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Cornwall Homechoice Allocation Scheme Review Consultation

The Cornwall Homechoice Allocation Scheme is currently being reviewed as a response to changes in legislation in the Localism Act 2011 and the changes to Housing Benefit entitlement contained within the Welfare Reform Act 2012.

Localism Act 2011

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The Localism Act 2011 introduced significant amendments to Part 6 (Allocation of Housing Accommodation) of the Housing Act 1996. The main policy objectives behind these amendments are as follows:

  • To enable housing authorities to better manage their housing waiting lists by giving them the power to determine which applicants do or do not qualify for an allocation of social housing within their district
  • To maintain the protection provided by the statutory Reasonable Preference criteria which ensure that the priority for social housing goes to those in the greatest need
  • To make it easier for existing social tenants who do not fall into Reasonable Preference groups to move through direct allocations outside of the allocation scheme. Transferring tenants within Reasonable Preference groups will continue to receive priority under the housing authority’s allocation scheme
  • As a result, housing authorities will be able to strike an appropriate balance between meeting the needs of existing tenants and new applicants for social housing, while making best use of their stock

From April 2013, working age tenants in receipt of housing benefit will experience a reduction in their Housing Benefit entitlement if they occupy housing that is deemed to be too large for their needs. This Government policy has become known as the “Bedroom Tax”.

Bedroom eligibility within the Homechoice Allocation Scheme is being reviewed to take account of the new Housing Benefit regulations. The Scheme aims to match the number of bedrooms that applicants are eligible for, to the Housing Benefit entitlement. This is to ensure that accommodation is affordable and the tenant does not experience any financial hardship in the event of the property being under occupied.

Existing tenants who are deemed to be under occupying their existing home may apply to Homechoice in order to downsize to more appropriate sized housing.

Initial consultation on the review has taken place with the two key stakeholders for Homechoice, Elected Members and Registered Providers, who have each participated in five separate Consultative Group meetings and also a joint meeting.

Between 26 November 2012 and 20 January 2013, we engaged in a full consultation with a wide range of stakeholders from the statutory and voluntary sectors, other Council departments, private sector organisations, Homechoice applicants and tenants, and the general public.

Following the consultation period, a further draft of the Cornwall Homechoice Allocation Scheme will be produced, taking into account the responses received. A full report on the consultation responses and any impact they had on the Allocation Scheme will be produced and circulated to all consultees.

 

Housing

Cornwall Housing Ltd,
Higher Trenant Road,
Wadebridge,
Cornwall,
PL27 6TW

0300 1234 161

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07941 712 712