Coventry Homefinder Policy 2021

Section 5: How we decide between different housing needs (priority banding system)

5.1 How Priority Is Given – Summary Table of Bands

Coventry Homefinder has 5 bands (bands 1 to 4 and a reduced preference band) that reflect the extent of housing need experienced by the household. The table below shows the different levels of need that are recognised in this policy.

Band assessments
Level of Need and Homefinder Band Housing Need Category
Urgent Housing Need Band 1
  • Statutorily Homeless (Main Housing Duty accepted as homeless household). This also includes the National Witness Mobility Scheme.
  • Urgent housing need due to health and/or social care difficulties
  • Urgent housing need due to Social and/or Welfare issues (including unsanitary conditions, fleeing violence, moving due to redevelopment, moving to release disabled persons and/or adapted accommodation, Approved foster carers and adopters who require more appropriate accommodation, Families who are being reunited following the children being returned from the care of Local Authority)
  • Coventry Care Leavers who are assessed as tenancy ready
  • Tenants of partner housing providers who are under-occupying a property by 2 or more bedrooms
High Housing Need Band 2
  • People living in named short-term supported accommodation including hostels, and who are assessed as tenancy ready
  • Overcrowding – require an additional 2 or more bedrooms
  • Homelessness Relief (households at relief duty stage of the Homelessness Reduction Act)
  • Tenants of partner housing providers who are under-occupying by 1 bedroom
Medium Housing Need Band 3
  • Homelessness Prevention (households at the prevention stage of the Homelessness Reduction Act)
  • Homeless households who do not have a priority need
  • Housing need due to health and or social care difficulties
  • Housing need relating to Social, Welfare or Hardship issues
  • Overcrowding – requires 1 additional bedroom
Housing Need Band 4
  • Housing need with local connection (including newly forming households – applicants living with friends or family wanting their own accommodation or applicants currently living apart who want to live together, applicants who are or could potentially experience financial difficulty if they remained in their current accommodation, applicants who are currently living together who want to live separately, applicants who are currently living in a property in disrepair)
  • Coventry Care Leavers (who are not tenancy ready) or Care leavers with no local connection)
  • People living in named short-term supported accommodation including hostels who are not tenancy ready
  • Intentionally homeless households
  • Housing need - no local connection (exceptional circumstances)
Reduced Preference
  • Reduced priority status due to unacceptable behaviour or rent arrears
  • Households where the main housing duty has ended due to refusal of a suitable offer of accommodation
  • Households who have refused 3 offers of accommodation under the Homefinder Policy
  • Households in bands 1 and 2 who have not actively bid for suitable accommodation

5.2 Reasonable Preference

Section 166A(3) of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended) requires that Councils, within their allocations policies need to give certain groups of applicants ‘reasonable preference’: This includes:

  • People who are homeless within the meaning of Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 (including those who are owed prevention or relief duties, are found intentionally homeless and those not in priority need).
  • People occupying unsanitary or overcrowded housing or otherwise living in unsatisfactory housing conditions.
  • People who need to move on medical or welfare grounds, including grounds related to a disability.
  • People who need to move to a particular locality in the district of the housing authority, where failure to meet that need would cause hardship (to themselves or others).
  • People who are owed a duty under section 190(2), 193(2) or 195(2) of the 1996 Act (or under section 65(2) or 68(2) of the Housing Act 1985) or who are occupying accommodation secured by any housing authority under section 192(3). The Policy is framed so as to give reasonable preference to applicants who fall into these categories, over those who do not, through a priority banding system. This is summarised above in section 5.1 and described in more detail below in section 5.5 to 5.11.

5.3 Additional Preference - Armed Forces

Additional preference must be given to an applicant who has an assessed housing need (under the reasonable preference categories) and who:

  • Is a former member of the regular armed forces, or
  • Is serving in the regular armed forces and is suffering from a serious injury, illness or disability as a result of the person’s service, or
  • Is a bereaved spouse or civil partner of a member of the regular armed forces who is leaving services family accommodation following the death of their spouse or partner in service, or
  • Serving or former members of the reserve forces suffering from a serious injury, illness or disability as a result of their service.

