Consultation on Reforms to Social Housing Allocations

Closes 26 Mar 2024

Opened 30 Jan 2024

Overview

Safe and stable social housing is of enormous importance to millions of current tenants and to those who will rely on it for a home in the future. This government believes social tenants should have homes which they can be proud of and feel secure in and this is why we have introduced significant reforms to improve the quality and quantity of the country’s social housing stock. Through the Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023, we have strengthened the powers of the Regulator of Social Housing to hold poorly performing landlords to account and we have improved social housing residents’ access to redress with new powers for the Housing Ombudsman. The £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme is delivering well over a hundred thousand affordable homes – and we will deliver tens of thousands of new homes specifically for social rent. The government is committed to ensuring this valuable but limited resource is allocated fairly.

This consultation seeks views on the following issues:

  1. The introduction of a United Kingdom (UK) connection test, to ensure that it is those with the closest connection to the UK who are eligible for a social home;
  2. Mandating the following tests: local connection test, income test, false statement test, and tests for anti-social behaviour and terrorism offences;
  3. The introduction of a new ground for eviction for those who are convicted of terrorism offences, and implementation of a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy for anti-social behaviour.

Scope of this consultation

This consultation will inform secondary legislation that is proposed to be made under Part 6 of the Housing Act 1996. Under this, the Secretary of State may prescribe classes of persons who are eligible or ineligible for an allocation of social housing in England and may also prescribe qualification criteria that local housing authorities use to allocate social housing. The consultation will also inform a new eviction ground under the Housing Acts 1985 and 1988.

We are not proposing within this consultation to change the rules or guidance on reasonable and additional preference that local housing authorities follow to prioritise allocations.

The tests to determine who qualifies for social housing would be applied to new applicants and those currently on a waiting list. This means that those currently living in social housing will not be subject to these new tests. Existing tenants will however be subject to eviction where relevant.

The policy proposals set out in the consultation apply to the Social Rented Sector (SRS) in England. This includes 4 million households and 1,606 registered providers of social housing, of which 221 are local authorities and 1,385 private registered providers (PRPs).

The consultation is open to all but is aimed primarily at local housing authorities to inform the implementation of the proposed new tests within existing social housing allocation policies. We also welcome views from housing associations, tenants of social housing and those on a local housing authority waiting list for whom this consultation will also be relevant.

Give us your views