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Housing allocations policy

Our directorate of regeneration and housing.

Contents

Section 1: Introduction

  • Overview of the allocations policy 
  • Legal and policy framework  
  • Equal opportunities and diversity
  • Welsh language statement   
  • Development of the policy  
  • Confidentiality and data protection  
  • Freedom of Information Act 2000  
  • Associated schemes, initiatives and agreements   

Section 2: The application process

  • The application process
  • Choice for applicants and tenants
  • Notification and how the Council will communicate with households applying for housing
  • False or misleading information   
  • Applications from households with no local connection
  • Applications from vulnerable people                         
  • Applications from people experiencing  domestic abuse
  • Applications from 16 and 17 year olds
  • Applications from households accepted as unintentionally homeless and in priority need
  • Applications from employees of the Council

Section 3: Eligibility for an allocation  

Section 4: The points system

  • Points for temporary or insecure housing    
  • Points for overcrowded or unsatisfactory housing conditions
  • Points for medical circumstances
  • Points for social or welfare circumstances
  • Points for tenants who want to move
  • Points for time spent in housing need 
  • Sanctions and point reductions

Section 5: The allocation of housing

  • Offering accommodation
  • Number of offers
  • Reasonable offer 
  • Community connection  
  • Transferring tenants                                                                                 
  • The size and type of accommodation to be offered  
  • General letting principles
  • Households with children under 16
  • Households with children 16 and over 
  • Households who have contact with children
  • Medical circumstances  
  • Ground floor flats
  • Tenants with lodgers 
  • Overcrowding / under occupation  
  • Accepting an offer of accommodation
  • Sensitive Lettings
  • Lettings Standard
  • Retiring Employees 
  • Readily available properties and general offers

Section 6: Appeals, Reviews and complaints

Appendix 1: Minor and Major Adaptations 

 

Section 1: Introduction

 

Overview of allocation policy

1.0      The allocations policy is the framework for:

  • The assessment of applications for Council Housing including tenant transfers.
  • The allocation of council property.
  • Nominations to a tenancy held by a Housing Association.

1.1.     The Objectives of the Policy are:

  • To meet housing need.
  • To create balanced communities.
  • To ensure the best use of the housing stock.
  • To maximise tenant mobility.
  • To maximise choice.

Legal and Policy Framework

1.2.     The Housing Act 1996 parts VI and VII, as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002, require local authorities to have an allocations policy that sets out:

  • Who is eligible to apply for re-housing.
  • How the Council prioritises applicants for rehousing ensuring that reasonable preference is given to certain people.
  • The basis on which the Council will allocate accommodation.
  • The Council's policy on applicant choice and preference.
  • How the Council will prioritise tenant transfers.

 

1.3      The term 'allocation of housing accommodation' is defined by S159 of the Housing Act 1996 as:

  • Selecting a person to be a secure or introductory tenant of accommodation held by the Council.
  • Nominating a person to be a secure or introductory tenant of housing accommodation held by another person (as stipulated in S80 of the Housing Act 1985) e.g. New Town Corporation, Urban Development Corporation.
  • A nomination to an assured tenancy (including assured shorthold tenancy) of accommodation held by a Registered Social Landlord (Housing Association).

 

1.4      This Allocations Policy has been developed to comply with the requirements of Part VI and Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002 in relation to the letting of social housing.

1.5      The policy seeks to ensure that reasonable preference is given to those tenants and applicants in the greatest housing need and to help applicants and tenants to be housed or rehoused in an area of their choice, as far as is reasonably possible.

1.6      This Policy supports and compliments other Strategies and Policies including the Local Housing Strategy, Homelessness Strategy, Older Persons Strategies, Affordable Housing Policy, Anti-Social Behaviour Guidance, Tenancy Management Policy and the Empty Properties Strategy.

 

Equal Opportunities and Diversity

1.7      We are committed to providing equality of opportunity and all applicants and tenants will be treated equally and without discrimination. We will deal with all our customers reasonably and will not discriminate on the grounds of a person's race, ethnic origin, nationality, religion, cultural background, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability or illness.

1.8      All applicants for housing will be asked to complete the Council's 'About You' form.

1.9      On request, all information and documentation relating to this allocations policy will be provided in alternative formats e.g. large print, audio tape/CD and/or Braille.

1.10 The Council will provide all reasonable assistance to applicants and tenants requiring assistance to complete the application form including translation services.

 

Welsh Language Statement

1.11 Applicants and Tenants have the right to receive all information and documentation relating to this policy in Welsh.

