How housing is allocated
Exceptions to our Housing Allocations Policy
The Exceptional Circumstances Panel must approve any exceptions to the way we allocate and prioritse council housing (Housing Allocations Policy).
These exceptions are listed below.
Following the death of a tenant
In certain situations the Panel may agree to re-house the person(s) remaining in the property who has no legal right to succeed to the tenancy. This could result in the person(s) needing to move to accommodation which suits their needs.
When a person has succeeded a home that is too large or unsuitable for their needs, the council will require them to move to more suitable accommodation. If they choose to do so through the Housing Needs Register, their application will be placed in Band A for an agreed period of time. Each case will be considered individually and the time period will be based on the applicants' circumstances and the type of property they are considered suitable for.
In order to make the best use of our properties, we may re-house applicants outside the standard scheme if it will release a property that is suitable for a person with disabilities or special needs, or if it is a type of property that rarely becomes available and is urgently needed by another applicant.
The accommodation released may be one of our own properties or be owned by a Registered Provider or other responsible landlord.
Special Project nominations
The council is able to nominate applicants to a number of support schemes. These currently include Paradigm, The Foyer Project, Mably House, care leavers and the YMCA. Nominees must have a housing need and be on the Housing Needs Register.
Other exceptional cases
Properties needing "sensitive" allocation, including decommissioned properties in a block that has not been fully decommissioned.
The Exceptional Circumstances Panel also has powers to consider other special cases where an exception to the council's usual policy may need to be made.
Some special Allocations do not require Exceptional Circumstances Panel approval such as:
For example, new bungalow developments reserved to give priority to elderly tenants who are currently living in accommodation too large for their needs in the immediately surrounding area.
Social Services co-operation
In some cases we may co-operate with Social Services in helping to provide services for children in need, under the provisions of the Children Act 1989, or other people with special needs.
Surrender of Tenancy Scheme
This is a scheme for council tenants who give up their tenancy and move out of the immediate area temporarily (normally for one to two years). We promise to re-house them on their return or if they choose they may bid for a property managed by a Registered Social Landlord.
If you want to join this scheme you must apply before ending your tenancy and must join the Housing Needs Register when you return. Any applications for this scheme must be approved by us.
How quickly you will be able to bid successfully on your return will depend on the availability of suitable properties and whether other applicants are in more urgent need.
The housing offered will normally be dependent on your household type or size at the time but will not normally be larger than the home you previously occupied.
If you would like to own your own home, but cannot afford to buy a property outright on the open market, shared ownership may be an option. If you are currently employed or have enough other means to pay for the mortgage and associated costs, you may be eligible.
The scheme enables you to buy a share of a property from a Registered Provider and pay rent on the remainder. The percentage initially purchased is between 25% and 75% and the share may be increased if you can afford it until you own the entire property.
Shared ownership properties in Hertfordshire are advertised and allocated by Bedfordshire Pilgrims Housing Association.
Capacity to hold a tenancy
Taking on a tenancy or a licence means entering a contract. This requires legal capacity.
In lay terms legal capacity means three things:
- being able to make a decision
- understanding there is a choice and wanting to enter a contract
- understanding the obligations of the contract e.g. to pay rent, keep the terms of the tenancy
In law there is a presumption that a person is capable until proved otherwise. The test of capacity should be functional i.e. take account of the particular activity and the complexity of the elements of the contract not a blanket test that a person is incapable of understanding. A Housing Options Officer will meet with the applicant and assess all circumstances including professional opinions from those organisations working with the applicant in line with the Mental Capacity Act 2005.