In Dudley, we have far more families applying for council housing than we have houses available. Our Lettings Policy sets out who can be accepted on to our waiting list and what priority they will have. It is reviewed from time to time in response to changes in the law or to local needs.
Consultation on Allocation Policy for Council Housing
Dudley Council is landlord for over 21000 houses, flats and bungalows and each year around 1500 of these are let on new tenancies. We also provide new tenants for around 300 housing association vacancies. Our Allocation Policy sets out who can apply for these, and who gets priority. It is an important document because thousands of people are seeking new homes, and sadly we cannot help everyone. We review our Policy in full approximately every ten years, and this is your opportunity to give us your views and help to shape it.
Each week, we receive over 100 applications for housing and around 50 enquiries to our Homelessness Team, but only around 15 houses, 2 bungalows and 17 flats become available for letting.
The greatest demand is for family housing – over half of our waiting list is made up of families with children – and most would like a house with a garden.
An independent assessment completed in 2017 and covering the next 22 years showed that Dudley borough (like many others) has an overall shortage of affordable housing. Wages here tend to be below average, private sector rents are high especially in the South of the borough, and we need to plan for increasing numbers of older people, people with disability needs, and families depending on one parent.
We accept applications only from people who have lived or worked in the borough for two years immediately before applying.
Applications are generally placed in one of seven bands, and in date order within each band, so that people who are waiting cannot be “overtaken” by new applicants with similar needs. The bands are:
Band 1 – people the Council needs to move e.g. care leavers, downsizers, people with disabilities whose homes cannot be adapted for their needs
Band 2 – urgent needs such as severe overcrowding, most homeless families, urgent medical needs
Band 3 – a combination of more than one moderate need
Band 4 – moderate needs such as overcrowding (one bedroom short), medical needs that are not urgent, most single homeless people, people releasing a council or housing association house
Band 5 - people with a need but who are given lower priority because of previous rent arrears or anti social behaviour, or who have received capital from the sale of a home
Band 6 – people with no identified need such as a single lodger with their own bedroom, or a private tenant whose home is suitable for their needs
Band 7 – people with no needs but with lower priority (reasons as in Band 5)
Vacant homes are advertised on our website Dudley at Home. Once an application has been accepted and placed in a band, the customer can place up to three “bids” each week, but only on homes of a suitable size and type for their needs. These are also set out in our policy, so for example houses are only available to families, not to single people or couples, and bungalows are only available to people over 60 or with disability needs.
When the deadline for bids is reached, each available property is offered to the person at the top of the list for it on the basis of their band and the length of time in that band, subject to checks that all the information is correct and there is nothing else that needs to be taken into account.
Our full policy can be viewed within "Related Documents" below.
Review of policy
The purpose of this review is to make sure that we are considering all needs fairly, and making the best use of limited housing stock. A Working Group of elected Councillors with experience of housing issues has looked at the policy and agreed some issues that need to be reconsidered. These are listed below. We also need to ensure that our policy is in line with the law and Government requirements, and meets our homelessness duties and duties to vulnerable people.
The issues already identified for consideration are
- Changing our rules on equity and ensuring that we prioritise low income families over those who have other options
- Ensuring that parents who have separated but share the care of their children can both have suitable accommodation to do so
- Allowing small families to choose high rise flats if they wish to
- Helping private tenants in sub-standard homes
- Enabling homes to be built specifically for people with needs that cannot be met within our existing stock
- Providing homes for young people leaving care and for foster families and homeless families including mothers leaving prison
- Ensuring that Council tenants are able to move if their housing needs change but not if they do not need to
- Reducing the number of bands and looking for other ways to make our policy easy to understand
What happens next
We are now asking people who have an interest to give us their views. We will welcome all thoughts from people who are already our tenants, or who are on our waiting list, or who might apply in the future, or who have experienced our service already. We are especially interested to consider how housing contributes to strong, safe, healthy communities.
We have some specific questions to ask, but we will also welcome any other suggestions. If you would like to join a group discussion on the subject, please let us know.
We are also asking for contributions to this discussion from partners within the housing sector, such as housing associations, and from other agencies.
We will be reporting back to the Council’s Cabinet early next year.
A full copy of the Lettings Policy can be inspected at Dudley Council Plus or purchased for £8.70.
You can also download a copy of the policy.
Dudley Council Plus
Tel: 0300 555 2345