Leeds Council housing: Thousands could be kicked off the waiting list in policy change

A chronic shortage of council housing means thousands of people could be removed from the waiting list under changes to the city’s lettings policy.
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Leeds City Council launched a consultation on plans to exclude people who are already adequately housed from the social housing register.

The proposal would remove around 18,000 people who currently have a band C or D priority from the waiting list, which currently stands at 27,000.

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More than 5,000 people currently have top-priority band A status, but most are waiting more than two years on average to be offered a home.

Leeds City Council has launched a consultation on plans to change its lettings policy (Photo by Stock Adobe)Leeds City Council has launched a consultation on plans to change its lettings policy (Photo by Stock Adobe)
Leeds City Council has launched a consultation on plans to change its lettings policy (Photo by Stock Adobe)

The council said most people on the register were in band C and had little or no chance of being offered a home.

Jess Lennox, the council’s executive member for housing, said almost 2,500 people had taken part in an online consultation.

She said: “We are proposing to take the steps within our powers to help as many people in our city as we possibly can, as well as undertaking our own council housing growth project to maximise the numbers of social and affordable housing in the city.”

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Options being considered include removing applicants who do not have a local connection to Leeds, and those with savings or other assets of more than £60,000.

The age a person is considered to need their own bedroom could be raised from 16 to 18, and households with dependent children living in high-rise blocks could no longer given priority to move into a house.

The council is also considering a new “direct-let” category, which would see properties given directly to homeless applicants instead of being advertised.

It is hoped the move would reduce spending on temporary accommodation and speed up support for people in a housing crisis.

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The length of time people hold a band A or B priority on the register could also be extended from 180 days to a full year.

A report to the council’s Housing Board said: “There is continued pressure on the Leeds Homes Register.

“This has contributed towards average wait times for someone with band A status increasing to 146 weeks, creating significant pressures to the system, with increasing numbers of households in temporary accommodation or supported accommodation who no longer require support and are urgently awaiting move on.”

An online consultation will be open until March 28 before a final report on the proposals is drawn up in the summer. The government has been carrying out a separate national consultation on social housing allocations.