Issue - meetings

Issue - meetings

Choice Based Lettings refusal reasons

Meeting: 05/10/2016 - Housing Panel (Panel of the Scrutiny Committee) (Item 66)

66 Choice Based Lettings refusal reasons pdf icon PDF 123 KB



Background Information


The Housing Panel in considered proposed changes to the Choice Based Lettings scheme for the allocation of social housing in December 2015.  At that meeting the Panel requested further data and analysis around why approximately 15% of offers of suitable accommodation had been refused, including reasons that were considered to be reasonable and unreasonable.  The Panel also recommended that officers explore positive ways of reducing the number of offers of housing that were refused.


Why is it on the agenda?


For the Panel to receive a report back on Choice Based Lettings refusal reasons.  The Panel is asked to note and comment the report and may wish to agree one or more recommendations to put to the City Executive Board in November.


Who has been invited to comment?


·         Cllr Mike Rowley, Board Member for Housing;

·         Tom Porter, Allocations Manager.




Additional documents:


The Allocations Manager introduced the report.  He said that the Council had made 766 offers of housing, which involved a lot of work and of these about one sixth had been refused.  He said that there would always be different views on what was suitable and gave examples of what types of refusal reasons were considered to be reasonable (e.g. a documented need for adaptions) and unreasonable (e.g. décor).  People would be penalised after two unreasonable refusals.


The Panel questioned how the Council ensures that people on the transfer register who wanted to downsize were not penalised for refusing offers.  The Allocations Manager said that 18 refusals were from people in this situation which would have otherwise been treated as unreasonable.  However, six of these had later re-bid and downsized, so it was worth making this exception.


In response to a question about whether relocation was a reasonable ground for refusing an offer of private rented accommodation, the Panel heard that Choice Based Lettings was the system for allocating social housing.  In these cases people did have a right of appeal and if someone required hospital treatment or had dependent disabled relatives in the City, they would not be placed out of the area.  The Panel asked what happens if someone lost their out of area private rented accommodation through no fault of their own.  The Allocations Manager said that the Council had a duty to house people for two years, after which that duty would pass to the local authority for the area in which they lived.


The Panel considered the information available to people bidding for properties through the Choice Based Lettings scheme and questioned whether it would be possible to describe the sizes of rooms.  The Allocations Manager said that his team did not always know the exact layout of properties.  Three bedroom properties were assumed to have too double bedrooms and one single bedroom but some properties had quirky layouts and the size of other rooms such as kitchens could vary quite a lot.  The team tried to gather as much information as possible but most properties were advertised before they became vacant.  After a viewing, people may be given overnight to consider whether to accept a property but the time properties were vacant had a direct cost to the Council in rent foregone


The Panel questioned whether the Council was being too harsh in the way it judges refusals for families.  Officers reassured the Panel that this was not the case.


Councillor Wade left the meeting at the end of this item.