Implemented on: August 2022
Review Date: August 2025
Service Area: Housing Services
1.1 This Policy outlines the range of housing options we offer and who can access them.
1.2 It helps us make sure we allocate our homes in a fair, transparent and efficient way. We will take into account the housing needs of tenants and potential tenants. We will work in partnership with Local Authorities to meet local housing needs.
1.3 We work across many local authority areas and allocate our rented homes through Choice Based Lettings Schemes and in line with Local Authority Agreements.
1.4 Where we agree to local lettings plans / agreements, we’ll allocate homes in line with them.
2. Our Housing Offer
2.1 We offer the following types of housing:
|What it is and who it’s for
|Rented homes, where the rent is generally lower than the open market rent (private sector rents). Where applicable, the rent will be exclusive of any service charge.
Includes homes at an Affordable Rent up to 80% of market rent (inclusive of any service charge).
You’ll need to apply to join your local authority’s housing register through their housing department.
|Rented housing for older people
|Homes for older people (normally aged over 55), including those with disabilities or support needs, who are able to live independently but would benefit from a dedicated Independent Living Officer.
You need to meet the age criteria together with being able to pay the monthly support charge. We’ll consider people who are younger than the age criteria in exceptional circumstances, taking into account support or care needs. You will need to apply to the Local Authority to be added to the Housing Register. You can also apply directly to Mount Green and be added to the Independent Living waiting list.
The age is set at 55 because it is the qualification age to be considered for older persons’ housing association accommodation.
Our allocation criteria for Independent Living is detailed at Appendix A.
|Mount Green Housing provide a small number of key worker homes for rent. A key worker is someone employed by the public sector in a frontline role delivering an essential public service in the areas of health, education and community safety. Rents are set at up to 80% of market rent. You can also apply directly to Mount Green and be added to the key worker waiting list.
|Transitional accommodation is self-contained accommodation provided under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. It is anticipated that residents will live in transitional accommodation for approximately two years whilst they bid for social housing and/or save for deposit/rent in advance for a private rented sector. The Council has no ongoing temporary accommodation or homelessness duty to transitional accommodation residents.
|Short term accommodation used by our Local Authority partners to provide temporary housing under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement to those who are homeless and meet the criteria for longer term housing.
|Mount Green provide a home to residents who require support. Support is offered through a third-party agency and can be live in support or floating support. Nominations for supported housing comes from third party partners.
|What it is and who it’s for
|You can buy a share of a new home, between 10% and 75%, and pay rent on the part you don’t own.
For most schemes you will need to be a first-time buyer or not currently own a property. For more information and to see what shared ownership properties are available please look on the Help to Buy website https://www.helptobuyagent3.org.uk/
|New homes for sale at open market prices. You can contact us directly about these homes.
You don’t need to be accepted by a local authority but you’ll need to be able to raise the necessary finance to fund the purchase.
3. Eligibility to rent one of our homes
3.1 To be eligible for one of our rented homes you must:
- Be over 18 years old (or over 16 in exceptional circumstances, with an adult guarantor to hold the tenancy in trust for you)
- Be able to pay the rent, including being able and willing to pay rent in advance, and have evidence of your income (including earnings and benefits) and savings
- Have confirmed immigration status (either hold a British passport or have leave to remain) and eligible for public funds
- Meet the household criteria for the size and type of home
- Meet any other criteria applicable to the home you are interested in, such as age restrictions, disability needs, local connection
- Not be in breach of a previous tenancy or occupancy agreement or have behaved unacceptably, for example failure to pay rent or anti-social
- Not have access to, or an interest in, any other home you could live in
- Agree for us to undertake credit references and fraud checks
- Meet any relevant scheme or support criteria
- Earn under the higher earning household income limits outlined in 5.1 of this Policy
- If you’re a Mount Green employee or Board member, or if you are related to a staff member have consent in line with our Financial Regulations.
3.2 We won’t offer you a home if you don’t meet this eligibility criteria.
3.3 We will check your household information, including proof of identity, right to rent and financial support needs. We will require documentary evidence to ensure your eligibility and failure to provide this could result in us not allocating you a home.
3.4 The size of the home we offer you is usually based on the number of people in your household and their age, sex and relationship to each other. We work out how many bedrooms you need by looking at who is in your household and who can share a bedroom (Appendix B has some examples).
3.5 We will seek to allocate homes that are designated, designed, or adapted to meet specific needs in a way that is compatible with the purpose of the home.
