Decision - Supply and Allocation of Social Housing 2018/19 | Westminster City Council
Decision details

Decision - Supply and Allocation of Social Housing 2018/19

Decision details

Supply and Allocation of Social Housing 2018/19

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes

Purpose:

This annual report reviews the demand for and supply of affordable housing and low-cost home ownership in and considers supply and demand projections for 2018/19.

Decision:

1.            That the Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services noted the projected supply and proposed allocation of rented housing, as discussed in paragraph 3.1 of the report and set out in Appendices A, B and B1 of the report.

 

2.            Intermediate Allocations Priorities

 

That in order to enable current Intermediate Renting (IMR) tenants to move to more suitable IMR properties and to prioritise people living and working in Westminster for IMR, the Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services agreed that the priorities for allocating intermediate housing are amended so that:

 

a)        Existing Intermediate Renting (IMR) tenants in Westminster living currently in shared IMR accommodation into which the Council has nomination rights will be eligible to bid for self-contained IMR properties

b)        Existing IMR tenants in Westminster who are living currently in shared IMR accommodation and are overcrowded will be eligible to bid for larger IMR accommodation

c)         Westminster households who currently live and work in Westminster will have higher priority for intermediate housing opportunities in the City (IMR and Shared Ownership) over those that only live in the borough and work outside or only work in the borough.

d)        The updated priority table, set out in paragraph 5.1 is approved

 

Intermediate Tenancy Renewals

 

e)        That the Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services agreed that IMR tenants who are living in a scheme which does not include a linked initiative leading onto home ownership, (e.g. is not part of a savings plan such as that operated by Westminster Community Homes or the Westminster Home Ownership Accelerator operated by Dolphin Square Foundation) should be able to have their tenancy period renewed for a further period on the condition that the household continues to be eligible for intermediate housing in Westminster.

 

f)          That the Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services agreed that households who are currently living in an Intermediate Scheme and do not have their tenancies renewed for that specific scheme due to the lettings policy of the particular landlord in question or as a condition of planning, but remain eligible for Intermediate Housing, are able to apply for alternative Intermediate Housing from 6 months before their tenancy is due to end and note that this would not apply to: Households whose tenancy was not being renewed for reasons of Anti-social behaviour or rent arrears, and; Households approaching the end of their original tenancy period and who remain eligible to have the tenancy extended are not able to bid for other intermediate rented properties.

 

3.            Homeless Reduction Act

 

a)    That the Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services agreed to changes, as approved by Counsel, to the Housing Allocations Scheme, in order to meet the requirements of the Act are continued.

 

b)    That the Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services noted that the Homeless Reduction Act has been in force since 3rd April 2018 and changes how the Council helps people or households who are or may become homeless and that the Council worked to put new arrangements in place for when the new law came into force.

 

4.       Tenancy Strategy and Tenancy Policy: charging higher rents for higher earners  

 

a)    That the Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services noted that the Council’s Tenancy Strategy, published in 2012, supports the principle of higher rents for higher earning social housing tenants and sets out some preferred principles for a scheme.

 

b)    That the Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services noted that both the Tenancy Strategy and Tenancy Policy sections relating to higher rents would need to be reviewed and updated, as at the time of their development government was planning to introduce a national Pay to Stay scheme for all social housing tenants.

 

c)    That the Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services agreed that the Council does not introduce its local scheme in 2019 for flexible/fixed term tenants and removes the references to rent increases in Section 9 of its Tenancy Strategy and removes paragraphs 8.3 – 8.8 of its Tenancy Policy; and noted that: the reasons for this are that a full review of the Tenancy Strategy and Policy is planned, now the recently published Green Paper has highlighted that the government does not now propose to implement the provisions of the Housing and Planning Act 2015 to make fixed term tenancies mandatory for local authority tenants;In addition analysis shows that it is unlikely that many households would be impacted by the current scheme and income levels would be low after costs.

 

5.            Local Lettings Plans: Infill Programme          

 

a)    That the Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services noted that the 2017/18 Supply and Allocations report agreed that in order to promote the benefits of potentially disruptive development to existing communities and to encourage local resident support it, that for each new infill housing development a local lettings plan (LLP) be developed that prioritises meeting local housing need in line with the Council’s Housing Allocations Policy.

