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