How we give priority

Our lettings policy meets our legal duty to give “reasonable preference” to certain

applicants. These applicants are:

  • People who are homeless (within the meaning of part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 as amended by the Homelessness act 2002) .
  • People owed duties under section 190(2), 193(2) or 195(2) of the 1996 Housing Act as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002.
  • People living in overcrowded housing or housing which is in such poor condition that it is a risk to the health and safety of the occupants.
  • People who need to move on medical or welfare grounds.
  • People who need to move to a particular area in the district and where failure to meet that need would cause hardship (to themselves or to others).
  • Current and former members of HM Forces

To meet this duty we have a letting policy which has five priority bands.

This section explains in more detail how we award priority

What do you take into account?

When assessing priority we take the following into account.

  • A person’s ability to resolve their own housing situation. This includes the financial resources available to a person to meet their housing costs.
  • The reason for their current housing situation.
  • Their housing requirements; and
  • Any local connection they have with the borough.
Who will be in Band 1?

This band is for people in emergency need who require immediate re-housing and who are unable to resolve their own housing need. We arrange priority within Band, 1 in the first instance, in date order of entry into Band 1 and not by the original application date. Final priority position within this band is re-assessed at the short-listing stage. See section 9g for further details.

It will be for the following categories of cases (but not exclusively). It may also be that some applicants who are awarded emergency priority have several urgent re-housing needs which, when combined, raises their priority to emergency.

Homeless full duty

People determined as homeless with a full duty under the provisions of the Housing Act 1996 as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002.

Severe medical needs

This category includes people who have a severe and permanent physical medical need or severe mental health issues or severe sensory impairment. They will be at severe risk in the immediate future and their current housing is having a serious detrimental impact on their health and their ability to live independently. This includes applicants leaving hospital and who cannot return to their existing accommodation and those with a likely admission to residential care or hospital if they are not rehoused.

In awarding Band 1 priority for medical grounds we must be satisfied that there is a severe risk in the present accommodation and that this risk will be reduced or eliminated by re-housing.

Severe social and welfare circumstances

This category will include people who we are satisfied are at severe risk of harm in their present accommodation. This includes applicants experiencing domestic violence, racial harassment, homophobic harassment and witnesses of crime, victims of crime and those suffering as a result of Anti Social Behaviour (ASB).

In awarding Band 1 priority for social and welfare grounds we must be satisfied that there is a severe risk of harm in the present accommodation and that this risk will be reduced or eliminated by re-housing.

Demolition and Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO)

This category includes people who are affected by demolition and compulsory purchase orders. It includes any BMBC tenants and residents whose homes are being demolished through regeneration schemes and who we have assessed under our special management lettings; rules as requiring priority Band 1. (See section 11).

Special Management Applicants

This category includes special management applicants who we consider to be Band 1 priority.

Care leavers

This category is for young people leaving the care of Barnsley’s Local Authority. Band 1 will be given to single applicants for a bedsit or 1 bedroom accommodation only, unless there are other factors to be taken into consideration. For example the applicant needs 24 hour on site support or the applicant has children.

Care Leavers can make applications for 2 bedroom properties. The Band 1 priority will not apply for 2 bedroom homes unless there are any other factors e.g. medical conditions which establish a need for 2 bedrooms.

Who will be in Band 2?

This band will be for applicants whose housing need is very urgent and who are unable to resolve their own housing circumstances.

We arrange priority within Band 2, in the first instance, in date order of entry into Band 2 and not by the original application date. Final priority position within this band is re-assessed at the short-listing stage. See section 9g for further details.

It may also be that some applicants who are awarded Band 2 priority have several less urgent re- housing needs which, when combined, raises their priority to Band 2.

As with Band 1, applicants within this band will be able to exercise their choice about where, and what property type, they would like. We will give advice about the availability of their required property type and we will encourage them to widen their areas of choice if immediate re-housing is not possible.

This will include (but not exclusively) the following categories of applications.

