Review into who gets council housing priority with 7,200 people on waiting list

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Rotherham Council is set to review who gets prioritised for council housing, after the government issued new guidelines.

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council’s allocation policy determines how homes are assigned to those on the waiting list.

Councils can set their own criteria for which applicants qualify, and are prioritised, for council housing.

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However, new guidelines from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) propose that councils should ‘prioritise those who have a strong connection to the UK and the local area’, as well as those who do not ‘disrupt communities through anti-social behaviour or terrorism offences’.

Rotherham Council is set to review who gets prioritised for council housing, after the government issued new guidelines.Rotherham Council is set to review who gets prioritised for council housing, after the government issued new guidelines.
Rotherham Council is set to review who gets prioritised for council housing, after the government issued new guidelines.

RMBC has to give priority to homeless people; people living in overcrowded or unsanitary conditions; and people who need to move on medical grounds.

The authority has also expanded the list to also prioritise care leavers, ex-service personnel, people unable to leave hospital as their home is unsuitable, those in temporary accommodation, households with safeguarding needs, and council tenants who wish to downsize.

RMBC will review its current priority list, and consider if it needs to be changed in a bid to cut down on the 7,200 people on the waiting list.

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Housing bosses will consider extending the exclusion period for those who have recently been rehoused from re-joining the register, which is currently 12 months.

They will also decide if the current limit of £800 of tenancy debt should be lowered, as it excludes ‘many applicants from the register, including some who are homeless and occupying temporary accommodation’.

The review will also consider eligibility for two and three-bedroomed houses –currently, couples without children are eligible for two-bedroomed houses.

Applicants with children including adult children are also eligible for two and three-bedroomed houses, meaning that potentially two adults (e.g., a single parent and their adult child) could be re-housed in a three-bedroomed house.

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A report to cabinet states that there are currently 235 people in the most urgent category for council housing, and RMBC has sold around 17,700 homes since the right-to-buy policy was introduced in the 1980s.

Following the review, a new policy will be sent to consultation, to be adopted in 2025.

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