Docstoc

Housing Services Policy GRAVESHAM BOROUGH COUNCIL

Document Sample
Housing Services Policy GRAVESHAM BOROUGH COUNCIL Powered By Docstoc
					         Housing Services
              Policy



                             GRAVESHAM BOROUGH COUNCIL                         Version:
                                  HOUSING SERVICES                               3+

Policy                          Housing Allocations Policy                    Issue Date:
                                                                              21.05.2010
Ref                                                                          Review Date:
                                     HS/ESTM/POL01/2
                                                                              21.05.2013
Staff affected                                                                 Website:
                                                                              25.05.2010
Approved by               Assistant Director Housing & Environment

Lead Officer                    Housing Operations Manager



Purpose
Under Section 168 of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended by the Homelessness Act
2002), it is the duty of every landlord authority to publish a summary of its allocations
scheme for the allocation of its housing accommodation.

This includes allocation of housing made available to the Council by Registered
Social Landlords (RSLs), more commonly known as Housing Associations, under
nomination agreements between the Council and the RSL.
All references to the ‘act’ within the scheme refer to the 1996 Housing Act (as
amended by the Homelessness Act 2002), unless stated to the contrary.

References


Scope of Policy
The allocation scheme covers the allocation of all permanent housing, available to
the Council, and applies to all applicants including existing introductory or secure
tenants of the Council seeking transfer. There are many laws, statutes and nationally
agreed criteria which concern housing that the Council must abide by in order to
ensure that housing is allocated fairly.
As well as having its own housing stock Gravesham Borough Council has formed a
partnership with Housing Associations who also have properties, or who are
developing new properties in the Borough. Therefore when an applicant applies to
the Council for housing, if they choose, the applicant can also bid for housing with
other Housing Association Partners. This means applicants can access the housing
stock of many landlords by completing just one application form. These
arrangements with Housing Associations are called ‘Nomination Agreements.’ In
Issue date : 21/05/2010      Version No. 3         GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 1                                         Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
other words if there is a vacant or new property, applicants on the Common Housing
Register can bid for these properties under Choice Based Lettings. Housing
Associations do have the right to refuse any applicant who bids for housing if they
feel the applicant is not suited to the accommodation they have bid for.

Legal Framework
1. Housing Act 1996 Part VI – Allocation of Housing Accommodation
2. Housing Act 1996 Part VII – Homelessness as Amended
3. Housing Act 1985, particularly Parts II, III & X
4. Asylum & Immigration Act 1996 Section 9 – Entitlement to housing and assistance
5. The Children Act 1989
6. Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976 – Agricultural workers evicted from ‘tied cottages
7. Data Protection Act 1984 – Applicants’ right to see computerised information held
about themselves
8. Access to Personal Files (Housing) Regulations 1989 – Applicants right, subject to
certain exemptions, to see information held on the councils files in connection with
their application.
9. Sex Discrimination Act 1976 – Duty not to treat any applicant less fairly than
persons of the opposite sex.
10. Race Relations Act 1976 – Duty not to treat any applicant less fairly than persons
of any other race. Also having regard to the Commission for Racial Equality’s Code
of Practice for Rented Housing.
11. Advice provided from time to time by the Chartered Institute of Housing and the
Housing Corporation
12. The terms of any Nomination Agreements that the Council may have with
Housing Associations
13. Any other relevant legislation or nationally or locally agreed criteria.


Definitions

Policy Statements


1.2 The Demand for Housing
The Council is not able to re-house everyone who applies for accommodation, as
there are simply not enough vacancies to assist more than a small proportion of
those waiting each year. The Council therefore operates an Allocations Scheme that
prioritises applications on an assessment of housing need. The assessment awards
points for different factors. This process has been structured to ensure that the
vacancies which we do have each year are offered to those in greatest housing
need.

The Supply of Housing for Allocation.

1.3 The Supply of Housing for allocation
The supply of housing for allocation under the scheme is generally made up of
vacancies being released for offer following tenants giving notice, death, tenants
going into residential care, eviction, or transfer, and by new units of accommodation
being developed in partnerships with Housing Associations. Typically, around 500
properties per annum become available for allocation in total.

1.4 Allocation of Council and Housing Association accommodation.
Issue date : 21/05/2010    Version No. 3          GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 2                                        Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
The allocation of Council and Housing Association properties are determined by four
factors. These factors are outlined below:
• Re-housing targets
• Use of discretion
• Rules for the allocation of different types of property
• Re-housing priorities

Re-housing Targets
Re-housing targets may be necessary to tackle specific problems at a certain time.

Use of discretion
Where necessary the Council will look at other factors that are relevant to the
allocation or nomination decision, provided that they do not systematically work to the
disadvantage of any one applicant or category of applicant.

Rules for the allocation of different types of property
In order to make the best use of the properties which become available each year the
Council has to make certain decisions about which type of property is best suited for
each type of household.

Re-housing priorities
Households registered on the Council’s Housing Register will be considered for
available Council and Housing Association accommodation in the order shown
below. This is subject to the Rules for the Allocation of Different Types of Property
and the Rules for the Use of Discretion.

1.5. Re-housing Priorities

1.5.1 Homeless Applicants
Homeless applicants will be included under the Special Priority List. If an applicant is
homeless or threatened with homelessness they will need to
make an appointment to see the Housing Needs Team who will make an assessment as
to whether the Council has a duty to offer permanent housing.
If an applicant is accepted under the provisions of the Housing Act 1996 and
Homelessness Act 2002, 35 homeless points will be awarded, and applicant/s will be
able to bid for a suitable property under the Choice Based Lettings Scheme”.

There is a maximum twelve week time limit (starting from the date at which the applicant
was first awarded homeless priority points) during which time
applicants can bid in their preferred areas and for their preferred property type. After the
time limit has expired the Council’s Housing Needs Team will
automatically place a bid for the applicant for every suitable property that becomes
available (up to a maximum of three bids per bidding cycle).
Applicants in this situation are entitled to a review of the suitability of any subsequent
direct offer. Such requests should be addressed to the Unit
Manager – Homelessness.

Any subsequent refusal of a tenancy will result in a loss of priority for further bidding by
removing the awarded homeless priority points and replacing them with the points which
the applicant was previously awarded. The applicant’s common housing register
application will be deferred for six months from the point when the homeless priority
points are removed.

Issue date : 21/05/2010    Version No. 3           GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 3                                         Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
From this point, homeless households occupying temporary accommodation will not only
lose homeless priority points, but will also be treated as though the local authority’s
homelessness duty has ended and has been fully discharged. This means that the
homeless household will no longer be
entitled to the provision of temporary accommodation after being given at least four
weeks notice (subject to any licence breaches). Applicants in these
circumstances will have to make their own accommodation arrangements.