The definition of “armed forces, “regular forces” and the “reserved forces” is set out in Section 374 of the Armed Forces Act 206. The “regular forces” means the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the regular army, or the Royal Air Force. The “reserve forces” means the Royal Fleet Reserve, the Royal Navy Reserve, the Marine Reserve, the Army Reserve, the Territorial Army, the Royal Airforce Reserve or the Royal Auxiliary Air Force.

If an applicant requests additional priority on these grounds, following assessment they will be placed in one band above the band that they would have been placed in had their application been based on reasonable preference housing needs alone. This will award them additional preference over others with the same urgent housing needs and meet the provisions set out in The Housing Act 1996 (Additional Preference for Armed Forces) (England) Regulations 2012.

Applicants that meet the above criteria that have an urgent housing need that would place them in Band 1 will remain in Band 1, as this is the highest priority that they can receive, however the effective date will be adjusted to give one additional year of priority.

Example: an applicant is a former member of the regular armed forces whose household is overcrowded and needs one additional bedroom. The household would ordinarily be placed in Band 3 due to overcrowding but will be placed in the band above - Band 2 - due to their overcrowding and the fact that they were formerly serving in the regular armed forces.

Applicants with no reasonable preference housing need that would otherwise result in them being placed in Bands 1 to 4 will not be able to register on Coventry Homefinder, the same criteria as other applicants.

Local housing authorities are also required to frame their policies so that local connection is not taken into regard when deciding whether someone is a qualifying person (is able to join the register) if they are a member or former member of the regular Armed Forces (and certain family members or current or former members of reserve forces) under certain circumstances).

The Coventry Homefinder Policy does not restrict any applicants’ ability to register (to ‘qualify’) based only on their local connection, as applicants with a housing need and no local connection can register in exceptional circumstances. A member or former member of the Armed Forces (and certain family members or current or former members reserve forces) would be included within this criteria therefore it complies with these provisions in The Allocation of Housing (Qualification Criteria for Armed Forces) (England) Regulations 2012.

5.4 Other local priorities

This policy will also give priority to the following groups. These priorities have been mutually agreed between the Registered Providers using Coventry Homefinder and the Council. These priorities are:

  • Coventry Care Leavers who are assessed as ‘tenancy ready’ and this is confirmed by the Council’s Children’s Social Care Department. This priority supports the Council in its role as a Corporate Parent.
  • Households who are approved foster carers or adoptive parents who the Council’s Children’s Social Care Department have confirmed require more appropriate accommodation in order for them to be able to foster or adopt.
  • People who are fleeing violence, harassment or abuse.
  • Households who are under-occupying their current social housing accommodation (of a partner registered provider and living in Coventry) and wish to move to a smaller property.
  • Households who need to move from their current social housing accommodation (of a partner registered provider) in order to enable the redevelopment or refurbishment of housing.
  • Households who currently live in a purpose built or an adapted property (of a partner registered provider and living in Coventry) that is suitable for a disabled person, who no longer need to live in that type of accommodation and wish to move.

5.5 The Bands Described

The sections below (5.6 to 5.11) describe how your circumstances will place you into a band. Your application will be placed into the band according to how urgent your current housing need is (bands 1 to 4). If an applicant or a member of their household has more than one identified housing need for example an urgent housing need due to a health and social care difficulties (band 1) and are overcrowded and need 1 additional bedroom (band 3), they will be placed in the band which affords greatest priority.

Some applicants could be placed in the reduced preference band (see Section 5.11) and this means they have the least likelihood of being re-housed. This is because they will only be considered for housing after those households in bands 1 to 4.

