Changes to Havering Council’s housing allocation means that volunteers and armed forces are rewarded

Councillors welcomed changes to the way council houses are allocated in the borough, but warned that “there would be a lot of unhappy people”.

The cabinet approved the proposals which would see volunteers and members of the armed forces rewarded with council houses.

The changes will also see Bands D and E scrapped meaning that only residents who have been in the borough for at least two years can qualify for Havering’s housing register.

Cllr Lesley Kelly (Con, Harold Wood) said: “This is a huge change and we have had to take the step because we have 12,000 people on the register and 700 units of accomadation a year.

“There are lots of people on the list who have no chance of being housed and I think its better to tell them that they will never get a property.”

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She added: “There will be lots of unhappy people but that will always be the case with changes, but people can’t lose something that they have never had.”

The move aims to see more emphasis on providing local homes for local people. It will also take into account the contribution people make to the community.

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Applications from serving or former armed forces personnel will be prioritised. Those with disabilities will be given additional priority.

There are also new government-implemented rules on the length of tenancies

All new tenants will be given a fixed-term tenancy to be reviewed after five years – rather than one for a lifetime.

The council will assess whether there is still a need for continued tenancy and if the family could afford a private house or needs a larger home.

Tenants’ behaviour will also be taken into account.

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