1.12 Applicants and Tenants will have the right to submit their application in Welsh and to communicate with the Council in Welsh if that is their preference.

 

Development of the policy

1.13 This policy was developed in partnership with the Tenants Consultative Panel (TCP), staff groups and key stakeholders.

 

Confidentiality and Data Protection

1.14 All information provided by applicants on the application form will be for the sole purpose of enabling the Council to assess the application for housing in accordance with this Policy, and the Data Protection Act 1998.

1.15 Applicants and tenants are entitled to see any information that the Council holds on them, except information provided in confidence by a third party or confidential information regarding a member of their family. Applicants will need to make their request for information in writing, and there may be a charge to reflect any additional work involved in providing this information.

1.16 The duty of confidentiality may be waived in circumstances where the disclosure is considered to be in the wider public interest e.g. the prevention or detection of crime, or in the provision of relevant information at ward or wider geographical level.

 

Freedom of Information Act 2000

1.17 Anyone can request 'recorded information' from the Council in any format, e.g. paper, compact disk, e-mail messages, and reports.

1.18 Advice and information will be available free of charge to all applicants and tenants on a variety of issues relating to housing, and in a range of formats.

1.19 Some information is exempt from public access under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA 2000).Certain data will be absolutely exempt while other information will be withheld or released subject to a qualified decision whether the public interest is best served by withholding or releasing the information requested.

1.20 Personal data requests by the applicant or tenant are exempt from the disclosure provisions of the FOIA 2000 and are instead dealt with under the Data Protection Act 1998.

1.21 Personal data requested by someone other than the applicant are dealt with under the FOIA 2000. However, such requests are likely to infringe the data protection principles and, therefore, this data would be exempt information under the FOIA 2000.

 

Associated schemes, initiatives and agreements

Nominations to Housing Associations

1.22 The Council works closely with several local Housing Associations to develop affordable housing for rent and shared ownership.

1.23 The Council has nomination agreements in place which outline the number of housing association properties which will be made available to applicants on the Council's waiting list.

1.24 Eligible applicants and tenants can express an interest in being nominated for a Housing Association property on the application form for housing and at any time during the assessment process.

1.25 Housing Associations offer accommodation to the Council on an ongoing basis. The Council will nominate a shortlist of the highest placed applicants and tenants from appropriate waiting lists.

 

The Move-On Strategy

1.26 The Move-On Strategy is a partnership between the City and County of Swansea, local Housing Associations and various statutory and voluntary agencies in the City.

1.27 The Strategy aims to assist people who are ready to move-on to their own accommodation, from temporary or supported accommodation by finding appropriate accommodation and support.

1.28 The Council will award housing needs points to applicants accepted onto the Move-On Strategy in accordance with this policy.

 

ADAPT Project

1.29 ADAPT aims to simplify the process for accessing adapted accommodation and to ensure that existing adapted accommodation across the City and County of Swansea is put to best use.

1.30 Physically disabled people who require high level adaptations in their accommodation will be referred to the ADAPT register.

1.31 Applicants suitable for ADAPT will be identified from appropriate medical evidence on the application form for housing.

1.32 Under the ADAPT scheme, the Council will identify properties that are wheelchair accessible, or have received high level adaptations. Such properties will be removed from the normal allocations process.

1.33 ADAPT Applicants will then be matched to a single list of suitable properties from the Council and partner Housing Associations.

 

Mutual Exchange

1.34 The Council will maintain an online register of tenants wishing to exchange homes, and will ensure that tenants have access to the register.

1.35 The Council will provide incentives to support mutual exchange requests.

1.36 The Council will ensure that information about the right to exchange, and procedures for seeking exchange partners and applying for the Council's consent to exchange is publicised. This will be achieved in a variety of ways, including posters at Offices, articles in "Open House", and information on tenant transfer application forms.

1.37    The Council will not refuse an application for exchange unless:

  • The tenant or assignee is obliged to give up possession under a court order
  • Proceedings have been commenced for possession against the tenant or assignee or a notice of seeking possession has been served
  • The accommodation is substantially more extensive than is reasonably required by the assignee
  • The extent of the accommodation is not suitable to the assignee and their family
  • The accommodation was let to the tenant in consequence of employment related to non-housing purposes for example school caretaker houses, park-keeper houses etc
  • There is conflict with the purposes of a charity landlord
  • The property has been adapted for a disabled person and there is no disabled person who will, in future utilise the adaptations
  • There is conflict with the purposes of a specialist housing association or trust
  • The accommodation is sheltered accommodation
  • The assignee refuses to become a member of the tenant's housing association which is managing the property

In addition, the landlord is entitled to require payment of any rent arrears or the remedying of any breach of tenancy condition before consent to exchange is given.

