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Allocations Scheme Summary for

New Charter Transfer Applicants your choice, your move!

www.newcharter.co.uk facebook.com/newcharterhomes @newchartergroup


Policy Summary The allocations policy contains a number of schemes, the two main ones being:

1

The general scheme for people who are not yet New Charter tenants

2

The transfer scheme for New Charter tenants who need to move

Whilst there are similarities between both schemes, they have separate application arrangements and priorities. This booklet provides a summary of our transfer scheme for our New Charter tenants. Quotas will apply to available homes, providing 15% for the transfer scheme and 65% for the general scheme. The remaining 20% will be offered to the Local Authority for nominations. Available homes which are assigned to the two major schemes will be advertised using Choice Based Lettings. The advert will provide an outline of property details and an indication of which group will be given preference. A proportion of available homes will be advertised indicating that preference will be shown to those with community contribution. Applicants have the opportunity to advise us when they have met the requirements of our community contribution scheme.

Scope of the policy The policy will apply to residential lettings by New Charter Homes. The following will not be considered to be lettings and will not be covered by this policy: • Mutual Exchanges • Successions of Tenancy • Assignments of Tenancy • Conversion of sole to joint tenancies and vice versa • Market Rent properties

Who can apply (Eligibility) The transfer scheme is designed to facilitate moves for New Charter tenants, whose home no longer meets their needs. Only current tenants of New Charter who have successfully completed their introductory tenancy period are able to apply to join the transfer scheme.

The scheme has been devised to prioritise those people who will be adversely affected by the changes to Housing Benefit rules from April 2013 and recognise the community contributions made by our tenants. Tenants who are in significant breach of their tenancy conditions will be advised what is required of them before an application will be accepted. These include, but are not limited to: anti-social behaviour (ASB), poor condition of property through tenant neglect, deliberate worsening of housing need, rent arrears or debt to New Charter Homes. Tenants without any housing needs will be directed to other schemes e.g. Homeswapper, rather than registering for a transfer to a vacant home.

Sustainable tenancies Neighbourhood and Revenues teams will take a key role in managing their tenant’s requests to move in order to provide an opportunity for them explore the reasons underlying the request and to assess their compliance with the tenancy requirements. Where the total housing related debt to New Charter Homes is below £500, the application will be accepted onto the scheme and the tenant able to place bids on advertised homes. At the point of offer, evidence will be required that the weekly rent and an agreed payment off the debt has been maintained for a minimum of 12 weeks. Any missed payments will normally result in the count re-starting. Where the debt is greater than £500, a tenancy check will be required to establish whether there is legal action pending. If there is no legal action then a financial assessment will be undertaken and payment plan put in place for an agreed period before the request to transfer is accepted. If a tenant with an outstanding debt to New Charter Homes would qualify for a payment from the Downsizing Incentive Scheme (DIS), then this debt will normally be deducted from the payment.

The Priority Band assessment system Tenants who have been accepted onto the transfer scheme will be placed in one of the following bands, according to their circumstances. Multiple housing needs will not increase the level of priority awarded to an application.


15% of vacant homes will be ring fenced for transferring tenants.

Band Housing Need 1

2

Priority Order

Tenants who will suffer financial loss as a result of welfare reform and are requesting a move to a home that would resolve this problem

i. Under occupying by two or more bedsdate order within band

Tenants releasing substantially adapted homes

ii. Under occupying by one bed or releasing adapted homes date order within band

Priority for those Date order tenants who have high within band housing needs i.e. overcrowded by two or more bedrooms, or under occupying by two or more bedrooms (but not impacted by welfare reform) Priority for those who need to move on fitness or mental health grounds

3

Priority for those tenants who have medium housing need e.g. overcrowded by one bedroom. Or under occupying by one bedroom and not impacted by welfare reform Tenants with a child/ children aged under 11 in a high rise flat (Cavendish Mill, Assheton House, Thompson Court, John Grundy House, Chartist House) Tenants needing to move for employment

