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A far-reaching compendium of change in how council homes are allocated is now in force and includes a proviso of Havering homes for Havering residents.

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It means applicants will only be allowed to bid for housing if they have lived in the borough for at least the last two years.

The changes prioritise people who are working, volunteering, serving or former armed forces personnel, and will take into account people downsizing and those who need to move in order to foster children.

This is known as the Community Contribution Reward.

There are also safeguards for disabled residents to make sure they don’t miss out.

Existing tenants with children and a good tenancy record - and currently living in a flat - will have a better chance of getting a home with a garden.

But tenant Mr Meade tweeted at the Recorder to ask why he was given “no warning” that he was no longer entitled to bid for a home.

He said: “Myself and quite a few others have had our accounts suspended [and] therefore cannot bid.”

He added: “So I’m after answers as to why no explanation/email/notification has been given as to why this has happened.”

But Cllr Lesley Kelly, cabinet member for housing, said that tenants had been contacted.

“We wrote to everyone on the housing register to inform them of changes to the allocations scheme and there have also been regular updates in the council magazine and on the website,” she said. “We also provided people with information regarding whether they would still qualify, and encouraged people to submit their information so they could be reassessed. In the next few weeks we will be writing to everyone affected to explain whether they are on the register, or the reasons behind their removal if not.”

She added that there had been a reduction on the housing register as a result of the changes.

“Many of them would have been disappointed as we could not have realistically housed everyone on the register,” she said.

The changes have been brought under the Localism Act 2011, which gives local authorities greater freedom over council home management.

From now on, new tenants will not be given a lifetime tenancy, but will be reassessed after three or five years depending on their need. This will not affect existing tenants.

Anyone who has any enquiries can email housingneeds@havering.gov.uk

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