Housing allocation policy

Calderdale Council and Pennine Housing 2000 introduced a revised Housing Allocation scheme in April 2013. This scheme continues to be known as KeyChoice.

Q
1. What changes did the revised policy introduce?
Answer
  • Disqualification from membership will replace suspensions.
  • Gold band priority will be extended to include urgent management transfers and bereaved spouses of service personnel who are required to vacate service accommodation.
  • Silver Plus priority will no longer exist.
  • Silver band priority will be extended to include under-occupying Calderdale tenants and people experiencing financial hardship who can no longer afford to remain in their current home.
  • Members may be given additional preference in a shortlist to recognise employment, service in the regular or reservist armed forces or a community contribution.
  • Members with outstanding rent arrears to a participating landlord or CMBC may be given less preference in a shortlist than those who do not have such debts.
  • Owner Occupiers will be expected to actively market their home within three months of accepting a rented home owned by a Housing Association.
  • Applicants with an ownership stake in another property may be offered an assured short-hold tenancy until such time as that stake is relinquished.
Q
2. Who can join the KeyChoice Scheme?
Answer

Anyone over the age of 16 may join Keychoice unless they are not eligible to join or do not qualify for an allocation of social housing

Certain people from abroad will not be eligible to join KeyChoice regardless of their circumstances. This includes some British Citizens who have lived abroad and have recently returned to the UK.

Some applicants will not qualify for an allocation of social housing because of their behaviour. Examples of behaviour that may result in disqualification are:

  • Rent arrears in current home (social landlord tenancy only)
  • Accommodation charge debts in CMBC temporary accommodation
  • Former tenant arrears where no satisfactory repayment arrangement has been made or maintained (social landlord tenancy only)
  • Anti-social behaviour by the applicant
  • Convictions for using or supplying drugs and other illegal substances
  • Convictions for using a home for illegal or immoral purposes
  • Allowing the condition of a rented property to deteriorate
  • Theft or damage to any property currently or previously owned by a social landlord ( including Calderdale Council temporary accommodation)
  • Burglary or theft from dwellings, motor vehicles etc
  • Assault
  • Intimidation and or harassment to members of the public and or staff of any housing association operating in Calderdale
  • Obtaining a tenancy by deception; for example giving false information or failing to notify of a material change in circumstances
  • Behaviour that continues to pose a risk to the community

Each application for membership will be considered individually and a disqualification may be lifted if a satisfactory arrangement or undertaking is made and maintained with the relevant landlord.

Young people age 16 or 17 may apply to join KeyChoice but if offered a tenancy this is likely to be an 'Equitable Tenancy' and an appropriate person or organisation will be required to act as a 'Trustee'.

Q
3. How can I join the KeyChoice Scheme?
Answer

Complete the on line form at KeyChoice

Q
4. What priority will I be given?
Answer

There are three priority bands; Gold Silver and Bronze. An outline of each priority band is given below.

Gold
  • People with a local connection to Calderdale who have been accepted by CMBC as unintentionally homeless and in priority need
  • People who need to move urgently on medical or welfare grounds
  • Tenants of a housing association or Calderdale Council who are required to move to allow for improvement work or disposal
  • People with a local connection with Calderdale who have left the armed forces within the previous three months or will be leaving within the following 6 months
  • Bereaved spouses and civil partners of armed forces personnel who are required to leave service accommodation
  • People living in a property that has been served with a clearance order/ closing order or prohibition notice by CMBC
  • Urgent management transfers
Silver
  • Households accepted by CMBC as homeless, but who are either non- priority or intentionally homeless.
  • Homelessness prevention- Households accepted by CMBC to be in priority need and unintentionally threatened with homelessness within 4 weeks
  • Homelessness prevention -Households likely to be in priority need who are considered by the CMBC Housing Options Team to be at strong risk of homelessness within the next 2 months
  • Standard medical or welfare cases
  • People living in unsatisfactory housing
  • People who need to move to a particular locality in the district to avoid hardship
  • Calderdale tenants who are under-occupying their homes by at least one bedroom
  • Calderdale households who are experiencing financial hardship and are unable to afford their existing home
  • Management Transfers
Bronze
  • All other qualifying members

