Council to consult on review of housing allocations policy

Midlothian Council is launching a review of its Housing Allocation Policy in early 2019.

Lettings groups

The current policy was revised in 2013 to create three lettings groups:

* Choice list - for those applicants with no identifiable need
* Homeless list - for homeless applicants
* General Needs list - for those applicants with a specific need. For instance those with medical need or who are living in overcrowded conditions.

This group system is seen as less complex, easier to understand and fairer compared to points based ones.

Positive outcomes of current policy

An analysis of the policy over the past two years since it was last reviewed noted many positive outcomes. There has been a reduction in the number of Housing List applicants refusing offers due to applicants being given more choice of the property types they are offered. In recent years the number of lets has been rising due to an increase in new build housing being completed. The council also works in partnership with Melville Housing and other social landlords to provide a Common Housing Register ensuring applicants have increased housing opportunities.

Consultation with tenants

There is an agreement that the council will review its Housing Allocation Policy every 2 years and this will include appropriate consultation with tenants and housing list applicants. Engagement with other stakeholders will also be undertaken.

Key changes to be considered

The key changes that may be considered and discussed as part of the consultation exercise include removing the Choice Group and reviewing points for existing tenants who are overcrowded or under occupying to ensure they are given opportunities to transfer from their existing tenancy. The Housing Allocation Policy could also be amended to address requirements of the Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan where the Scottish Government has asked all councils to develop a 5 year plan to develop actions to substantially increase the speed at which homeless households are provided with permanent housing.

Responding to changing needs

Cllr Stephen Curran said: “It is important that the Housing Allocations Policy is regularly reviewed to ensure it is responding to changing needs. Prior to agreement on any changes to the policy being undertaken, it is a requirement that consultation is undertaken with tenants and housing applicants and the outcomes of this consultation are reported on. Following the consultation, a seminar will be held with elected member to consider the key issues. I would urge all tenants and applicants to participate in this consultation when it is launched.”

19 Dec 2018