Council set to remove 5,000 from waiting list
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Local Government
Housing association tenant satisfaction hits 80%
Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet will discuss proposed changes to its housing allocations policy next week which could see more than 5,000 people removed from its housing register.
Major changes are being proposed which would alter the way the council and housing associations in the town let out properties and the type of tenancy any new tenants would be offered.
It follows new powers in the Localism Act enabling councils to change the way they let homes in a bid to increase the prospects of those on the waiting list.
The changes proposed in the policy include reclassifying and removing some priority bands in its housing register: these are bands C&D and consist of tenants who joined the waiting list with no specific or immediate need and who, due to housing availability, would not receive a property until their needs changed.
This means 5,400 would be taken off the register with priority being given to people in severe housing need, those with a local connection, people leaving the armed forces and those who are working or actively seeking voluntary or paid work.
The changes proposed would also see the introduction of flexible tenancies which would be offered for a minimum of five years.
Existing tenants, says the council, will not be affected by the changes unless they move to an affordable rented home in which they would pay a higher rent. However, people on the register who might be offered a property in the future would only be given a tenancy for five years.
Councillor Mary Markham, cabinet member for housing, said: "The number of people in housing need continues to grow and councils are being challenged to make the best used of the social housing which is available. The Localism Act also enables councils to make changes to how homes are let and introduce a system which better reflects local circumstances. At cabinet we’ll be discussing the local housing issues, the proposed changes and the views of local people gathered in the consultation.”
As part of the consultation tenants and people on the housing register were sent information about the proposed changes and asked to fill in the questionnaires.
The results were broadly supportive of the proposed changes, the council said, with 44% agreeing and 43% of respondents disagreeing with the proposal to remove band C and D customers from the register.
It said some 94% agreed with the proposal to give older people a lifetime tenancy and 80% of people agreed that tenancies should be renewed after five years if people’s circumstances had not changed.