A CONSULTATION over proposed changes to the way social housing is allocated in Redditch is to will start on Monday, October 29.
The Borough Council is inviting comments on several changes being proposed around eligibility to join the council’s housing register and the priorities people may receive in being allocated a council or housing association property, under its new draft Housing Allocations Policy.
Currently applicants for social housing in Redditch are placed on the housing register in three bands of priority depending on their housing need, and also receive points within those bands depending on certain circumstances.
Applicants are then either matched directly to a local social housing property, or can bid on available properties.
The chances of a successful bid depend on the applicant’s banding and points and other factors, including time spent on the register.
Among the changes proposed to the current system are:
· Closing the housing register to people without a local connection unless they have a legal right to be on it,
· Creating a system of six bands and removing the points element. Applicants will be considered in order of length of time spent on the register within the bands.
· Increasing priority to people who are actively contributing to their community including through being a key worker, caring or volunteering with a registered charity.
· Reducing priority to people without a local connection but legal right to be on it, people with equity of £95,000 or more or a household income of over £45,000 (excluding means tested benefits), people who have deliberately worsened their own housing conditions, and people who breach their tenancy conditions such as by having enforcement action taken against them for not paying rent or for anti-social behaviour,
· Bringing the use of bedrooms by children into line with housing benefit rules, meaning bedrooms would be expected to be shared by two siblings until the eldest’s tenth birthday or sixteenth birthday where the siblings are of the same sex, with discretion for exceptional circumstances.
Councillor Craig Warhurst, whose portfolio covers housing, said: “Housing is a top priority for this council. This new policy will help us to allocate properties to those in greatest need and those with a local connection to Redditch.
“It is simply not right with a shortage of social housing in Redditch that anyone from anywhere can access the Redditch Housing Register and this needs to change.
“The new policy recommendations will enable us to make best use of the limited social housing stock in the Borough and ensure people are in the right size home to meet their needs.
To view and comment on the draft policy visit www.redditchbc.gov.uk/consultations or look out for copies of the consultation at Redditch Town Hall.
If you cannot access the consultation online you can request a paper copy by calling 01527 64252 ext. 2409.
The closing date for comments will be 5pm on Monday December 3.