Social housing allocations legal framework: statutory guidance for social landlords

Sets out the legal framework which social landlords must work within when developing their allocations policies.

12. Residency

12.1 Landlords cannot take into account the length of time an applicant has lived in their area. This makes sure that length of residence does not influence decisions on giving priority for housing. For local authorities, 'area' means the administrative area covered by the authority. For RSLs, 'area' means the local authority area(s) or parts of such areas in which the RSL has housing.

12.2 The law does not prevent landlords from giving points to applicants for the length of time they have been on the housing list. However the landlord's allocation policy must give any waiting time points to anyone on the list whether they are resident within or outwith the landlord's area.

12.3 Landlords must take no account of whether an applicant lives in its area if the applicant:

  • is employed, or has been offered employment, in the area; or
  • wishes to move into the area to seek employment and the landlord is satisfied that this is the applicant's intention; or
  • wishes to move into the area to be near a relative or carer; or
  • has special social or medical reasons for requiring to be housed within the area; or
  • wishes to move into the area because he or she is subject to harassment[9]; or
  • wishes to move into the area because he or she runs the risk of domestic abuse[10].

12.4 Having special social or medical reasons to be housed within an area is not defined in law but could include such situations as a prison leaver needing to move to another area to make a fresh start.

12.5 The legislation does not prevent a landlord from giving priority to people who live within the landlord's area and have a local connection. However a landlord also has to give the same priority it gives to residents for having a local connection to applicants in the lists at paragraph 12.3 above. A landlord can give preference to applicants living within its area and those meeting the criteria in the list above, over applicants who live outside its area and who do not meet any of the criteria. If a landlord intends to give preference to applicants living in its area, this should be set out clearly in the allocation policy how this will be applied.



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