New housing allocation policy agreed by Midlothian Council

New housing allocation policy agreed by Midlothian Council

Midlothian Council has agreed changes to its Housing Allocations Policy following an extensive consultation process with tenants and other stakeholders earlier this year.

Following best practice, the policy is reviewed regularly and was last reviewed in 2019.

The purpose of the Allocations Policy is to prioritise applicants needs and to let the available vacant properties to those in the greatest assessed need - in accordance with current legislation and guidance.

Tenants, waiting list applicants, stakeholders and tenant groups were among those that were asked for their views on how the council allocates housing. The consultation consisted of a survey that could be carried out online or respondents could request a paper copy. Public drop-in meetings were also held in local libraries.

Based on the findings of the survey the council has decided to:

  • retain a group and points system for the allocation of housing where applicants are given points depending on their circumstances
  • implement an online Housing Application and portal so applicants can update and refresh details as required
  • align housing areas with those of the community council boundaries
  • retain letting targets as they are – 60% for homeless households and 40% for general needs applicants.
  • record homeless waiting time from the time someone becomes homelessness
  • increase points for applicants in certain situations for example suffering domestic abuse or supported by the National Housing Project or Housing First
  • retain current Local Lettings Initiative for new builds whereby Midlothian Council tenants are prioritised
  • review the suspension policy in line with legislation

Councillor Stuart McKenzie, cabinet member with responsibility for housing, said “The Housing Allocations Policy is vital in helping us ensure we make the best use of housing stock. The changes in the policy will enable us to continue to meet the needs of the Midlothian community whilst working in line with the government’s homelessness legislation.

“We carried out the consultation on our Housing Allocations Policy as part of the council’s commitment to involving tenants in the management of housing services, so I was pleased to hear that over 70 of the survey respondents indicated that they would be interested in joining a residents, communities or tenancy participation group. These people will be contacted in due course.”

The updated Housing Allocations Policy will come into effect later this year.

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