High level medical needs

This category includes people who we are satisfied have high level and permanent physical medical need or high-level mental health issues or high-level sensory impairment. They will be at high risk in the immediate future and their current housing is having a detrimental affect on their health and their ability to live independently.

In awarding Band 2 priority for medical grounds, we must be satisfied that there is a high risk in the present accommodation and that this risk will be reduced or eliminated by re-housing.

High level social and welfare grounds

This category includes people who we are satisfied are at high risk of harm in their presentaccommodation. This includes applicants suffering domestic abuse, racial harassment, homophobic harassment, witnesses of crime, victims of crime and those suffering as a result of ASB.

In awarding Band 2 priority for social and welfare grounds we must be satisfied that there is a high risk of harm in the present accommodation and that this risk will be reduced or eliminated by re-housing.

Foster Carers or Adoptive Parents

This category is for those applicants who are foster carers, prospective foster carers and adoptive parents whose current accommodation is unsuitable for fostering or adoption. References will be required from Social Services.

Statutory overcrowding

This category is for applicants who are overcrowded as defined by the Housing Act 1985.

Disrepair (For non-Council or Housing Association dwellings)

This category is for applicants whose current home is in such poor repair, or lacking facilities, to such a degree as to be a risk to the health and safety of the applicant and others included in the application but where, under the terms of the Housing Act 1996 as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002, the applicants would not be deemed statutorily homeless.

Disrepair will be inspected and assessed by BMBC’s Regulatory Services; section.

We will only award priority for this category in the following circumstances and where Regulatory

Services recommend.

  • Where the tenant has contacted the landlord but where there is too great a risk to the health and safety of the occupants to remain in the property whilst remedial work is undertaken.
  • Where BMBC intends to start enforcement action against the landlord and there is too great a risk for the applicant’s health and safety to remain in the property whilst enforcement is progressed.

We will not award priority where the occupant is not co-operating with the landlord’s attempts to put the problems right.

Vulnerable homeless applicants where no full duty exists.

This category is for vulnerable applicants who are defined as homeless under provisions of the Housing Act 1996 but where the authority does not owe a duty to re-house because they have made themselves intentionally homeless. Vulnerable applicants are defined under the terms of the

Homelessness Act 2002 and include (but not exclusively):-

  • Elderly persons.
  • Applicants with children under 16.
  • Applicants with either physical or mental health issues or sensory impairments.
  • Vulnerable adults under 18.

This priority will not be awarded where applicants have deliberately worsened their housing situation.

Special management lettings category

This includes applicants who we assess under our special management lettings rules as requiring Band 2 priority (See section 11).

Members of HM Forces due to leave the service within 13 weeks or bereaved spouses and civil partners of members of the Armed Forces leaving Services Family Accommodation following the death of their spouse or partner.

This category is for Forces Personnel or bereaved spouses/civil partners of forces personnel leaving HM Forces/Services Family Accommodation and is within 13 weeks of their confirmed discharge date/ date required to vacate Services Family Accommodation.

We may increase priority for this category of applicants where the date of discharge/ required to leave Services Family Accommodation is nearing and where they are be determined as homeless within the terms of the Housing Act 1996 as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002.

Current Barnsley Council or Housing Association tenants, living in Barnsley who are under occupying their current home

This category is for people who are currently a tenant of a Barnsley Council or Housing Association home, who are under occupying that home and who, if moved, would release two or more bedrooms. For example, a single person living in a three bedroom Barnsley Council home who were seeking a one bedroom home.

Applicants who have a right to succeed to a Barnsley Council tenancy under Housing Act 1985 Part 1v

This category is for people who have succession rights, as defined in the Housing Act 1985, but whose home is unsuitable for their current needs or a unit of specialist accommodation for which the successor does not qualify.

Applicants who currently hold a Flexible Tenancy with Barnsley Council where that tenancy has come to an end.

