Name Cambridgeshire and West Suffolk Home-Link partnership Lettings Policy consultation
Description Proposals to make minor changes to how Council and Housing Association homes across the County are allocated. This follows a detailed review of the Lettings Policy which covers the Cambridgeshire and West Suffolk area.
Start date 10/23/2020
Closing date 12/18/2020

A consultation has begun into proposals to make minor changes to how Council and Housing Association homes across the County are allocated. This follows a detailed review of the Lettings Policy which covers the Cambridgeshire and West Suffolk area.

Consultation dates

The consultation is open from 9am on Friday 23 October 2020 for 8 weeks.

Responses must be received by 11:45pm on Friday 18 December 2020.

How to comment

Please comment using our online survey.

Following the end of the consultation, comments received will be analysed and taken into account before the new policy is finalised in 2021.

 

What is changing?

The majority of the changes to the Lettings Policy relate to wording changes to make it clearer what the policy actually means and to ensure it is applied consistently across partners. In addition, the policy incorporates changes to the definition of local connection and sets out greater clarity as to what is meant in relation to employment requirements.

However, some changes to the banding criteria were agreed in 2018 in response to the Homeless Reduction Act.  Limited consultation took place on the understanding that the amendments would be reviewed and more widely consulted on as part of the 2020 full policy review.  Priority bands have been considered in detail and no substantial changes have been made to the 2018 amendments as partners believe them to work as effectively as possible. 

Main changes

Armed forces - ex partners/ spouses

We propose to give ex-partners/spouses of armed forces personnel the same local connection exemption we give their former partners where they must move out of a Ministry of Defence property due to a relationship breakdown. This change is to ensure the partnership is compliant with the requirements of the Military Covenant.  Section 3.4.1 (f) ii. of the lettings policy refers.

Multiple applications

We have clarified the wording around multiple applications to explain that an applicant can have only one active application on the housing register at any time where they are the applicant or joint applicant.   However, they may be considered on other applications where they are eligible to be considered as part of another applicant’s household, for example where living with a parent and included as part of their application).  Section 2.5.1 of the Lettings Policy refers.

Local connection and work requirements

The work requirement has changed to clarify the criteria about the type and nature of qualifying work, including where the work is located.

These changes are detailed in Section 3.4.2.

Banding

Changes to the banding elements of the policy were introduced in 2018 in relation to the Homeless Reduction Act.   The 2018 changes reflected the fact that new Homeless Prevention and Homeless Relief duties were introduced and needed to be incorporated into the Lettings Policy. 

However, the amendments did not change the fundamental principles of the policy. In particular, the partnership continue to agree that it is a fairer and better use of scarce housing resource to provide a higher priority to those who are owed a main homeless duty rather than those whose housing options were still being explored and assessed at the Prevention and Relief stages. 

The 2020 review does not seek to change the existing principles but seeks to further clarify some of the wording introduced in 2018. 

In addition, we have further clarified the wording to make it clear that, where a person is owed a homeless prevention or homeless relief duty and is placed in temporary accommodation, they will be awarded a Band B but no additional priority for accommodation related factors.

Further detail on the banding criteria is set out in Section 4, particularly in parts 4.7 and 4.8.

The revised policy also offers greater clarity in circumstances where an applicant has sufficient financial capital or other means to find a housing solution outside of the register.  The revised wording makes it clearer that, in this situation, an assessment of ‘sufficient financial means’ will override the needs assessment band but is subject to review if an applicant’s circumstances change.

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