Published 6 August 2012
The way Ealing’s council housing is allocated is set to change following a decision by the council’s Cabinet last week.
The revised policy is aimed at encouraging more households into work and addressing the broader needs and aspirations of local communities. The changes follow extensive consultation with residents, council officers and Members, prospective tenants and voluntary organisations.
The majority of social housing in the west London borough will still go to those in priority categories for housing, although some 20% of lettings will now be made available to working households and tenants with a good tenancy record. An existing quota of lettings to armed forces personnel will be retained.
Councillor Hitesh Tailor, Ealings Cabinet Member for Housing said: We are introducing a fairer more transparent allocations policy that encourages more households into work and will deliver more mixed, sustainable communities. This is aligned with our commitment to deliver homes at rent levels that are affordable to residents. However it is essential the council continues to meet the housing needs of vulnerable residents who may be living in unsuitable housing or are homeless.
In a move that also gives priority to locally established families, new housing applicants will need to demonstrate a five-year local connection to Ealing, such as period of residence, or an immediate family connection. Furthermore, Ealing will no longer include families with an income of over £60k on its housing register. A figure based on twice Ealings average annual wage - £29,854. Previously there was no income restriction on households applying to be housed by the council.
And in an effort to decrease the length of time council homes are left empty, applicants who bid and refuse three or more reasonable offers within a six-month period will be suspended from bidding in Ealing for six months. This is to address the increasing problem of applicants bidding on properties they have no intention of accepting.
Councillor Hitesh Tailor added: We will be monitoring all aspects of our new policy very closely and looking for any unintended consequences. The council will continue to protect the most vulnerable, though our revised policy is also about supporting and encouraging our residents aspirations. Thats why employment and training advice, especially at the point of letting, is now set to become a core element of Ealings social tenancies. We will also continue to argue the case for more affordable housing, which is why we remain committed to building new homes for social rent as recommended by our Housing Commission.
All Cabinet decisions are subject to call-in for a period of five working days from the date of publication of the minutes of the meeting.