Coventry Homefinder Policy 2021

Section 4: Who can apply to the Register (Eligibility and Qualification Criteria)

4.1 Eligibility Criteria – Who is eligible to join the housing register?

The statutory eligibility criteria for social housing are set out in section 160ZA of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended) and associated Regulations.

Applications from the following groups will be considered:

  • British and Irish Citizens who are habitually resident in the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands or Isle of Man. Habitual residence means you are settled in the UK for the foreseeable future.
  • EU citizens with permanent residence (often gained after living in the UK for 5 years).
  • People from outside the European Union with indefinite leave to remain, refugee status or humanitarian protection. This might include some people with discretionary leave to remain if it includes recourse to public funds.
  • Applicants who are not classified as ineligible under section 160ZA Housing Act 1996 (see section 4.2)

4.2 Eligibility Criteria – Who is not eligible to join the housing register?

The statutory eligibility criteria for social housing are set out in section 160ZA of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended) and associated Regulations. At the time of implementation, the relevant legislation is: Section 160ZA of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended); Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations 2006, SI 2006/1294; The Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/861).

If an applicant is ineligible based on the Legislation and Regulations, they will not be able to join the Homefinder register.

An applicant may not be allocated accommodation under section 160ZA of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended) and associated Regulations because he or she is a person from abroad who is ineligible for an allocation. This includes:

  • People who are subject to immigration control – such a person is not eligible for an allocation of accommodation unless he or she comes within a class prescribed in regulations made by the Secretary of State
  • People who are from abroad, other than a person subject to immigration control – regulations may provide for other descriptions of persons from abroad who, although not subject to immigration control, are to be treated as ineligible for an allocation of accommodation.
  • Any other person as prescribed by the Secretary of State.

If you are eligible for housing but your partner is not eligible because they fall into one of the above groups, you may be able to bid for accommodation, but if you are successful in securing a tenancy, you will not be able to have a joint tenancy with your partner.

Eligibility will be considered at the time of application, at the time of an offer of allocation to a property, or when the Homefinder Team is notified of a change of circumstances. Applicants must inform Coventry Homefinder of any change in their immigration status.

The Legislation and Regulations governing eligibility may change. Eligibility criteria will be applied based on the Legislation and Regulations at the time that a decision on eligibility is made.

If an applicant is found to be ineligible, they will be notified of the decision and the reasons for it in writing and informed of their right to request a review.

The eligibility rules are complicated and any applicant who believes they are or may be impacted by the rules can contact the Homefinder Team for advice or seek independent advice.

4.3 Who cannot register with Coventry Homefinder?

Qualification Criteria In addition to the eligibility criteria, the Localism Act 2011 gave local authorities the power to determine what classes of persons are (or are not) persons to be allocated social housing in their area. This is known as ‘qualifying criteria’.

Local Authorities can identify groups who will not qualify for an allocation of social housing, by considering:

  • if a household has accommodation suitable for their need and they have ability to meet their own housing costs
  • any behaviour that affects a person’s ability to be a suitable tenant
  • If there is any/no local connection between the household and the local authority

4.3.1 Financial circumstances – Income and Capital

Households with sufficient income or capital to meet their own housing needs will not qualify for the Housing Needs Register. This means that they are judged to be able to afford to house themselves, either by privately renting or buying a home of an appropriate size for their needs.

If your gross household income is above £50,000 per year then you will not be allowed to join the Housing Needs Register (considering the income of all adult members of the household – those seeking to be rehoused with you).

You will not be able to join the register if you or members of your household (those seeking to be rehoused with you) have capital (savings, investments or other assets) of £50,000 or more. You should be able to pay the tenancy deposit or rent in advance to enable you to access privately rented housing without assistance from the Council. Alternatively, dependent on your circumstances you may be in a position to purchase a property either through a shared ownership scheme or from the open market. For the purpose of capital this excludes any capital held in trust for children under 18 years.

The income and savings rules do not apply in the following cases:

  • Home owner(s) who cannot maintain, or manage in their existing home, and need sheltered housing or other age restricted housing. Some Registered Providers may require evidence of the commitment to sell the property within a specified timeframe.  Applicants who wish to register to access shared ownership housing only where the asset and income level is nationally set at a higher threshold of more than £50,000.
  • Other exceptional cases may be allowed by the Housing Operations Manager, Housing Capacity Manager or the Head of Housing and Homelessness. Exceptional circumstances will be assessed on a case by case basis.

4.3.2 Housing need

Applicants who have no assessed housing need and are currently adequately housed will not qualify to join the Register. This means they do not need to be given greater priority for any reason given in the housing legislation, and do not meet any of the banding criteria set out in Section 5 of this policy.

Adequately housed is defined as follows:

Applicants who are already housed in accommodation that meets their needs, both in terms of size, property type, property condition, location and affordability.

