The North Hertfordshire Housing Partnership Common Housing .

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The North Hertfordshire HousingPartnershipCommon Housing Allocation SchemeOriginal approval date:30/07/2013Further revisions 09/2020

ContentsPage1INTRODUCTION11.1Statement of choice12EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES23SOCIAL HOUSING STOCK IN NORTH HERTS34LETTINGS NOT COVERED BY THE SCHEME35MAKING AN APPLICATION45.1Advice and nUnacceptable behaviour – anti-social behaviourUnacceptable behaviour – housing debtsApplicants who accrue housing debts when on theHousing RegisterFormer social housing tenantsApplicants with sufficient financial resources topurchase accommodationWithholding information / giving false informationApplicants aged 16 and 17 years10105.7Home owners105.8Holders of social housing tenancies125.9Homeless households and those threatened withhomelessness125.10Agricultural workers125.11Applications from households in institutions125.12Care leavers135. of the Armed ForcesLocal connectionAdditional preferenceBidding for properties prior to discharge131314155.

5.14Prospective adoptive or foster parents155.15Households in employment155.16Intentional worsening of housing circumstances155.17Changes in circumstances165.18Home visits165.19Right to access information166CHOICE BASED LETTINGS – HOME4U176.1Support for potentially disadvantaged applicants176.2Guidance on Choice Based Lettings187PROPERTIES SUBJECT TO RESTRICTEDQUALIFICATION CRITERIA187.1Local lettings policies187.2Rural schemes197.3Adapted / accessible properties197.4Sundry restrictions198PROPERTY SIZE208.1Sheltered housing / Retirement Living219PROPERTY TYPE2110HOUSEHOLDS WITH A NEED FOR AN ADAPTED/ ACCESSIBLE PROPERTY2210.1Adapted / accessible properties2210.2Properties without adaptations2211LANDLORDS2311.1Refusal of a nominee by a Private RegisteredProvider of Social Housing (PRPSH)2312PETS2313REVIEW OF APPLICATIONS TO THE COMMONHOUSING REGISTER2414RIGHT TO REQUEST A REVIEW24iii

15COMPLAINTS2516CONFIDENTIALITY2517HOUSING NEEDS2517.1Households occupying unsanitary or overcrowdedhousing or otherwise living in unsatisfactory housingLiving in accommodation that is in poor conditionLiving in accommodation that is too big for thehouseholdLiving in accommodation that does not have enoughbedrooms or has bedrooms that are too smallFamilies in bedsits/studio flatsSingle person household in bedsits / studio flatsLiving in supported accommodation and no longerhas a need for the level of support providedChildren under the age of six in above ground flooraccommodation and/or children under the age of 11without access to a secure gardenLiving in accommodation with limited security oftenureHouseholds sharing facilities with other householdsLeaving an institution with no suitableaccommodation to return toLiving in a social sector adapted property in NorthHerts with no need for adaptationsHouseholds that need to move on medical or welfaregroundsMedical conditions or disability adversely affected bycurrent housingUrgent medical priorityHigh medical priorityModerate medical priorityThe applicant or a member of his/her householdneeds to move to give or receive careThe applicant is vulnerable and cannot be expectedto find their own accommodationThe household includes an applicant aged over 55and requires sheltered housing / Retirement LivingHouseholds that would suffer hardship if they do notmove2518PREFERENCE3318.1Local 30303031313132323233iv

18.2Discretionary awards of preference3419BANDING CRITERIA3519.1Band A – high preference3519.2Band B – medium preference3619.3Band C – low preference3720CUMULATIVE NEED3821WAITING TIME3822OFFERS OF ACOMMODATION3822.1Homeless households3922.2Direct offers4022.3Withdrawing offers of accommodation4122.4Feedback on lettings4123SUPPORT WITH SUSTAINING A TENANCY41ANNEX A – Private Registered Providers ofSocial Housing operating in North Hertfordshire42ANNEX B – Sheltered housing / RetirementLiving schemes43ANNEX C – Rehabilitation periods44v