1.5.2 Special Priority List (30 or more points)
This list comprises households with the most urgent priority.
Within this list, applicants will be able to bid for accommodation reasonably suited to
their needs once they have entered the Special Priority List. It is important to note
that in addressing the urgency of applicants’ circumstances it may not be always be
possible to match the applicants’ exact requirements; however the council will
endeavour to do so where possible.
In the case of existing Council tenants transferring, they will be able to bid for
accommodation that is as reasonably comparable in size, type and location to their
existing accommodation, unless their needs and circumstances dictate otherwise.

1.5.3 Transfer List (Transfer applicants with 1 to 29 points)
This list comprises households who are already existing Council tenants and have
requested a transfer and to whom between 1 and 29 points has been awarded. On
each points level, applicants will be considered in date order of application and will
be able to bid for accommodation reasonably suited to their needs.

1.5.6 Waiting List (Waiting List applicants with 1 to 29 points)
This list comprises applicants on the Waiting List to whom between 1 and 29 points
have been awarded. On each points level, applicants will be considered in date order
of application and will be able to bid for accommodation reasonably suited to their
needs.

1.5.7 The Open List (Any applicant with nil points)
This list is open to households meeting the following criteria;
• Any household, including existing Council tenants with a tenancy of less than
one year. The tenancy must have been conducted satisfactorily.
• Any household that has been assessed as not having a need for
Council/Housing Association accommodation.
• Any household not having a ‘local connection’ with the Borough.
Households on the Open List will be able to bid for accommodation that has not been
categorised for other households falling into the other re-housing priorities, and will
be considered in date order of application. Applications for this list will only be
retained for a period of twelve months, unless the applicant specifically requests to
renew their application at the end of the year.
The Council operates an Allocations Scheme that prioritises applications based on
an assessment of housing need. The assessment awards points for different factors.
This process has been structured to ensure that the vacancies which we do have are
offered to those in greatest housing need.
It is extremely important to the Council to maintain a fair and non biased approach at
all times. Because we do not use a ‘first come first served’ allocation system we must
ensure that the allocation rules are well known and understood by everyone.


Issue date : 21/05/2010    Version No. 3           GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 4                                         Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
Section 2 – Procedures for the application and offer process

Application process
In order to make an application to be entered onto the Common Housing Register an
application form must be completed. The form can be obtained in a number of ways;
via the council website, directly from the Civic Centre or one of the local housing
offices or alternatively a copy can be posted to you if you contact the Allocations
team on 01474 337366.

2.1 Who may apply?

2.1.1 Local connection
In order to be placed on the Housing Register applicants should have a local
connection with the borough of Gravesham. The current definition of a local
connection as recognised by the Council is;
• Residence in the area for six out of the last twelve months or three out of the
last five years and/or
• The applicant’s employment is based in the borough and/or
• The applicant has close family i.e. parents, children over 18 years, brothers or
sisters, who have lived in the area for at least five years.
If the applicant meets one or more of the above criteria the Council will consider that
the applicant has a local connection.
If an applicant does not have a local connection they will not be accepted onto The Open
List on the Housing Register.

2.1.2 Age
Applicants must be at least sixteen years of age in order to apply to go on the
Housing Register, however applicants under eighteen will not normally be offered a
Council tenancy. Occasionally with the support of parents and / or Social Services,
applicants under eighteen may be offered a tenancy if a responsible adult is able to
act as a Guarantor. In other words the adult acting as a Guarantor agrees to
underwrite and take responsibility for the actions of the underage tenant.

2.1.3 Financial circumstances
If the Council feels that an applicant has sufficient financial resources to resolve their
housing problem without the Council’s assistance, there is a chance the applicant
may not be eligible to register. Applicants will be asked to provide additional financial
details to those submitted on the application form where appropriate.
Applicants who may lose their home through re-possession or relationship
breakdown will be advised to make an appointment with the Housing Advice team by
letter at the time of application.

2.1.4 Rent arrears
People who owe rent to Gravesham Borough Council or any other Social landlord will
normally be asked to clear their outstanding debt prior to registering. However if an
applicant has a serious need for re-housing for example they are homeless or living
in substandard accommodation, they may at the discretion of the Council be given
active consideration for re-housing, provided that an arrangement is made to clear
the outstanding debt. Tenants who have had rent arrears will not normally be able to
register for housing unless they have had a clear rent account for six full months.
Once the applicant can show that they have paid off the arrears, and kept a clear
account for 6 months, their application will be reassessed. It will be the applicant’s
Issue date : 21/05/2010     Version No. 3           GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 5                                          Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
responsibility to demonstrate that his/her circumstances or have changed and each
application with be reviewed on a case by case basis.
Exceptions to this rule can be made at the discretion of the Housing Allocations
Panel.


2.1.5 Council tenants who may be ineligible for a transfer
When considering applications from Council tenants applying for transfer to another
dwelling, the Council may refuse to make an offer of accommodation if the existing
tenancy has not been conducted in a satisfactory manner, with particular reference to
the following matters:
• Unsatisfactory record of rent payment,
• Unreasonable behaviour towards any resident in the Borough
• Failure to keep the property or garden in a reasonable state of repair, internal
decoration and cleanliness
• Neglect of, or damage to the Council’s property
• Unauthorised alterations to the dwelling, particularly where these may reduce
the value of the property or affect its suitability for re-letting
• Use of the property for illegal or immoral purposes.
Council tenants who have lived in their property for less than twelve months may
register for a transfer, but will not normally be given any priority for re-housing until
they have resided in their property for twelve months.

2.1.6 Other people who cannot be registered for housing
There are other reasons why people cannot be registered for housing. These are
outlined below:
• Persons subject to ‘Immigration Control’
Certain categories of people who have recently entered the U.K. may not be eligible
to register for a secure tenancy in any area of the country. This is set out in the
Asylum and Immigration Act 1996. If you think you may come under this category
you should seek advice from the Council’s Housing Advice Officer on 01474 337599
and/or the Home Office. ·
• People whom the Secretary of State decides should not be given a secure
tenancy
• People with a past history of unacceptable behaviour, for example violence to
Council or Housing Association staff or tenants.
Where an applicant can show that any person who was a member of their household
previously and who had a history of causing nuisance or anti-social behaviour,
damaging property, dealing drugs, or causing harassment is no longer a member of
their household, their application will be reassessed. If the applicant themselves has
been deemed ineligible due to unacceptable behaviour, they may make a fresh
application if she/he considers their behaviour should no longer be a factor due to a
change in circumstances. It will be the applicant’s responsibility to demonstrate that
his/her circumstances or behaviour have changed and each application with be reviewed
on a case by case basis.


2.2 Eligibility for the Application Process
Where two or more persons apply jointly for housing, both of them must be eligible
for allocation. Normally, persons included on an application form must be members
of the applicant’s immediate family who usually resides, or could be reasonably
expected to reside, with the applicant. Any other person or persons will only be

Issue date : 21/05/2010    Version No. 3           GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 6                                         Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
accepted, as part of the applicant’s household in circumstances in which it is
reasonable for that person or persons to reside with the applicant. This will normally
exclude lodgers or anyone subletting from the applicant.