 

Emergency Situations and Meeting Strategic Aims

1.38 There may be occasions when the Council needs to withdraw properties from allocations under this Policy, or move people from their homes (id est "decants") for exceptional reasons e.g. major repair programmes, to meet strategic priorities or following disaster or emergency.

1.39 In these cases, the Council reserves the right to withdraw suitable properties from the allocation scheme.

 

Monitoring and Review of the Policy

1.40 The Allocations Policy will be subject to review from time to time, particularly in response to significant changes to legislation and/or housing market conditions and or other local circumstances.

 

Section 2: The Application process

2.0      Subject to the details of this Policy, anyone who is aged 16 or above and who is an eligible person (as defined in Section 3) can apply for housing.

2.1      Free and confidential advice will be made available for people who may have difficulty making an application.

2.2      All applications will be assessed to determine whether the applicant or tenant is eligible for an allocation in accordance with Section 3 of this policy.

2.3      All eligible households will be assessed in accordance with the Council's housing need points system outlined in Section 4 of this policy.

2.4      Applicants and Tenants will be registered on the Council's waiting list following completion of the assessment of housing need. Applicants and tenants will be registered for a property type and size in accordance with Section 5 of this policy.

 

Choice for applicants and tenants

2.5      The Council is keen to maximise choice for applicants and tenants applying for housing or transfer. The Council has 89 designated rehousing areas within the City and County. Applicants can choose to be registered for any of these 89 areas and there is no limit on the areas an applicant can choose to register for.

2.6      Households accepted as unintentionally homeless and in priority need will be registered for a reasonable selection of areas as determined by the Council. The Council will give consideration to the household size, the type of accommodation required, any support issues and the availability of accommodation in the City and County of Swansea at the time.

2.7      Information regarding the choice of properties available in each rehousing area and average waiting times can be obtained from the Council's Housing Options Service.

2.8      Tenants awarded points for high or medium social or welfare circumstances under section 4D will be registered for a reasonable selection of areas as determined by the Council. The Council will give consideration to the household size, the type of accommodation required, any support issues and the availability of accommodation in the City and County of Swansea at the time.

 

Notification and how the Council will communicate with households applying for housing

2.9      The Council will confirm receipt of an application for housing.

2.10 The Council will notify households if a decision is made that the household is not eligible for an allocation.

2.11 The Council will notify households if additional information or supporting evidence is required.

2.12 The Council will provide households with confirmation of housing need points awarded.

2.13 The Council will communicate by telephone, in writing or where the household has indicated a preference, by text message.

 

False, misleading or non disclosure of information

2.14 The Council reserves the right to refuse or cancel any application, which it considers to be based on false or misleading information.

2.15 The Council will seek possession of any tenancy that it considers to have been granted on the basis of false or misleading information, or the withholding of relevant information.

 

Applications from households with no local connection to the City and County of Swansea

2.16 Applications from households who have no Local Connection with the City and County of Swansea area will be accepted onto the Council waiting list (provided the household contains eligible persons as set out at 3.0 below), but will normally have their housing need points reduced to 0.

2.17 Local Connection is defined in s.199 of the Housing Act 1996 as a connection which the applicant has with an area because:

  • He or she is, or was in the past, normally resident there, and that residence was of his or her own choice (residence is defined as "at least 6 months out of the previous 12 months or for not less than 3 years during the previous 5 year period").
  • He or she is employed there (i.e. the applicant actually works in the area rather than that the area is the site of his or her employers' head office).
  • Of family associations which normally arise when an applicant or member of the household has parents, adult children or brothers or sisters who have been resident in the area for a period of at least 5 years at the date of application and the applicant indicates a wish to be near them. Only in exceptional circumstances would the residence of relatives other than those listed above be taken to establish a local connection. The residence of children in another authority from that of their parents cannot be taken to be residence of their own choice and therefore does not constitute a local connection.
  • Of any special circumstances (e.g. the need to be near special medical or support services which are available only in a particular area).

2.18 In assessing whether an applicant's household has a local connection with an area, the Council will also consider whether any person who might reasonably be expected to live with the applicant has such a connection.

