Havering Council is consulting on reducing the threshold required for people to apply for social housing in the borough.

A council spokesperson has said that the new housing allocations scheme will help it “build a clearer and more accurate picture” of housing needs in Havering.

Under the new residency criteria, applicants would be required to live in Havering for three out of the last six years - previously this was six continuous years.

The income threshold is also said to be removed in the proposed scheme. Previously, the gross income cap limit for applicants was £50,000, with a £30,000 savings cap.

The spokesperson said: “Removing the limits and savings cap will allow applicants and tenants to use social housing as a springboard while they save for a deposit to buy their own home.”

A points-based system is set to replace a previous banding system that categorised residents in the order of priority based on their income and community contribution.

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These points, the spokesperson added, will be based on factors like medical needs, welfare claims and overcrowding issues.

Applicants will be able to self-assess their suitability for the kind of property they would like to secure, they said.

A public consultation has been launched for people to share their feedback on the new plans. The changes, if approved, will include those people already on the housing register and the council said their place in the queue will not change.

Romford Recorder: Councillor Paul McGeary, Cabinet Member for Housing Councillor Paul McGeary, Cabinet Member for Housing (Image: Havering Council)Councillor Paul McGeary, cabinet member for housing, said the proposed changes will allow the council to take a “nuanced approach” to each application and make sure that individual circumstances are considered.

He added: “We hope that these changes will help us build a more realistic impression of the number of people in Havering that are in need of social housing and help us address those needs as we move forward.”

Demand for social housing currently exceeds properties available within the borough, as per a Havering Council report.

In 2022-23, only 20 per cent of households on the housing register were said to have a “realistic prospect” of securing social housing.

The consultation closes on Thursday, November 30 and details can be found on this link: Housing Allocations Scheme 2023 - London Borough of Havering Council - Citizen Space