Council housing allocations policy

Exceptions and Special Allocations

The Exceptional Circumstances Panel must approve these.

Following the death of a tenant

There might be circumstances where, following the death of a tenant, the person(s) remaining in the property has no legal right to succeed to the tenancy but the Panel agrees to re-house them in another property.

Where a person has succeeded to 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 time limit. Each case will be considered individually and the time limit will be based on the applicant's circumstances and the type of property they are considered suitable for.

Management Transfer

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 might be one of our own properties or be owned by a RP or other responsible landlord.

Special Project nominations

The Council is able to nominate applicants to a number of support schemes. These currently include Housing First, Paradigm, GAP Scheme, The Foyer Project, Mably House, care leavers and the YMCA. Nominees must be in housing need and on the Housing Needs Register.

Other exceptional cases

Properties needing "sensitive" allocation (where an LLP is in place), 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.

Special Allocations not normally requiring Exceptional Circumstances Panel approval:

Special Schemes

For example: new bungalow developments reserved to give priority to elderly tenants who are currently living in accommodation too big for their needs in the immediately surrounding area.

Social Services co-operation

In some cases we might 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.

We will also consider exceptions when applications are received where Hertfordshire County Council are involved in the case due to one of the following reasons:

  • Possible Adoption or Fostering
  • Special Guardianship Orders
  • Child arrangement orders

The Housing Allocations Manager will consider the case in consultation with Hertfordshire County Council. Each case will be considered on its own merits given the information available to us and the likelihood of the applicants housing situation being resolved through the Housing Needs Register.

Surrender of Tenancy Scheme

This is a scheme for WHBC tenants who give up their tenancy and move out of the immediate area temporarily (normally for one to two years). We agree 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 application for this scheme must be approved by the Neighbourhood and Enforcement Manager.

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.

Shared Ownership

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 RP 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 whole of the property.

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.