2.3 The Points Scheme
The Council has adopted a points scheme that attempts to reflect local
circumstances as well as ensuring that we meet our legal requirements under the
Housing Act 1996 Part VI. The Council thereby gives reasonable preference to the
following groups:
• People occupying unsanitary or overcrowded housing or otherwise living in
unsatisfactory conditions
• People occupying housing accommodation which is temporary or occupied on
insecure terms
• Families with dependant children
• Households consisting of or including someone who is expecting a child
• Households consisting of, or including someone with a need for settled
accommodation on medical or welfare grounds
• Households whose social and economic circumstances are such that they
have difficulty in securing settled accommodation.

2.4. Classification of the Points System
Points are awarded either by the Housing Needs Team or the Allocations Team
dependent on the circumstances and classification of points. A breakdown of the
points system and how many points are awarded is illustrated below:

2.4.1 Insecurity of tenure
• Assured, Tied or other tenants of self contained accommodation under Notice
to Quit or Court Order for Possession will be awarded 35 points
• Owner occupiers /Leaseholders subject to a Court Order for Possession will
be awarded 35 points
• Hostel and Bed & Breakfast residents, and persons who are roofless e.g.
sleeping in a car or other temporary shelter will be awarded 35 points
• Council staff living in staff accommodation provided for the better
performance of their duties, who will be required to vacate their current
accommodation due to retirement, early retirement due to ill health or
redundancy and have been in the Council’s full time employment for a
minimum of five years will be awarded 30 points
• Armed Services personnel living in Armed Services’ quarters and who have
notified the Council that, within six months, they will be required to vacate that
accommodation due to retirement, early retirement due to ill health, normal
discharge or redundancy will be awarded 25 points
• Tenants of tied accommodation, e.g. agricultural workers, who have notified
the Council that within six months they will be required to vacate that
accommodation due to retirement, early retirement due to ill health or
redundancy will be awarded 25 points
• Occupiers of Council or Housing Association property who do not have the
Right of Succession and have been left in occupation upon the tenant’s death
will be awarded 25 points (These points will be awarded at the discretion of
the Housing Allocations Panel depending upon the vulnerability of the
resident and the length of time they have lived with the tenant).



Issue date : 21/05/2010    Version No. 3           GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 7                                         Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
2.4.2 Joint Stock Referral Process
• Individuals within a residential Care Home, Hospital or a young person
leaving the care of the Local Authority will be awarded 35 points
The Council will normally require confirmation from the establishment concerned or
from Kent County Council (KCC) Social Services that the applicant is ready to move
on into independent accommodation and that a package of care will be provided to
assist the applicant if needed. These applicants are referred to Gravesham Borough
Council through the Joint Stock referral process.
Where ‘Insecurity of Tenure’ points have been awarded all other points, except those
awarded for physical disability and illness will no longer apply.

Present housing conditions

2.4.3 Where amenities are absent or shared
Often applicants are residing in properties where amenities are absent or shared with
other occupants not included on their application for housing. The Council recognises
that this is not ideal and awards points (pts) accordingly:

For those on the Waiting List Only

If there is no Kitchen – 5 pts                       If shared – 3 pts
If there is no fixed bath or shower - 5 pts          If shared – 3 pts
If no washbasin & hot & cold running water - 5 pts   If shared – 3 pts
If there is no Inside toilet – 5 pts                 If shared – 3 pts
If no fixed heating in at least one room – 5 pts
If there is no Living Room - 5 pts                   If shared – 2 pts

For households containing a person over 60 years or a child under 1 year living in
accommodation without any form of fixed heating provision in at least one living room
or bedroom 20 points will be awarded.

2.4.4 Housing in very poor physical condition
For private households living in property where the Council has served either a
demolition or a closing order on the property and Council tenants whose property is
scheduled for demolition 50 points will be awarded.
For households in the private or Council sector whose property requires urgent
redevelopment or conversion which cannot be carried out with the household in
occupation 50 points will be awarded.




Issue date : 21/05/2010   Version No. 3          GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 8                                       Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
2.5 Points relating to personal circumstances:

2.5.1 Where larger accommodation is required
Where larger accommodation is required, the council will award points based on the
number of bedrooms required within a property. The table below illustrates the
number of points (pts) awarded based on the number of bedrooms required:-

1 existing bedroom but 2 bedrooms required – 20 pts
1 existing bedroom but 3 bedrooms required – 30 pts
1 existing bedroom but 4 bedrooms required – 40 pts

2 existing bedrooms but 3 bedrooms required – 20 pts
2 existing bedrooms but 4 bedrooms required – 30 pts

3 existing bedrooms but 4 bedrooms required – 10 pts
Forced separation of households are awarded 20 points

2.5.2 Where smaller accommodation is required
Where smaller accommodation is required points will be awarded based on the
number of bedrooms a household surrenders.
It is important to note that this applies to transfer applicants only.
For households needing:
3 or more fewer bedrooms 30 points will be awarded
2 fewer bedrooms 20 points will be awarded
1 less bedroom 10 points will be awarded
In counting the number of bedrooms required, the kitchen, bathroom and one living
room in the existing property will not be taken into account. Any room under 4.65m
sq. (50ft sq.) will not count as a room that could be used to sleep in.
2.5.3 Children living in a flat/maisonette
For families with children less than 12 years of age living in a flat or maisonette,
where the access is either above the ground floor or at basement level 5 points will
be awarded.

Physical disability, illness and special needs

2.6 Excessive stairs
For households with a person with impaired mobility, but able to walk unaided, the
following points will be awarded:
• a first floor flat with no lift – 5 points
• a second floor flat with no lift - 10 points
• a flat on the third floor or above with no lift – 15 points
For households with a person with substantially impaired mobility who is unable to
walk unaided, the following points will be awarded:
• a first floor flat with no lift – 15 points
• a second floor flat with no lift – 20 points
• a flat on the third floor or above with no lift – 30 points
For households with internal stairs or where entrance is via steps a person unable to
walk without aid, will be awarded 30 points unless adaptations can easily be carried
out.
All houses and maisonettes with internal stairs and bungalows or ground floor
flats/basement flats that cannot be entered without climbing four or more external
stairs will be treated as if they were a first floor flat.
Issue date : 21/05/2010    Version No. 3         GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 9                                       Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
2.6.1 Other forms of illness or disability
For households whose present accommodation is unsuitable as a result of a very
serious physical disability or a serious debilitating medical condition, 20 to 30 points
will be awarded.
For households whose present accommodation is not ideally suited for the needs of
a person with a serious physical disability or a serious debilitating condition, but who
can use the facilities with or without the assistance of a carer, if it is considered that
they would cope much better in more appropriate accommodation 10 to 20 points will
be awarded.
For households with a person who suffers from a disability or illness which means
that they are at a disadvantage in managing their home and would cope better in
more appropriate accommodation 5 to 10 points will be awarded.
All of the above points will all be awarded by Nowmedical who carry out all medical
assessments. Medical points will only be awarded if an applicant’s medical condition
will be improved as a result of re-housing. Please see appendix 1 for a list of
conditions which will be referred to the medical advisor.

