Cabinet to vote on proposed changes to how housing is allocated in Havering

Havering housing vote

Havering Council is to vote tonight - October 20 - on prospective changes to how housing is allocated in the borough. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Councillors are to vote on a new system which would change the way social housing is allocated in Havering. 

This evening (October 20) Havering Council's cabinet will decide whether to introduce a revised system to that implemented in 2016 in order to address increasing demand. 

The report says: "In the financial year 2019-2020, only one in every five households on the council’s housing register had a realistic prospect of securing social housing."

It says the reform aims to ensure all available council housing is "fairly allocated to households in the greatest need".

Changes to qualifying criteria have been proposed.

For example, in 2016/2017, the income threshold was set at £36,000. Anyone earning over that couldn't join the housing register.

The proposals, however, create an amended cap of between £36,000 and £50,000.

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While the £36,000 income cap would remain for a single person and a couple, the new upper limit would apply to a family of three or more persons.

Under the 2016 scheme, a person couldn't join the register if they had a level of household savings or assets of £36,000.

The proposed new scheme seeks to implement a savings limit of between £20,000 and £30,000.

According to the report, this change is sought because "people should be able to save up for a deposit for acquiring accommodation without being penalised".

A draft of this scheme sought to introduce a rule whereby applicants would have to live continuously in the borough for 10 years. 

However, following consultation, it was decided that the current six-year criteria would be retained. 

Should this new scheme be approved, there will also be changes to the housing bands.

The 2016 scheme has four bands: emergency rehousing, community contribution reward one, community contribution reward two and home-seeker.

A new band called 2c would be introduced under the mooted revamp, with the bands to be renamed as band one - urgent need, band 2a, band 2b, band 2c and band 3.

The report states these new bands would give greater priority to care leavers, disabled households, working households, volunteers and carers, alongside tenants who could move to a smaller home to free up their current property.

A decision is set to be made tonight. 

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