5.6 Urgent Housing Need – Band 1

Band 1 is the top band within the Coventry Homefinder banding system. This means households in this band have been assessed as having the most urgent housing need. The reasons this priority is awarded is as follows: 

5.6.1 Homelessness - Statutorily Homeless Households (including National Witness Mobility Scheme)

Applicants assessed by Coventry City Council as statutorily homeless and owed the main housing duty will be made one offer of suitable accommodation. Within the Coventry Homefinder system applicants will receive Band 1 priority, however bids for available properties will be made by the Council’s Housing and Homelessness Service on their behalf. This is to ensure that the duty to secure settled accommodation is complied with as soon as possible. Statutorily homeless households may also be offered suitable accommodation within the Private Rented Sector to enable the Council to discharge the main housing duty. Applicants who are supported through the National Witness Mobility Scheme will also be provided with this priority and their support worker from the scheme will bid on their behalf. This process will be a closely managed, confidential situation between the scheme and the Senior Housing Officer, Housing Operational Manager, the Housing Capacity Manager or the Head of Housing and Homelessness.

5.6.2 Urgent Housing Need due to health and/or social care difficulties

The assessment of priority due to health difficulties is not based on the seriousness of the applicant’s condition but rather it is solely based on the impact that the current type and/or location of their current housing is having on that condition and whether this would improve significantly through a move to alternative accommodation.

Assessments for priority due to medical need will normally relate to the physical circumstances in the property but location can be considered, for example where medical evidence has clearly demonstrated that the environment in general is having an impact on the mental health of the applicant.

To ensure assessments are accurate and resources are fully considered an assessment of the present accommodation by an Occupational Therapist or other health professional will be required for all applicants before priority is considered. It may be more appropriate to consider the provision of aids and adaptations for the applicant to remain in their current property instead of moving to other accommodation. Priority will not be awarded if it is reasonable to provide aids and adaptations to make the current accommodation suitable. Priority will only be awarded if aids and adaptations cannot be provided.

To be awarded Urgent Housing Need due to Health and/or Social Care Difficulties an applicant will need to demonstrate their urgent need to move. Listed below are some examples of when this priority level will be awarded (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Applicant or household member is ready to be discharged from hospital or residential care, but they are unable to access any essential facilities within their home;
  • Applicant or household member with severe long-term health conditions causing substantial disabilities who are unable to enter or leave their home (housebound) due to stair access that cannot be resolved by use of aids or adaptations and are unable to access all the essential facilities (bathing/toileting, cooking and separate room for sleeping) in their current accommodation;
  • Applicant or household member must have significant mental health or other health problems that are being caused or made worse by the housing situation (property type and/or location) and this could be resolved by urgent re-housing;
  • Applicant or household member has a life-threatening or life-limiting illness or condition which is being negatively impacted by their current accommodation; Coventry Homefinder would expect that customers with this level of need would normally be in receipt of disability related benefits.

Where an applicant refuses to have the recommended aids and/or adaptations fitted the applicant will be placed in Band 3 – housing need due to health and social care, unless they have other identified housing needs that would place them in a higher band.

5.6.3 Urgent Housing Need due to Social and Welfare Issues

There are some circumstances where the provision of alternative accommodation is required due to the social and welfare needs of the household. These cases will all be assessed according to their own individual circumstances and priority will be considered based on the impact of the present housing on the needs of the household members.

Examples of Urgent Housing Need due to Social and Welfare priority include:

  • People fleeing violence, harassment or abuse with an urgent need to move (e.g. domestic violence/racial harassment incidents/hate crime resulting in intimidation or serious threats or damage to property which are recurrent or an ongoing threat has been identified) Award of this priority will only be awarded with appropriate evidence from the Police, other statutory body, or support agency that the difficulties experienced are directed at the household and they must move from their current accommodation as a matter of urgency.
  • Unsanitary/unsuitable conditions (Health & Safety hazards - Category 1 hazards as outlined in the Housing Health and Safety Rating System) and housing conditions affecting health of household (e.g. properties in serious disrepair, properties lacking bathroom or kitchen facilities or lacking water, gas, electricity or adequate heating) that can't be resolved by the landlord or property owner (after appropriate Council enforcement action if required) within a specified timeframe. This priority will only be awarded with appropriate evidence (e.g. certificates or report from a Council Officer e.g. within Housing Enforcement Department or the Housing and Homelessness Service).
  • Moving to release disabled persons and/or adapted accommodation where this has been confirmed by the social housing provider.
  • Required to move due to regeneration or demolition of current accommodation where this has been confirmed by the social housing provider.
  • An applicant accommodated under the Next Steps Accommodation Programme, from 6 months before their fixed term tenancy comes to an end.
  • Applicant or household member has children being returned from care of a Local Authority, but this is dependent on a change of accommodation. Written confirmation from the social worker will be required.
  • Applicant or household member who is a Coventry City Council approved foster carer or adoptive parent and a Social Worker has confirmed in writing that larger or more appropriate accommodation is required to enable the applicant to either foster or adopt. Applicants must be able to show, through an affordability assessment, that they are able to cover the full rental costs of the property. If they cannot, the Registered Provider may not make an offer of accommodation for the property