2.6.2 Very exceptional circumstances
For households with an exceptional and urgent housing need not catered for in the
above framework, eg domestic violence, racial or sexual harassment 5 to 50 points
will be awarded at the discretion of the Housing Allocations Panel. The Operations
Manager will agree these cases in writing. (Refer to appendix 2)

2.6.3 Housing Allocations Panel
A Panel meets fortnightly to discuss cases that do not necessarily fit within the
allocations policy framework. An example of cases considered may be where an
award of exceptional circumstance points is appropriate, or applicants may have rent
arrears but due to exceptional circumstances would like to join the housing register.
The Panel consists of housing staff and colleagues from other Council Directorates to
ensure an objective view. All cases are considered on their individual merits.

2.7 Making an application and information on prospects for allocation.
Applications to the Common Housing Register must be made only on the prescribed
form which is available from the Civic Centre, local Housing Offices, by post or over
the internet. Persons needing advice or assistance in completing the application form
should contact either the Housing Advice Team on 01474 337599 or the Allocations
team on 01474 337366. Applicants will receive an acknowledgement of their
application within 5 working days of its receipt.
An assessment of housing need will be made and notified to the applicant within ten
working days of receipt of the application. The applicant will be given a registration
number and a summary of the housing needs assessment. In cases where more
information is required from third parties e.g. medical or other reports, or where the
Council is making further enquiries into an applicant’s eligibility for allocation under
the scheme, it may take longer than the ten days to notify the applicant of their
housing needs assessment.
When assessing the needs of each household asking for Council or Housing
Association accommodation, the points shown under each of the factors listed in the
Points Scheme will only be awarded if the Council is satisfied that there are no
practicable alternatives available to them for meeting the need in question. In
deciding if any alternatives are reasonably available, the Council will take into
consideration the following:
Issue date : 21/05/2010     Version No. 3           GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 10                                         Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
• The household’s income and outgoings.
• The value of any savings or other financial sums due to the household, such
as redundancy payments or lump sums payable upon retirement.
• The value of any property owned and of any outstanding loan secured on that
property.
• The availability of grants or loans to the household or the landlord for the
renovation, improvement or adaptation of the accommodation currently
occupied to make it suitable for the needs of the applicant.
• The households ability, mentally and physically, to take whatever steps may
be needed to enable them to meet their housing need, taking into account
any professional assistance that may be available to them.
If after two months of receiving an application, an applicant has failed to submit all
the information required, then the application will be assessed on the information that
has been received to date. This may result in the application being given a lower
priority than it otherwise may have been. Applicants, may be visited prior to an offer
being made with the exception of homeless applicants in temporary accommodation
to whom the Council owes a duty under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 (as
amended). The purpose of this visit is to confirm details of the applicant’s current
living conditions and circumstances and to ascertain any particular needs or
difficulties, which may need to be taken into account prior to making an offer of
housing.

2.7.1 Applicants for sheltered housing
Applicants over sixty, or over fifty five and registered disabled applying for sheltered
accommodation will be visited by a Sheltered Housing scheme manager to ensure
the applicant is given the appropriate advice and assistance in addition to checking
the applicant’s suitability for sheltered housing. The appropriate visit form will be
completed by the Sheltered Housing scheme manager and forwarded to the
allocations team.
Unfortunately some applicants are not deemed suitable for sheltered housing
because their support needs are too great. In these circumstances the applicant or
their representative, will be notified in writing. All applicants for sheltered housing
must be visited by a scheme manager and accepted for Sheltered Housing before
they can start bidding for vacant properties.

2.7.2 Proof of Identity and Supporting Information
Applicants are required to complete all relevant sections of the application form.
Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant. As well as verification
through home visits, applicants will be asked to provide supporting information as
appropriate to the circumstances of their application. Generally, this will cover
confirmation of immigration status for the purposes of assessing eligibility for
allocation, confirmation of residence at their home and any other information
reasonably required to assess the application under the policy.

2.7.3 Misleading Information
Any applicant seeking to obtain accommodation through fraudulent means, for
example making a false statement, withholding relevant information, or by failing to
inform the Council of any material change in circumstances commits a criminal
offence and is liable to have her/his application cancelled. A prosecution may be
pursued and/or the application refused as ineligible for allocation.



Issue date : 21/05/2010     Version No. 3          GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 11                                        Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
2.7.4 Members of the Council, Staff Members and their Relations
In order to ensure that the Council is seen to be treating all applicants fairly, any
application for the allocation of housing from members of the Council, employees of
the Council or their relations must be disclosed on the application form. Such
applications will be assessed in the normal way, but, in order to give public
confidence, the acceptance of the application must be approved by the Tenancy
Services Manager and any accommodation allocated to the applicant under the
scheme must be approved by the Assistant Director of Housing and Environment and
then signed by the Portfolio Holder.

2.7.5 Change of address and/or circumstances
Applicants who experience a material change in their circumstances at any time
should contact the Allocations section for advice on whether this may affect their
eligibility or prospects for offer.
Applicants who change address after acceptance of their application should notify the
Allocations section immediately. In order that their new housing conditions can be
assessed, applicants will be invited to complete a fresh application form, which will
be assessed under the Allocations policy. Where the change of address or
circumstances makes no material difference to the applicant’s eligibility or assessed
housing need, the applicant will retain the priority derived from the date of approval of
the original application.
Applicants must notify the Council (in writing) of any change in their circumstances,
examples being: -
• A change in medical condition;
• A change of address, for themselves or any other person on their application;
• Any additions to the family or any other person joining their application;
• Any member of the family or any other person included in the application that
has left the accommodation.

2.8 Renewal of Applications
So that the Council can ensure that accommodation is allocated fairly, and to take
account of any change in circumstances affecting an applicant’s eligibility or current
or future housing need, all applicants will be invited to renew their application
annually. Applicants will be warned that failure to respond to a reminder within 28
days of receiving their renewal letter will result in the application being cancelled.
Applicants will not be notified that their application has been cancelled, and
subsequent applications will be reassessed in accordance with the allocations policy.