This category if for people who currently hold a Flexible Tenancy with Barnsley Council under the Tenancy Policy applicable at the time of application, where that tenancy is coming to an end, there are no Anti-Social Behaviour issues, are able to maintain a tenancy and the tenant has no means to meet their own housing need.

Band 1 applicants who have exceeded their Band 1 time limit, have not been applying for vacancies, or have refused a reasonable offer of accommodation

Who will be in Band 3?

This band will be for applicants whose housing need is urgent and who are unable to resolve their own housing circumstances.

Priorities within Band 3 are arranged, initially, in date order of entry into Band 3 and not by the original application date.

Final priority position within this band is re-assessed at the short-listing stage. See section 9g for further details.

It may also be that some applicants who are awarded Band 3 priority have several low level re-housing needs which, when combined, raises their priority to Band 3.

As with Band 2, applicants within this band will be able to exercise their choice about where and what property type they require. We will give advice about the availability of their required property type and they will be encouraged to widen their areas of choice to resolve their housing need more quickly.

This will include (but not exclusively) the following category of applications.

Applicants needing supported housing or floating support

This category includes those applicants referred, by nominated support providers, for re-housing and where support will be offered to the applicant in new accommodation, where there is a clear need for support and where re-housing is essential and urgent.

This category of applicant includes people who need supported housing which we can provide via a floating support package or through nomination to Supported Housing Providers. We will award Band 3 priority where their application is fully supported by and assessed as needed by their partner support providers.

We will work with support providers to establish a suitable care package.

Where offers are made to this category of applicant there will be a condition attached to their tenancy to ensure that they actively engage in the support provision agreed.

The composite assessment process may, in exceptional circumstances, increase priority for this category to Band 2.

Medium level medical need

This category includes people who we are satisfied have a medium level of permanent physical health issues, medium level mental health issues or medium level sensory impairment. They will be at medium risk in the immediate future and their current housing is having an impact on their health and their ability to live independently.

In awarding Band 3 priority for medical grounds, we must be satisfied that there is a medium risk in the present accommodation and that this risk will be reduced or eliminated by re-housing.

Medium level social and welfare circumstances

This category includes people who we are satisfied are at medium risk of harm in their present accommodation. This includes applicants experiencing domestic abuse, racial harassment, homophobic harassment, witnesses of crime, victims of crime and those suffering as a result of ASB.

In awarding Band 3 priority for social and welfare grounds we must be satisfied that there is a medium risk of harm in the present accommodation and that this risk will be reduced or eliminated by re-housing.

Re-housing of applicants leaving supported housing

This category of applicant includes people who need to leave supported housing within the next 12 months, or in a planned time, and who are ready for independent living with, or without, support. We will award Band 3 priority where their application is fully supported by, and assessed as, needed by their current support providers.

Where there are support needs, we will work with support providers to establish a suitable care package.

Where offers are made to this category of applicant it will be a condition of their tenancy that they actively engage in any support provision identified at Special Assessment.

Children in flats where there are no lift facilities

Applicants with children aged 5 or under who live in maisonettes, or flats on the first floor and above and there is no lift available.

Severe but non-statutory overcrowding

This category includes those applicants who are overcrowded to an unacceptable level but where the provisions of the Housing Act 1985 do not determine statutory overcrowding. Re-housing into suitable accommodation must significantly reduce the overcrowding.

Urgent location requirements

This category includes applicants who have an urgent need to move to a particular locality where travel to that locality is difficult and where failure to move to the location is causing exceptional hardship to them or members of their household. This includes moving to:-

  • Give and/or receive support.
  • Be closer to employment.
  • Access specialised medical care.
  • Be closer to specialised and essential schooling.

Under occupation

This category includes current BMBC or Housing Association tenants currently living in Barnsley who, by moving, would release one spare bedroom.e.g. a current Barnsley Council tenant living in a three bedroom home and wanting to move to a two bedroom home.

