Agenda item

Housing Allocations Policy Review 2018 - Financial Qualification


The Corporate Director introduced the report and stated that this had gone to Cabinet following discussion at Housing Overview & Scrutiny Committee, with some amendments based on the committee’s comments, such as the introduction of a Sheltered Housing Register. He commented that this was being sent back to the Housing Overview & Scrutiny Committee to consider the financial qualifications. The Housing Strategy & Quality Manager elaborated that the financial qualification used an affordability ratio, which was the national guideline of housing costing 1/3rd of a person’s net income. He continued that the council then looked at property size to determine affordability and used the 30th percentile as the affordable benchmark to rent and buy. He commented that the calculation worked out a person’s net salary affordability for both renting and buying, and then used the more expensive of the two figures to set the threshold. He drew the Committee’s attention to page 27 of the agenda, and the table at 3.7 which set out the five thresholds and rationale behind them. He stated that the majority of thresholds used renting as it was the highest value, other than three and four bedroom properties, where it was more expensive to purchase. He summarised by stating that the council then used local earning salaries which were below the thresholds to work out how much money residents bought home, and how much they would need to earn to qualify for council housing.

Councillor Redsell asked if there were people what didn’t qualify for council housing as they earnt too much, but were earning too less to afford to rent and buy. The Assistant Director Housing replied that Cabinet had believed this because section 5 of the report had originally used net incomes rather than gross incomes, which made the figures look lower. The Corporate Director clarified that Cabinet had asked the Committee to consider whether they felt the threshold should be higher, and stated that the more detailed analysis had shown there were very few people who could not afford to rent or buy, but earnt too much for social housing.

Councillor Pothecary stated that she felt concerned as the threshold had been set using the 30h percentile, and asked whether the 50th percentile would have been more representative. The Housing Strategy & Quality Manager confirmed that the threshold used the more expensive figure of either buying or renting depending on property size, which ensured the figure was representative. Councillor Liddiard then drew the Committee’s attention to the problem of residents over 55 who could afford mortgages, but the banks would not allow them. Councillor Pothecary asked when the threshold would be reviewed as it was a good idea to do this every year, and the Corporate Director replied it would be every year, although the review may not be as detailed as the report in the agenda. Councillor Redsell summarised by stating this was a comprehensive report and felt it would be good to see the review next year.


1. The Committee noted the contents of the report and advise Cabinet of the findings.

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