Policies Housing Allocation

Housing Allocation

HOUSING ALLOCATIONS & ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

 

Aims and Objectives

 

jLiving exists to provide affordable, quality housing to primarily but not exclusively members of the Jewish Community. The Association welcomes applications from all applicants regardless of age, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability.

 

The Association’s primary objective is to accommodate older people but will consider applications from persons outside of this category if assessed to be vulnerable and in need of assistance to maintain their tenancy.

 

The Association is unable to consider applications from families with young or dependent children, young people leaving care or known offenders.

 

The Association will consider applications from younger applicants if supported by a partner agency or other social care agency.

 

The Association is unable to consider applications from those individuals known to require nursing care.

 

The Association although not a provider of Dementia Care Services will however consider applications from individuals with a diagnosis of early, mild dementia if it is considered that their needs can be safely and adequately met within one of its schemes.

 

jLiving’s aim is to operate a fair and non discriminatory practice of allocation albeit based on the assessed need of the individual applicant. The Association will assess the housing and social needs of its applicants and will also consider the applicants financial circumstances.

 

As a Registered Provider of Social Housing the Association will make every endeavour to exercise probity to ensure the best use is made of its resources and provide a fair transparent and accountable service to all applicants and service users.

 

Priority will be given to those individuals who require assistance in accessing and utilising  the following services :

 

  • Advice and ongoing assistance with welfare benefits
  • Assistance and access to social activities
  • Assistance and advice with regard to adaptations
  • Assistance in liaison with GP’s, CPN’s  and other statutory agencies
  • Assistance and access to culturally specific advice and counselling
  • Assistance with minor repairs.
  • Liaison with and monitoring of care services
  • Assistance with security of the home
  • Advice, assistance and monitoring of personal safety
  • Daily contact with a Scheme Housing Manager
  • Assistance in arranging maintenance and repairs to the home
  • Advice and assistance with budgeting and finances

 

Ineligible Applicants

 

Not all persons applying for accommodation with jLiving will be eligible these include:

 

People or person from abroad who are subject to immigration control within the meaning of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996, although the Association recognises that there are some exceptions to this ruling depending on personal status and circumstances.

 

People or persons who are known to have been found responsible for unacceptable behaviour including :

 

History of rent arrears not attributable to Housing Benefit – The Association will remain mindful of individual circumstances and will investigate on a case by case basis where an applicant is known to have significant rent arrears.

 

History of behaviour which has caused nuisance and annoyance to previous neighbours, fellow tenants or employees or contractors of a previous landlord. This includes the granting of Anti Social Behaviour Injunctions or Orders by a previous landlord or other statutory body.

 

  • Have been convicted of using a former dwelling for immoral or illegal purposes
  • Have committed domestic violence causing a partner or family member to become homeless
  • Have obtained a tenancy through false statement or information given on application

 

This list is not exhaustive and jLiving reserves the right to obtain landlord references where appropriate and necessary.

 

Financial Resources and Eligibility

 

As a Registered Provider of Social Housing jLiving remains obliged to make the best use of its resources and is required to make allocations on the basis of housing need and need for assistance in accessing Support. There will be instances where individuals who apply for housing will, in the opinion of the Association, have the means to secure their own accommodation either in the private sector or by means of purchase. The Association will always endeavour to advise, assist and signpost such applicants to the most appropriate resource.

 

Preference and priority will be given to those applicants who do not have the resources to secure or obtain housing elsewhere either in the public or private sector.

 

The Association will consider an applicants income, whether from benefits or other income, any capital, particularly any owned property either in the UK or overseas and will consider the resources and income of both applicants in the case of a joint application.

 

The Association is mindful however of the advancing age , frailty and vulnerability of many of its applicants and the challenges that securing alternative accommodation may pose to such an individual and therefore there may be circumstances when it is considered that an applicant has sufficient resources but an offer of accommodation may be made. This decision will be endorsed  and approved by the Allocations Panel.

 

General

 

jLiving will allocate properties to individuals on the Association waiting list on a priority points based system following assessment. The Association welcomes direct applications either from individuals or other professionals, with the applicants consent, or via the relevant Local Authority, Housing Register Allocations system. Please note that this may be via Choice Based Lettings or similar scheme. The Association will honour its nomination rights with its relevant LA partners and will inform the LA’s accordingly of relevant void properties to be offered to LA applicants / nominees in a timely and appropriate manner.

 

The Association is obliged to make the best use of its resources and therefore aims to prepare and relet vacant properties within 28 days of the property being vacated by the previous tenant.

 

All applicants should be aware that accommodation is provided by the Association with the intention that the accommodation shall be their primary or only residence and as such occupation of the offered property should commence at the time of the tenancy commencement. Exceptional circumstances shall be considered only following discussion with and permission being granted by Senior Management of the Association.