3.6 We will not accept any nominations for residents who have a history of suicide ideation, suicide attempts, or who are at risk of suicide to be put forward for any homes from 2 floors or above.
4. Ability to pay rent
4.1 We want to make sure you can pay the rent for your home (including service charges, heating charges and Independent Living Charges where applicable) alongside other living costs, bills (e.g., utility bills, Council Tax) and other financial commitments.
4.2 You’re responsible for making sure you can pay the rent and service charges for the home. We’ll check your income is sufficient (from earnings and/or benefits) to pay your rent. We’ll help you to make sure you maximise your income. We’ll talk to you about your options where we are concerned about your ability to pay the rent.
4.3 To ensure applicants can afford the proposed rent we will carry out financial assessments where necessary before an offer of a home. If you fail to give permission to carry out a financial check, we’ll refuse an offer for housing.
4.4 We’ll only offer you a home if your income shows you can pay the rent. Where we are unable to offer a home, we’ll take into account Local Authority views and work with them to address the housing need.
5. Hard to Let Properties
5.1 Occasionally, Mount Green will have properties that are difficult to let. On these occasions we will refer to our waiting lists. We will also contact our partner agencies to assist with the letting of the property, including approaching other District and Borough Councils.
6. Allocation of Independent Living Homes
6.1 Mount Green maintain a list of eligible applicants (appendix A) in need of Independent Living accommodation. The list comprises of internal applicants from our General Needs homes, external applicants and current Independent Living residents who require a move because their home is no longer meeting their medical needs. We do not offer non-medical internal transfers from one Independent Living home to another except in exceptional circumstances in accordance with our allocations policy.
6.2 50% of our vacant Independent Living properties will be offered to the local authority housing department for allocation from their waiting list.
6.3 The remaining 50% will be allocated via our internal Independent Living waiting list, with the following applicants being given priority:
Priority A – Internal applicants and Hawkridge applicants
- Internal high priority medical transfers as assessed by Mount Green’s medical transfer procedure
- Internal applicants downsizing from a general needs home owned by Mount Green.
- An eligible external applicant for Hawkridge with a local connection to the village.
Priority B – external applicants
- External high priority medical* needs as evidence by a qualified medical practitioner
- External applicant who is homeless or at risk of homelessness as assessed by the local authority housing options team.
- External applicants downsizing from a home owned by a local authority or registered provider of social housing.
Priority C – external applicants
- External applicants with a need to move into Independent Living accommodation for an identified medical or welfare reason (supported by a professional) which is not considered an emergency or urgent. This level of priority will be awarded where it is recognised by a professional that the applicant’s health is being affected by their current accommodation, they would benefit from supported accommodation, but their health is unlikely to deteriorate significantly within a short period of time.
Priority D – all other applicants with no priority housing need.
6.4 Applicants who fall into priority A, B or C will be allocated first based on their priority banding (A to C) and the date of application. Applicants with no priority housing need (Priority D) will be allocated solely on the date at which they applied.
6.5 Applicants will be contacted about a vacant property in order of their priority need (banding) and the date at which they applied. All waiting list applicants will be contacted annually to determine their current housing need and assess any change in circumstances. Priority banding may be changed as a result of this re-assessment.
6.6 Current Independent Living residents who require urgent rehousing as per Sec 9 of our Allocations Policy will be given overall priority on vacant Independent Living homes.
7. Options for existing tenants if you need to move
7.1 You may want to move home if your current rented home is no longer suitable, because:
- It’s too big – you want to downsize
- It’s too small – you want to move to a larger home
- You want to live in a different area, perhaps for work
- You need to move for medical reasons.
7.2 You may also need to move home, due to:
- An emergency, e.g., fleeing domestic abuse, fire, or flood in your home
- Your home being identified for redevelopment, and we need to move you to a replacement home.
7.3 We’ll provide information about options to move including
- Mutual Exchange (swapping home with another tenant)
- Applying to a local authority for a transfer. You’ll need to register with your local authority and bid for suitable homes if there’s a Choice Based Lettings scheme.
- Moving to Independent Living.
- Shared ownership and other affordable ownership products.
8. Moving to another Mount Green Home
8.1 We’ll support tenants who need to be ‘decanted’ on a temporary basis to enable major works or repairs.
8.2 If you need to be ‘decanted’ on a permanent basis, we’ll offer you a property based on your current need.
8.3 Our decant policy sets out the support that residents can receive if they have to move due to major repairs or redevelopment.
9. Urgent Rehousing
9.1 If it’s an emergency or you’re facing immediate violence or threats to your personal safety, you need to:
- Contact the police to report the incident, get assistance, and a crime reference number
- Let us know
- Go to your local authority for help with moving.
