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.

7. Unmet Housing Needs

7.1 The 2014 Act qualifies its categories of people who must be given reasonable preference in allocations by social landlords (apart from the under-occupying category) with the requirement that they have unmet housing needs. It says that people have unmet housing needs:

'…where the social landlord considers the persons to have housing needs which are not capable of being met by housing options which are available.'

7.2 Whether unmet housing needs exist in any given case will reflect two sets of factors: the circumstances of the applicant, which will vary widely among applicants; and the different housing options that are available to the applicant and whether these options are accessible to the applicant. Examples of where an applicant has unmet housing needs that could not be met by the housing options which are available to them, and where they would therefore be entitled to reasonable preference, could include:

  • an applicant with disabilities whose housing needs could only be met in social housing because appropriate housing was not available in other tenures in the area and it was not possible to make essential adaptations to their current home to meet the applicant's assessed needs; or
  • an applicant who needed to be located in a specific area for social reasons, for example to provide care to a family member, and who could not access other types of housing in the area.

7.3 There will also be circumstances where an applicant's needs could be met by the housing options that are available to them. This could, for example, include where the applicant's needs could be met in their current property with adaptations that can be made.

7.4 Landlords can allocate houses to applicants who meet other criteria in their allocation policy, provided that sufficient priority is given to applicants in the reasonable preference categories over the whole of the landlord's allocations.



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