 

Procedure

 

All individuals wishing to be considered for housing with the Association are required to complete, sign and submit an application form. This form may be obtained either from jLiving Head Office or via the Associations website, www.jliving.org.uk

 

All applications will be acknowledged by letter and an appointment to visit and complete an assessment will be arranged within 6 weeks of receipt of the application.

 

All applicants will undergo a process of assessment within their existing homes wherever possible. This assessment will be completed either by the Association’s Lettings Manager, Housing Manager, Chief Executive or one of the Association’s Welfare Officers.

 

All applicants are welcome to have a family member, carer or other professional involved in their care and or support present at the Assessment.

 

The Assessment will consider the housing, social and financial needs of the individual applicant/s.

 

Following the Home Assessment all applicants will be required to obtain a medical report from their GP. Please note that any costs incurred for such a report are to be met by the applicant/s.

 

GP’s are requested to send completed medical forms to Head Office where they will be considered by the Associations Allocations Panel. The Panel consists of members of the Senior Management Team, Management Committee and Tenancy Sub Committee. The Panel also has a Scheme Manager in attendance and independent GP.

 

Decisions will be recorded by the Association’s Panel as to whether it is considered that the Applicant has a need for sheltered accommodation and whether the Association is able to meet the needs of the Applicant.

 

The Panel will consider applications on a case by case basis and decisions will be based on the majority decision of the Panel.

 

In order for the Panel to consider an application the Association must be in receipt of the standard medical information form completed by the applicants GP.  Applicants are therefore advised it is in their best interests to ensure that their GP completes and returns the form as soon as possible.

 

In the event that further information is required by the Panel before making a decision, the Lettings Manager will request or arrange for the additional reports and the applicant shall be informed that their application is pending a final decision by the Panel.

 

If the applicant is successful their name will be added to the waiting list for their area of choice and points will be calculated and awarded according to priority and level of need.

 

Applicants will be informed by letter of the outcome of their application. Unsuccessful applicants will also be informed by letter and where possible the Association will endeavour to ‘signpost’ the applicant to alternative sources of support, advice or accommodation. Unsuccessful applicants shall also be informed of their right to appeal should they so wish. Where it is known that other agencies are working with or supporting the applicant, they shall also be informed of the reason for refusal.

 

Unsuccessful applicants appeals will be considered by the Chief Executive, who does not form part of the Allocations Panel in order to ensure impartiality and members of the Tenancy Sub Committee again who do not form part of the Allocations Panel.

 

The decision of the Chief Executive and Tenancy Sub Committee is final.

 

Viewing and Lettings

 

In some instances it may be possible to invite applicants to view vacant properties promptly following the Panel’s decision. This is dependant on the specified wishes of the applicant and their area of choice. Applicants are reminded however that should their choice remain limited to one scheme or one area only they may encounter a longer wait for accommodation.

 

Applicants shall be entitled to 2 offers of accommodation only unless there are exceptional circumstances subject to approval by the Senior Management Team.

 

Applicants will be invited to view vacant properties potentially as soon as they become vacant and applicants should remain mindful that decorating and maintenance works may not yet be complete.

 

All flats will be let to applicants in an unfurnished but newly decorated condition.

 

Applicants should note that in some instances more than one applicant may be invited to a view a vacant property. In such an instance the property will be offered to the applicant with the highest priority.

 

Following the viewing of an empty property and an offer of accommodation being made, applicants are required to inform the Association of their acceptance or refusal within 24 hours, or the next working day in the event of a viewing on a Friday. Should no response be received by the Association then an offer shall be made to the next applicant.

 

If the property is suitably decorated and ready for letting the Association will endeavour to commence the new tenancy for the incoming tenant/s 14 days from the date of acceptance.

 

In situations of high priority or urgency, although not a provider of emergency accommodation, jLiving will endeavour to offer an earlier tenancy commencement date.

 

In situations where the property requires decoration or maintenance works the applicant shall be advised as soon as possible of a tenancy commencement date.

 

The Association will endeavour to dispatch Tenancy Agreements and other documents within 48 hours of an offer of accommodation being made and accepted.

 

jLiving Service Standards Summary

 

jLiving shall dispatch application forms on the same day of the initial request.

 

Following receipt of completed application forms, an acknowledgement letter shall be sent within 2 working days.

 

An appointment for a Home Assessment shall be offered within 6 weeks following receipt of the application form.

 

Following the Allocations Panel meeting all applicants shall be informed of the decision of the Panel within 5 working days

 

Should the Association need to request additional information in support of an application prior to acceptance for the Waiting List being confirmed, Senior Staff shall endeavour to complete this within 30 days and advise the applicant within 5 working days following receipt.

