Housing Allocations Scheme

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Closes 24 Feb 2022

Further information on the Allocations Scheme and Early Engagement activity

This page provides the answers to five frequently asked questions on the topic of Housing Allocations. You do not need to read all of the information on this page to answer the questions in this survey. 

If you do not wish to read this additional information, please scroll to the bottom of this page and select 'Continue'.

Why do we need an allocations scheme?

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The Housing Allocations Scheme sets out the rules for allocating council or housing association homes. It explains who the Council lets social housing to, and how it does it.  Councils are required by law to implement and publish an Allocation Scheme. Each letting of a social housing home by the Council must fall under the Housing Allocation Scheme.

A Housing Register sits alongside a Housing Allocation Scheme. This is a register of households with a high need for rehousing and who qualify for a letting of a social housing home under the Scheme.  Sometimes people will refer to the Council having a ‘waiting list’.  This is somewhat misleading as it gives the impression that anyone who qualifies to join will simply have to wait until they are eventually rehoused. This, however, is not the case.

There is a severe shortage of social housing in the UK, and the problem is worse in London and inner London Boroughs than anywhere else.  In Kensington and Chelsea, we have just over 3,000 households on our housing register, but only around 350 to 400 homes become available to let every year (and a little over 50% of those are studio or one-bedroom homes).  Around the same number of new households join the register every year as are housed. Even if nobody new joined the register it would take at least eight years to rehouse everyone.  Therefore, an Allocation Scheme sets out who qualifies for rehousing, and how different types of housing needs are prioritised.  

What are we doing about the lack of housing?

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In the long term, we are using every tool at our disposal to increase the supply of all kinds of homes across the borough, including building 600 new homes on council land, of which at least 300 will be at social rent.  We also need to promote other ways that the people who already have tenancies but need to move, can do so outside of the need for an allocation of housing: for example, options such as assisted mutual exchanges to create matches between overcrowded households with under occupiers.

What did we find out through the Early Resident Engagement?

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Residents that participated in the Early Resident Engagement spoke about how the operations of the scheme and the scheme itself affects them or affects people in their community. A clear majority of residents told us that the new scheme should;

  • be more transparent and easier to understand
  • take more of the complexity and uniqueness of people’s lives into consideration
  • introduce a waiting time priority (more points the longer you wait)
  • improve the use of under-occupied properties and properties that are accessible
  • increase the priority given to people living in overcrowded housing
  • relax the definition of overcrowding
  • adopt lower age thresholds for children sharing bedrooms
  • keep access to the Housing Register restricted to residents of Kensington and Chelsea.

There were some issues that there was less agreement on.  For example:

  • how long someone should live in the area before they can join the register,
  • whether we should continue to have a points-based system
  • whether choice-based offers or direct offers work best

You can read the report from this early engagement, which has been developed by Newman Francis, to see more of the findings. Direction has been taken from the early engagement to conduct this next step in the formal consultation process.

What are the top objectives for the Allocations Scheme that residents set for us during the Early Resident Engagement?

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  1. Make the scheme transparent, clear, and easy to understand.
  2. Ensure the scheme allows for the real-World complexity of people’s lives.
  3. Make time waiting count, especially in temporary accommodation and in overcrowded homes.
  4. Reduce the length of time people are in temporary accommodation and support people more while in temporary accommodation.
What are the top objectives of the Allocations Scheme from the Council’s perspective?

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  1. Ensure Kensington and Chelsea’s social housing stock is provided to those with the most need for it.
  2. Reduce that amount of people living in temporary accommodation (TA) through the prevention of homelessness.
  3. Ensure that the impact of the Grenfell Tragedy, the Covid-19 pandemic and the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 are taken into consideration.