2.19 Applicants subject to Multi Agency Public Protection Panel arrangements or witness protection programmes may be exempt from a no local connection points reduction.

 

Application from vulnerable people

2.20 The Council will ensure that an assessment of support needs is undertaken as part of the assessment of housing circumstances and if appropriate a referral for tenancy support services is made.

2.21 The Council will make arrangements for decisions and assessments to be explained in person on request, or where it is apparent that the applicant or tenant may have difficulty in understanding the reasoning behind or implications of any decision made by the Council in relation to this policy.

 

Applications from people experiencing domestic abuse

2.22 The Council is committed to ensuring that all customers can access services easily and on equal terms. Domestic abuse often has consequences for the housing situation of those affected and the Council will ensure that all staff adopt a common approach to giving advice, guidance and assistance to customers experiencing domestic abuse.

2.23 Safety and confidentiality are paramount. The Council will only involve other agencies or divulge information to a third party with the consent of the person, unless required to do so by law or unless that information is necessary for the protection of people at risk.

 

Applications from 16 and 17 year olds

2.24 The Council operates an 'Equitable Tenancy' scheme which, in certain circumstances, allows people aged 16 and 17 to be housed with the Council.

2.25 The tenancy will automatically become a secure tenancy when the applicant reaches the age of 18, providing the person does not become ineligible for an allocation in the interim.

 

Applications from households accepted by the authority as unintentionally homeless and in priority need

2.26 If the council has accepted a duty to provide permanent accommodation for a household under homelessness legislation (i.e. if a household has been accepted as priority need and unintentionally homeless) then that household will be awarded housing need points in accordance with this policy, will be registered for suitable property types and will be provided with a reasonable choice of areas.

2.27 The applicant will receive one suitable offer of accommodation. If this offer is refused then the Council will have discharged its duty. Should this happen, points will be reduced in accordance with this policy.

2.28 The household will be registered for areas of their choice and may receive a further 3 offers of accommodation in accordance with this Allocations Policy (see 5.3 below)

 

Applications from employees of the Council

2.29 Employees of the Council are entitled to apply for housing however any offer of accommodation will be subject to approval by the Head of Housing.

 

Section 3Eligibility for an allocation

 

3.0      The Council can not allocate housing to anyone (or jointly with someone) who is not an eligible person. The following persons are not, for the purpose of this policy, considered as eligible for Council housing or for nomination to a Housing Association:

  • Persons from abroad who are subject to immigration control within the meaning of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 and prescribed by the National Assembly of Wales as not eligible for an allocation or who do not satisfy habitual resident requirements as detailed in the Code of Guidance on allocations and homelessness
  • Applicants, or members of their household included in their application, whose unacceptable behaviour is serious enough to make him/her unsuitable to be a tenant

 

3.1      In accordance with the Homelessness Act 2002, the Council will only deem an applicant not eligible for an allocation on the grounds of unacceptable behaviour if, at the time of application:

  • It is satisfied that the applicant (or a member of his/her household) is guilty of unacceptable behaviour serious enough to make them unsuitable to be a tenant;
  • and that the applicant's circumstances and behaviour at the time of their application have not changed and improved since the unacceptable behaviour occurred. Either Anti Social Behaviour or serious arrears of rent can constitute unacceptable behaviour;
  • and it is satisfied that the unacceptable behaviour or arrears of rent would have been serious enough, if the household had held a social housing tenancy, to have led to the housing authority being granted an outright possession order (not a suspended or postponed order) under s84 of the Housing Act 1985 in relation to any of the discretionary grounds in Part 1 of Schedule 2, (including rent arrears and nuisance) other than Ground 8.

3.2      Applicants, or members of their household included in the application, whose unacceptable behaviour is serious enough to make him/her unsuitable to be a tenant will be excluded for a reasonable period proportional to the behaviour. The Council will advise such households to re-apply for rehousing when their circumstances change.

3.3      If it can be established that a household has been guilty of unacceptable behaviour after they have been accepted as eligible for an allocation, the Council will review their eligibility and may make a decision that the household is no longer eligible for an allocation.

3.4      In some cases where an applicant has accrued former tenant arrears from a previous tenancy with any social landlord, this may be considered as unacceptable behaviour by the Council. Any applicants with former tenant arrears may have their case reviewed by the Council. Following a review, a decision will be made about whether they can be placed on the housing register, taking all relevant circumstances at the time of their application into account. All decisions will be subject to the provisions outlined in Section 6 of this Policy, Appeals, Reviews and Complaints.

