East Lothian Council’s Cabinet has agreed allocations targets for council houses for the next year.

The main objective of the Allocations Policy is to meet the council’s legal obligations specified in allocations and homelessness legislation. The policy, along with other associated actions, will also help the council make best use of its housing stock. In addition, the policy assists the council to achieve balanced and sustainable communities through local lettings plans.

The targets for 1st April 2022 to 31st March 2023 were agreed with no change to the previous year’s targets. Monitoring of last year’s activity showed that, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19-related restrictions, targets were close to being met. Targets for the next 12 months are:

  • 70% from the General Needs Group
  • 25% from the Transfer Group
  • 5% from the Sustainable Communities Group

Figures to the end of January 2022 showed 65.97% of allocations to the General Needs Group; 30.15% to the Transfer Group and 3.88% to the Sustainable Communities Group. The reason for the higher transfer percentage has been due to the number of new council homes being built in the past year, however the council expects to achieve closer to target performance by the year-end.

Councillor Andy Forrest, spokesperson for Housing, said: “Our housing teams have been working very hard to meet allocations targets over the past year, despite challenges posed by the pandemic including difficulty accessing homes and distancing having to be observed during house moves.             

“We are acutely aware of the growing demand for socially-rented accommodation and we work with partners each year to deliver more new socially rented homes through the council and housing associations. The success of this is evidenced by the higher number of transfers to these new homes in the past year. Alongside this, our extensive modernisation programme of existing council housing stock continues.”

In setting any targets against each group the council must give reasonable preference to certain statutory groups when allocating council houses. These include applicants living in unsatisfactory housing conditions; tenants in social housing who are under occupying their property and who have unmet housing needs and to those applicants who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

The council also operates Local Lettings Plans in some areas where there are issues such as a high housing turnover or antisocial behaviour issues. These plans allow for allocations to be made outwith general policies, in a bid to achieve more balanced and sustainable communities.

Progress towards meeting the allocations policy targets will be reviewed in six months’ time and a further report will be brought to Cabinet if any changes are deemed necessary.

Published: Wednesday, 9th March 2022