Following a report of the Operations Manager for Housing and the Corporate Manager for Public Health, Regulation and Housing,.the Homes Policy Development Group had made the following recommendations: that the following proposed changes to the Devon Home Choice Scheme be approved (as listed within the report):
The Cabinet had before it a * report of the Operations Manager for Housing and the Corporate Manager for Public Health, Regulation and Housing, the Homes Policy Development Group at its meeting on 16 March 2021 had made the following recommendations: that the following proposed changes to the Devon Home Choice Scheme be approved (as listed within the report):
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Property Services outlined the contents of the report stating that the Homes Policy Development Group (PDG) had discussed the changes to the Devon Homes Choice Policy and had made the above proposals, however following the Devon Homes Choice Management Meeting a further amendment had been proposed to Proposal 8.
This category included applicants who in their principle home:
- Currently lack 2 or more bedrooms given the size of their household, or
- Are lacking 1 bedroom but have 2 children that lack a bedroom. For example a couple with 4 same sex children in a 2 bed home, or a single parent with 2 children under 10 in a 1 bed home, or
- Have been assessed by the Environmental Health team of a Devon local authority as a Category 1 hazard due to overcrowding and lacking 2 bedrooms, in accordance with the Housing, health and safety rating system introduced by the Housing Act 2004.
He had discussed this with the Chairman of the Homes PDG and written to all members of the Group asking for comment.
It was therefore:
RESOLVED that the recommendation of the Policy Development Group be approved subject to the inclusion of Proposal 8 (as amended) to state that:
Proposal 8 relates to the award of priority for rehousing when hazards may be present in a home.
Environmental Health teams from different authorities were consulted. The recommendation from the group including these colleagues was that there should be no change to the policy of awarding Band D to Category 1 overcrowding hazards. However, the Management Board of Devon Home Choice subsequently proposed that the reference to Category 1 hazards in the Band B reason for severe overcrowding be amended so that it is not a blanket award of Band B. Therefore, it is proposed that the policy wording should be changed to confirm that Band B will only be awarded for Category 1 Hazards where the household is lacking 2 bedrooms.
(Proposed by Cllr R B Evans and seconded by Cllr C R Slade)
Reason for the decision: Failure to run a housing register that is transparent could result in complaints from people who feel that they have been unfairly disadvantaged and this could result in reputational damage.
Note: *Report previously circulated and attached to the minutes
To receive a report from Operations Manager for Housing Services and the Corporate Manager for Public Health, Regulation and Housing. The Management Board of the Devon Home Choice scheme has undertaken a consultation on proposed changes to associated policy and procedures and this report provides more information about this. Individual local authority members of the scheme have been asked to approve the adoption of these changes.
The Group had before it a report * from the Operations Manager for Housing and the Corporate Manager for Public Health, Regulation and Housing. The Management Board of the Devon Home Choice scheme had undertaken a consultation on proposed changes to associated policy and procedures and this report provides more information about this. Individual local authority members of the scheme had been asked to approve the adoption of these changes.
The contents of the report were outlined with particular reference to the following:
· The Devon Home Choice Scheme, which Mid Devon District Council had signed up to, was the mechanism by which housing need was assessed and how homes were allocated.
· There had been some minor changes over the years but more significant changes had been proposed recently which required consultation.
At a recent Management Board meeting not all the proposed changes had been agreed. The Operations Manager for Housing Services referred to each of the proposals listed in the report and provided an update:
Proposal 1 – related to bidding for larger 1 bed properties where applicants are lacking two bedrooms. This was agreed by the Board but the landlord would have discretion to decide whether or not the property met the needs of the family. Adverts would specify the household numbers.
Proposal 2 – related to some of the new products on the market now such as ‘Rent to Buy’ or ‘Build to Rent’. A new question had been added to the application form to ensure that people were aware of the other options available to them.
Proposal 3 – related to maximum occupancy of larger properties. Sometimes larger properties had different occupancy levels due to the size of bedrooms and could be reconfigured with the members of the household deciding how best to make use of the space available to them.
Proposal 4 – related to occupancy of high-rise flats by younger children. This was agreed by the Management Board but was not really applicable to Mid Devon as there were no large blocks of flats taller than 4 stories in the district.
Proposal 5 – related to those household members who could not succeed to a tenancy following the death of a tenant. It was agreed that some priority be given members of a household left in use to tenants who cannot succeed the tenancy.
Proposal 6 – related to management of financial risk. It was agreed that wording in relation to rent arrears be revised.
Proposal 7 – related to the assessment of cases where there was overcrowding. The suggested revision of the wording from 2 children to 2 people was not agreed by the Management Board.
Proposal 8 – related to the award of priority for rehousing when hazards may be present in a home. The Board felt that greater clarification was needed before a decision could be made in relation to this.
Discussion took place with regard to:
· Clarity was sought regarding the rights of an older child should his or her parents ... view the full minutes text for item 65