 

Section 4: The Points System

4.0      Applicants and Tenants will be awarded housing need points where they are able to demonstrate that they meet the appropriate criteria in either their permanent or temporary home.

Applicants and Tenants may be subject to point reductions as outlined in 4G.

 

4A

TEMPORARY OR INSECURE HOUSING

 

Households awarded points under 4A will not be entitled to points under the following sections

 

Section 4B (except where stated) Section 4D - High and Medium

Section 4D - Housing Benefit shortfall points.

 

Tenants and Applicants

Homeless or threatened with homelessness, in priority need and not intentionally homeless

150

Accepted by the Move On Strategy

130

Non-priority homeless or in non-permanent accommodation and not intentionally homeless

90

Residents in long stay hospitals, Council care or a Nursing Home

130

Licensee required to leave (entitled to points under Section 4b)

50

Licensee (entitled to points under Section 4b)

20

Intentionally homeless ( priority and non priority)

50

Homeless where duty has been discharged

90

Retiring employee in tied accommodation

150

 

4B

OVERCROWDED , UNSATISFACTORY HOUSING CONDITIONS

OVERCROWDING

Tenants and Applicants

Lacking 1 bedspace

25

Lacking 2 bedspaces

50

Lacking 3 bedspaces

75

Lacking 4 bedspaces

100

Lacking 5 bedspaces or more

125

Sharing facilities with non-immediate family. If the applicant is the tenant or owner occupier they will not qualify under this section.

30

Gender overcrowding where the oldest child has reached the age of 10

40

Where an individual has overnight contact or custody of a child/children for 3 nights per week (but less than 50% of the week).

50% of the overcrowding and / or gender overcrowding points will be awarded.

 

UNSATISFACTORY HOUSING CONDITIONS

Tenants and Applicants

Children or people aged 60+ in a mobile home, caravan or converted vehicle

40

Families with children under 16 who live above the 2nd floor

20

Children in non-secure or temporary accommodation

5 per child

Bedsit accommodation where the tenant or applicant has overnight access to or custody of a child / children

20 points

 

UNSANITARY AND OTHER UNSATISFACTORY HOUSING CONDITIONS

Applicants

Points will be awarded where the following is lacking in the applicants current home or in the opinion of the Council the property lacks or suffers from the following defects.

Both a bath and a shower

Wash hand basin with supply of hot and cold water

Internal toilet Kitchen

Kitchen sink with supply of hot and cold water A supply of both electricity and gas

An adequate heating system Adequate drainage

Adequate provision for ventilation/lighting Where there is serious dampness

20 points for each facility lacking or defective up to a maximum of 60 points.

Prohibition Order to stop part of a property being used, which is normally in everyday use.

80

Emergency Notice or Order which is used for a very serious hazard. An emergency order will stop the use of the property with immediate effect.

120

 

 

4C

MEDICAL

Points will be awarded if an applicant's medical circumstances are made worse by their current housing circumstances and would be improved by a move to more suitable, alternative accommodation, Applicants and tenants will be entitled to either a general award of 50 points or 150 points for a severe medical need.

 

Tenants and Applicants

  • Needs wheelchair accommodation
  • Needs ground floor, level access or lift access
  • Needs an additional bedroom for a carer
  • Needs a ground floor bathroom
  • Miscellaneous or cumulative medical need

Single award of 50 points

Severe medical need where a current medical condition means that an urgent response is required by the Council.

150

 

4D

SOCIAL OR WELFARE

 

Tenants

High 

Exceptional social circumstances

Where the eligible tenants households health and safety would be imminently jeopardised by the continuing occupation of their current home, e.g. severe violence / harassment from outside of the home. A high level of proof will be required, for example documentation from the Police Authority.

500

 

Tenants and Applicants

Medium

Where the applicant or tenant can demonstrate particularly urgent social circumstances that require an urgent response from the Council which would be eased by rehousing. OR

3 or more of the Social or Welfare categories from the "Low" list below:

135

Low 

Maximum of 2 categories awarded from the following list:

  • Need to move to be near work
  • Need to move to give or receive support
  • Need to move or stay close to a special school or facility
  • Leaving HM Forces (but not statutorily homeless)
  • In need of sheltered accommodation
  • Need to leave/remain in a specific area
  • Need for settled accommodation on welfare grounds
  • Miscellaneous social need

(NB The award of points under these categories is subject to detailed assessment and guidance notes for officers on when it is appropriate to award such points)

40 (to a maximum of 80 points)
 Applicants

Housing Benefit Shortfall of 5-10% (where there is no earned income)

Housing Benefit Shortfall of over 10% (where there is no earned income)

20 points

40 points

 

4E

TENANTS WHO WANT TO MOVE

 

Council Tenants

Tenancy Management where tenants occupying Council accommodation are entitled to be awarded the tenancy under the Tenancy Management policy.

