New interim Housing Allocation Policy
The Council’s Social Committee agreed a new Housing Allocation Policy in June 2015.
The Council is looking to implement the new Housing Allocation Policy in phases over the next year and has developed this interim policy to do so.
The most significant changes to the policy from the Council’s previous policy, are as follows:
- The register will no longer be an open register and stronger restrictions will be placed on who can qualify for social housing with strengthened criteria relating to local connection, financial resources and behaviour. (Implemented in November 2015).
- The points based scheme will be replaced with a banding scheme. (Due to be implemented in 2016)
- Qualifying applicants will be placed in an application category as either a homeless applicant, a waiting list applicant or a transfer applicant and a quota of properties will be attached to each of the categories. (Due to be implemented in 2016).
- The level of choice available to homeless households living in temporary accommodation has been reduced and they will now be made one direct offer of suitable accommodation. (Implemented in July 2015).
- Reduced priority will be given for waiting list and transfer applicants who refuse 3 suitable offers of accommodation. (Implemented November 2015).
- Specific provision has been made for armed forces personnel and right to move applicants. (Implemented in November 2015).
- Household and property size criteria will be aligned with the DWP Bedroom Standard. (Implemented in July 2015).
Interim Housing Allocation Policy - 2015 (pdf - 1mb)
About the Housing Needs Register
There are no council houses in Epsom & Ewell as the stock was transferred to Rosebery Housing Association in February 1994. Low cost rented housing, or ‘affordable housing’, is provided by a number of different housing associations, the largest of which is Rosebery Housing Association.
The Council has ‘nomination rights’ to a percentage of the housing associations' vacancies and, in order to decide who will be put forward for each vacancy, it operates a Housing Needs Register. This is a waiting list for people in the Borough who are in need of low cost rented accommodation. When a property becomes available it will be advertised through the Council's choice based letting system, Epsom & Ewell Home Choice.
Epsom & Ewell Home Choice is a way of allocating Housing Association properties that will give our applicants more choice over where they want to live. Every week we will advertise any vacancies on our website and an automated telephone service. Applicants can see a full range of available properties and apply or bid for any to which they are matched. The successful applicant will be the person with the highest points for the property they have bid for.
Available properties will be advertised from midnight Thursday through to midnight the following Wednesday and applicants can place up to three bids per week. They are advertised in the following ways:
In a newsletter available from the Housing Service
On display in the Reception area at Town Hall
On our property information line 01372 732666.
To bid call 08452701908.
Affordable Rent & Fixed Term Tenancies
Housing Associations now let their properties at Affordable Rents as opposed to subsidised Social Rents. Affordable Rent homes are a form of social housing however Affordable Rents are likely to be set at a level of up to 80% of the market rent.
The vast majority of general needs properties available in the borough (including Rosebery Housing Association’s) will be now let on Affordable Rents and very few properties will be let at subsidised Social Rents. When applying for Housing please be aware that the rents you are likely to be charged will now be at a similar level to most private rented housing rents.
Housing Associations are also be able to let their properties on fixed-term tenancies of at least five (occasionally two) years.
How to join the Housing Needs Register
You can apply to join the Housing Needs Register either by requesting an application form from Housing Services on 01372 732000 or you can print off and return the application form below. If you use this option, please read the Interim Housing Allocation Policy before completing the form.
Housing Needs Register Application Form 2015 (pdf- 9mb)
If you have any queries, need a form or help with completing it, please telephone 01372 732000.
When allocating properties through Epsom & Ewell Home Choice, the applicant with the highest points at the top of the list will normally be shortlisted to view the property unless there are reasons we are unable to do this; such as rent arrears. We will also take into account any special requirements for the property, such as disabled adaptations and if there is a lettings plan.
What is a Lettings Plan?
The Council operates two types of lettings plans: an annual lettings plan and local lettings plan for new build properties.
Annual Lettings Plan
Each year the Council draws up a lettings plan to be used as a guide to ensure that there is an appropriate balance of property allocation between the different categories of applicants on the Housing Needs Register. The lettings plan will be updated annually to reflect current issues and needs.
Local Lettings Plan
For new build estates, the Council and the Housing Association will operate a local lettings plan. The aim of this plan is to establish additional criteria for allocation of new build homes in order to achieve a socially and economically balanced community. The criteria will clearly be displayed on the property adverts and applicants are then shortlisted according to these criteria. If an applicant bids on a property but does not meet the letting plan criteria they will be overlooked.
Special Needs Housing and Support Register
The Epsom & Ewell Special Needs Housing and Support Register is a partnership of the Borough Council, Surrey County Council, Social Services, East Surrey Health Authority and five housing associations. The Register is run by the Council and is intended for people with housing and support needs. The Register helps us to assess an applicant’s needs and to identify the most suitable supported accommodation. Referrals are made from Social Workers and Care Managers.
For more information please telephone 01372 732000 or come into the Town Hall Monday to Friday between 9am and 4.30pm.
You can also contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org