Agenda item

Lettings Policy Review Consultation Update

The report of the Director of Environment and Housing provides an update on progress with the consultation to date, and some feedback on the key themes to emerge so far.


(Report attached)


The report of the Director of Environment and Housing provided an update for the Committee on the consultation for the lettings policy review.


Housing Manager, Lettings and Tenancy Management attended the meeting.


Members were reminded that in February 2016, Executive Board agreed to commence consultation on proposed changes to Housing Leeds’ current lettings framework with a view to approving a revised policy in September/ October 2016.


The consultation commenced with two Elected Member sessions in early March 2016. This had been followed up by further consultation with local tenant and resident groups, statutory and voluntary sector partners and individual tenants and residents.


Members attention was drawn to point 13 of the submitted report which set out the drivers for change identified by Housing Leeds:

  • The majority of the LLPs had been in place for many years and whilst they had been periodically reviewed, there had been little or in some cases, no change.
  • They do not comply with equalities legislation leaving the council open to legal challenge based on discrimination.
  • They often rely on the judgement that tenancy behaviour is linked to age, rather than evidence.
  • There is inconsistent application of the policies with evidence that they restrict housing opportunities to younger people in some communities and result in concentrations in other areas.


Members informed that the lettings policy would still include:

  • Giving preference to tenants with a good tenancy record.
  • Conducting home visits to prospective applicants prior to making an offer.
  • Introducing pre tenancy training for 146 and 17 year olds, and applicants who are unable to demonstrate a good tenancy record.
  • Using our good neighbour criteria in areas with significant issues of anti-social and criminal behaviour.


Members were informed that home visits were proving to be helpful in gathering information about tenants and prospective tenants.


The Officer was asked to inform the Committee of the Ealing Verdict which may relate to the Leeds Letting Policy.


Members raised their concerns and discussed issues in relation to the following:

·  The bedroom tax needed to be a driver for the lettings policy

·  The policy needed to be clear for those employed, or in low paid work and those unemployed.

·  Anti-Social Behaviour need to be addressed

·  The unemployed, homeless and care leavers needed more support

·  Age restricted properties

·  Local connection criteria


In response Members were informed that a list would be circulated to show the criteria of all properties on a ward base.


They were also informed that pre tenancy training was given to those who were taking a tenancy for the first time with the offer of how to access support and assistance which included budgeting. The officer said that home visits for first time tenants were proving to be helpful.


The Committee was informed that the new Housing and Planning Act would have an impact on young people in respect of benefits and tenancies.


Members said that Leeds need to have a Lettings Policy which set out strict criteria and was used in a consistent approach.


RESOLVED - Members of the Community Committee commented on the proposals set out in the lettings policy consultation.


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