Why has the B-with-us Allocations Policy changed?
The B-with-us Allocations Policy has not had an update for a long time, which means it has not been kept up to date with changes in Social Housing legislation and guidance. The new policy meets the requirements set out by Government on how Social Housing in England should be allocated, and who should receive priority for an allocation.
Will I have to complete a new application?
If you already have an active application with B-with-us, you will not need to start again. Instead, you will be prompted to review the information you have previously input into your application, as well as needing to answer a couple of new questions (such as whether or not you have a local connection), so that we can see if you still qualify to have an active application, and so that your priority can be re-assessed against the new policy criteria.
What is a "local connection"?
The Government recommends that Social Housing is prioritised for local people, therefore we have implemented ‘local connection’ criteria which applicants will need to meet in order to have an active application with B-with-us. Applicants will need to evidence their connection to any of the five Local Authority areas covered by B-with-us: Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, and Rossendale (known collectively as ‘Pennine Lancashire’).
Applicants will have a local connection if they:
Have been continuously resident in Pennine Lancashire for six of the last twelve months, or
Have been a resident in Pennine Lancashire for three of the last five years, or
Have a family member who is resident in Pennine Lancashire and has been for a minimum of five years, or
Have been employed in Pennine Lancashire for the last six months (and the work is not seasonal or temporary)
Why do I need a local connection?
The Government recommends that Social Housing be allocated to people in the local community, which is why local connection criteria have now been implemented in the B-with-us Allocations Policy. This means that the available properties advertised through B-with-us will be allocated to people with a connection to the Pennine Lancashire area, rather than people from anywhere in the country.
All applicants will need to have a local connection (or meet one of the exemption criteria) in order to have an active application.
Is there a way I can apply without a local connection?
All applicants must either meet one of the local connection criteria or be exempt from requiring a local connection. The list of exemptions can be found here: Local Connection Exemptions
Anyone who applies to B-with-us without a local connection or exemption will have their application automatically closed.
Will my band change?
Some applicants’ bandings will change as a result of the implementation of the new B-with-us Allocations Policy.
The main band changes are:
Under Occupiers – currently awarded Bands One & Two, will be awarded Band Four under the new policy
Overcrowded by two or more bedrooms – currently awarded Band Two, will be awarded Band Three under the new policy
Supported move on – currently awarded Band Two, will be awarded Band Three (with additional priority) under the new policy
Cumulative Need (two or more Band Three needs) – currently awarded Band Two, has been removed from the new policy so even with multiple Band Three needs, applicants will remain Band Three under the new policy
Community Contribution – currently awarded Band Three, has been removed under the new policy
No housing need – currently awarded Band Four, will be awarded Band Five under the new policy
Why are there now five bands?
The current Band Four is for "no housing need", but we needed to use Band Four for the applicants who are under-occupying their current property (for B-with-us Transfer applicants only). Because of needing to use it for the under-occupiers, we had to introduce the new Band Five for those with no housing need.
Why do under-occupiers get less priority under the new policy?
Transfer applicants with one or more spare bedrooms are classed as "under-occupiers", and they were being given too high a priority under the previous B-with-us Allocations Policy, as they were being given the same priority as applicants with a more severe housing need, such as being homeless, having a severe medical need to move, etc. Because of this, we had to reduce their banding so they would sit below those meeting the "reasonable preference" categories provided by Government.
What does "reasonable preference" mean?
Reasonable Preference is the list of criteria set by Government which determines who should be given priority for an allocation of Social Housing. It includes things like homelessness, unsatisfactory housing conditions, medical needs, overcrowding, care leavers, and people at risk in their current home. In the new B-with-us Allocations Policy, the reasonable preference criteria sits within Bands One, Two and Three.
I'm a homeowner - can I still apply?
Homeowners can still apply to join the B-with-us Housing Register, but will only have their application activated if they have a housing need (Band Three or higher). If they don't have a housing need, their application will be closed.
What happens to my effective date?
Everyone's effective date is likely to change to reflect the date that the new policy is implemented. This means that for a while most applicants will have the same effective date. On shortlists, two people with the same banding and effective date will be prioritised using their registration date instead, so whcihever applicant applied earliest and has therefore been waiting the longest would get priority. If they also had the same registration date, they would then be prioritised by the date and time they placed their bid, so whomever bid first for that property would receive priority.
I've received a message saying my band is likely to change - why is this?
If you've received a message saying your band is likely to change when the new policy is implemented, there's no need to worry. We've determined that you are likely to be affected by the upcoming changes because of the banding you currently have, however due to the overall changes that will be implemented by the new policy, it is likely that there will be fewer applicants on the B-with-us Housing Register overall, which means fewer people to be competing with for properties. Your message will explain the banding you are likely to change to and why, but you can find more information throughout the B-with-us website.
My band has changed under the new policy - can I appeal it?
Band changes as a result of the implementation of the new B-with-us Allocations Policy cannot be appealed. We understand that you might be dissatisfied that your band has changed, however these changes were necessary to ensure that B-with-us was legally compliant with the criteria set by Government on who should receive priority for an allocation of Social Housing, so we are unable to change any bands back to what they were under the old policy.
Why has my band reduced?
Some applicants' bandings have changed because of the implementation of the new B-with-us Allocations Policy.
The main band changes are:
Why are there no properties available to bid on?
Due to the implementation of the new policy, advertising of available properties has been stopped for a couple of weeks (starting from 11th September). This is to give applicants a chance to update their application and answer the new application questions, and to help reduce the workload of staff at the three 'Processing Partner' organisations who are hard at work processing the changes submitted by thousands of applicants.
Normal advertising will resume after a couple of weeks, but for now some properties are still being added on a 'First Come, First Served' basis.