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Coventry Homefinder

Proposed change - changing the current banding system – the reduced preference band

It is proposed to introduce a reduced preference band. There would be a number of ways why applicants may be placed in the reduced preference band:

  • Having been assessed as currently ‘unsuitable to be a tenant’ – this could be because of current or former rent arrears or concerns about behaviour of any member of the household (e.g. anti-social behaviour).
  • Not actively bidding for suitable accommodation that meets your assessed housing need (e.g. the number of bedrooms you need).
  • Applicants who refuse the maximum three offers of housing. 

Where applications are placed in the reduced preference band – people will be notified and given information and advice about the steps they need to take to leave the reduced preference band. Applicants placed in the reduced preference band will still be able to bid for properties but their priority, and consequently their chances of success, is reduced.

Note: All applicants placed in the reduced preference band have a right to request a review.

What does the current policy say?

The current policy does not include a reduced preference band. Under the current policy Housing Associations can overlook (‘skip’) applications during the shortlisting process for a variety of reasons including rent arrears, antisocial behaviour or concerns about whether a person is ready for a tenancy – this is sometimes called ‘being not tenancy ready’. People can also be ‘skipped’ if they have already been matched to a different property. Customers are notified of the reason for skipping on the first occasion. 

The current policy does not include anything about the requirement to be ‘actively bidding for housing’. Under these proposals the Housing Register will only be available for people with an assessed housing need and therefore we would expect customers to regularly bid for properties that meet their assessed needs. We would not expect people to bid for properties that do not meet their assessed housing need. This would only apply to applicants who are in Band 1 and Band 2.

If an applicant currently refuses the maximum offers of housing, their application is suspended. Customers are notified of this in writing and have 28 days to show that the refusals were reasonable for their application to be re-opened. If no contact is made, then the application will be closed.

Why change?

To identify early those likely to be ‘skipped’ by Housing Associations later in the process. To give those identified the opportunity to progress out of their ‘reduced preference’ banding at the earliest opportunity. To focus the efforts of all on matching suitable properties to tenancy-ready applicants. To ensure those registered on Coventry Homefinder are actively committed to finding suitable affordable accommodation. The proposed change means that no applications will be closed, suspended or re-opened as a result of people refusing the maximum offers of housing.

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