Who is eligible to go on the Housing Register?
All ‘qualifying persons’ are eligible to have their application added to the Housing Register.
Currently, the following persons are entitled to join the housing register:
- Any person aged 16 or over, and
- Their current home is their only home, or sole residence, and
- They do not have access to a suitable home elsewhere, and
- They are not already on the housing list, either on their own or with someone else, and
- They are not ineligible for housing assistance under section 160ZA(2) and (4), and 185(2) of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended), or any regulation prescribed by the Secretary of State. In general terms a person from abroad who is subject to immigration control is ineligible for housing assistance, and
- They, or a member of their household, have not been guilty of unacceptable behaviour serious enough to make them unsuitable to be a tenant. Unacceptable behaviour means it was so serious that, had they been a secure tenant of the local authority, the authority would have been entitled to a possession order (not suspended) against them by virtue of the behaviour. This relates to an entitlement to possession on the following grounds:
- rent arrears
- breach of tenancy agreement
- nuisance or annoyance to neighbours
- conviction of using for immoral or illegal purpose
- damage or neglect
- conviction for arrestable offence committed in the locality
- domestic violence causing other to leave
- false statement to induce grant of tenancy
- premium paid for assignment
- tied accommodation when dismissed for misconduct
Where a person has previously been found ineligible due to unacceptable behaviour but now believes this should no longer be held against him, he can make a fresh application. Unless there has been a considerable lapse of time, it will be the applicant’s responsibility to show that their circumstances or behaviour have changed. We may ask applicants to provide us with two references from the police, probation services or their landlord.
16 and 17 year olds
Young people under the age of 18 are not able to hold an interest in land and special arrangements have to be made to allocate them social housing.
For young people under the age of 18 a Council or Housing Association may grant permission to allow the occupation of a property by way of a licence or 'Equitable Agreement' where a trustee will hold the legal estate.
Debts - rent arrears and former tenant arrears
We may also take into account, in accordance with S166A(5) of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended), current or former tenancy arrears due to non-payment of rent, charges for use and occupation or due to damage to the property owed to this Council, another Council, social or private landlord, and claims made against a Rent Deposit Bond provided by the Council.
In these circumstances the application will be registered but may be suspended until the debt is reduced to a reasonable level. A reasonable level is generally considered to be £400 or less, or no more than four weeks rent arrears or the applicant can provide a repayment plan agreed with the applicant’s landlord and can evidence payment against the plan for the last 6 months, at the time of being verified for a property.
If the application is already registered and has been placed in a band but falls into arrears which exceed £400 or four weeks rent, the application may be suspended until the situation is remedied.
Each case will be considered on its own merits.
Where an application is suspended for the above reasons the applicant will be notified in writing of the decision and the grounds for it (S166A(5))
If Court action is being taken to get an outright possession order or a Bailiff’s Warrant for eviction, no offers of housing will be made without the agreement of the Housing Options Manager.
Housing associations (HAs) participating in the choice based lettings scheme may have policies which prevent them offering a tenancy to an applicant who has former tenant arrears with another local authority or HA.
Applications made by serious offenders will be subject to an appropriate assessment of their eligibility, which will take MAPPA (Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements) guidance into account. Any allocation will only be made following a multi-agency risk assessment and where suitable and safe accommodation has been identified.
National Witness Mobility Service (NWMS)
In order to assist the national police force to tackle serious crime and to support witnesses in the legal process, the Council works in partnership with colleagues in the NWMS and will, as required, accept referrals from this source.
Such cases will have been assessed and verified by the NWMS managers and referrals will only be accepted with the agreement of the Housing Options Manager. There are particular confidentiality considerations for such cases and no personal information will be taken until the applicant accepts a direct offer of accommodation in the district.
Any proposed offer will be checked for suitability by the NWMS before the offer is made and details of successful lettings may not subsequently be made available to the public.
We will ensure that in determining priorities for housing, a higher degree of preference will be awarded to applicants who have a local connection with the district.
Social housing is intended for households who are unable to meet their housing need in the open market and its development has usually been subsidised to ensure that it is affordable for lower income households.
At a time when the demand for affordable housing significantly exceeds supply it is important that social homes are allocated to those households who have the greatest need.
Section s.160ZA (6)(a) of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended by the Localism Act 2011) allows the Council to decide who will be or will not be a qualifying person and section 167(2A) of the Housing Act 1996 allows us to give less priority to an applicant who is considered to have sufficient financial resources to meet their own need.
Where an applicant is considered to have sufficient financial income, capital or assets, to allow them to access other forms of tenure to meet their housing need, they will be awarded a lower priority and placed in a lower band.
The Council will also take into account any previous disposals of assets, income, capital or savings when calculating the financial resources available, which will include disposals for nil (for example transfer of ownership) or below market value.
Applicants will be asked to provide evidence of their income, savings and assets in order to verify the affordability assessment and prior to any offer of accommodation.
Each application where the financial resources threshold is exceeded will be assessed on its own merits and the Council recognises that that there may be exceptions. Examples could include:
- A property owner with an over-riding medical need where they are considered to have insufficient income and equity to purchase a property that meets their specific medical need
- An applicant with unusually high, but justifiable expenditure
Any applicant deemed to exceed the financial threshold will be provided with a full written explanation for the decision and will have the right to ask for the decision to be reviewed.
The Council recognises that housing affordability can change over a period of time and it will therefore review the methodology and if necessary amend the threshold amount.
Information regarding the Assessment of Financial Resources.
Households with little or no real need for social housing are usually considered to be adequately housed. If an applicant has enough space for their family according to current housing policy and they are in a financial position to secure accommodation via another means of tenure they will be considered to be adequately housed.
Exceptions will include households that are seeking and are eligible for sheltered housing.
Tel: 01304 872265