5.6.4 Coventry Care Leavers who are assessed as tenancy ready

Applicants who are “Coventry Care Leavers” and have been in the care of Coventry City Council Children’s Services. To be awarded Band 1 priority a Social Worker from Children’s Services has provided written confirmation that a Care Leaver has been assessed as ‘tenancy ready’ and if required has confirmed the ongoing support package for the Care Leaver to assist them in sustaining the tenancy. See Section 5.10 for further information about how ‘tenancy readiness’ will be assessed.

This priority will only be awarded if the young person is not already adequately or suitably accommodated.

This priority can be awarded when the young person reaches 17 years and 6 months old. Once the application is assessed and priority has been agreed the effective date of the application will be back dated to the applicants 16th birthday. This priority will longer apply once the applicant has reached 25 years of age.

5.6.5 Tenants of partner housing providers who are under-occupying a property by 2 or more bedrooms

The demand for larger family sized properties in Coventry is high and therefore in order to ensure the best use of existing housing stock the council wishes to encourage underoccupying households to downsize to smaller accommodation that meets their needs.

To support people to live appropriately sized properties households who are currently underoccupying a social housing property in Coventry by 2 or more bedrooms will be awarded Band 1 priority.

However, households will not be able to bid on properties that are too small for the number of people in their household.

Coventry Homefinder will confirm the number of bedrooms a tenant is occupying with the housing provider in order to award this priority. The number of bedrooms required will be assessed using the bedroom standard (see section 3.4).

5.7 High Housing Need – Band 2

Band 2 is the 2nd highest band within the Coventry Homefinder banding system. This means households in this band have been assessed as having a high housing need. The reasons this priority is awarded are as follows:

5.7.1 Homelessness relief

Priority due to an applicant being owed the homelessness relief duty (under Section 189B of the Housing Act 1996) is awarded by Coventry City Council’s Housing and Homelessness Service where a Personal Housing Plan is in place and the applicant is constructively engaging with the Council’s service to relieve their homelessness.

Applicants will be placed in Band 2 whilst they are owed the relief duty, but their banding may change when that duty comes to an end. If the relief duty ends and does not result in the ‘main housing duty’ being owed for any reason, this may result in either a lower banding award or the applicant no longer qualifying for the Register. All homelessness applicants will be given a written decision under homelessness legislation (Part VII of the Housing Act 1996) informing them of the outcome. They will also have a right to review under the same legislation.

5.7.2 People living in short-term supported accommodation who are tenancy ready

Applicants who are living in short term accommodation (less than 6 months tenure or have been in designated hostel or refuge accommodation and are assessed as being ready to move on to independent accommodation within the next 6 months) in a scheme that has been identified by the Council as contributing towards the objectives of the Coventry Housing & Homelessness Strategy. Such schemes must provide supported accommodation, with active support from the managing agent to assist with issues impacting on the service user such as: benefit support, health issues; employment and training opportunities; budgeting and move on assistance to access settled accommodation in either the private rented or social housing sector.

This priority will only be awarded to households if they are accessing accommodation in such a scheme have been assessed as ‘tenancy ready’ (as described in section 5.10) and have a local connection to Coventry. Applicants that are living in single person’s hostel accommodation will only receive priority for the single household member living in the hostel accommodation. Applicants in hostels do not qualify for overcrowding priority.