2.9 Assessing Medical Needs
Applicants who indicate in their application form that they consider that their health is
affected by their current housing conditions will be asked to complete a medical
assessment form describing their health condition. Advice on the implications for
current or future housing needs arising from the health condition may be taken from
the Council’s medical advisor. Where further information is required, officers of the
Council may make further enquiries into the issue, subject to the applicant’s consent.
Applicants will then be advised of the medical priority awarded in accordance with the
policy.
Applications involving a health related issue will be assessed by the Council, with
advice from the Council’s medical advisor. The criteria for the award of medical
points within the points scheme detailed above, will be applied with additional points
or priority added accordingly if appropriate.
The applicant’s medical assessment should be made within 28 days of receipt of the

Issue date : 21/05/2010    Version No. 3           GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 12                                        Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
applicants completed medical form. The outcome of the assessment will be notified
to the applicant within 10 working days, unless the Councils medical advisor requires
further information.
Medical assessments will only be completed if the applicant can demonstrate that
their housing situation is having a detrimental effect on their health. Assessments
will only be made for the conditions found in appendix 1 and applicants will only be
able to request a further assessment if they can provide additional information for
consideration.

Section 3 - Size and Type of Accommodation

3.0 Size and Type of Accommodation
Applicants will normally be offered accommodation of a size, which does not create a
need for larger accommodation (as defined in the Points Scheme, under 2.5.1). A
household may however, be offered accommodation larger than is strictly necessary
to meet their needs where:
• It is not required for any household with a need for that size of property;
• It is for a transfer to a flat or maisonette from a Council-owned house or
bungalow;
• It is for a flat or maisonette in a block where allocations are not normally
made to households with any person under the age of 18 years.
The size of accommodation offered depends upon the size and composition of the
applicant’s household. This will apply to all lists, as follows: -
• Single person households may be offered either bed sitting room or one
bedroom accommodation.
• A couple will be offered one bedroom accommodation.
Households will be offered one additional bedroom for the following: -
• Each single adult
• Two children of the same sex, except where there is an age disparity of 10
years or more, where we would offer an additional bedroom.
• Two children of the opposite sex, except where one is aged 7 or over, where
we would offer an additional bedroom.
• Each additional child would be offered an additional bedroom.

3.1 Notes
Other applicants requiring separate bedrooms due to medical reasons (as
recommended by the Council’s medical adviser) will be allocated separate
bedrooms. Where additional persons or family members are married or co-habiting
they will be considered as a couple and assessed as requiring one bedroom.
Tenants moving through a mutual exchange may be allowed one extra bedroom.
Applicants are able to bid for accommodation with one bedroom less than their
assessed need, except where statutory overcrowding is likely to be caused. A
bathroom or shower room is defined as a separate room. A WC may be a room on its
own or incorporated within a bathroom. No account is taken of rooms for living or
sleeping which are less than 50 sq.ft. The number of bedrooms needed by a
household assumes the availability of one living room. Any living accommodation in
excess of this is counted as a bedroom. Single person households or couples living
in a bed-sit or studio accommodation are considered to be adequately housed unless
they lack or share facilities or have medical needs, a disability or any other special
circumstances such as Domestic Violence or harassment.



Issue date : 21/05/2010   Version No. 3          GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 13                                      Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
3.2 Relationship Breakdown (where children are involved.)
Where a relationship breakdown occurs and the children are already accommodated
with one parent, they will be considered to have a permanent residence and cannot
therefore be included in any application for housing made by the other parent.

3.3 Houses with private gardens
Where possible, preference for a house with a private garden will be given to families
with children under 12 years, or families who are expecting a child at the time of
offer.

3.4 Two and three bedroom flats and maisonettes
Wherever possible three bedroom maisonettes will be allocated to families with no
more than three children and preference will be given to families with children over
the age of twelve years. However, during periods of extreme shortage of three and
four bedroom houses, it may be necessary to place larger families with young
children, or families who are expecting a child, in flats and maisonettes. Such
decisions will rest with the Tenancy Services Manager.
In the allocation of two bedroom flats and maisonettes, priority will be given to
families with one child over the age of 12 years. In the allocation of ground floor flats
preference will be given to the needs of households that include a person with a
serious physical disability.

3.5 Two bedroom bungalows
Preference will be given to the needs of households that include a person who is
infirm or suffers from a disability and who need two-bedroom accommodation as
assessed by the councils medical advisor, Nowmedical.

3.6 One-bedroom bungalows
Where the bungalow does not form part of a complex served by a Sheltered scheme
Manager, and was not designed for occupation by retired persons; preference will be
given to persons who are infirm or suffer from a disability as assessed by the
Councils medical advisor, Nowmedical.

3.7 Purpose built or adapted properties suitable for persons with a serious
physical disability
Some council properties may have been adapted to specifically meet the needs of a
disabled tenant. When these become vacant the council will endeavour to allocate
the property to someone who requires similar adaptations. Before an offer can be
made, there is a requirement for the property to be checked by an Occupational
Therapist to ensure that it is suitable for the proposed applicant.

3.8 Sheltered Housing
In the allocation of properties designed for occupation by persons over normal
retirement age, preference will normally be given to men and women over the age of
60 years. However persons over the age of 55 years may be considered if they are
registered disabled. (see also 2.4.1)
3.9 Supported Housing for those with special needs
The council has a supported housing scheme for tenants with special needs. The
scheme has a full time resident scheme manager to give support to residents who
have a physical disability, learning difficulties or mental health problems. Applicants
for this scheme are assessed by social services and the Sheltered Housing Manager.
Floating support can also be provided to residents in partnership with support

Issue date : 21/05/2010     Version No. 3           GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 14                                         Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
agencies, for example Stonham Housing Association. These residents are given
additional support to help them succeed in their tenancy, for example, budgeting or
completing Housing Benefit forms. Referrals for floating support are sent directly to
KCC. For further information please contact the allocations team on 01474 33 73 68.

Section 4 – Size and Type of Property

4.0 Size and Type of Property
The size and type of property allocated will be appropriate to the size of the
applicant’s household giving due regard to any relevant medical circumstances or
special needs recognised via a medical assessment. It is not a criterion to reflect an
applicant’s preference for a particular size or type. In Section 2.3 above, detailed
guidance is provided on assessing the numbers of bedrooms needed.

4.1 Floor Level
The number of storeys in a block or the floor access level to the dwelling will not be
considered in the making of an offer, except in cases where there are: -
• Relevant medical circumstances as assessed with advice from the Council’s
medical advisor or,
• Children on the Child Protection Register subject to a recommendation from
the Director of Social Services.

4.2 Condition of Property
All accommodation offered will be habitable, in reasonable repair and fit for letting at
the commencement of the tenancy, in accordance with Gravesham Borough
Councils lettable standard. A copy of this can be obtained from the Voids Team, who
can be contacted on 01474 33 73 45 or alternatively can be found on the Council’s
website.