500

 

Council and Housing Association Tenants

Downsizing from house to flat (or downsizing to any other property type the applicant is entitled to under this policy)

 

75 points per bedroom

Where in the opinion of the Council it would be beneficial to acquire a particular property (for example ground floor, adapted, or family sized accommodation), and the transferring tenant is happy to move to an alternative property which they are entitled to under this Policy (eg smaller, lower demand, non-adapted), points can be awarded under this category.

150

(NB The award of these points is subject to guidance notes developed to support this policy, which details those properties which are deemed beneficial having particular regard to the Council's Housing Strategy) 
NB For tenants of housing association properties awarded points under this category, the HA property that becomes vacant will be let through the nominations agreement. 

 

4F

TIME SPENT IN HOUSING NEED

 

Tenants and Applicants

Time Points

Tenants will receive 10 points for each year from the date of their current tenancy up to a maximum of 80 points.

Applicants will receive 10 points for each year on the waiting list from the date of their application up to a maximum of 80 points.

 

4G

SANCTIONS and POINT REDUCTIONS

Contrived, where households have left accommodation which they could have continued to occupy and where it was reasonable for them to continue to do so.

Points under 4A and 4B will be reduced to a maximum of 50. Medical, Social and Welfare and Time Points awards will apply, if appropriate.

Where an applicant has no local connection with the City and County of Swansea.

Points will be reduced to 0

Disabled Adaptations where the applicant is a social housing tenant or has received a Local Authority grant.

If the property has had major adaptations (see Appendix 1) during the last 2 years, points will be reduced to 0 unless there has been a considerable change in circumstances which makes their current home unsuitable.

Economic Circumstances

If an applicant and his/her spouse/partner have gross assets income or savings sufficient to purchase an average priced property in the private housing market, points will be reduced to 0.

  • An average priced property will be defined by referring to HM Land Registry's average price for a terraced property within the City and County of Swansea at the beginning of each financial year.
  • An applicant and his/her spouse/partner will only be treated as having income large enough to secure a mortgage if they have income that would enable them to secure a mortgage on a average priced property on a 3 x total income basis.

Economic Circumstances for applicants or tenants needing Sheltered Housing

If an applicant and his/her spouse/partner are awarded housing need points for needing sheltered housing, points will not be deducted unless their gross assets, income or savings would enable them to purchase a suitable sheltered property.

The cost of purchasing suitable sheltered housing in the private sector will be determined on a case by case basis by assessing the housing market at the time of application. The assessment will also consider the following factors:

  • The applicants need to live in a specific location.
  • The applicants need for additional bed spaces.

If an applicant and his/her spouse/partner are awarded housing need points for needing sheltered housing, points will not be deducted unless their gross assets, income or savings would enable them to purchase a suitable sheltered property.

The cost of purchasing suitable sheltered housing in the private sector will be determined on a case by case basis by assessing the housing market at the time of application. The assessment will also consider the following factors:

  • The applicants need to live in a specific location.
  • The applicants need for additional bed spaces.

 

Supporting information

4.1      The Council will award housing need points based on the information provided on the application form for housing.

4.2      The Council may request supporting information or evidence before finalising an assessment.

4.3      The Council may also need to conduct a home visit in order to check circumstances and housing conditions.

 

Section 5The Allocation of Housing

Offering accommodation

 

5.0      Accommodation owned and managed by the Council will be offered to the applicant or tenant with the greatest number of housing need points for the specific area and property type, at the time that the property is ready to be allocated.

5.1      Applicants must be able to sustain a tenancy or have an appropriate support package in place.

5.2      Where the highest pointed applicant or tenant refuses an offer, the property will be offered to the applicant or tenant with the next highest points score for the specific area and property type.

 

Number of offers

5.3      Applicants and tenants will receive a maximum of 3 'reasonable' offers of accommodation from either the Local Authority or via a Housing Association as part of the nominations scheme. Following 3 refusals, applications will be cancelled and households will need to reapply.

5.4      On reapplication, applications will be valid from the date of receipt of the new application. Previous application dates will not be valid.