5.7.3 Overcrowding 2+ bedrooms

Applicants who believe that they are overcrowded in their current property are assessed against the bedroom standard (see section 3.4). Applicants who are assessed as requiring 2 or more additional bedrooms than their current home will be awarded Band 2 priority. In assessing this priority Coventry Homefinder will consider:

  • The number of bedrooms in the property.
  • The number of people in the household, including ages and genders of household members to determine sharing arrangements.
  • The length of time that the household have been overcrowded – applicants must have lived in the property for a minimum of 6 months before this priority can be assessed.
  • Single person households (over 18) will only be considered for this priority if: ­
    • They are living with family and their sleeping arrangements are creating overcrowded circumstances.
    • ­ By having their own Coventry Homefinder application and gaining their own tenancy they would alleviate the overcrowding in the family home.

Having a separate application and being awarded this priority would mean that the single applicant cannot also be a household member on another Homefinder application for the whole household, (as set out in section 3.6).

  • Applicants requesting an assessment where a household member is pregnant will need to provide the relevant documents confirming pregnancy in order to be considered for a larger property, if this is required. Once this is verified the number of bedrooms required will be amended on the application after 26 weeks of pregnancy. Only when the baby is born can the applicant then request priority for overcrowding based on the bedroom standards.

Coventry Homefinder will require confirmation from the current landlord regarding the number of bedrooms in the property to award overcrowding priority.

5.7.4 Tenants of partner housing providers who are under-occupying a property by 1 bedroom

To support people to live in appropriately sized properties households who are currently underoccupying a social housing property in Coventry by 1 bedroom will be awarded Band 2 priority.

However, households will not be able to bid on properties that are too small for the number of people in their household.

Coventry Homefinder will confirm the number of bedrooms a tenant is occupying with the housing provider in order to award this priority. The number of bedrooms required will be assessed using the bedroom standard (see section 3.4).

5.8 Medium Housing Need – Band 3

Band 3 is the 3rd highest band within the Coventry Homefinder banding system. This means households in this band have been assessed as having a medium housing need. The reasons this priority is awarded is as follows:

5.8.1 Homelessness Prevention

The homelessness prevention duty (under Section 195 of the Housing Act 1996) is awarded by Coventry City Council’s Housing and Homelessness Service where a Personal Housing Plan is in place and the applicant is constructively engaging with the Council’s services to prevent their homelessness.

Prevention duty cases will be subject to continuous assessment and the duty can be ended at any point if the relevant circumstances arise under the legislation. If there is no longer a threat of homelessness, the application will be reassessed and may be removed from the Housing Needs Register if the applicant no longer qualifies to remain on it or moved to a lower band depending on their individual circumstances.

5.8.2 Homeless households who do not have a priority need

Homeless Households who do not have a priority need – Applicants who are assessed by the Housing and Homelessness Service as being eligible and homeless but who do not have a priority need under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996.

5.8.3 Housing need due to health and/or social care difficulties

Applicant or household member who has health or social care difficulties which make it difficult but not impossible to make full use of their current accommodation. Examples include (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Applicant or household member who has learning disabilities and/or mental health difficulties and the type and/or location of their current property is having some impact on their on their day to day life and the management of their health.
  • Applicant or household member who need to move to a particular locality in order to give or receive a demonstratable level of care or support, either practical or emotional support to meet a physical or mental health need. Evidence will be required to show this level of support is needed and that without that support you or the person you are supporting, would have significant problems in their daily lives. Evidence will also be required to show how a move would greatly cut or ease the travelling time needed to give or receive support. Priority will be awarded to the person who is most easily able to move.

