufficient to warrant a reduced priority being awarded.

ALL

Qualifying applicants who have housing related debt and they do not have in place (and are keeping to) an agreed repayment plan. This includes applicants who have been accepted as homeless

ALL

Applicants found to be Intentionally homeless.  Applicants will be placed in Band D and will remain in this band for 12 months from the date of the intentionality decision.

ALL

Qualifying applicants who have deliberately worsened their circumstances and or and could have remained in a home they owned, rented or shared but chose to leave or dispose of within the last 5 years of an application being made. This includes not bidding on suitable properties that would resolve their housing need. 

ALL

Applicant accepted as homeless by another local authorities but who also have a local connection with Epsom and Ewell Borough Council

ALL

Armed Services or former armed forces personnel assessed as having no housing need with or without a local connection with the borough.

ALL

Applicants who are no fixed abode and whose circumstances are confirmed by a Home Options Team.

ALL

Applicants in hostels or supported housing projects within the borough but without a local connection, including those who were nominated placed/funded by another local authority/agency, with agreement that they would provide move on accommodation.

Band E - No Housing Need

Application Category

 All other applicants who do not have an identified housing need. 

All other qualifying applicants not included in bands A, B, C or D.

Elderly owner – occupiers seeking to move to sheltered housing.

Applicants unable to take up housing for the foreseeable future. For example:

  • applicants in prison
  • applicants detained on a hospital order.

 

WL/TR

Application Category

WL- Waiting list. HL- Homeless applicant.  TR- Transfer applicant

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