4.3.3 Unacceptable behaviour

Applicants may also be disqualified from the Housing Register if the main applicant, joint applicant or a member of their household has been guilty of unacceptable behaviour serious enough to make him or her unsuitable to be a tenant. – Section 167 Housing Act.

Whilst not exhaustive, the following list illustrates the types of serious unacceptable behaviour which may make an applicant unsuitable to be a tenant and will lead to exclusion from the Allocations Scheme. This can include:

  • Rent arrears and failing to comply with a current or previous tenancy agreement
    • Owing significant rent arrears from a current or previous tenancy including rent, sundry debts, damage or any other identified costs and there is no repayment agreement in place.
    • Failing to comply with a current or past tenancy agreement with a Council, Registered Provider or Private Landlord to the extent that they have been evicted or a court has granted an outright possession order. An exception to this would be where an applicant has received a no-fault Section 21 notice.
  • Anti-social behaviour
    • Have been lawfully evicted for antisocial behaviour, nuisance or harassment and are not engaging with support services.
    • Are or have been subject to a court order for antisocial behaviour, nuisance or harassment; for example, have a possession order, injunction, ASBO and are not engaging with support services.
    • Allowing the condition of the property to deteriorate.
    • Allowing any furniture or fixtures provided by the landlord to deteriorate due to ill treatment
  • Some types of criminal behaviour
    • Being violent towards a partner or members of the family
    • Have a conviction relating to use of their current or former property for illegal or immoral purposes e.g. the manufacture, sale or supply of drugs.
    • Have been convicted for some criminal offences, such as arson, violent behaviour, use or possession of offensive weapons (e.g. gun crime/knife crime) and is not engaging with support services.
    • Obtaining a tenancy by deception, for example by giving untrue information

This list is not exhaustive, and cases will be considered on an individual basis.

The decision that an applicant does not qualify for an allocation of accommodation may be taken at any point during the life of the application and the application will then be closed. The decision that an applicant does not qualify to join the register on the grounds of unsuitable behaviour will be made by a member of the Coventry Homefinder Team after consideration of available evidence.

If an applicant is found not to qualify, they will be notified of the decision and the reasons for it in writing and informed of their right to request a review.

There may be instances where an applicant’s behaviour is not serious enough to mean that they do not qualify to register, however, their conduct may mean that individual Registered Provider would not consider them for a tenancy. Depending on the reasons this may mean an applicant is placed in the Reduced Preference Band. (see section 5.11).

Applicants who are assessed as not qualifying under this section of the policy will normally not be allowed to re-register for a period of 12 months. However, applicants may make a fresh application if there has been a factual change in the applicant’s circumstances and/or the applicant can prove a change in their behaviour.

4.3.4 Local Connection

All applicants that are eligible and that meet the qualifying criteria can register. However, applicants without a local connection will only be registered in exceptional circumstances and will be placed in the Housing Need Band – Band 4. As part of their application process they will need to explain their exceptional circumstances. The decision to register an applicant without a local connection will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Applicants can demonstrate a local connection if they can evidence one or more of the following:

  • They have lived within the Coventry local authority area for 6 out of the last 12 months or 3 out of the last 5 years (such time periods being continuous in each case), or
  • Their regular place of work is within the Coventry local authority area (not including casual or seasonal work with daily pay rather than contracted work or those with a zero hours contract), or
  • They have close family connections with someone currently living in the Coventry local authority area and who has lived within the local authority area for 6 out of the last 12 months or 3 out of the last 5 years (such time periods being continuous in each case). This includes parents, siblings and adult children.
  • Other family members such as step-parents, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts or uncles may also demonstrate a local connection if there are sufficiently close family links in the form of frequent contact and established family relationships or the applicant or extended family member is providing significant ongoing care and support to the other person.

he local connection criterion does not apply to:

  • People moving to escape violence.
  • Those applicants connected to the Armed Forces who are classed as a relevant person under The Allocation of Housing (Qualification Criteria for Armed Forces) (England) Regulations 2012 (See section 5.3).
  • For existing social tenants seeking to transfer from another local authority who have a need to move to avoid hardship or to move to take up an offer of work under the Allocation of Housing (Qualification Criteria for Right to Move) England 2015 (See section 5.8.4)
  • Children in the care of the Local Authority for whom the allocations policy applies.

4.4 Decisions on qualifying criteria

The decision that an applicant does not qualify for an allocation of accommodation may be taken at the time that the application is made, or at any point during the life of the application including if the applicant’s circumstances change so that they no longer meet the qualifying criteria. The application will then be closed.

If an applicant is found not to qualify, they will be notified of the decision and the reasons for it in writing and informed of their right to request a review.

An applicant who has previously been told they do not qualify to the housing register will be able to re-apply; if they can demonstrate their circumstances have subsequently changed and they now believe they meet the qualification criteria.

Is there anything wrong with this page?