1.INTRODUCTIONNorth Hertfordshire District Council and settle (formerly NorthHertfordshire Homes) work together as the North HertfordshireHousing Partnership (NHHP) to secure accommodation for localhouseholds with a housing need. The Partnership’s CommonHousing Allocation Scheme sets out who can apply for socialhousing and how social housing is allocated within the district.This Common Housing Allocation Scheme is published on thewebsites of members of the NHHP and a copy will be provided freeof charge to anyone requesting it.Homes are allocated through Choice Based Lettings (CBL). UnderCBL, available properties are advertised and applicants selectwhich properties they wish to be considered for and express aninterest in the property. This is known as a ‘bid’. Support withmaking bids is available to anyone in need of it.In preparing this scheme the NHHP have had regard for legislation,statutory guidance and local strategies and policies, including: 1.1The Housing Act 1996;The Homelessness Act 2002;Allocation of accommodation: guidance for local housingauthorities in England June 2012;The Localism Act 2011;The regulatory framework for social housing in England fromApril 2015;The Welfare Reform Act 2012;The Equality Act 2010;The Human Rights Act 1998;The Freedom of information Act 2000;The Data Protection Act 1998;The North Herts Housing and Homelessness Strategy;The North Herts District Council Tenancy Strategy;The settle Tenancy Policy;The Armed Services Covenant 2015;The Hertfordshire Joint housing Protocol;The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.Statement of choiceThe NHHP is committed to empowering people to make informeddecisions and choices about their housing options whilst continuingto house those in the greatest need in North Hertfordshire.1

The Choice Based Lettings (CBL) system enables householdsaccepted on to the Common Housing Register to view the range ofsocial housing properties that are available and to actively bid forproperties that they are interested in rather than accommodationsimply being allocated to them. Applicants should note howeverthat the demand for social housing in North Herts is much higherthan the number of homes available and it is usually only possibleto assist those with the greatest housing needs. Acceptance ontothe Common Housing Register is not a guarantee that an offer ofaccommodation will be made.Whilst the majority of social housing will be allocated through CBL,a property can be withdrawn from CBL where a direct allocation isrequired to meet exceptional or urgent housing need (seeparagraph 22.2) or where it is necessary to make an allocation ofaccommodation outside the terms of this allocations scheme, asdescribed in Section 4.The NHHP strongly encourages applicants to consider their fullrange of housing options, of which social housing may be just one.Other housing options may include renting in the private sector, lowcost home ownership, an exchange (for existing social housingtenants), looking further afield where housing is cheaper or seekingadvice on financial matters.Further information and advice can be obtained from the Council’sHousing Options team or visit OPPORTUNITIESThe Partnership endeavours to meet the diverse needs of thecommunity without bias. The Partnership will have due regard tothe need to: eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment andvictimisation; advance equality of opportunity between all groups inthe community and foster good relations within the community.These responsibilities are set out in the public sector Equality Duty,established by the Equality Act 2010.The outcomes and operation of the Common Housing AllocationScheme will be monitored on an annual basis, and the resultspublished, to ensure that the Partnership is meeting the duties setout in the Equality Duty.Should such monitoring expose inconsistencies in outcomes forany group(s), the Partnership will take steps to eliminate anydisadvantage experienced by the group(s) concerned.2

3.SOCIAL HOUSING STOCK IN NORTH HERTSThere are over 9,000 general needs properties for rent (see AnnexA) and over 30 sheltered housing/Retirement Living projects (seeAnnex B) spread throughout the district.4.LETTINGS NOT COVERED BY THE SCHEMESome lettings are excluded from the terms of this scheme; theseinclude: offers of tenancies of their current homes to introductory tenantsof settle;the renewal of a fixed term tenancy to a current tenant in thesame property;offers of tenancies of the type deemed not to be securetenancies by virtue of Paragraphs 2, 3, 4, 4A, 5, 6, 7, or 10 ofSchedule 1 of the Housing Act 1985, as amended;offers made to tenants of settle at the instigation of the NHHP,rather than in response to an application from them: forexample, to tenants being decanted on a temporary basis, or tounder-occupying successors;transfers of settle tenants that are made for housingmanagement purposes;offers to displaced residential owners under the LandCompensation Act 1973;transfers of tenancies made by Court Order under theMatrimonial Causes Act 1973 or other family legislation;assignments of, and successions to, settle tenancies;where a tenant dies and there is no other person who hassuccession rights, the NHHP has the discretion to grant atenancy either in the same home or a suitable alternative to ahousehold member who has been living with the deceasedtenant for at least one year; and/or been a carer for the tenant;or has accepted responsibility for the deceased tenant’sdependants;mutual exchanges of social housing tenancies;offers of tenancies made under reciprocal arrangements withother local housing authorities or PRPSHs;lettings to properties leased by settle to providers of supportedaccommodation and subsequent tenancies issued to residentsof such properties;lettings to flexi-care or other supported housing;lettings of temporary accommodation to statutory homelesshouseholds;sensitive lettings e.g. public protection cases; andlettings made to households under the witness mobility scheme.3