Date order within band

When shortlisting for available homes, tenants in band 1 will be considered before those in band 2 etc. Within the bands, applications will be considered in date order, based on the date they were placed in that band. For those applications carried across from the previous scheme, their date in band will be their original registration date. Housing need will be recognised where one or more of the following circumstances arise: Overcrowding - one or more bedrooms short based on the bedroom standard. This allows one bedroom for each person or couple living as part of the household, with the following exceptions: child aged 21 or under would be expected to share with one other child of the same gender; and child aged 9 or under would be expected to share with one other child aged 9 or under, regardless of gender (Statutory overcrowding will be referred to Tameside Council’s Housing Register). Under occupation - The same formula will be applied to assess the number of bedrooms needed by a household as is used to determine Housing Benefit entitlement. This allows one bedroom for each person or couple living as part of the household, with the following exceptions: child aged 15 or under would be expected to share with one other child of the same gender; and child age 9 or under would be expected to share with one other child aged 9 or under, regardless of gender. Where the current home has one or more bedrooms more than this measure indicates that the household needs and they are looking to move to a property of the appropriate size to meet their needs, under occupation will be recognised. Fitness or mental health need - Unable to climb a flight of stairs and currently living above ground floor or in a property with stairs, or unable to use bathing facilities or access their home due to steps. NB people with mobility related medical need will only be considered for rehousing in flats on the ground floor, or bungalows. In the case of mental health, need will only be recognised where a professional assessment indicates significant risks linked to their current housing. Tenants releasing adapted homes - Adapted homes are a valuable and limited resource. Where a home has been purpose built to suit the needs of a disabled family or it has undergone substantial adaptations (such as a through floor lift or ground floor extension) and household’s circumstances change so that they no longer need this type of home e.g. where the disabled family member is no longer part of the household, we will award band 1 priority to assist with a transfer to a home which reflects their new circumstances.


Community Contribution Housing allocations is an area which has the potential to influence our communities. The community contribution scheme aims to address this by providing for tenants who work, volunteer etc. to be awarded additional preference.

Group

Criteria

Employed

Including:

The benefits of Community Contribution priority will be available to applicants on both the general and transfer schemes.

• Permanent full time employed • Self employed • Employed on a temporary contract • Part time employment At least one member of the household will have been employed for a minimum of 16 hours per week for at least 6 of the last 9 months Volunteers

Including volunteering for: • Registered tenants groups • Registered charities • Not for profit organisations • Recognised community groups At least one member of the household will have been volunteering for a minimum of 25 hours per month. Evidence will be required that they have been engaged in this volunteering activity for at least 6 out of the last 9 months

Training

• Approved job related training • Completion of accredited pre tenancy training (e.g. New Charter Key to Your Door will provide additional priority for new applicants)*

Carers

People in receipt of Carers Allowance

Foster Carers

Registered foster carers

Armed forces personnel

Serving or former members of the armed forces or reserves will be awarded Community Contribution. This award will continue for up to 12 months from the date of any honourable discharge. It will also be applied to the spouse or civil partner of service personnel required to vacate Ministry of Defence accommodation following the death in of their partner

*Time limited to 6 months following completion of programme unless they engage in volunteering or become employed during this period


Sheltered housing

Extra Care Schemes

New Charter Homes manages a variety of sheltered housing schemes, (bedsits, flats and bungalows) across Tameside and the neighbouring areas.

New Charter Homes has a number of “extra care� units.

These schemes are designed for communities of older people. In order to qualify for consideration for this type of housing, people need to be aged either over 60, or over 55 with a support need, which would normally be evidenced by them being in receipt of a disability benefit. Customers indicating an interest in this type of housing will be asked to provide additional details including the areas they would most like to live. Sheltered vacancies will be advertised once. Should there be no eligible bidders; direct offers will be made from a traditional style shortlist of eligible applicants.

In addition to traditional housing services, residents of these properties benefit from additional care support services, commissioned by the Local Authority. All extra care vacancies are offered to Local Authority nominees.

Neighbourhood Lettings Schemes There may be occasions where triggers within a geographical area indicate a need to manage the allocations in this area differently. The Housing Act 1996 (s167) allows for the use of Neighbourhood Lettings Schemes to allocate certain accommodation for the exclusive use of certain applicants of a particular description. They will therefore be applied to homes offered to the local authority for nomination as well as properties let according to New Charter Homes Allocation Policy.


How to Apply - Three easy steps

Refusals

1) Check you can apply to move. Tenants who are not meeting their current tenancy agreement e.g. not paying their rent or causing antisocial behaviour will not be able to apply to move until any issues are addressed.