9.2 If you need to move immediately, we’ll assess your circumstances, and look for one of our homes for you to move to, where appropriate (i.e., safe) and available. We will review each case and in exceptional circumstances may offer an urgent move or management transfer where we can for the following reasons:
- Life threatening situations
- Domestic abuse
- Emergency move (e.g. witness protection)
- Severe harassment
- Flood / severe property damage
- Significant personal tragedy where it is unreasonable for the household to remain in the home.
9.3 We may not always be able to help you move to another one of our homes. Much will depend on what we have available at the time. If we do have a suitable vacant home, we’ll make you one offer only.
9.4 You will also need to join your local housing register at the relevant local authority for a transfer move.
10. If you’re not happy with a decision we make (rented homes)
10.1 If you’re not happy with a decision we make about an offer or application for housing with us you can appeal to the Assistant Director of Housing Services. You need to make an appeal within 10 working days of us notifying you of our decision. During the appeals process, the property you were originally nominated for may be let to another household. If this happens and your appeal is successful you will be considered for the next comparable property .
11. Homeownership options
11.1 Shared ownership is when you buy a percentage of a property (10% to 75%) and pay rent (normally 2.75%) on the remaining percentage we own, plus service charges. You have the rights and obligations of a homeowner. We usually own the freehold.
11.2 You can buy additional shares of your home, known as staircasing, and in most cases, eventually own 100% outright. At this point, you own the property and will no longer pay any rent. If you are in a flat, or a house with communal areas, you will still have to pay service charges.
11.3 For more information and to buy one of our shared ownership properties you’ll need to register with your local Help to Buy Agent, https://www.helptobuyagent3.org.uk/
12. Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion
12.1 For Mount Green, diversity is about respecting people’s individual differences and ensuring that all people that come into contact with us have access to the
same high standards of behaviour and service.
12.2 We are committed to ensuring that no resident will be treated less favourably because of their age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex, or sexual orientation.
13.1 We will review this Policy to address legislative, regulatory, best practice or operational issues.
14. Consultation and Publicising the Policy
14.1 We will be consulting on this policy with our Local Authority partners. When finalised, the policy will be available on our website.
Appendix A – Eligibility for Independent Living
Our aim is to create Independent Living schemes that offer a safe, harmonious and balanced community for older people, taking into consideration age, gender and support needs. Allocations will be undertaken in line with this policy but there are some additional requirements for independent living housing:
All applicants will complete an assessment for housing related support with all applicants before a formal offer of accommodation can be made.
Applications will be considered from people who:
- Are aged 55+
- Can live independently or have a suitable care package in place
- Have mental capacity to sign a tenancy agreement
- Agree to the provision of an Independent Living Service, including the monthly charge for this service.
Applicants with high support needs may be offered a tenancy if they have a suitable care package and the agreement of their care provider. Mount Green must be satisfied that the applicant can independently manage.
Independent Living will not normally be considered for people who:
- Require 24hr nursing care or supervision
- Have severe dementia
- Have family members below 55 who wish to be housed with them
- Existing Homeowners
Applications for Independent Living may be considered from people who own a home that is no longer suitable as long as the applicant can prove they are actively selling their property.
Applicants with savings or assets of more than £250,000 will not be eligible.
Appendix B – Property size
It’s important we make the best use of homes, as part of our regulatory responsibility.
We do this by calculating the number of bedrooms for a household based on:
One bedroom for:
- Each couple or person over 16
- 2 children under 16 (if the same gender)
- 2 children under 10 (any gender)
- A carer (who doesn’t normally live there) if overnight care is required
- Approved foster carers, currently fostering or who have fostered a child or registered to foster in the last 12 months
- An adult child serving in the armed forces, who still lives with their parents when not on service
- Disabled children, where the local authority agree a shared bedroom is not appropriate
We’ll be clear about the minimum number of occupants for each home when we advertise them. Here are some examples:
- Smaller three bedroom homes with two double bedrooms and one single bedroom will be allocated to households with a minimum of three people
- Larger three bedroom homes with two double bedrooms, a single bedroom and a dining room will be allocated to households with a minimum of four people
- Smaller four bedroom homes with one double bedroom and three single bedrooms will be allocated to households with a minimum of four people
- Larger four bedroom homes with one double bedroom and three single bedrooms and a dining room will be allocated to households with a minimum of five people.
Each home is different, the list above is illustrative and not exhaustive.