Housing Allocations Policy - Section 9

9. The assessment of priorities for housing

9.1 The Council will assess all applicants for housing on a fair and consistent basis.  The placing on the Transfer & Waiting List will be determined by the number of points awarded to an applicant, on the basis of their current circumstances.  There is no maximum level of points that will be awarded to these applicants.  Applicants on the Homeless List will have no points awarded whilst they remain on that list and placing will be determined by the date of homeless application unless there are exceptional circumstances that merit an urgent offer of accommodation.

9.2.    Priorities and points

9.2.1  The Allocations Policy is a points based policy which gives priority to applicants with housing need as fairly as possible and within the context of relevant legislation.  Points are awarded for a range of circumstances based on an assessment of their housing needs.  These categories and levels of points are detailed below.

9.3    Homelessness

9.3.1 Applicants who are homeless under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987, as amended will be placed on the Homeless List but will receive no points.

9.3.2 All homeless applicants will receive the same number of offers as any other applicant is entitled to under this Policy.  However in recognising the immediate need for accommodation of those placed on the Homeless List, the Council will consider offering any vacant property to an applicant who is on that list, providing that the offer can be regarded as reasonable given the particular circumstances of the applicant.  This may include property in lettings areas or property types which the applicant has not selected.

9.3.3 In determining whether an offer is considered reasonable, the Council will take into account the particular circumstances, the needs of the applicant and their household and the sustainability of the accommodation.

9.4    Overcrowding

9.4.1 For the purposes of determining overcrowding, the Council considers that separate bedrooms are required for:
• husband/wife or similar partnerships;
• each person aged 16 years or over;
• children aged 5 years or over of different sex from other children of  any age;
• no more than two persons of any age should occupy one bedroom; and
• children of the same sex where there is an age difference of 5 years or more between the elder and the younger child.
Applicants’ current accommodation will be assessed on the above basis and points awarded, where there is a bedroom deficiency. For each bedroom for which the applicant’s current accommodation is deficient, 100 points will be awarded.

9.4.2 Where an applicant believes that a bedroom is insufficient in size to allow two persons to share, an applicant may request that a visit is made to assess whether additional overcrowding points should be considered.

9.4.3 In cases where an additional bedroom need arises from pregnancy, overcrowding points will be added to the application from the date of confirmation of the pregnancy.  However, in allocating properties, preference will be given to households where overcrowding currently occurs, rather than to instances of potential overcrowding.

9.4.4 Periodic contact

Where an additional bedroom is required for frequent and regular overnight contact with children, a total of 50 points will be awarded.  Proof of contact arrangements must be provided from the Court or solicitor or Social Worker or the parent with whom the children usually reside.

An applicant will only be eligible for one additional bedroom irrespective of the number of children covered by the any contact agreement.

Applicants who are awarded periodic contact points and who may be affected by the removal of the spare room subsidy will be made aware of the shortfall in benefit upon assessment of their application.

9.5    Medical Needs

9.5.1 Applicants wishing consideration of medical reasons in support of their application will complete a Medical Priority Assessment Form.  The medical assessment of points to be awarded will consider the extent to which the existing housing circumstances of the applicant is adversely affecting the applicant’s health, or the health of a member of their household.

9.5.2 Applicants who are leaving the armed forces due to injury or disability and require access to adapted social housing will be deemed to have a significant level of housing need.  This will be addressed through assessment of medical and other applicable housing needs.

9.5.3 Applications for medical assessment are assessed by Housing Needs Officers who will award points in accordance with the points criteria detailed below.   In more complex cases or where further evidence is needed to make a decision, the case will be referred to the Senior Housing Needs Officer and the Senior Occupational Therapist for a decision. Where required, the Senior Occupational Therapist will request additional medical information from the applicant’s General Practioner.

9.5.4 Applicants will be advised of their right to request a review.  Reviews relating to the outcome of a medical assessment are decided by an independent medical advisor, provided by NHS Grampian.  The Senior Housing Needs Officer and the Senior Occupational Therapist will prepare a background report which will provide the medical advisor with reasons for the decision.  Once the independent medical advisor has reached a decision, it will stand for a period of 12 months unless:
• there is a significant decline or improvement in the health of the person who has applied for medical priority;
• a different person within the household applies for medical points;
• the applicant changes address;
• the housing situation improves or gets worse; or
• the person who has been awarded the medical points leaves the household.
The detailed procedures for medical needs assessments will be made available to all applicants in an advisory leaflet which will describe the application process, timescales and arrangements for reviews on medical points awarded.

9.5.5 Points will be awarded as detailed in the table Medical Points

9.6   Under occupancy

Using the same guidelines as detailed in section 9.4.1 above, points will be awarded where applicants occupy houses larger than their requirements.

For each bedroom surplus to requirements 50 points

For Transfer List applicants, 100 points per bedroom surplus will be awarded to reflect management of the housing stock.