 

b)    That the Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services agreed that approval of each Local Lettings Infill Scheme plan be delegated to the Director of Housing and Regeneration in consultation with the Cabinet Member.

 

c)    That the Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Service noted that when being developed, each plan will follow the key principles below:

 

·           The extent of the boundary of the LLP are the streets within the estates directly affected by the development as defined on a case by case basis

·           The LLP applies to both new social housing and intermediate housing

·           The LLP is applicable to people who have lived within the boundary for 12 months

·           First priority for the new social housing is to households registered with City West Homes for transfers from their current homeswith properties then allocated in line with priorities within the Allocations Scheme

·           Second priority for the new social housing is to anyone else on the Housing Register and this includes homeless households

·           Where social housing properties remain unlet through the above, then they are allocated following the Allocations Scheme

·           Any intermediate housing developed will be let in line with the current priorities for intermediate housing, although those who are working within the boundary who are not residents, will be excluded from the LLP

 

d)    That the Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services agreed that, in consultation with the Director of Housing and Regeneration, that delegated authority be given to the Director of Housing and Regeneration to use discretion when applying these principles to individual Local Lettings Plans and once developed the LLP will be shared through the local development newsletters. 

 

6.            Local Lettings Plans: Regeneration Areas

 

a)    That the Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services noted that Local Lettings Plans will be required for all regeneration areas and agreed that approval of each Local Lettings Regeneration Area plan be delegated to the Director of Housing and Regeneration, in consultation with the relevant Cabinet Member following consultation with the local community.

 

b)    That the Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services noted that when developing the LLP, the following principles will be proposed:

 

·           The boundary of the LLP is generally the master plan area but some flexibility can be applied on a site by site basis

·           The LLP is applicable to people who have lived within the boundary for 12 months

·           First priority for the new social housing will be for previous social housing tenants who had to move away to enable the regeneration scheme to take place and are now returning

·           Second priority for the new social housing is for households whose homes are being demolished in later phases

·           Third priority for the social housing will be for those registered with City West Homes for a transfer

·            Fourth priority for the social housing will be for anyone else in the LLP area in line with the Allocations Scheme

·           Any intermediate housing will be included and allocated in line with current priorities although those who are working within the boundary who are not residents, will be excluded from the LLP

·            The LLP will also set out how homes for resident leaseholders who are returning to the area are to be allocated.

 

c)    That the Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services agreed that in consultation with the Director of Housing and Regeneration, to delegate authority to the Director of Housing and Regeneration to use discretion when applying these principles to individual Local Lettings Plans.

 

7.            That in line with the above process, the Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services agreed that a Local Lettings Plan be developed for consultation for the new housing being developed at Tollgate for consultation, with the Director of Housing and Regeneration approving the final LLP in consultation with the Cabinet Member.

 

8.            Review of the homelessness policy framework

 

a)    That the Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services noted that the review of the Private Rented Sector Offers, Accommodation Placement and Accommodation Procurement Policies found that they are considered to still provide a robust framework to meet their objectives.

 

b)    That the Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services agreed that minor changes be made to the Accommodation Procurement Policy to: update the annual Action Plan, update the figures and to update some of the wording so the Policy better reflects market conditions; The reference to Universal Credit as a key cost pressure for TA is also updated.

 

9.         Tenancy Strategy and Policy Update: Lifetime tenancies

 

That In line with new legislation, the Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services agreed that the Secure Tenancy section of the Tenancy Policy is updated to provide security of tenure to tenants who have had to move home as a result of domestic abuse, so secure tenancies will be granted to: 

 

Any existing secure or assured tenant, that has to move home due to domestic abuse. This would also apply to a sole tenant that had lost their security of tenure by leaving the home due to domestic abuse, or to a joint tenant, where security of tenure had been lost by the tenancy being terminated. In all these circumstances, the City Council would need to be satisfied that the domestic abuse had taken place.  

 

10.         That the Cabinet Member for Housing and Customer Services agreed that the Tenancy Strategy be updated to make clear that the Council supports lifetime tenancies in these circumstances. 

 

Reasons for Decision 

The proposals contained in this report set out the issues related to the development of allocation projections for social housing for 2018/19 to meet the Council’s statutory obligations, meet the varying demands for social housing and to reduce the numbers of people living in Temporary Accommodation who are waiting for social housing.

Publication date: 30/11/2018

Date of decision: 30/11/2018

Effective from: 08/12/2018