Have your say about the proposed changed to our Allocations Policy

Almond Housing Association’s Allocations Policy is due for review and we would like to give our applicants and tenants an opportunity to comment on three proposed changes.

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Your views are very important to us. If there is anything you are unclear about regarding the policy review, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01506 439291 or enquiries@almondha.org.uk

* 1. Your details

* 2. PROPOSED CHANGE 1: Housing Group Categories

All Housing Application Forms are assessed and applicants are awarded points based on their circumstances and needs. We aim to provide a fair and accessible system of allocating and the points system has been developed to ensure that properties are allocated in a fair and reasonable manner to those in housing need, while making best use of our stock.

To improve the way we allocate our properties we plan to amend the way we divide up the empty properties we receive throughout the year. Currently we divide up our empty properties into these 7 categories (option A):

EXAMPLE: This means that if we received 100 properties back empty in the year, we would give 50 to West Lothian Council to allocate (which the past few years has always been homeless persons), 20 would go to homeless persons who we have listed, and 10 to our current tenants who need a smaller or larger property and so on.

In the new policy we are proposing to change the groups into these 8 categories (option B):

Why do we think this would be better? Because it would balance out the number of homeless referrals we receive, which under the old groupings meant 70% of lets went to this group. Under our new groupings, we still put homelessness as our primary category, ensuring that our properties are allocated to those in housing need, but we would also allow for a higher number of assisted referrals as well as the allocation of more properties to existing tenants and applicants with medical needs.

Which of the two options do you prefer?  Click on one of the small images below to pick option A or B.

* 3. PROPOSED CHANGE 2: Children in flats

In accordance with our current policy we do not allocate properties without direct access to a garden to families with children under 12. This policy was set in place to ensure that families with young children have a house or flat with their own garden where the children do not need to go through a close door to get to their garden.

We plan to amend this policy slightly. We want to allow families with young children the ability to be offered ground floor flats with a garden, even if it is not direct access.

This is an example of one of our many properties with ground floor flats with a garden but without direct access:

Why do we think this would be better? This will increase the flexibility in our allocations process, allowing us to make best use of our stock. This will also add in an element of choice for the applicant as some families might be satisfied with a house or flat with indirect access to a garden. This would allow for more properties to become available for families with young children and most likely increase chances for families to live in their desired area.

EXAMPLE: Mr and Mrs Smith have a 2 year old daughter and are currently living in a 1 bedroom private rented flat. They are on the housing register for an Almond HA property. Under our current policy, if they showed up on the register as having enough points to be offered a downstairs 3 bedroom flat which had a garden, but crucially did not have direct access to that garden, they would be bypassed and would not receive the offer. The new policy proposes that Mr and Mrs Smith would be offered the 3 bedroom flat to provide the element of choice and that if they refused it because they were hoping to secure a house rather than a flat, they would not be penalised for refusing an reasonable offer. The intention is to give the applicant the choice.

Do you agree with our proposal to amend the “children in flats” policy to allow offers to be made to families for ground floor flats with indirect access to a garden?

* 4. PROPOSED CHANGE 3: Medical category amendments

Under our current policy, medical points are not clearly defined. We generally consider it to mean physical disabilities rather than any mental health conditions. We plan to amend the policy to take into account all health conditions that affect housing need, including mental health.


Under our current policy we have two levels of points for medical conditions:
  • Urgent (250)
  • High (150)
We also have two levels of points for harassment:
  • Life threatening – from member of applicant's household (250)
  • Forced to leave their home/direct harassment (150)
This means that if Applicant A is experiencing mental ill health as a result of harassment they would receive two sets of points, 150 points for medical conditions (mental health) and 150 points for home/direct harassment, making a total of 300 points. Applicant B who has urgent medical needs would receive a total of 250 points.

Under the new policy we propose that Applicant A would only receive one set of points - in this case 150 points.

Why do we think this would be better? Making this change would ensure that there is a limit on the maximum number of points that can be awarded for the medical category allowing points to be awarded fairly.

Do you agree with our plans on defining the medical category more clearly and changing the amount of points that can be added?

* 5. Further comments?

* 6. And finally, are you...

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