16th May 2012

New Housing Policy Criteria

Local priority criteria proposed for Bournemouth's new housing policy

New housing policies for Bournemouth are set to change how Council housing is allocated in the future.

Following the introduction of the Localism Act 2011, Bournemouth Council is reviewing how it allocates council housing to ensure a more transparent, fairer and efficient process for those waiting on the housing register. It will mean that there will be fewer people on the housing register due to new eligibility criteria, which will give a more accurate measure of local housing need and help the Council to manage the expectations of those applying.

Following recent consultation, councillors will be asked to recommend the Council's new Allocations Policy and Tenancy Strategy at Cabinet on Wednesday 23rd May 2012.

The proposals for the new allocations policy include revised eligibility criteria, including:

  • Priority given to local people in housing need and on low incomes
  • Priority given to people who are making a positive contribution to the local community e.g. those in training/education, those in employment etc.
  • Priority given to applicants who have served in the HM Forces in the last five years.

The Council is also developing a Tenancy Strategy. This will set the strategic priorities for housing providers in Bournemouth to meet when implementing new powers to award fixed term tenancies, and to set rents at 80% of market rents.

Kelly Ansell, Strategic Housing Service Project Manager, said: "We believe it's important that residents that are most in need and who have local connections, are given priority when it comes to fairly housing people in Bournemouth. This was echoed by residents following our recent consultation, with 85% of respondents supporting the local connection criteria. By making changes to the Council's Allocations Policy we can ensure that the housing register operates more efficiently as well as making it very clear to applicants from the outset, the criteria expected and their chances of being re-housed."

She added: "It's also important that we are able to influence the policies being developed by social housing providers in the town, with regard to the use of fixed term tenancies and to ensure that social housing remains affordable. We are one of the first local authorities in the UK to publish our tenancy strategy and it provides the opportunity to consider the housing need in the town and to make sure that the housing offer enables us to address this."

Subject to Cabinet approval, the Allocations Policy will be adopted in September 2012 and the Tenancy Strategy will be published in June 2012.


1. The Localism Act 2011 enables Housing Authorities to make decisions at a local level in order to improve the management of their Housing Registers

  • There are 8,335 number of people currently on Bournemouth Council's Housing Register
  • Currently 35% of the housing register has no housing need
  • Currently 16.5% of the housing register has no local connection

Less than 2% of these applicants have a chance of being housed through the Bournemouth Housing Register.

The Localism Act 2011 also requires Housing Authorities to publish a Tenancy Strategy.

From April 2012, Housing Providers will be able to allocate fixed term tenancies of a minimum of five years and to set rent levels for new lettings and new properties at 80% of market rents.

2. Local Connections are defined by the proposed policy as being based on the following criteria -

  • Residents who have lived in the Borough for more than three years
  • Residents whose family have lived in the Borough for more than five years
  • Those in permanent, full-time employment within the Borough