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Contact: Bill Ashton; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org;
To approve as correct records the Minutes of the meetings held on 10 January, 2019, and 16 January, 2019, copies attached as appendices.
That the Minutes of the meetings held on 10 January, 2019 and 16 January, 2019, be approved as correct records.
Cabinet Member for Communities
To consider the attached report.
Contact Officer: Julie Oliver (01296) 585109
Cabinet received a report, posted in full on the Council’s web site, and summarised in the Minutes of the Environment and Living Scrutiny Committee of 29 October, 2019 (also available on the Council’s web site), concerning proposed amendments to the Bucks Home Choice Allocations Policy.
The Council was a member of the Bucks Home Choice Partnership which comprised all four District Councils in Buckinghamshire. These authorities managed the collective housing register and the allocation of affordable rented accommodation within their respective areas. A number of changes were being suggested to the Policy to take account of changes in legislation, and recent case law. The Partnership had considered all these factors, alongside the likely impact of Government reforms, and the increased demand and reduced supply of social housing, particularly larger properties.
Applicants who would now qualify for Bucks Home Choice were:-
· Applicants in the statutory reasonable preference categories (even if they did not have a local connection or would normally be non qualifying as required by the Housing Act 1996). However, applicants with a local connection were prioritised above those without a local connection when allocating properties.
· Applicants owed prevention or relief duties within the Council’s statutory homeless duties (Part VII of the Housing Act 1996) were to be included to reflect the changes made by the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017.
· Applicants meeting the criteria set out in the Right to Move Regulations 2015.
· Applicants who had left the local authority area for a period of up to four months, where they were staying with family to search for alternative accommodation in the area.
· Applicants placed into supported accommodation out of the area would retain a local connection with the area they were living in prior to placement.
· Prisoners who had been released from prison would retain a local connection with the area they were living in prior to going to prison.
Applicants who would no longer qualify for Bucks Home Choice were:-
· Applicants aged 16 or 17 (unless there was an adult who could hold the tenancy as a trustee until they were 18).
· Applicants who had formally owned a property within the last five years and had disposed of capital without making reasonable housing arrangements. Evidence as to the circumstances would be required.
· Applicants who had previously purchased a Right to Buy or Right to Acquire property (unless they were owed a main homelessness duty).
· Applicants subjected to an Anti-Social Behaviour Order and/or had broken the terms of their tenancy and/or where a Notice to Quit had been served.
· Applicants aged over 55 who owned suitable and affordable accommodation, or who had assets or savings sufficient to enable them to source accommodation in the private sector. Decisions on these cases would be taken on a case by case basis, as opposed to income or savings thresholds being set. Guidance would be provided to case workers to ensure a degree of consistency in decision making and all decisions would carry a statutory right of review by a senior officer.
There ... view the full minutes text for item 2.