Any points awarded under this needs factor will be related to the actual number of bedrooms sought by the applicant.

9.7   Poor housing conditions

Poor housing conditions (including caravans) will be awarded points on the following basis, following an inspection where this is required to ascertain condition:

Facilities are defined as sink, wash-hand basin, bath or shower, hot and cold water supply to facilities, and inside toilet.

Below Tolerable Standard and lacking facilities 250 points
Below Tolerable Standard with Facilities 150 points
Lacking facilities but meets standard 100 points

9.8   Sharing amenities

Amenities considered for sharing points are kitchen, toilet and bathroom.

Applicants whose household share amenities with another household (points will only be awarded to applicants who are not the tenant/owner of the property).
100 points

9.9   Key workers

Applicants who are taking up employment in Moray who can demonstrate that they are bringing a skill that is not available locally may be eligible for award of key worker points. In ascertaining whether an applicant may qualify for such points, the Council may seek the advice of the Job Centre/Employment Agency/Local Enterprise Company on the availability of such skills locally. The Council will require the applicant’s employer to provide confirmation and support for a request for key worker points.

Applicants will only be eligible for key worker points in cases where their current permanent accommodation is beyond a reasonable travel to work distance from their employment. For the purposes of this section of the Policy, a reasonable travel to work time is defined as a car journey of one hour or less.

Tenancies granted to applicants with key worker points will normally be Scottish short secure tenancies (SSST), as defined in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001.  However, the Housing Needs Review Group may consider requests for an extension of a short secure tenancy and may consider whether a secure tenancy should be granted, taking into account the relative demand and availability of accommodation in the area. The Housing Needs Review Group will review all SSSTs created under this section of the policy after a period of 9 months has elapsed in each tenancy.
100 points

9.10   Leaving institutional/supported care

Applicants will be awarded points if any of the following circumstances apply and are confirmed by a Social Worker, Care Manager, Care Provider, Housing Support Provider, Community Psychiatric Nurse, General Practitioner, Doctor or Consultant, as may be appropriate given the individual circumstances of each case.

Where residential care/hospital is no longer appropriate.

Where supported accommodation/ supported lodgings/foster care is no longer appropriate.

Where a kinship care placement is no longer appropriate
250 points

9.11 Flatted/maisonette accommodation

Applicants with children under 16 years of age who are currently occupying flatted/maisonette accommodation where there is shared access within the building are awarded points as follows:

Residing in a first floor flat or above ground floor access maisonette for 1 year or over.
40 points

Residing in a second floor or over flat or maisonette where the living accommodation is on the second floor or above for 1 year or more.
75 points

9.12   Need to reside

There may be instances where an applicant needs to reside in a specific lettings area.  Need to reside points may be awarded where the applicant (or a member of their household) needs to remain in or move to a lettings area in order to:
• provide or receive care or support (that would not otherwise be available);
• access or maintain specialist education or specialist facilities;
• access or provide childcare arrangements to allow the applicant, or the person who they want to move closer to, to undertake employment;
• be closer to a place of employment; or
• where the applicant has a permanent residence/principal home within a lettings area.

Need to reside points will be awarded when the Council is satisfied that their requirement can be substantiated.  The applicant must provide valid evidence.  Applicants will be asked to identify a specific lettings area and up to two other bordering lettings area.  Only those lettings areas identified will be eligible for the award of need to reside points.
50 points

9.13  Tied accommodation

An applicant may live in accommodation which is part of the conditions of their employment.  Applicants will have no right to reside in the accommodation once their employment ends.  Applicants living in tied accommodation will be awarded tied accommodation points if the applicant is retiring or their employment ends, which results in them having to leave the accommodation.  In the event that the tenant has died, points for tied accommodation may be awarded to the partner or spouse of the tenant.  Applicants must provide valid evidence of the loss of accommodation.  Points will be awarded up to 90 days before the applicant’s tenancy ends.  

Applicants who are Armed Forces personnel and who occupy service accommodation which is due to be terminated and will be awarded tied accommodation points. Applicants will be required to provide a copy of their Certificate of Cessation of Entitlement to Occupy Service Living Accommodation issued six months before discharge. Points will be awarded up to six months before the applicant’s tenancy ends.
250 points

9.14   Exceptional circumstances

‘Exceptional circumstances’ points may be awarded in cases which cannot be appropriately considered within the Allocations Policy.

Applicants may request that their circumstances are referred to the Housing Needs Review Group for consideration of the award of such points. Applicants will have the right to appeal to a Sub Committee of the Communities Committee against any decision of the Housing Needs Review Group. Any award of ‘exceptional circumstances’ points may only be made by either the Housing Needs Review Group or the Housing Appeals Sub Committee of the Communities Committee.

Exceptional circumstances points may range from 0 to 500 points, depending on the specific circumstances of the applicant and the availability of housing.

Click here to view a summary of priorities and points level.

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