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.
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.
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.
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.