 

Reasonable offer

5.5      A 'reasonable' offer must, in the opinion of the Council, meet the applicant or tenants needs in terms of the type and size of property. The property must also meet current minimum lettings standard. The Council may offer cleaning and decoration vouchers in order to ensure that the offer of accommodation meets minimum lettings standards. A property which has a cleaning and decoration voucher assigned to it when offered to a household will usually be treated as a 'reasonable' offer of accommodation.

5.6      Households accepted as unintentionally homeless and in priority need will receive 1 'suitable' offer of accommodation as defined by Housing Act 1996 part VII s210. If this offer is refused then the Council will have discharged its duty. Should this happen, points will be reduced in accordance with this policy. The household will be registered for areas of their choice and may receive a further 3 'reasonable' offers of accommodation in accordance with this Allocations Policy.

 

Community connection

5.7      When more than one household is the highest pointed on the waiting list for a specific property, the allocation will be made to the household with the strongest connection to the 'rehousing area' in which the property is located.

5.8      A community connection is defined as an area in which the applicant their parents or children, have lived for longer than 12 months within the last 5 years.

5.9      Should none of the highest pointed households have a community connection the allocation will be made to the highest pointed household with the earliest application date.

5.10 Community Connection is distinct from local connection. Local connection is defined at 2.18

 

Transferring tenants

5.11 Tenants will be permitted to transfer to alternative accommodation if the following transfer standard is met:

  • The property is in a clean condition and satisfactory state of decoration
  •  The property shows no signs of damage caused by the tenant, members of their household or visitors to their home
  •  Any garden is reasonably cultivated and free from rubbish and/or overgrowth
  •  There is a clear rent account

5.12 Tenants will be exempt from the above criteria in the following circumstances

  • Disabled or vulnerable tenants who live alone
  • Current tenants who have been awarded points for high or medium social or welfare circumstances under section 4D
  • The Council will have the discretion to waive the transfer standard

5.13 Tenants who are in line for an allocation but who do not meet the transfer standard will be contacted by the Council and an opportunity to address any issues will be provided, depending on the circumstances.

 

The size and type of accommodation to be offered

5.14 The Council will decide, after taking into account the household size, age, composition and circumstances, the size and type of accommodation that the applicant or tenant will be registered for.

5.15 General letting principles:

  • A single person (16 or over) will be registered for a studio flat or a one bedroom flat
  • A couple will be registered for a one bedroom flat
  • A child (16 or over) who forms part of a wider application will be deemed to need their own separate bedroom.
  • Children under the age of 16 of the same sex will be able to share a bedroom.
  • Children of different sexes will be able to share a bedroom until one of them reaches the age of 10.
  • A household with five or more children needs four bedrooms.

 

Households with children under 16

5.16 All families with children aged below 16 years who live with them for at least 50% of the time will, where there is confirmation, be registered for houses or flats.

 

Households with children 16 and over

5.17 Households where all children are over 16 years of age will be registered for flats. However in the following circumstances, this policy will allow an offer of a property other than a flat:

  • Where the property is available on general offer
  • Where the applicant or tenant has an independently proven need to live in an area and there are no suitable sized flats in that area
  • Where there are no suitably sized properties in any area

 

Households with contact with children

5.18 Households who have contact with a child or children for less than 50% of the week will be registered for a flat.

5.19 Households who have contact with a child or children for less than 50% of the week will be registered for the additional number of bedrooms that the household requires, depending on individual circumstances.

 

Medical circumstances

5.20 Where there is overriding medical need, the Council will register households for up to one additional bedroom, for example for a carer, above the standards set out at 5.14 of this policy.

5.21 Ground floor properties in sheltered complexes which do not have lifts will be offered to existing tenants within that sheltered complex who currently occupy accommodation at first floor level or above, providing they have medical points for needing ground floor accommodation.

5.22 Tenants over the age of 60, under occupying accommodation in a flat or sheltered complex that is unsuitable for their needs on medical grounds will be allowed to register for a transfer to a property of a similar size (even if this means that they will continue to under-occupy), if a more suitable property becomes available in the same sheltered complex or block. Such a transfer would be subject to the provisions in 5.10 and 5.11.

 

Ground floor flats

5.23 All ground floor flats will be offered to the highest pointed elderly household (over 60), household containing children or household with a need for ground floor accommodation on medical grounds.

