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Housing allocation scheme

Last updated on: 09-Apr-2021

4. Determining priority

4.1. Assessment and priority list date

We assess all of the information you provide to support your application and may ask you to provide further evidence to support your application.

If you are eligible and not disqualified, the two main factors that determine priority on the register are your assessed need (Bands A to D) and your priority date. Your priority date will usually be the date that your online application is made, unless your application is rejected if you fail to provide the information we need to assess it within 28 days of applying.

Where there is a subsequent relevant change in your circumstances that affects your priority band assessment, your priority date will usually be changed to the date we were notified of the change. We will email to tell you whether or not you have been included on the register. If you have been included, we will tell you the size of property you are eligible to bid for and in which priority band you have been placed. You have the right to request a review of the facts of your case that we have used in this assessment.

You must tell us of any change in your circumstances within 14 days of the change. We will email you to let you know if the change affects your level of housing need and/or your priority band. The banding reflects broad levels of housing need, so some changes in your circumstances may make no difference to the band you are in. However, sometimes a significant change in circumstances, such as a move to another address, the birth of another child, a change to your household income or savings or a substantial change in mobility may result in a reassessment of your priority. Your application will usually be suspended and you will not be able to bid for any properties until you have provided enough written evidence to allow us to verify the change and reassess your priority, regardless as to whether your priority banding actually changes.

Your household will be placed in the appropriate band according to its highest need, not the accumulation of its needs. For example, if you are awarded priority on the grounds of overcrowding and are lacking two or more bedrooms, you will be placed into Band B regardless of whether you also have another need such as a non-essential medical or welfare reason for moving.

4.2. Overcrowding / under occupation

We assess overcrowding and under-occupation by comparing the number of bedrooms in your home against your household’s needs. You will be assessed as needing one bedroom for the following:

  • Every adult couple
  • Any other adult aged 18 or over
  • Any two children of the same sex aged under 18
  • Any two children under aged 10
  • A carer (or team of carers) who does not live with you but provides you or a member of your household with regular overnight care

You will be assessed as needing an extra bedroom if:

  • You have a disabled child who is unable to share a room with a sibling
  • You are an approved foster carer whether or not a child has been placed with you or you are between placements (as long as you have fostered a child, or become an approved foster carer in the last 12 months)
  • You have adult children in the Armed Forces (but who continue to live with you) who will be treated as continuing to live at home, even when deployed on operations
  • A member of your household is temporarily absent from your home because they are attending a full time University or higher education course.

A bedroom is defined as any room intended to be used as a bedroom, in line with what is stated on any tenancy agreement and to reflect the level of rent charged. If your current home has two separate living/reception rooms it is probable that one of these could be considered as suitable for use as a bedroom.

For the purposes of assessing overcrowding:

  • Two children of the same sex would be expected to share a bedroom until the eldest reaches 18 years of age
  • Two children of the opposite sex would be expected to share a bedroom until the eldest reaches 10 years of age
  • A couple or single parent would not be expected to share their bedroom with a child
  • A room measuring less than 50 sq. ft. (4.65 sq. m) would not be treated as a bedroom.

4.3. Property condition

If you rent your current home from a private landlord and you state that your reason for seeking social housing is due to problems with the condition of your home, a member of our Private Sector Housing team will contact you and your landlord or managing agent responsible for the property. You must cooperate with this and any subsequent property inspection that may be required. No priority will be awarded if you withhold your consent to allow us to contact your landlord or prevent works being carried out, for example by refusing to let contractors into your home to undertake the works.

If a visit is determined necessary by the Private Sector Housing team, they will inspect and assess your home using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). We use this to identify and categorise any hazards to health and safety. A crowding and space hazard is included within the housing needs assessment of overcrowding and, if present, no additional priority will be awarded under property condition grounds.

Band A priority will only be awarded to applicants who currently occupy a property which has at least one Category 1 hazard (excluding crowding and space) where the conditions present an immediate threat of serious injury or are life threatening and where remedial action is considered unreasonable or impractical for cost or other reasons.

Examples of where remedial action is considered unreasonable or impractical is where:

  • Work cannot be carried out to remedy a serious hazard with the applicant in residence and no alternative accommodation is available to the applicant to assist in progressing remedial works.
  • The risk from the hazard in the property is greater because of being an elderly person or having a young child but the property would be relatively safe for occupation by others.

Band B priority will only be awarded to applicants who occupy a property which has at least one Category 1 hazard (excluding crowding and space) where:

  • The hazard(s) identified pose a threat to the health and wellbeing of the occupants but where there is no immediate danger or it is not life-threatening, and remedial action is considered unreasonable or impractical.
  • You do not have access to one or more of the basic facilities: bathroom, kitchen, inside toilet, cold or hot water supplies, or gas/electricity and this cannot be remedied within a reasonable timescale. (This does not apply if you live in shared accommodation and share facilities with another household.)

Any priority awarded on the grounds of property condition will be removed if the necessary remedial works are completed before you are offered social housing.

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