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Changes to the Allocations Policy

The Allocations Scheme has recently changed and here’s why.

The previous Allocations Scheme had been in existence for almost ten years. Newham and its residents’ needs have changed significantly during this time. It was important that we adapted and change our scheme to better meet the needs of those living in overcrowded, insecure or inadequate housing.

We wanted to make sure it is fairer so that those most in need of social housing are prioritised on the housing waiting list.

Sadly there are far more people applying for housing than we have properties available to accommodate them.  In fact, in Newham we have more people on our housing list than anywhere else in London.  There are currently (February 2022) over 34,000 households on the waiting list, but only around 600 properties become available each year.

Following extensive consultation on the changes that were proposed to the Housing Allocation Scheme, the document was agreed by Cabinet and the new scheme took effect in February 2022.

Who did the main changes affect?

  • Those who had additional priority for employment
  • Those who did not live in the borough for 3 years before they applied
  • Those who were relying on family, employment and care for a Local Connection
  • Homeseekers building up waiting time
  • Those who are severely overcrowded and have another reasonable preference (priority).

Employment

The additional preference for employment has ended which means that we will no longer award additional priority to those who previously met our employment criteria. All applicants in this group remain on the register but they will only be ranked when bidding on their waiting time in the Priority Homeseeker group.

This means that for many, you are likely to see a significant change on your ranking once you bid and there may be many more people in front of you than before.

Local Connection

You can no longer rely on having family or working in the borough as a local connection.  As this will no longer qualify you to be on the register, unfortunately, these applicants have been removed from the register but have a right to ask for a review within 21 days of the decision.

Residence Qualification

You now need to live in the borough continuously for 3 years instead of 2 before making an application. This brings us in line with many of our neighbours who only accept those who have lived in the borough for between 3 to 5 years. Any applicant who does not meet this criterion has been removed from the register but has a right to ask for a review within 21 days of the decision.

Homeseekers

Anyone who is registered as a Homeseeker can no longer to build up waiting time although they will remain on the register. This means you will no longer have a registration date and will remain unable to bid. If your status changes and you become a Priority Homeseeker, your waiting time will begin from the date we make the new assessment on your application.

This start date will only remain valid whilst you are a Priority Homeseeker.  If you have a change of circumstances and fall back into the Homeseeker group, you will lose any time you previously built up.

Those who are currently Homeseekers have had their waiting time removed although they remain on the register.

Severely Overcrowded with 1 other Reasonable Preference

Anyone who is severely overcrowded (that is lacks at least 2 bedrooms) and has 1 other reasonable preference, will now have additional priority when they bid which will improve your ranking when bidding with other Priority Homeseekers.

We will determine if you are in this group through our assessment processes and you won’t need to tell us about your circumstances.

What happens now?

The changes have been applied to all applications on our register and if you were one of the affected applicants, you will already have been informed in writing.

We will continue to look at applications on the register to ensure everyone who in on there remains eligible.

If you feel there are changes you need to make to your application then please go online to your housing register application and complete a change of circumstance form. Please see the instructions below on how to do this.

You need to log in to your My Newham account through the Newham Website.

  • Then click on “Apply for it”
  • Then click on “Housing Register”
  • Then click on the option to "Change an existing application”. Please enter your application reference and your date of birth and follow the onscreen instructions.
  • Once you have answered all questions and added all your household members, you will need to click "Yes” to the question ‘Have you added all of the family members you wish to be rehoused with?'
  • Then agree to the terms and conditions and click submit.

What if I have already bid successfully and I am ‘under offer’?

If you are currently under offer, the change in scheme will not affect the offer.  This will also apply to any offers made prior to the new scheme (any bidding cycle before 25 February 2022), even though the scheme has now changed.

However, any bids made on or after 25 February 2022 will be ranked according to your new status based on the new scheme.