4.3 Energy Performance Certificate
When a property is vacant an Energy performance assessment is carried out and an
Energy Performance Certificate is produced. This gives the prospective tenant
information regarding the energy efficiency of the property and improvements that
can be made. Gravesham Borough Council is under no obligation to complete these
improvements to make a property more energy efficient, and will not consider a
refusal of a property based on the energy rating to be a valid reason. Any applicant
who declines an offer as a result of the energy efficiency rating will be deferred for six
months.

4.4 Rules for the use of discretion in selection of an applicant for nomination.
Where two or more applicants who are being considered for a property or nomination
to a housing association, have a virtually identical priority, the Council will look at
other factors that are relevant to the allocation or nomination decision, provided that
they do not systematically work to the disadvantage of any one applicant or category
of applicant. These other factors may include for example:
• Any special reason for needing to live in the particular area concerned, such
as closeness to a child’s school, closeness to work involving unsocial hours,
or closeness to an infirm/disabled relative, especially where the applicant has
no means of personal transport;
• The alternative possibilities for meeting each applicant’s needs if they are not
offered the particular property in question;
• The property that would be released as a consequence;

Issue date : 21/05/2010     Version No. 3          GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 15                                        Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
• The length of time an applicant has been registered for re-housing.
• The wider community interest.

4.5 Viewing arrangements
All applicants are given an opportunity to view the property prior to the acceptance of
a tenancy. Applicants will be contacted either by telephone or in writing and invited to
view the property. Applicants will be advised that if the Allocations team is not
contacted within five working days of the offer, the offer will be withdrawn. In certain
circumstances the Senior Allocations Officer has the discretion to extend the period
for response where this is appropriate. The viewing is to be carried out within two
days of the property being ready and within five days of receiving the housing file at
the office. All viewings will be accompanied by a staff member from Gravesham
Borough Council.

4.6 Signing for your new tenancy
Where the property is ready to let and the applicant accepts at the time of viewing,
the applicant will be signed up on the same day. Tenancies will normally commence
the following Monday. Where the property is viewed whilst works are still in progress,
the applicant will be contacted by letter or telephone and signed up within 24 hours of
the property being available for letting. The tenancy will normally commence the first
Monday following completion of the relet works. All sign ups will be carried out in
accordance with the sign up checklist and applicants will be given all appropriate
documentation (appendix 4). Applicants will be advised of their rights and
responsibilities. It is important to ensure that the appropriate tenancy type is granted
i.e. Introductory or Secure. The new tenant will be visited in their property by their
Housing Officer within eight weeks of moving in to discuss any issues that they might
have.

Section 5 – Tenancy Related Issues

5.1 Joint tenancies
Tenancies between two people living together as a couple are usually joint tenancies.
Both joint tenants need to be present at the sign up in order to sign the appropriate
tenancy agreement. Proof of ID will be checked for both tenants. Where applicants
are likely to be eligible for Housing Benefit they will be given the appropriate advice
regarding an application for Housing Benefit. Where applicants are unlikely to be
eligible for Housing Benefit they will be asked to pay one weeks rent in advance at
the time of sign up and will be advised of the methods of future rent payment.

5.2 Ending of Joint tenancies by one party
Where a joint tenant advises the council that they wish to terminate their tenancy, the
Council will consider using its discretion to grant the remaining tenant a sole tenancy,
if they wish. Factors to be taken into account when deciding on such issues will
include: the extent to which the property is needed for the good use of the Council’s
stock overall, the competing demands from other applicants in housing need, the size
of the property and the personal circumstances of the remaining tenant. The Tenancy
Services Manager makes such decisions.

5.3 Death of a Tenant – applications for non-statutory succession
Where a tenant dies and there is no statutory right of succession the Council will
consider granting a tenancy to another household member if that person has:
• Been living with the tenant for a year immediately prior to the tenant’s death
Issue date : 21/05/2010    Version No. 3          GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 16                                       Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
as their principal or only home or
• Provided care for the tenant whilst living in the accommodation as their
principal or only home or
• Accepted responsibility for the tenant’s dependants and needs to live with
them in order to do so in such cases the applicant’s priority for allocation
under the scheme will be assessed and provided that an allocation to the
remaining household member would not otherwise interfere with the good use
of the Council’s stock overall, a tenancy may be granted, either to the same
dwelling or to other suitable alternative accommodation. The Tenancy
Services Manager makes such decisions.

5.4 Introductory tenancies
All tenancies granted by the Council to new tenants, will be “introductory tenancies”
with the exception of those excluded by statute. Any time spent as an assured short
hold tenant of a registered social landlord immediately before being granted a
Council tenancy will be counted towards the 12-month introductory tenancy period.
Provided that the Council has not begun proceedings for possession against the
tenant within the 12-month introductory tenancy period, the introductory tenancy will
automatically become a secure tenancy at the end of that period.

5.5 Under occupation – The Transfer Incentive Scheme
The Transfer Incentive Scheme is to help tenants living in properties too large for
their needs to move to smaller, more suitable accommodation. In order to qualify for
the scheme, a tenant must have at least one additional bedroom beyond their
requirements, and must be willing to move to a one bedroom flat or bungalow. Their
current property must be in reasonable order so that it can be re-let quickly and they
must be registered for a transfer. The financial benefits of the scheme mean that the
tenant will receive £250 for each bedroom given up. If the applicant is moving to
sheltered accommodation the council will also pay their moving costs.

5.6 Mutual exchanges
The Housing Act 1985 provides that a secure tenant may, with the written consent of
the landlord effect a mutual exchange. The Council will consider applications for an
assignment by way of mutual exchange of dwellings between its secure tenants and:
• Other secure tenants of the Council
• Secure tenants of other local authorities
• Assured tenants of registered social landlords.
Reference should be made to the mutual exchange policy when processing a request
for a mutual exchange. The mutual exchange register should be kept up to date by
the allocations team and made available to members of the public at all reception
areas within council buildings.

5.7 Right to Buy
Existing Council tenants will almost certainly have the right to buy their home at a
discounted price provided they have been a public sector tenant for at least two
years. The discount available increases with the length of public sector tenancy but
may not exceed £38,000. Information on Right to Buy and application forms will be
readily available on request and available from the Civic Centre or local offices as
well as on the Council’s website.




Issue date : 21/05/2010    Version No. 3          GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 17                                       Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
5.8 Shared Ownership/Part Ownership
There are several schemes available each year to assist Gravesham residents to
purchase a property on the open market. This usually involves applicants part-buying
their new home with the help of a Housing Association. This is called ‘Homebuy’. In
order to find out more about these schemes please contact the Allocations Team on
01474 33 73 66.

