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How are needs assessed and prioritised

How needs are assessed and applicants prioritised

The Housing Allocation Policy is a Banding Scheme and has been designed to be more straightforward to administer, be fair 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.

To assess and prioritise housing need the Council operates a banding scheme that ranks together applicants with different but equal housing need. Applicants will first be placed into an application category as either homeless, waiting list or transfer applicants. Applicants in each category will only be able to bid on properties advertised in that 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 as set out in the Council’s Housing Allocation Policy.

The position in that band is organised first by the band date (also called effective 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.

If you have medical or welfare needs please ensure these are mentioned on the application.    You will need to provide supporting information.

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

Homeless households where the Council has accepted a full statutory duty will have much more limited choice and will only be made one direct offer of a suitable property anywhere in the borough. 

Reduced Priority

There are certain limited circumstances where the Council considers that it is appropriate to award a lower priority or reduce an applicant’s priority.  Reduced Priority may be awarded in the following situations: 

  • Waiting list and transfer applicants who refuse 3 suitable offers
  • Eligible & qualifying applicants and/or members of their household who engage in anti-social behavior. These applicants will be placed in Band D.
  • Applicants who have housing related debt and do not have in place (or are not keeping to) an agreed repayment plan. This includes applicants who have been accepted as homeless. These applicants will be placed in Band D and any time priority may be lost.

Change of Banding

The Council’s banding assessment does not allow for movement between bands unless there is a notified and assessed change of circumstances that meets the criteria for a higher or reduced assessment. This means that it is not possible to move from one band to another simply through time accrued on the Housing Needs Register.

Where an applicant's circumstances change the application will be reassessed. If it is assessed that the applicant’s circumstances change so they qualify for inclusion in a higher band or bedroom category, the band date will be considered to be the date the Council were advised of the change in circumstances.
If an applicant’s circumstances change so that they require to be placed in a different application category their band date will be the date the Council made a decision that entitled the applicant to be included in that category.

If it is assessed that the applicant’s circumstances change so they are no longer eligible for their current band or bedroom category and they have to be moved to a lower band or bedroom category, their band date will stay as their original band date.

The banding scheme reflects broad levels of housing need which may mean that some changes in the applicant’s circumstances will make no difference to the band they are placed in.