5.8.4 Housing need relating to Social, Welfare and Hardship issues

There are some circumstances where the provision of alternative accommodation is required due to the social and welfare needs of the household. These cases will all be assessed according to their own individual circumstances and priority will be considered based on the impact of the present housing on the needs of the household members. Examples of Medium Housing Need due to Social and Welfare priority include:

  • Applicants who are experiencing ongoing and unresolved issues due to harassment, abuse or neighbourhood disputes. Award of this priority may require appropriate evidence from a landlord, Police, other statutory body or support agency where it is demonstrated that the issues are directed at the house (rather than general ASB issues the local area) and it would beneficial for the household to move from their current accommodation.
  • Existing social housing tenants who need to move to Coventry to take up a job offer or to move closer to work under the Governments Right to Move initiative where applicants would otherwise be deemed to suffer undue financial hardship (assessed in conjunction with relevant guidance).
  • People needing to move to a particular area of Coventry where hardship (financial, educational or work related) would be caused to themselves or others if they do not move. For example, this might include the need to move to undertake a prolonged period of education or training, where this is linked to employment and failure to undertake the training would lead to the loss of employment. This priority will not be awarded purely because an applicant loses their employment. Coventry is geographically compact with good transport links; therefore, this priority reason would only be awarded in exceptional circumstances.

5.8.5 Overcrowding – requires 1 additional bedroom

Applicants who believe that they are overcrowded in their current property are assessed against the bedroom standard (see section 3.4). Applicants who are assessed as requiring 1 more bedroom will be awarded Band 3 priority.

In assessing this priority Coventry Homefinder will consider:

  • The number of bedrooms in the property.
  • The number of people in the household, including ages and genders of household members to determine sharing arrangements.
  • The length of time that the household have been overcrowded – applicants must have lived in the property for a minimum of 6 months before this priority can be assessed.
  • Single person households (over 18) will only be considered for this priority if: ­
    • They are living with family and their sleeping arrangements are creating overcrowded circumstances. ­
    • By having their own Coventry Homefinder application and gaining their own tenancy they would alleviate the overcrowding in the family home

Having a separate application and being awarded this priority would mean that the single applicant cannot also be a household member on another Homefinder application for the whole household, (as set out in section 3.6).

  • Applicants requesting an assessment where a household member is pregnant will need to provide the relevant documents confirming pregnancy in order to be considered for a larger property, if this is required. Once this is verified the number of bedrooms required will be amended on the application after 26 weeks of pregnancy. Only when the baby is born can the applicant then request priority for overcrowding based on the bedroom standards.

Coventry Homefinder will require confirmation from the current landlord regarding the number of bedrooms in the property to award overcrowding priority.

5.9 Housing Need – Band 4

Band 4 is the 4th highest band within the Coventry Homefinder banding system. This means households in this band have been assessed as having a housing need, but this housing need is lower than those applicants in higher bands. The reasons this priority is awarded is as follows:

5.9.1 Housing Need

Applicants with a local connection to Coventry and they have a housing need for alternative housing but have been assessed as having lower priority than those applicants with other housing needs that meet the criteria for a higher banding. Whilst not exhaustive, the following list explains some of the reasons why an applicant could be assessed as having a housing need under this policy:

  • Newly forming households – applicants living with friends or family wanting their own accommodation.
  • Newly forming households – applicants currently living apart who want to live together.  Newly forming households – applicants currently living together who want to live separately (e.g. due to relationship breakdown).
  • Applicants who are or could potentially experience financial difficulty if they remained in their current accommodation and therefore need to move to more a accommodation. For example, where an applicant’s circumstances have changed, and they are struggling to pay the rent and other household bills in their current accommodation.
  • Applicants who are currently living in a property in disrepair (e.g. the property currently has identified hazards (Category 2 Hazards under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System), the disrepair cannot be rectified within a reasonable period and the disrepair of the property is their only identified housing need.
  • Intentionally Homelessness Households - applicants who have been assessed by the Council’s Housing and Homelessness Service as having, by reason of act or omission, caused their homelessness intentionally until there is a change in their circumstances.
  • Applicants who are (Care Leavers or people living in designated hostels or other type of short term supported accommodation but who are not currently assessed ‘tenancy ready’) at point of application to the housing register will be placed in the housing need preference banding until they can demonstrate they are ready for independent living and will be able to maintain a tenancy long term. (See section 5.10)
  • Applicants who are seeking retirement living accommodation.

5.9.2 Housing need but no local connection

Applicants who have an identified housing need but have no connection to Coventry as described in section 4.3. An exemption to this would be applications from people fleeing domestic violence, hate crime or any other form of harassment and need to move to alternative accommodation who would be placed in either band 1 or band 3 depending on their individual circumstances. This decision will be made by a Senior Housing Officer, Housing Operations Manager or Housing Capacity Manager.