5.MAKING AN APPLICATIONAccess to the Common Housing Register is via an on-lineapplication form.The form can be completed on-line or accessed via the websites of NorthHertfordshire District Council and settle.All applications for social housing will be considered provided theapplicant is eligible and qualifies for an allocation ofaccommodation (see paragraphs 5.4 and 5.5) and is aged 16 yearsor over.Married applicants, those in civil or common law partnerships andcouples who wish to live together are expected to make a jointapplication.Individuals can only be included in one application unless there areexceptional circumstances.When completing an application to the Common Housing Register,applicants should include members of their household that theywish to be accommodated with them. Members of the householdmay include: anyone who normally resides with the applicant as a member oftheir family and would be reasonably expected to do so; oranyone who is a member of the applicant’s family who does notnormally reside with them but could reasonably be expected todo so; oranyone who does not normally reside with the applicant and isnot a member of their family but could reasonably be expectedto live with them.Once an application has been received and all supporting evidenceassessed, applicants will be notified of the preference they havebeen awarded and provided with guidance on participating in thechoice based lettings scheme Home4U.Should an applicant consider that their housing circumstances havenot been taken fully into account they can request a review of thefacts of their case (see paragraph 14).5.1Advice and Assistance in making an applicationAdvice and assistance with making an application is available freeof charge to anyone in the district who has difficulty with making anapplication. Applicants requiring assistance should contact thepartner to which they make their application.4

5.2TranslationA summary of this document will be made available in otherlanguages upon request. We can also arrange a translation servicefor applicants who visit our offices in person. Applicants requiringthis service should contact the partner to which they make theirapplication.5.3TranscriptionA summary of this document can be transcribed to Braille andaudiotape and converted to large print. Applicants requiring thisservice should contact the partner to which they make theirapplication.5.4EligibilityAll applicants will be assessed to establish their eligibility for anallocation at both the point of application and the point of allocation.Applicants are ineligible for an allocation of accommodation underthe following circumstances: the applicant(s) is a person from abroad and subject toimmigration control with the exception of those personsprescribed by the Secretary of State as subject to immigrationcontrol but nonetheless eligible for an allocation as set out inThe Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility)(England) Regulations 2006 and/or any subsequentamendments;the applicant(s) is a person from abroad who is not subject toimmigration control who is not habitually resident in theCommon Travel Area.There are no restrictions to including a person subject toimmigration control as part of the household of an eligible applicant.Those subject to immigration control are not restricted fromaccessing affordable home ownership schemes provided that theyare unable to afford suitable accommodation on the open marketand can secure a mortgage. Applicants who are ineligible for socialhousing due to their immigration status who wish to be consideredfor such schemes should contact the Help to Buy Agent for the Eastand South East of England.Applicants found to be ineligible for an allocation of social housingdue to their immigration status will not be accepted onto theCommon Housing Register. They will be notified of the decisionand the reasons for it in writing. The applicant has a right to requesta review of such a decision (see paragraph 14).5