Non-vulnerable homeless applicants

This category includes all non vulnerable homeless; applicants who are not owed a re-housing duty under the provisions of the Housing Act 1996 (as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002). It does not include those non vulnerable applicants who have made themselves intentionally homeless.

Applicants leaving Armed Forces tied-accommodation within 12 months of their application.

This category is for those applicants, their spouse or civil partner, who are leaving the Armed Forces within 12 months from their application and who will, within 28 days of their date of discharge, become homeless and be owed a full re-housing duty by BMBC. They must be in a position to take up, and reside in, any property offered to them. We will award this priority when we receive written confirmation from their employer of their intended date of discharge.

We will increase priority for this category of applicants to Band 2 where the date of discharge is within 13 weeks and where they are determined as homeless within the terms of the Housing Act 1996 as amended by the Homelessness Act 2002.

Two for one transfers

This category applies when 2 applicants, who are both BMBC tenants, want to live together and where both of the existing BMBC properties are unsuitable for their joint needs.

Special management lettings applicants

This includes applicants who we assess under our special management lettings rules as requiring Band 3 priority.

Band 2 applicants who have exceeded their Band 2 time limit, have not been actively looking for accommodation or have refused a reasonable offer of accommodation.

Who will be in Band 4?

This band is the largest band and is for all applicants who have low level, minor needs or no need to move. It is managed in date order of the application date.

Final priority position within this band is re-assessed at the short- listing stage.

The category of application included in this band (but not exclusively) is set out below.

Newly forming households or adults leaving home

Moving to be closer to employment

This includes applicants who do not fulfil the Band 3 criteria for locational moves.

Moving to give or receive support

This category includes those wishing to move to give or receive low level support.

It is also for those giving higher level support but where travel is not unreasonable.

Those moving to be closer to education

This category includes those applicants who want to move to be:-

  • In a specific school catchment area; or
  • Closer to a school or college of choice but who have no specific or urgent need to attend that school.

It also includes those who need a specific school on social and welfare grounds but where travel is not unreasonable.

Applicants with children 6 years of age and over living in flats on the 1st floor or above.

Low level physical or mental health medical issues or low level sensory impairment where re- housing is a preference of the applicant rather than essential for their health and wellbeing.

This also includes applicants with higher level medical issues but where re-housing will not reduce the issues caused by the medical condition.

Low level Social and Welfare need where re-housing is a preference of the applicant rather than essential for their health and well being

This also includes applicants who have higher level social and welfare needs but where re-housing will not resolve or significantly reduce the issues.

Low level overcrowding

This is where there is bedroom sharing but there is no overcrowding as defined under the Housing Act 1985 and does not satisfy the criteria for non-statutory overcrowding.

Out of District applicants with no local connection but who have housing need.

This category includes all out of district applicants with no local connection but who have emergency, very urgent or urgent re-housing needs. Priority will always be awarded to this category of applicant from the date of their application and not any date for reassessment of priority needs.

Band 3 applicants who have exceeded their Band 3 time limit or made unreasonable refusals.

Who will be in Band 5?

This band is for qualifying applicants who have no local connection with Barnsley and who have minor, or no, housing needs.

This band is managed in date order of application

When do you review my priority?

We will contact you and review your priority at the following times:

  • Band 1 – every 3 months
  • Band 2 – every 6 months
  • Band 3, 4 and 5 – every 12 months

We contact you and ask you if your circumstances have changed. We may reduce your priority if we feel that during this time you have not been applying for suitable vacancies.

We will cancel your application if you do not confirm you want to stay on the register. You may lose your waiting time priority if you do not reapply in a reasonable time.

Can I lose my priority?

If you are in band 1, 2 and 3 you can lose your priority of you are not applying for suitable vacancies that we advertise. If we decide to reduce your priority we will move you down one band and we’ll contact you to tell you what we’ve done and why. You can appeal against our decision.

Can I appeal if I think my priority is wrong?

You can appeal against any decision we make about your applicant. For more information visit the appeal section.