The following Local Government practice note produced in partnership with Kerry Bretherton QC of Tanfield Chambers and Riccardo Calzavara of Cornerstone Barristers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
Coronavirus (COVID-19): The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, in collaboration with Public Health England, has produced non-statutory guidance to support landlords with allocating social homes. The guidance contains information on how local authorities and housing associations consider using existing homes that become available during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. The government makes clear that allocation by local housing authorities continues to be governed by Part 6 of the Housing Act 1996 and authorities must have regard to statutory guidance. See further: Coronavirus (COVID-19)—social housing tracker [Archived]—Government guidance and LNB News 28/04/2020 53.
A local housing authority (LHA) must have an allocation scheme for determining priorities and for defining the procedures to be followed for the allocation of accommodation. The scheme must be framed to give reasonable preference to applicants who fall within the reasonable preference categories.
The duty to ensure that reasonable preference is afforded to those applicants that fall within these categories is the main statutory requirement imposed on LHAs in respect of priorities, based on applicant’s housing need.
The reasonable preference categories are as specified in section 166A(3) of the Housing Act 1996 (HA 1996) in relation to England and HA 1996, s 167(2) in relation to Wales:
people who are homeless or owed a duty under
HA 1996, s 190(2) (those eligible applicants who are homeless intentionally),
HA 1996, s 193(2)
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