Section 6 – What you can Expect from the Council

6.1 Right to request reviews
If you are unhappy with a decision that the Council has made, The Housing Act 1996
(as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002) gives applicants the right to request
the Council to review certain decisions made under the allocations scheme.
• An applicant can request a review under Section 167, in relation to a decision
made that he or a member of his household has been guilty of unacceptable
behaviour serious enough to deem him unsuitable to be a tenant of the council.
• An applicant can request a review of any decision about the facts of her/his
case which have been, or are likely to be taken into account by the council
when considering whether to allocate housing accommodation to her/him.
• An applicant can request a review of any decision to exclude them from
consideration under the allocations scheme on the grounds that they are
treated as ineligible for re-housing.
These rights will be notified to applicants in any correspondence communicating a
reviewable decision, with details of any time scale in which a review must be
requested and the administrative arrangements for requesting a review. Applicants
placed into a homeless queue have an additional right to request a review of the
suitability of the accommodation offered to them under section 202 of the Act (as
amended). The homeless team will notify this right to the applicants at the time of
offer.

6.2 Handling reviews
Requests for a review must generally be made within 21 days of the applicant being
informed, in writing, of the Council’s decision. Requests received after this period can
only proceed at the discretion of the Tenancy Services Manager.
Requests should be made in writing, stating the reasons for the request, giving all
supporting information that the applicant may wish to be considered. This should
include statements from 3rd parties. An applicant may request an extension of time if
they are waiting for information from a 3rd party or are otherwise prevented from
putting their case forward for reasons beyond their control.
An applicant may appoint an independent legal advisor or authorise another person
to submit their requests for review on their behalf. If an applicant needs help making
a written request for a review they should inform the allocations team and a council
officer will assist.
Right to reviews will be considered by an independent council officer. He/she will
then make a recommendation to the Operations Manager to agree or refuse the
appeal. The applicant will be notified in writing of the result within 1 month of the
review request being received. An applicant will have no further right to appeal,
except on the grounds that the decision;
• Breaches the council’s legal obligations.
• Is so unreasonable as to be absurd.
• Is subject to an improper influence.
Further requests for reviews will be considered by the Housing Management panel.

Issue date : 21/05/2010    Version No. 3          GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 18                                       Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
6.3 Equal Opportunities and monitoring
The Council is committed to the principal of equal opportunities in the delivery of its
services. The Council will seek to ensure that its allocation policies are operated in a
manner which serves all sections of the community regardless of colour, race,
religion, nationality, ethnic origin, marital status, sexual orientation, age, gender or
disability. All applicants for housing or re-housing are asked to provide details of
ethnic origin. This will not, however, be a requirement for acceptance of an
application. Records of ethnic origin will be kept and monitored on a monthly basis to
ensure properties are being offered and allocated fairly in accordance with stated
objectives. Assistance will be given to those applicants having difficulty completing
an application form. For example, translation facilities can be provided

6.4 Confidentiality
Information provided by applicants will be treated in accordance with the Council’s
confidentiality procedures and within any inter-agency protocol’s that apply to
particularly sensitive information.
Unless an applicant gives their written consent, information they have submitted will
not be disclosed to a third party unless they have s specific need to know, in
connection with their official duties.
Applicants are asked on the application form to give their consent for the Council to
seek advice regarding their application from any statutory agency or professionally
qualified person. This may include other departments within the Council, Housing
Associations, the Social Services Department, the Education Authority, the Police,
medical practitioners or any National Health Service Agency.
If any Agency or person provides written advice that has not been requested by the
Council in connection with an application, it will be treated as if it has been supplied
with the applicant’s knowledge, unless the Agency or person concerned specifically
states that the applicant has not been advised of their communication.
If an applicant refuses to give their consent for the Council to seek information and
advice, the Council will at its discretion, make such assessment of the applicants
housing needs as appears reasonable in the circumstances.

6.5 Access to information under Data Protection Act 1998
All applicants for housing have the right to see Information held about them by the
Council, in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. The right applies to all
personal information regardless of the date that information was recorded. With
regard to housing application records, applicants have a right of access to
information held about themselves, and members of their family held for the
purposes of that application. This right of access extends only to “personal”
information, namely, factual information and expressions of opinion, which relate to a
living individual. In certain circumstances the Council may refuse access. This arises
where, for example, the information: -
• may identify a third party and that party has not consented to the Disclosure;
• concerns an individuals health, and disclosure may cause serious harm to the
wellbeing of the applicant; or
• is held for the purpose of prevention or detection of crime or in respect of
some other legal proceedings.
Requests for access to records must be made in writing to the allocations team.
Subject to the above exceptions and consents, applicants should be given the option
to either view the records or have a copy provided within 40 days of the application.
A fee may be charged for this service. Applicants have the right to challenge the
Issue date : 21/05/2010     Version No. 3          GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 19                                        Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
accuracy of the information held on them and may request the erasure or correction
of records which they believe to be inaccurate. If the Tenancy Services Manager
agrees that the information is inaccurate, the record will be corrected and the
applicant will be given a copy of the corrected documentation. If the Tenancy
Services Manager does not agree the information is inaccurate, or refuses access to
the information, the applicant has a right of appeal.

6.6 Rights to information about assessment under the policy
In accordance with s167 (4A) of the 1996 Housing Act as amended, all applicants
have the right to request information to enable them to assess how their application
is likely to be treated. This includes whether they fall within one or more of the groups
entitled to reasonable preference, and whether accommodation is likely to be
allocated to them. Applicants can further request that the Council inform them of any
additional information which is likely to be considered when deciding whether to
allocate accommodation. The Allocations Team operates a duty telephone advice
service during office hours where further, specific advice can be provided. They can
be contacted on 01474 33 73 66

6.7 Changes to the Allocations Policy – consultation
Before making any changes to the allocation policy, consultation will take place with
Registered Social Landlords participating in the Common Housing Register.
Consultation will also take place with other stakeholders, such as Social Services,
Floating Support Providers, and Probation etc. Consultation with tenants will be
undertaken through the Tenants Forum and other tenant groups.

6.8 Complaints
Where an applicant is not satisfied with the way their application has been dealt with,
he/she has the right to seek redress. In the first instance an applicant must put their
complaint in writing to the Operations Manager, who will seek to investigate and
resolve the complaint. If the matter still cannot be resolved to the applicant’s
satisfaction it should then be referred to the Assistant Director of Housing and
Environment. Once these two stages have been completed, if an applicant is still not
satisfied then their complaint will be referred to a Formal Complaints Officer.
Applicants also have access to their Ward Councillor, their Member of Parliament
and the Local Government Ombudsman.


The Local Government Ombudsman

The Local Government Ombudsman investigates complaints of injustice arising from
maladministration by local authorities and other bodies. They can be asked to
investigate complaints about most council matters including housing.

If a complainant is not satisfied with the action the particular scheme council takes, he or
she can send a written complaint to the Ombudsman. A complainant must give the
organisation an opportunity to deal with a complaint first, using its complaints procedure.

