Council consults on proposed changes to Housing Allocations scheme

Published: Thursday, 21 September 2023

Havering Council has asked for feedback on proposed changes to its Housing Allocations Scheme.

The changes will make it easier for struggling residents and families to access the housing register and check their status, and will help the Council build a clearer and more accurate picture of housing needs across the borough.

The key changes will revise the residency criteria for new social housing applicants, who are now required to have lived within Havering for three out of the last six years.

The policy previously required six continued years of residency to qualify.

Recognising the rising costs of living and inflation, the income threshold for applicants will also be removed under these proposals.

Previously, the gross income cap limit for applicants was £50,000, with a £30,000 savings cap.

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.

The previous banding system, which put residents into different priority bandings based on income and community contribution criteria, will switch over to a points-based system.

This will give applicants greater transparency over where they stand on the waiting list and the ability to self-assess how they stand compared to the kind of property they’d like to secure.

Points are accrued based on various factors including medical needs, welfare claims and overcrowding issues.

The changes will include those already on the housing register waiting for a property, but their place in the queue will be protected and will not change.

Councillor Paul McGeary, Cabinet Member for Housing said:

“The financial climate has had a significant impact on Havering.

"Local people have been hit hard by rising costs of rent, mortgages, fuel and even basic essentials – the idea of buying a home is little more than a distant dream for too many of our children.

“It is vital that we rethink our policies to ensure we can identify and support those most in need.”

“Each household in our borough is unique, with different family dynamics and medical needs that affect their housing needs.

"The proposed changes to our Allocations Scheme will allow us to take a nuanced approach to each application, making sure that those individual circumstances are taken into account.

“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 in Havering significantly exceeds the number of properties available.

In the financial year 2022/23, only two in every 10 households on the housing register had a realistic prospect of securing social housing.

The consultation is open until Thursday 30 November 2023. You can read the full policy, proposed changes and points system, and complete the consultation on our consultation page.