5.10 Definition of Tenancy readiness

It is a requirement that applicants nominated for social housing can demonstrate to the relevant Registered Provider they are able to maintain and sustain a tenancy. Therefore, tenancy readiness is defined as the applicant:

  • Understands their responsibilities as a tenant to adhere to their tenancy agreement.
  • Has the financial resources to pay the rent and other household bills.
  • Is able to access and engage with formal (professional support) or informal support (family or friends) where this is required.

Tenancy readiness can be demonstrated in several ways including:

  • Completion of a pre-tenancy course (e.g. Crisis renting ready or similar).
  • Written confirmation from a social worker or support worker the applicant is ready to move out from supported or hostel accommodation.
  • Ongoing support needs have been assessed and, where appropriate, a support plan is in place and the applicant is actively engaged with the support plan.

Once tenancy readiness has been confirmed and accepted by Coventry Homefinder. Applicants will be moved into the banding related to their housing need. (e.g. Coventry Care Leavers in Band 1 and applicants living in hostels or supported accommodation – Band 2).

5.11 Reduced Preference Band

The Reduced Preference Band is the lowest band on Coventry Homefinder, and it is very unlikely that applicants placed in this band will receive offers of housing. An applicant being placed in Reduced Preference Band could occur at any stage of the Housing Register process (e.g. at application or offer stage) and will be subject to the right of review by the applicant. There are a number of reasons that an applicant can be placed in reduced preference as follows:

  • Households where the main housing duty has ended due to a refusal of one suitable offer of accommodation.
  • Reduced priority status due to unacceptable behaviour or rent arrears (that are not serious enough to disqualify you from the housing needs register).
  • Reduced priority status due to not actively bidding for suitable housing to meet your assessed housing need in a 6-month period (applicants in bands 1 and 2 only).
  • Applicant (other than homeless household) has refused 3 suitable offers of housing.

5.11.1 Reduced Preference Band – Notification of banding and/or change of banding

If the decision to place a household in the Reduced Preference band occurs at application stage, the applicant will receive a notification of their banding and the reason for that decision. The applicant will receive information and advice where it is relevant to their application. The applicant will be able to seek a review of this decision within 28 days of the notification date.

If the decision to place a household in the Reduced Preference band occurs at offer stage, the relevant housing provider (Housing Association) will notify the Coventry Homefinder Team and outline reasons why the applicant should be placed in the Reduced Preference Band. Following any additional checks, the Coventry Homefinder Team will notify the applicant of their decision and provide information and advice to the applicant on the steps they need to take in order to return to their housing need band. The applicant will be able to seek a review of this decision within 28 days of the notification date.

If an applicant is placed in reduced preference at offer or any other stage other than application, they retain their original registration and/or effective date for their identified housing need band once the issue that has reduced their preference has been resolved.

5.11.2 Reduced Preference Band – Change of circumstances/request for reassessment

Applicants who are assessed as meeting the reduced priority banding criteria will have the opportunity to apply for their banding to be re-assessed, if their circumstances have changed. The following list provides details of possible changes in circumstances:

  • The debt is reduced to below £1,000 pounds and the applicant has entered and adhered to a repayment plan to reduce their arrears.
  • That there have been no further reported incidents of antisocial behaviour 6 months prior to the applicant applying to have their banding re-assessed.
  • That a period of 6 months has passed since the applicant was placed in reduced preference due to non-bidding activity.
  • That a period of 6 months has passed since the applicant was placed in reduced preference due to the refusal of three offers of accommodation. Please see section 6.12 for the definition of a refused offer
  • A homeless household who refused a suitable offer of accommodation will need to demonstrate they have had a change of circumstances since their homelessness application was closed to request a re-assessment of their housing register application.

Please note this list is not exhaustive and each re-assessment will be on an individual basis.

All/Some applicants will need to complete a change of circumstances form to have their banding re-assessed. Alongside completing the change of circumstances form applicants may be required to provide supporting evidence.

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