Housing Allocations Policy - Section 1 - 4
1. Scope of Policy
1.1 This policy details the framework for the allocation of Council housing that makes best use of housing stock whilst taking into consideration the needs, demands and aspirations of applicants.
2. Strategic Context
2.1 The Allocations Policy will contribute to the Moray Local Housing Strategy, the Moray Community Plan, the Council’s Corporate Plan and the Single Outcome Agreement.
2.2 It will assist the Council to fulfil the key priorities under the Community Plan “to help local communities to flourish, becoming a stronger, safer place to live, offering improved opportunities and a better quality of life.”
2.3 It will assist the Council to fulfil its overall aim of the Local Housing Strategy, “to ensure that sufficient good quality, affordable housing is available to meet the needs of people living in or requiring housing in Moray.” In addition it will assist the Council to achieve agreed outcomes of the Local Housing Strategy:
• There is an adequate supply of affordable housing
• We make the best use of existing social rented housing
• Social rented housing is allocated equitably
• Every customer has their individual needs recognised, is treated fairly and with respect, and receives fair access to housing and housing services. (Scottish Social Housing Charter).
3. Principles and objectives of the Allocations Policy
The Council’s Allocation Policy is influenced by the following principles which will underpin the Council’s approach to the allocation of housing:
• Legality – the Council seeks to ensure that its Allocations Policy reflects the legal framework and good practice;
• Consistency – the Council will apply the Allocations Policy in a consistent manner so that all applicants with similar characteristics are treated in a similar manner to achieve similar outcomes;
• Openness – the Council will provide explanatory leaflets on the Policy and information on the operation of the Allocations Policy (whilst maintaining individual confidentiality);
• Responsiveness – the Council seeks to have a policy which is capable of responding to a wide range of complex individual needs and circumstances and which embodies an appeals process;
• Equal opportunities – the Council seeks to ensure that the Policy does not discriminate between applicants on the grounds of: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation.
• Local co-operation – the Council seeks to work with other housing providers in the area to best meet housing needs in Moray.
3.2.1 To address housing needs in the area and where possible, to take into account applicants’ housing aspirations.
3.2.2 To assess applications for housing in an objective, consistent and fair manner, complying with all relevant legislation and best practice.
3.2.3 To make best use of the available housing stock.
3.2.4 To sustain and promote local communities as far as is possible.
3.2.5 To monitor performance and respond to changing patterns of need as they may arise by reviewing the Allocations Policy of the Council on a regular basis.
3.2.6 To inform the Council’s strategic planning processes.
3.2.7 To ensure that the Allocations Policy and practice is accessible to all applicants, by producing information in plain language that is clear and understandable.
4. Legal Context
4.1 The primary legislation governing allocations of Council housing is contained within the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 as amended by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 and the Homelessness etc (Scotland) Act 2003. This legislation provides the Council with the discretion to develop allocation and local letting policies in line with local priorities.
4.2 Sections 19 and 20 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 as amended by Sections 9 and 10 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 set out the legal rules about social housing lists and allocations.
4.3 Landlords have a duty to make rules covering priority of allocation of houses, transfers and exchanges and to publish these rules (section 21 of the 1987 Act, as amended by section 155 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 and the 2001 Act).
4.4 In addition, the following legislation regulates the legal framework for the Allocations Policy:
• The Human Rights Act 1998;
• The Data Protection Act 1998;
• The Access to Personal Information (Housing) (Scotland) Regulations 1993;
• Equality Act 2010;
• The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (as amended);
• The Matrimonial Homes (Family Protection) (Scotland) Act 1981;
• Civil Partnership Act 2005; and
• Family Law Act 2006.
The above list is not exhaustive.
4.5 Regulatory context
The Council must meet the outcomes of the Scottish Social Housing Charter. The Charter sets the standards and outcomes that all social landlords should aim to achieve when performing their housing activities. The standards and outcomes are:
Social landlords work together to ensure that:
• people looking for housing get information that helps them make informed choices and decisions about the range of housing options available to them;
• tenants and people on housing lists can review their housing options.
Social landlords ensure that:
• people at risk of losing their homes get advice on preventing homelessness.
Access to Social Housing
Social landlords will ensure that
• people looking for housing find it easy to apply for the widest choice of social housing available and get the information they need on how the landlord allocates homes and their prospects of being housed.
4.6 Government guidance
This policy promotes good practice and complies with the Scottish Government guidance, “Social Housing Allocations: A Practice Guide”. This Guide includes and replaces:
• SEDD Circular 1/2002 'Housing (Scotland) Act 2001: Housing Lists and Allocations';
• Housing and Regeneration Circular HAR1/2009 'Housing for People Leaving the Armed Forces'; and
• Good Practice in Housing Management: Medical Priority in Allocations', Good Practice Note 7, the Scottish Office published in 1999.