We are giving more choice to people looking for social housing.
On 26 September, Communities committee agreed to move from a housing register based on a traditional points-based allocation system, which matches people to available properties, to a system of Choice Based Lettings that empowers would-be tenants to make their own informed choices.
The common housing register’s points-based system has proved complicated and time-consuming. More than 40% of housing offers made to applicants were refused between April 2016 and the end of March this year, where, in many instances, the location and type of property was felt to be unsuitable or unacceptable by people seeking a tenancy. These refusals left properties unoccupied for longer periods than is ideal.
Our housing team has piloted a successful choice based lettings approach for a selection of immediately available to let properties. This has proved successful and a move to roll-out this more customer-led approach is supported by our housing association partners.
This process sees landlords advertise their vacancies, allowing people who are interested to bid on the property they feel suits them best. The needs of those who apply are broadly prioritised and, where there is more than one bid, the applicant with the highest priority is offered the property.
In a more consumer-led society, we anticipate that choice based lettings will encourage a wider range of people to access social housing and will give them more choice over their housing. We hope that this, in turn, will improve demand for housing stock, reduce refusal rates and improve the process and overall satisfaction.
By doing so, the choice based lettings system can contribute to better, more sustainable communities, where people are more committed to the areas where they live.
We will now finalise details of the new approach and a will fully implement the move to choice based lettings system in 2018.