Service updates and advice
This summary covers the main areas of our policy. Please read the full Allocation Policy for further information.
We aim to provide quality, affordable housing to people who need somewhere to live because they have no home or their current housing no longer suits their needs. Our housing allocation policy is based on a clear framework where we prioritise people who are in most need of housing. This framework meets the legal responsibilities we have in terms of allocating housing.
Our policy sets out how we match the people who apply for our homes with homes that become available. To do this we follow a number of rules and guidelines. To request a copy of the full allocation policy document please contact your local housing office.
We are committed to treating everybody equally who applies for housing and making sure we keep to our equality and diversity policy. You will receive the same high-quality service whoever you are.
Best practice in housing management
This policy recognises the best-practice information that the Housing Regulator, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, the Chartered Institute of Housing, HouseMark and the Scottish Housing Network have produced and shared. By following this best-practice information, we have made sure we have created a policy that is fair. It also meets the legal requirements of the following:
- Equality Act 2010
- Housing (Scotland) Act 2010
- Housing (Scotland) Act 2006
- The Civil Partnerships Act 2005
- The Homelessness etc. (Scotland) Act 2003
- The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001
- The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000
- The Human Rights Act 1998
- General Data Protection Regulation
- Data Protection Act 2018
- The Access to Personal Information (Housing)(Scotland) Regulations 1993
- The Housing (Scotland) Act 1987
- The Matrimonial Homes (Family Protection) (Scotland) Act 1981
- The Race Relations Act 1976
- The Sex Discrimination Act 1975Housing (Scotland) Act 2014
Who can apply for housing?
If you are aged 16 or over, you have the right to apply for housing and have your housing need properly assessed. It is important to remember that applying does not mean we will definitely offer you housing. There are more people applying for housing than there are homes available. However, the number of people interested in housing does vary, depending on the type of house and where it is. For example, houses with gardens are more popular than high rise flats.
We will give you advice about your housing options and your chances of being offered housing.
The common housing register
We, along with eight registered social landlords, also known as housing associations and housing co-operatives are all partners in the North Lanarkshire common housing register.
This means it is easier for you to apply for housing as you only need to fill in one application form to apply to all the partner landlords.
How do I apply?
Application forms are available from any of the partner landlords of the common housing register or if you contact any housing office.
The application form asks for your personal information and asks about your current housing situation. You can select where you would like to live and what type of housing you want to live in such as a house with a garden or a flat. If you need help completing the form or need parts of the form translated into a different language or format, please let us know when you contact us.
Our housing advisers will do all they can to help you with your application, and can also provide advice and help on a broader range of options to meet your housing needs.
Your housing choices
When you apply for housing, you can choose what type of property you want to live in and where you want to live. We will try to match you with a home in the area you want. The size of house you may be offered is determined by the size and make up of your household. The house size eligibility rules set out below will explain this further.
When you apply, you should choose as many areas as you are interested in. This may increase your chances of being offered housing. You will always have the chance to change your choice of area or type of housing you have asked for if you want to.
It is important to remember that if we offer you housing in areas that you told us you were interested in and you refuse two offers, we will suspend your application for three months.
If you have been awarded a higher level of priority points because:
- You are currently covered by an agreed protocol
- Your current property is being demolished
- You have discharge papers to leave the armed forces or have been issued with legal documents to leave your accommodation within two months or
- You are subject to domestic abuse
We will not allow you to be unnecessarily restrictive in the types of housing or areas we will consider you for.
Type of housing
Normally, you can choose whatever type of house you want such as a house or a high-rise flat. But some kinds of housing are designed for a particular group of people.
For example, housing for older people or ground floor properties suitable for people with mobility problems. There are a smaller amount of these types of properties so we will not offer them to people who do not qualify for them.
If you need to move because of a health reason, we may limit the types of housing that we offer you, so that the housing we offer you meets your health needs. For example, if we find your health would improve if you could move to a ground floor property, you would only receive priority points for health for moving to this kind of property.
You could instead choose to apply for other types of property, but this would mean you would not receive priority points for your health.
We will not offer you housing that might make your housing situation worse.
Size of housing
We try to make the best use of the housing available. You will be eligible for a particular size of house based on the size of your household. However, you may also choose to be on the waiting list for a house size smaller than you need. We will only allow you to do this where we do not have a supply of housing stock of the size you need. As long as the size of house you request will not make you overcrowded in terms of housing law and as long as this will improve your current housing situation.
We will work out your house size based on the following rule:
- One or two bedrooms for a single person or a couple living in a property
- One bedroom for a single parent or a couple with other people living with them. The other people living in this household would be entitled to:
- one bedroom for every adult aged 16 or over (who is not part of a couple)
- one bedroom for every two children of different sexes aged under 8 and
- one bedroom for each child of different sexes aged between 8 and 16
- one bedroom for every two children of the same sex aged under 16
Please remember the following when applying for housing with us:
- We won’t expect more than two children to share a bedroom.
- We will give some priority to applicants where children of opposite sexes who are over a certain age have to share a bedroom.
- We won’t expect children to share a bedroom if there is an age difference of more than six years between them.
- We will take account of the size of the bedrooms in a house when deciding how many people it would be suitable for. We recognise that some bedrooms are smaller and they will only have enough space or one person. We will take this into account when working out points for overcrowding and when deciding what size of household we should offer the house to when it becomes empty.
- We will not award overcrowding points where the overcrowding is caused by temporary household members who will not form part of the household when they move.
- Couples and single people without children can choose whether they want us to consider them for either a one or two bedroom property. However when deciding what size of house you would like to be considered for applicants must remember if you select a house size larger than you need and you are in receipt of housing benefit the benefit you are entitled to may not cover the full rent charge for the property you are offered. Your housing advisor will discuss this in more detail with you at your housing options interview.
