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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Responses to proposals to reform allocations system

In December 2013 the Department for Social Development (DSD) published an independent research report outlining recommended changes to the current social housing allocations system.   DSD invited stakeholders to respond to the recommendations contained therein and have now release a summary of these responses.

Recommendations with high level of support

A number of the proposals in the paper were popular with respondents.  These included

  • introducing a housing options service in Northern Ireland
  • retaining universal access to social housing
  • using a needs-based system to prioritise applicants for housing
  • continuing to use and award Management Transfers
  • promoting mutual exchanges as a way to meet housing need
  • introducing choice based lettings (CBL) for low demand properties
  • providing support for disadvantaged users should a CBL approach be adopted
  • reviewing how specialist accommodation will be classified and considering exempting this from the principal scheme

Contentious proposals

Other recommendations met with mixed feedback.  Some respondents supported the recommendation that applicants for housing be assessed using bands, believing this would create a transparent scheme that will be easy to administer; while others felt this type of system would be open to judicial challenge.

The suggestion that transfer applicants be prioritised for new build developments also met with some disapproval.  One respondent felt this could “compromise the principle of prioritising on the basis of need”. Similarly, there was a split in opinion on the use of local lettings policies, with some respondents expressing concern that this type of system could be “open to potential abuse”.  Another respondent described local lettings policies as “a useful tool in efforts to achieve stable, sustainable communities”.

Housing Rights Service’s view on these proposals

You can read our full response to the Fundamental Review of the Social Housing Allocations Policy online.

Tagged In

Social Tenancies, Policy, Landlord