To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the validity of reports that local authorities are excluding people from social housing waiting lists due to (a) a history of rent arrears, (b) criminal convictions and (c) experience of rough sleeping.
The Localism Act 2011 gave local authorities the power to set their own qualification criteria for social housing. They can now decide who should qualify for social housing in their area, and develop solutions which make best use of the social housing stock. The Localism Act also retained the statutory ‘reasonable preference’ requirements which ensure that overall priority for social housing goes to those in housing need, including homeless households, those in overcrowded housing, and those with medical and welfare needs.
The Social Housing Green Paper published in August this year (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-new-deal-for-social-housing) sets out an intention to undertake an evidence collection exercise to help us understand how the social housing allocation framework is playing out in local areas and if it is striking the right balance of fairness, support and aspiration. The exercise will include a focus on how local authority flexibilities on qualification and prioritisation are being used in practice.