How the policy works
Our policy for allocating housing is a groups and points system. This means when you apply for housing we will assess your housing circumstances and decide which group you fall into and award you points based on your housing need.
The Homeless group includes people who presented through our homeless assessment process and it has been decided they are unintentionally homeless.
The transfer group includes our current tenants who need to move, for example their current home may be too small or they require to move due to health reasons.
The aspirational transfer group includes our current tenants who do not have a housing need but wish to move to a different area or house type.
The general group includes everyone else, for example someone who is renting from a private landlord or currently living with their parents.
The points system
When you apply for housing, you receive a certain number of points based on your current housing circumstances. We award points for seven main reasons:
- If you need to move home because of your health
- If your housing situation is unsettled, for example, if you could soon become homeless or if your home is being demolished
- If you are covered by an agreed protocol. This means we have an agreement with social work or health to give you priority for housing
- If there are too many or too few people living in your home
- If your current living conditions are not suitable for you, for example, if the property is not suitable to live in because it is in a bad state of repair
- If you are being abused or harassed
- If you have social reasons for moving for example, if you need to move to be nearer to support you have from family or friends or from a specialist hospital or school
These categories take into account the reasonable preference criteria set out in the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 as amended.
Within the points system, you can usually receive points from each category that applies to you. For example, if you are moving so you can use services that you need, are in an overcrowded property and are being abused or harassed, you would receive points for all of these circumstances.
Matching you to a property that suits you
When we know that a property will soon become available, we will start to decide who the property is most suitable for.
Firstly, we will decide which group the property should be offered to, such as our homeless, transfer, aspirational transfer or general group. We have set out targets for allocations to each grouping which helps us make these decisions.
We have developed detailed procedures for our staff to follow when they decide which group to offer a property to. This helps us to make sure that all our groups have equal access to different types of property in many different areas.
We will then identify all of the applicants in this group whose needs and preferences match the property. We would then offer the property to the person with the most points.
There are a number of exceptions to this, two of the main exceptions are:
- Adapted properties. We want to make sure that we make best use of our adapted properties and properties specifically set aside as amenity housing for older people. We will check whether any of the people in the group we choose need an adapted property or, in the case of amenity housing, are 60 years old or over. If somebody does meet these criteria, we will offer it to the person who needs an adapted property or amenity house, with the highest number of points.
- If a ground floor property is deemed particularly suitable for people with medical or mobility needs. We want to make sure that we make best use of our suitable ground floor accommodation for those applicants who have been awarded health points. We will check the applicant has health points and that a move to this property would help alleviate some of their existing problems in respect of their living arrangements and health circumstances.
We want to make sure that we match you with a property that is suitable for you. We will support you in making your housing choices in terms of where you are thinking of living and what type of housing you need. We will tell you what your realistic chances are of being offered housing in your preferred areas.
As a result of this, we will already have very good information about the type of house you are interested in so we don’t expect many people to refuse housing offers. This is because our offers of housing will match the choices you made when you applied.
If you refuse two reasonable offers of housing we may suspend your housing application for three months. We will offer you a Housing Options Interview to review your choices and may remove any higher level of priority points awarded to you.
What we do not take into account when assessing your needs
We will not take account of any of the following when we allocate our housing.
- Whether you live in the area you want housing in
- The length of time you have lived in the area
- Any debts that are not related to your current or former tenancy (council or registered social landlord tenancies)
- Any debts you have already repaid
- Debts related to your tenancy if: they are less than one-twelfth of the yearly amount of rent you pay; or you have already arranged a repayment plan and kept to it for at least three months and you are still keeping to the repayment plan
- You and your family’s income (including any benefits you receive)
- The value of any property you or your family own or
- Your age, as long as you are over the age of 16 and the home you want to move to has not been designed or adapted for elderly people to live in
Gathering supporting information
For us to properly assess your housing circumstances, we will need proof of your current circumstances.
Where appropriate and possible we will request confirmation of your circumstances direct from the third party who can provide this however sometimes we may have to ask you to supply this information.
We understand that sometimes the information we need may be personal and sensitive. In these cases, we will only need to see the sensitive documents we won’t need to keep an original or take a photocopy.
Suspending your application
We may suspend your application for the following reasons only.
Housing debt, in certain circumstances only
- You have been served with a repossession notice
- Your existing property is below housing management standards
- You or a member of your household is the subject of an Anti-Social Behaviour Order
- You have refused offers of housing
- You have deliberately provided false or misleading information (timescale of suspension must be balanced against housing need)
- You have requested a deferment
- You have abandoned your property or deliberately worsened your situation.
- You are awaiting confirmation of funding eligibility, for example asylum seekers or similar
- Violent or aggressive behaviour towards staff
If your housing debt is solely rent arrears due to welfare reform, more commonly known as bedroom tax and you are listed for a property which will alleviate your under-occupancy, we will not suspend you from our waiting list.
Review of my application
If we have not heard from you within a 12 month period, we will write to you and ask you if there has been any change to your existing application. It is important that you respond to this request to allow us to re-assess your application. It is possible that by doing this your application may be better placed on the waiting list.
Cancelling your application
We will cancel your application for the following reasons only:
- if you do not respond when we contact you to review your application
- at your request
- on your death or
- if you have made a duplicate application
When you apply, we will ask you for the contact details of any landlords you have had over the past five years. We will contact your current landlord before we offer you a property and ask them to fill in a tenancy reference form. If your landlord tells us you owe them rent, have behaved antisocially or have broken your tenancy agreement with them, we may suspend you from our housing list.
Please read our Allocation Policy for further information.