 

Tenants with lodgers

5.24 Current tenants who have lodgers residing in their property will not be allowed to transfer to alternative accommodation if such a move would create overcrowding, unless:

  • The tenant has clearly indicated to the Councils satisfaction that the lodger is to become a permanent member of their family, or
  • The tenant has confirmed that the lodger will leave when they transfer

 

Under occupation / Overcrowding

5.25 Both the Council and Housing Associations aim to make effective use of their housing stock. To this end, support and other appropriate assistance, including the award of additional points, may be offered to tenants who are under-occupying their homes and who wish to move, to encourage moves to more suitable, smaller sized accommodation.

5.26 Provided it will not constitute statutory overcrowding and should the applicant agree, in certain circumstances the Council will allow a household to overcrowd a property. Tenants will be entitled to housing need points should they subsequently re apply for a transfer.

5.27 Where a tenant is under occupying Council or Housing Association accommodation, the Council may allow them to register for accommodation that would result in under occupation.

 

Accepting an offer of accommodation

5.28 Where an eligible applicant or tenant accepts an offer of accommodation, an offer of an unconditional secure tenancy will be made except in the instances listed below:

  • Applicants or tenants aged 16 or 17 will be offered equitable tenancies until they reach the age of 18.
  • Applicants or tenants who own property will be expected to sign a statement to the effect that they will occupy the Council property as their sole residence, that they will not derive any income from the property they own and will inform the Council should the property be sold or otherwise disposed of.

 

Sensitive Lettings

5.29 Where the Council is able to demonstrate that an allocation to the highest pointed household would have a detrimental effect on the area where the vacancy exists, the property may be allocated to the next highest pointed household on the waiting list.

 

Lettings Standard

5.30 The Council has a minimum lettings standard and should a property not meet the current minimum lettings standard, households may be entitled to a cleaning and redecoration allowance. The property will then be deemed to have met the minimum letting standard.

5.31 A summary of the current minimum lettings standard is available from the Council

 

Retiring Employees of the City and County of Swansea

5.32 Retiring employees in tied accommodation who have been in post pre 6th November 1992 will be offered accommodation in line with their existing accommodation. For those retiring employees who have been in post since 6th November 1992, the letting principles which form part of this Allocations Policy will apply.

 

Readily available properties and general offers

5.33 Some areas may be designated as 'readily available' if one or more of the following criteria are met:

  • The area has a high turnover of properties
  • Waiting lists are short or non existent
  • The area has a high number of voids

 

5.34 If a property in a Readily Available area has been refused on 3 occasions, the property may be let on a 'First Come' basis and also to under occupy if required

5.34 If a property is not located in a Readily Available area but has been refused on 5 occasions, the property may be let on a 'First Come' basis and also to under occupy if required

 

Section 6Appeals, Reviews and Complaints

Appeals and the review process

 

6.0      All tenants who have applied for a transfer or applicants who have applied for housing will have the right to appeal against decisions made by Officers of the Council with regard to their applications.

6.1      An applicant has the right to a review of any decision made under this policy, in relation to the following matters:

About the facts of their case and their points assessment.

  • If they have been found not eligible for an allocation due to their immigration status or unacceptable behaviour and the grounds for that decision.
  • An offer of suitable accommodation to discharge homelessness duty.
  • Any decision to cancel an application.

 

6.2      Any appeal must be made within 28 days of the date of the decision or assessment.

6.3      All appeals must be in person or in writing to the Service Manager, Housing Options, 17 High Street, Swansea SA1 1LF outlining the reasons for requesting the review. Requests for review can also include any supporting evidence or information to help the case.

6.4      The formal review under this policy will be carried out by a Senior or Principal Officer based at the Council's Housing Options Service who was not previously involved in the application or assessment.

6.5      Applicants will be informed in writing of the decision on review and the grounds for that decision. The Council will complete the review process within 8 weeks.

 

Complaints

6.6      The operation of this policy is subject to the Council Corporate Complaints Policy. Details of the policy are available at any Council office or at www.swansea.gov.uk

 

Appendix 1 - Adaptations for the chronically sick or disabled

Minor Adaptations              

  • Lever taps Repositioning of sockets Handrails
  • Grab rails
  • Mountcastle silent bell Painting edge of steps Low level bath
  • Small ramps Re-site radiator
  • Canada thresholds Widen door frames Shower seats Over bath shower Stairlift
  • Widen pathway

Major Adaptations

  • Ramp
  • Level access showers Extensions
  • Structural alterations Hoists and tracking Medi bath
  • Vertical lifts