 

Following completion of the on-line application form, the KeyChoice website will allocate you a provisional priority band when you submit your details. Your circumstances must however be verified before an offer is made and you may be required to provide additional information. All priority categories linked to homelessness and some other factors will require a detailed investigation by Calderdale Council Housing Options Service. This investigation may take several weeks and if you believe that you are homeless or at risk of homelessness you are advised to make contact with Housing Advice as soon as possible. Gold band is usually valid for three months and silver band is valid for twelve months. Gold band will usually be withdrawn if you refuse an offer of a property that is considered suitable for your needs. As well as being awarded a priority band you may also be given additional or less preference when a particular property is let. You may be given additional preference because of your employment status, volunteering activity or current or former service in the regular or reservist armed forces. You may be given less preference because of rent arrears that are not serious enough to result in you being disqualified from membership, but which are still outstanding at the time your bid for a particular property was made.

Q
5. How do I express an interest in a particular property?
Answer

Properties that are available for letting are advertised on a weekly basis on the KeyChoice website www.keychoice.org.uk. If you are interested in a particular property you can place a 'bid' on it. You can bid for one property each week and can change your bid anytime before the 'advertisement/bidding cycle' closes. The website will tell you what position you are in on the list of people who have placed bids for a property (the shortlist).

Most properties are let on the basis of priority but some are let on the basis of waiting time only (these are known as open lets)

The lettings criteria for each property will be stated in the advertisement and it is important that you take note of these. If you do not meet the lettings criteria you are likely to be 'skipped' (bypassed) when the decision is made about who will be offered the tenancy. If the property advertisement states that additional preference will be awarded to certain groups of people and you do not meet the criteria for this group, you are unlikely to be offered the tenancy.

Q
6. What happens at the end of each bidding cycle?
Answer

When the bidding cycle closes the Keychoice system produces a 'shortlist' of members who have placed a bid on each property. This shortlist is either ordered in order of priority band and the length of time with priority or on length of KeyChoice membership.

If additional preference is to be awarded (as previously stated in the property advertisement) members who qualify for additional priority will be considered first. The relevant landlord will then verify the circumstances of the households who are at the top of the shortlist.

Members will be bypassed (or skipped) if:

  • On verification of membership details, the priority band was found to have been incorrectly awarded.
  • The member's current circumstances are such that he/she no longer qualifies for membership.
  • The member's current circumstances are such that it is considered that the member should be restricted from bidding in the neighbourhood in which the property is located.
  • The member's circumstances have changed since the priority band was awarded and the member is no longer entitled to the same level of priority.
  • The home visit raises serious concerns for the landlord making the offer
  • The property is subject to a local connection criteria and the member does not meet those criteria.
  • The members circumstances do not accord with the local lettings policy in operation
  • The member has outstanding arrears (current or former) and other members in the shortlist with the same degree of priority do not. This includes arrears of accommodation charges in temporary accommodation.
  • The member does not satisfy the advertised lettings criteria for the property
  • The member has been assessed as needing support to sustain a tenancy and such support is not in place or cannot be arranged before the proposed tenancy commencement date.
  • The member is assessed as needing support to sustain a tenancy but is not willing to positively engage with the support provider
  • The neighbourhood or scheme in which the relevant property is located has currently a need to maintain a community balance and that the circumstances and/or behaviour of the member is in the view of the landlord of the property, unlikely to contribute to the required balance.
  • The level of support needed to sustain the tenancy at the relevant property would seriously undermine the support provider's ability to support other residents in the same neighbourhood or scheme.
  • The member could not be contacted by the landlord of the property

If none of the above apply and all is in order then the member at the top of the shortlist should be made an offer of the tenancy.

Applicants who are owner occupiers will be expected to actively market their former home within three months of accepting a rented home owned by a Housing association. Anyone who has an ownership stake in another property may be offered an assured short-hold tenancy until such time as that ownership stake is relinquished.

For more information you can download the PDFHousing allocation scheme [PDF 233KB]