 

The Association will always endeavour to respond to written requests and letters within 10 working days.

 

If telephoning the Lettings Department every endeavour will be made to ensure that calls are answered quickly or calls returned on the next working day.

 

The Association cannot guarantee that staff will be available to deal with callers to the Lettings Office / Head Office.

 

Tenancy Agreements and associated documents including an Energy Performance Certificate will be issued within 48 hours of an offer of accommodation being accepted.

 

We do our best to give you as good a service as possible but it is not always possible to assist each person in the way she or he would like.  A Formal Complaints procedure exists for all Applicants and Tenants.

 

Complaints & Appeals

 

How To Complain

 

If you have a complaint please speak to the person dealing with your application.  If your complaint is not settled to your satisfaction, a formal complaint can be registered.  This must be:-

 

a)        Put in writing

b)        Headed FORMAL COMPLAINT

c)         Address to:

 

jLiving

Harmony Close

Princes Park Avenue

London NW11 0JJ

 

For the attention of the Lettings Manager and or Chief Executive

 

d)        Signed

 

What Will Happen Next?

 

Your complaint will be recorded and referred to the Lettings Manager. Your complaint will be considered and investigated and a response will be offered within 10 working days.  If you remain dissatisfied with the response you have 10 days to submit a further appeal to be considered by the Chief Executive and Allocations Panel. Should you not respond within 10 days the matter will be considered to be concluded. You shall be notified accordingly in writing.

 

The decision of the Chief Executive remains final.

 

Allocation Standard

 

The Association will allocate accommodation as set out below

 

APPLICANT STATUS                                                       PROPERTY SIZE

Single Person                                                                      Studio (Bedsit) flatlet or One bed

A cohabiting or married couple                                      One Bed

Two adult persons of the same or                                  2 Bed

Opposite sex who do not live as a

Cohabiting couple

Single Person or Couple requiring                                2 Bed

Live in carer as evidenced by medical

Reports or LA Care Management report

 

Variations from this Allocation Standard must be approved by members of the Senior Management Team  and only in exceptional circumstances.

 

Renewal of Applications

 

All applications will be reviewed annually.

 

Applicants are also invited to inform the Association of any changes in circumstances in the intervening period.

 

If a reply is not received within 28 days of the invitation being sent, the applicant’s name will be removed from the waiting list and filed for no further action.  This will be archived after 2 years.

 

Tranfers

 

Applications will be accepted from existing secure or assured tenants and will be treated in the same manner as any other applicant.  Where possible the Association will consider a tenants wish to transfer from one property to move to another to better meet their housing needs and to make the best use of the housing stock, but is restricted to availability and for those persons in greatest need.

 

The following eligibility criteria will normally apply to any tenant wishing to apply to transfer to another property: –

 

1)  The tenant has maintained a clear rent account for the previous six months and has fully complied with the terms of their tenancy agreement.

 

2) An application form and medical questionnaire has been completed and approved by the Senior Management Team and Allocations Panel.

 

Applications to transfer will be considered on the following grounds:-

 

i) Under occupation -the applicant has more bedrooms than they require and they wish to move to smaller accommodation.

 

ii) Medical – the present dwelling is unsuitable for the applicant or a member of their household for reasons of disability or serious ill health.

 

iii) Management – the applicant is required to move on housing management grounds e.g. for significant works to be undertaken to their dwelling.

 

iv) Discretionary Grounds – The tenant requests to move due to significant or insurmountable difficulties in their current property. This transfer is at the discretion of the Senior Management Team and Allocations Panel and only one offer of accommodation and  subsequent transfer shall be made.

 

Nominations and Local Authority Choice Based , Home Choice Lettings Scheme

 

The Association shall inform the relevant Local Authorities accordingly of vacancies to be offered via Nominations and Choice Based Lettings Schemes in accordance with the formal arrangements and quotas agreed.

 

Offers of Accommodation

 

An applicant’s preference for a particular type of property and the area it is situated will be noted.  However, an offer of accommodation will not be considered unreasonable if it failed to satisfy these preferences.

 

Allocations will normally be made to the highest priority applicant suited to an available property and in consideration of the competing demands for accommodation at any one time, whilst making best use of the Association’s resources.

 

Refusals of Accommodation

 

If a refusal of an offer of accommodation is considered to be unreasonable, the applicant will not be treated as a priority and a further offer may be deferred until other applicants have been made offers of accommodation.   They will be notified in writing of the decision and the reasons why the refusal is considered unreasonable.

 

A refusal to view a property that is considered to be suitable will still count as an appropriate offer by the Association and may result in the applicant no longer being treated with the same priority.

 

If following deferment, there is a significant change in the applicant’s circumstances, the application will be assessed against the new circumstances.  A decision will then be made as to whether the application is reinstated or continues to be deferred.

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