The Local Government Ombudsman can be contacted at:


Issue date : 21/05/2010    Version No. 3           GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 20                                        Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
                Local Government Ombudsman
                10th Floor
                Millbank Tower
                Millbank
                London
                SW1P 4QP


                Tel: 020 7217 4620
                Email: advice@lgo.org.uk


Appendix 1

Medical conditions which will be referred to the Medical Advisor
ADHD, Autism and other learning or behavioural conditions as long as a letter from a
clinic or psychiatrist can be provided.
Arthritis (only applicable to lower body or back)
If applicant is under hospital care
Is awaiting joint replacement
Is on one of the following drugs – azathioprine, methotrexate or steroids
Permanently uses a walking aid
Asthma
If applicant uses a nebuliser
Has been admitted to hospital
Is taking oral steroids
Asthma does not preclude the use of stairs and the type of heating is irrelevant
according to British Asthma Society website
Back pain
Permanently uses walking aid
Awaiting operative procedure at hospital
Is taking pain medication and attending physiotherapy
COPD/Bronchitis/Emphysema
Is using 3 or more inhalers
Is attending a hospital respiratory clinic
Uses a nebuliser or oxygen
Is taking oral steroids
Cancer
Applicant is undergoing chemo or radiotherapy
Awaiting surgery
Depression and Mental Illness
If an applicant has been admitted to a psychiatric hospital or ward
Evidence of current psychosis
Has been referred to Mental Health team and has a current care plan
Taking anti psychotic medication or is on injected depot therapy
Diabetes
If an applicant is on injected insulin
Applicant has secondary complications - kidneys, eyes, feet
Epilepsy
Issue date : 21/05/2010      Version No. 3      GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 21                                     Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
If an applicant has uncontrolled grand mal epilepsy. Applicants will be asked about
the frequency of their fits.
Heart Disease
On multiple medication
Awaiting cardiac or bypass surgery
Age 55+
Hepatitis
B or C only – if applicant has evidence of diseased or failing liver or is on interferon
treatment.
HIV/AIDS
If an applicant has a formal diagnosis of AIDS, a CD count of less than 200 and
multiple symptoms.
Hypertension
Only if the applicant has major secondary complications.
Kidney Disease
If applicant is on dialysis at home or in hospital
Has had transplant op and is still taking anti rejection medication
Skin Complaints e.g. eczema
Only if the applicant is using wrap treatments
Strokes
If an applicant has reduced mobility following a stroke
If an applicant has recently been admitted to hospital.
Any other medical conditions which have not been mentioned above will be referred
to the medical assessment team, as long as the applicant can demonstrate that their
health is being affected by their current housing situation.

Appendix 2

Guidance note on the award of exceptional circumstances points
Family needs to be nearer to a special educational establishment or particular health
centre or hospital 5 points
A case where they need to be near to their close relatives who have been awarded
carer’s allowance 5 points
The present housing environment is wholly unacceptable for the children and they
will be the subject of a care order if they are not moved to more suitable
accommodation – 15 points
Domestic violence where legal remedies have been taken but the resident is still at
risk 20 points
A member of family has been the subject of sexual assault in the area where they
live 20 points
Racial harassment where resident is pursuing legal action with relevant agencies* 20
Witness protection 25 points
Emergency situation 30 points

Appendix 3

INFORMATION CHECKLIST
Proof of Identity
• Bank Statements (dated within 4 weeks of
the claim)
• Benefit Payment Book
• Birth Certificate
Issue date : 21/05/2010    Version No. 3           GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 22                                        Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
• Certificate of employment in HM Forces
• Certificate of employment in the Merchant
Navy
• Divorce/Annulment Papers
• Driving Licence
• Home Office Papers
• Identity Card issued by an EC/EEA member
state
• Letter from Solicitor/Social Worker/Probation
Officer/Inland Revenue
• Life Assurance/Insurance Policy
• Marriage Certificate
• Medical Card
• National Insurance Number Card
• Passport (current and valid)
• UK Residence Permit
• Utility bill paid in claimant’s name in the last
quarter (at the current address)
Proof of Residency and Rent
• Tenancy Agreement
• Rent Book or Receipts
• Letter from landlord/agent Wage Slips from
current employer
Proof of Household Composition
• Child Benefit book/Advice letter
• Wage Slips
• Proof of being a student/Government
Trainee/Apprentice
• Benefit payment book/Advice letter
• Savings/Investment details
• Rent charged (if appropriate)
Proof of Income
• Benefit payment book
• Award notification letters
• Bank statements
• Pension Book/Advice slips
• Court Orders/CSA maintenance letters
Proof of Earnings
• Payslips
• Certificate of Earnings
• Letter from employer
• Benefit award letters detailing current
Earnings (e.g. Working and Child Tax
Credits)
• Audited accounts
• Current Books
Proof of Capital
• Bank/Building Society statements
• Letter from Bank/Building Society
• Documents showing proof of ownership

Appendix 4
Issue date : 21/05/2010     Version No. 3            GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 23                                          Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
GRAVESHAM HOUSING SIGN UP CHECKLIST
Applicant name/s ………………………………………………………………
Property Accepted ………………………………………………………………
Tenancy Start Date ………………………………………………………………
Officer ……………………… Date ……………………
Information Given Yes No
Waiting list applicants – check ID and proof of address
Post Void Works/
Turn on and Test
Keys Given out
(Number and type)
Sitex removal discussed
If Transfer, advise to return keys for current property by 12.00 the
following Monday at the latest.
Rent card given out
Run through details of rent charge and advise that regular weekly
payments need to be made.
Advise that first weeks rent is due in advance
Advise payment methods – D/D forms.
Refer to page 20 of the tenant’s handbook – contact details for
the rents team and page 28 – rent arrears policy and procedure.
Dealing with debt booklet given out.
Advise of running costs:- Council tax, electricity, water etc.
Refer to page 3 of tenant’s handbook.
Housing Benefit/Council Tax
If no one from HB is present at sign up, advise that form should
be completed as soon as possible and handed in at Benefit
counter otherwise arrears could be incurred.
Also advise that HB need to know of any change of
circumstances, and that any info that they require must be sent to
them within the specified time.
Sign up pack –
Tenants handbook
CAB contact details
Service Standard Leaflets
Resident Involvement Leaflet
Useful telephone numbers
Open Door publication
Tenancy agreement
Clarify contact point (name and number of Housing Officer)
Explain terms of tenancy where not carried out at viewing
Advise that they need to take out contents insurance.
Method of rent payment …………………………………………………..
Contact details
Mobile number …………………………………………………..
Work number …………………………………………………..
Other / Special
Circumstances ………………………………………………….
…………………………………………………

Key Performance Indicators


Issue date : 21/05/2010   Version No. 3     GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 24                                 Gravesham – A Place Of Choice
Other Versions Of This Policy




Issue date : 21/05/2010   Version No. 3   GBC – Housing Services
Page No. 25                               Gravesham – A Place Of Choice

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:13
posted:10/22/2012
language:Latin
pages:25