Proposed changes to the Housing Allocation Policy
We are reviewing our Housing Allocations Policy. The Council’s Housing Allocation Policy sets out how we prioritise housing needs and allocate social housing. It aims to meet housing need, prevent homelessness, assist vulnerable households and promote safer and stronger communities within our Borough, whilst making best use of the Borough’s very limited affordable housing stock.
There is currently very high demand for social housing with over 2500 applicants on the Housing Needs Register, with on average only 100 properties becoming available each year. Therefore it is important that we ensure these homes go to those who most need them.
The Localism Act allows the Council to review our Allocation Policy so we can set our own local priorities and restrict who will be eligible or qualify for the Housing Needs Register, removing the requirement to have an ‘open’ Housing Needs Register.
These changes have provided the Council with the opportunity to review the Housing Allocation Policy. The proposed changes are designed to make the allocation scheme more straightforward to administer and fairer to all categories of applicants on the Housing Needs Register.
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.
In addition to our own local Home Choice scheme, we are working in partnership with three other local authorities - Mole Valley, Reigate & Banstead and Tandridge on East Surrey Home Choice. Up to 10% of all social rented homes that become available each year will be advertised through East Surrey Home Choice and will be available to our applicants for inter-borough moves.
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 leaflet called Housing Needs Register and Allocation Policy Summary before completing the form.
East Surrey Home Choice works in much the same way as Epsom & Ewell Home Choice. Available properties will be advertised on our website www.eebc-homechoice.org.uk, but instead of using points to select applicants it will use 'bands' and waiting time.
Housing Needs Register and Low Cost Home Ownership Application Form 2014 (pdf - 848kb)
If you have any queries, need a form or help with completing it, please telephone 01372 732000.
Housing Allocation Policy and Choice Based Lettings Scheme 2014 (pdf - 842kb)
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