One of the underlying principles of Choice Based Lettings (CBL) is that customers express an interest only in those homes that they would wish to accept. As people have proactively chosen to bid for the home, refusals of offers should not occur frequently. To encourage people to be serious about the bids they place, the following arrangements are in place:

2) Complete a short application on our website www.newcharter.co.uk or call into one of our Hubs (contact details are on the back of this leaflet). 3) Once your application is registered and approved by your Neighbourhood Co-ordinator you can start bidding. Please remember it is your responsibility to provide evidence requested, if you delay you will not be made an offer of housing. Please only bid on properties you really want as we will suspend applicants who make unreasonable refusals. Advertised homes will indicate the group of bidders which will receive preference. However, if there are no suitable bids from that group, we will consider other bids ranked according to their position in band.

General Scheme bids with Community Contribution Open to bids from all General Scheme applicants

Before refusing any offer of a tenancy, customers will be advised that doing so could adversely affect their application. Refusals will be assessed to determine whether they are “reasonable”. It is not practical to be precise in defining what is a reasonable or unreasonable refusal, but examples include: Reasonable Refusals are based on: • Something the applicant wouldn’t have known or been expected to know when they placed their bid • Error in advert information Unreasonable Refusals are based on: • Something the applicant would have known when they bid e.g. area • Trivial e.g. colour of door, south facing garden • Repairs we will remedy whilst empty or post sign up • No response to attempts to contact

Preference to:

Bids from New Charter tenants with preference to band 1 or Community Contribution Open to bids from all New Charter tenants

Some properties, due to their nature, sheltered housing and groups of properties designed for and predominantly occupied by older people may be targeted reserved for single people or couples aged 55+. This will be indicated in the advert. Applicants may place up to 3 bids each advert cycle.

• Requests for work that would exceed our published Lettability Standard Unreasonable refusals will trigger the following actions: • 1 refusal 3 months deferred • 2nd refusal within a 12 month period 6 months deferred • 3rd refusal within a 12 month period application cancelled. No new application for a minimum of 12 months (this may be extended in some circumstances)


Advice, support and information

Changes in circumstances

A summary of the Allocations scheme is available free of charge at www.newcharter.co.uk or at any of our Hubs. A full copy of the scheme will also be made available on our website.

During the course of an application, it is likely that a customer’s circumstances may change. Customers are required to advise us promptly of these changes.

Should support be required at any stage in the application process, for example with language or literacy issues, this will be made available on request. Customers who are eligible, are invited to apply using our online application facility, or by visiting our Hubs.

Where customers deliberately withhold information about a relevant change in their circumstances, this may lead to their application being withdrawn or action taken to recover a tenancy they have been offered. Relevant changes include changes to the people included on the application, the accommodation available or any community contribution or caring arrangements which have been incorporated in the banding decision.

Deliberately worsening circumstances/intentional housing need Where there is reason to suspect that a customer has deliberately worsened their housing situation, their application will be deferred to enable an investigation to take place. Where deliberate worsening of housing need is established, the application may be placed in a lower band, or in more extreme cases, the application may be cancelled and the applicant no longer deemed an eligible applicant.

Ending applications In order to ensure that waiting list information is up to date and that the list is maintained efficiently, applications will be reviewed each year on the anniversary of their application date.

Proof of identity In order to confirm the identity of the applicant/joint applicant, proof of identity for each will be required. This will include their National Insurance Number, proof of their current address (Council Tax, utility bill, bank statement etc.) and photographic ID (passport, photo driving licence, bus pass etc.).

Incomplete applications Applications need to be completed fully and honestly. It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide all information required. Where information has been omitted, the application will not be registered.

Applications from those who have not actively engaged in the scheme by bidding for a property during a 12 month period will automatically be cancelled. Should applicants make contact within the first 28 days after cancellation, the application may be reinstated. After this time, they will need to begin a new application. Any previously accrued time in band will be lost. Applications may be cancelled where an applicant does not respond when we try to contact them.

Data Protection / Information Sharing Arrangements As part of the application process, applicants are required to sign a declaration authorising us to share information with relevant agencies.


www.newcharter.co.uk 0161 331 2000 facebook.com/newcharterhomes @newchartergroup New Charter Hubs Ashton: 2, Henrietta Street, Ashton, OL6 6EF Denton: 9, Albert Street, Denton, M34 6ZA Hyde: 12/14, Clarendon Street, Hyde, SK14 2EL Stalybridge: 63/65, Grosvenor Street, Stalybridge, SK15 2JN

Resource Reg. No. 2110


Allocations Summary for Transfer Applicants