allocation policy and points system
The SIC has to take in to account a range of local and legal requirements when deciding its policy in allocating properties.
An annual allocation quota target is set for the percentage of properties that are to be let to each category of applicant (general needs, transfer, homeless and special case applicants). This ensures there is a balance of allocations across the groups so that we can meet our legal responsibilities - the Allocation Policy provides further information.
A points system is used to identify which applicants on the waiting list are in greatest housing need. The greater an applicant's housing need, the more points they will be entitled to and the greater the applicant's chance of being offered a Council house. There is high demand and being near the top of a list at any point in time is no guarantee of allocation - when a property becomes available we need to consider which applicant group should be allocated to meet our annual targets and also consider whether the property has specific qualities that may make it more or less suitable for particular applicants.
The Allocation of Council Housing
The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 introduced revised legislation covering the allocation of Council Housing. When allocating properties the Council cannot take into account:
- How long an applicant has lived in Shetland.
- Any outstanding debt relating to the tenancy of a property e.g. rent arrears, where the applicant is not the tenant of that property.
- Any previous debts e.g. rent arrears which are linked to the applicant's tenancy of a house but which is no longer outstanding.
- Any debt e.g. rent which is outstanding but which is:
- not more than one months worth of rent
- or the applicant has agreed with the landlord an arrangement for paying the outstanding debt and has made payments in accordance with that agreement for at least three months and is continuing to make the payments.
If you have rent arrears, you must arrange a repayment agreement and keep to this agreement, otherwise you may not be allocated Council property.
The Council will take no account of whether an applicant is resident in Shetland if the applicant:
- is employed, or has been offered employment in Shetland;
- has special social or medical reasons for requiring to be housed in Shetland;
- wishes to move to Shetland and the Council are satisfied that the purpose is to seek employment;
- wishes to move to Shetland to be near a relative or carer;
- is subject to conduct amounting to harassment within the terms of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and wishes to move to Shetland;
- runs the risk of domestic violence and wishes to move to Shetland.
|Home visit||How many houses will an applicant be offered?|
|When an applicant is close to the top of the waiting list a member of the Council's housing staff will visit the applicant at home to confirm the details given in the application, the points awarded and their eligibility to be allocated.||An applicant will be made one reasonable offer of accommodation. If you refuse an offer of accommodation for no special reason, your application will be suspended for up to 6 months which means you will not be eligible for an offer during this time.|
|How long will an application be held on the housing register?||Notifying the Council of changes of address, or other circumstances|
|Applications are held on the housing register for six months.
At this point a form is sent to the applicant to confirm they still wish to remain on the waiting list. The Council sends out a reminder after two weeks. If no reply is received the application is then cancelled.
|It is very important that applicants tell the Council if they change address after they have submitted their application form. Otherwise review letters may not be received and your name could be removed from the list. It is in the applicant's best interest to notify Housing staff as soon as possible of any changes in their circumstances or contact details.|
Housing Allocation Points System
Some of the commonly awarded categories of points are outlined below. For full information please refer to the Allocation Policy.
|1. Overcrowding||2. Lack of amenities/sharing amenities|
An applicant with more people living in the house than defined by the Council's standard qualifies for overcrowding points.
Single bedrooms are required for:
A double bedroom is defined as having a floor area of 110 sq ft (10.22m²) or more.
A 'single room is 70 sq ft (6.5m²) or more, but less than 110 sq ft (10.22m²).
If the applicant lives in a house in poor condition he/she may be given points if the house lacks:
Housing Staff will visit the property to check the living conditions and to assess the points to be awarded. A structural survey will be needed to confirm that a property is structurally unstable.
|3. Insecurity of tenure/no fixed abode||4. Medical Need|
An applicant may be awarded additional points if the accommodation they are living in is insecure.
This may include:
If there are any problems of ill-health relating to the applicant or to anyone else in the household the applicant should complete a Medical Assessment Form. This form is available from SIC Housing or Hjaltland Housing Association.
The Medical Assessment Form gives your GP the authority to supply relevant medical information, in the strictest confidence, to NHS Shetland's Director of Public Health. The Council is then advised how many points should be awarded for medical reasons. Council Officials are given no other information by the Director of Public Health other than the points awarded and any specific housing requirements, such as a house without steps etc.
|5. Support points||6. Social Need|
Points are also awarded where Housing staff are satisfied that a move to another area would result in better care or support:
Points can also be awarded in the following circumstances:
Applicants who indicate they have social needs will be asked to fill in a form which will assist us in making an assessment.
|7. Unreasonable to remain||8. Travel to work|
Applicants will be awarded points if it is considered not suitable for their household to remain in their current accommodation indefinitely if it does not meet their needs.
Applicants who travel more than 24 miles to their place of work will qualify for extra points - provided all of their areas of choice for housing are less than 24 miles away from the workplace.
These points also apply if you currently have to travel by ferry to reach your place of work, and none of your areas of choice would require you to travel by ferry to reach your place of work.
|9. Under occupation||10. Bedsit accommodation|
|Using the same formula as described for overcrowding (see number 1 above), points will be awarded for under-occupation of the applicant's house e.g. where there are spare bedrooms.||
Applicants living in bedsit accommodation will be entitled to extra points as this type of accommodation is not likely to be suitable as a long-term housing option.
These points will only be awarded after we have confirmed the property consists of a bedroom and sitting room combined.
If you need any advice or assistance with completing an application form or help with understanding the points system please contact staff at SIC Housing.