5.5QualificationAll applicants will be assessed to establish that they qualify for theCommon Housing Register at both the point of application and thepoint of allocation.An applicant will not qualify for inclusion on the Common HousingRegister, unless there are exceptional circumstances (seeparagraph 18.2), in the following circumstances: the applicant does not have a housing need (see section 17); orthe applicant does not have a local connection (unless they aresocial housing tenants in England and need to move within orinto North Hertfordshire for work related reasons or they requiresheltered housing/Retirement Living) (see paragraphs 17.3 and18.1); orthe applicant or a member of his/her household has beenconvicted of anti-social behaviour or certain types of crime (seeparagraph 5.5.1); orthe applicant or a member of his/her household is facing legalaction for anti-social behaviour or certain types of crime (seeparagraph 5.5.1); orthe applicant has an outstanding current housing debt oroutstanding debt from a former tenancy for which repaymentarrangements are not in place (see paragraphs 5.5.2 and 5.5.3);orthe applicant or a member of his/her household has beenevicted from social housing (see paragraph 5.5.4); orthe applicant has sufficient resources to buy a suitable home onthe open market (see paragraph 5.5.5); orthe applicant has made a fraudulent application to the CommonHousing Register (see paragraph 5.5.6); orthe gross income of the household exceeds 60,000 per annumunless there are exceptional circumstances.Applicants who do not qualify for inclusion on the Common HousingRegister will be notified of the decision and the reasons for it inwriting. The applicant has a right to request a review of such adecision (see paragraph 14).5.5.1Unacceptable behaviour – anti-social behaviour/crimeAn applicant will not qualify for inclusion on the Common HousingRegister, (unless there are exceptional circumstances (seeparagraph 18.2)), if he/she or a member of their household: has an unspent conviction (see Annex C) for an offence whichmay be considered as anti-social behaviour or a civil ordergranted by a court under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime andPolicing Act 2014; or6

is subject to criminal legal action or to a court order for behaviourthat may be considered as anti social; orhas an unspent conviction for a crime that is likely to cause fear,distress and alarm; oris subject to legal action for a crime that is likely to cause fear,distress and alarm.The Partnership will consider a fresh application to the CommonHousing Register from any applicant refused access to theCommon Housing Register on grounds of anti-social behaviour ifthe person responsible for the anti-social behaviour/crime has livedin the community for three years with no further convictions of thistype, or when their convictions are spent, whichever is the sooner(see Annex C).Applicants who do not qualify for inclusion on the Common HousingRegister will be notified of the decision and the reasons for it inwriting. The applicant has a right to request a review of such adecision (see paragraph 14).5.5.2Unacceptable behaviour - housing debtsA housing debt is a debt related to a current or previous tenancyowed to: a social landlord; ora private rented sector landlord; orNHDC resulting from claims against the NHDC DepositGuarantee Scheme; oran agency that has provided a loan as a result of a referral byNHDC for the purpose of preventing homelessness.Housing debts include: current or former tenant/licensee rent/charge arrears in respectof a dwelling;Mesne profits owed by tolerated trespassers;court costs incurred through proceedings in relation to breachof tenancy, including anti-social behaviour and rent arrears.Court costs incurred through proceedings relating to theapplicant’s occupation of his/her home or former home will beconsidered according to individual circumstances;charges for repair of damage to a dwelling that the occupier isliable for;claims from a private landlord against a deposit guaranteed byNHDC;loans from agencies that were enabled by NHDC for thepurpose of preventing homelessness where repayments havenot been maintained.7

Applicants with housing debt accrued in their current tenancy willnot qualify to join the Common Housing Register unless there areexceptional circumstances (see paragraph 18.2).Applicants with debts outstanding from a previous tenancy will notqualify for inclusion on the Common Housing Register until 25% ofthe value of the debt is repaid. Applicants must also enter into anagreement to repay the outstanding debt by regular instalments.Evidence of the agreement being adhered to will be required beforeany offer of social housing can be made. Applicants who have notmaintained agreed repayments will not be considered for an offerof social housing unless they bring their repayments up to date.Applicants who have not maintained agreed repayments on loansenabled by NHDC will be removed from the Common HousingRegister, unless they bring their repayments up to date within 3months from the date on which their application is accepted.Applicants who fail to bring their repayments up to date within thespecified timeframe will be removed from the Common HousingRegister. Such applicants will not qualify for inclusion on theCommon Housing Register until the debt is cleared.Applicants who do not qualify for an allocation will be informed ofthe decision and the reasons for it in writing. Such applicants havea right to request a review of the decision (see paragraph 14).5.5.3Applicants who accrue housing debts when on the Hous

North Hertfordshire District Council and settle (formerly North Hertfordshire Homes) work together as the North Hertfordshire Housing Partnership (NHHP) to secure accommodation for local households with a housing need. The Partnership’s Common Housing Allocation Scheme sets out who can apply for social

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