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The Council's social housing policy

Last updated 24 November 2015

Waltham Forest Housing Strategy: 2008-2028

Our 2008-2028 Housing Strategy (503KB pdf file) is a critical element in creating and maintaining sustainable communities and enabling them to succeed.

Download Waltham Forest Housing Strategy: 2008-2028 (502KB PDF file)

Building For the Future

The Council has recently published its new brochure "Building For the Future" which sets out how we are responding to the housing challenges that exist in Waltham Forest and how we will ensure that we are not only building enough homes for people but homes that are well-designed, desirable and affordable. Our strategy has six key strands:

  • Exceed the targets set by the Mayor of London and build 200 homes a year
  • Support developments that provide a range of tenure type and are affordable
  • Work to ensure that the Council can properly invest in property development
  • Ensure that infrastructure is developed to ensure that we are building sustainable communities
  • Improve the current private rented sector
  • Lobby government and the Mayor of London for changes that will make it easier for us to improve our ambition

Download Building Homes for the Future (899KB PDF file).

See the Council's plans for delivering housing in Waltham Forest.

Older Persons' Housing Strategy 2015-20

Waltham Forest Council has recently produced its Older Persons' Housing Strategy for 2015-20. This sets out the steps the Council will take to deliver more homes in Waltham Forest that are suitable for older people, and improve the specialist older persons' housing that we already have. It also sets out how teams within the Council will work in partnership to improve the way that services are delivered to older people.

Download Older Persons' Housing Strategy

Download Older Persons' Housing Strategy Summary

Waltham Forest's Tenancy Strategy and Tenancy Policy

The Government, through the Localism Act 2011, enables the Council as a landlord and other social housing providers (Registered Providers) to make choices about how they manage social housing. As part of this, Registered Providers may choose to introduce different types of tenancy agreement for new tenants that last for fixed periods of time (existing tenancies are protected). All Registered Providers (RPs), including local authorities, must produce a tenancy policy which explains:

  • The kind of tenancies they will grant
  • The circumstances in which they will do this
  • The length of tenancy terms and, if they choose to use two year tenancies, what the exceptional circumstances are for these
  • The circumstances in which a further tenancy will be granted

Apart from a very few exceptions, Waltham Forest Council has decided to continue to offer lifetime tenancies. As well as producing its own tenancy policy, the Council has to publish a Tenancy Strategy for the borough which must describe the high level objectives that all RPs should have regard to in their tenancy policies.

Strategic housing market and needs assessment

In July 2011, the Council commissioned a new Strategic Housing Market and Needs Assessment (SHMNA) to provide an evidence base for the borough’s strategic approach to housing. The SHMNA is based on the analysis of 1,700 interviews conducted with local households from July to August 2011 as well as secondary data from the UK Census, Homes and Communities Agency, HM Land Registry, Office for National Statistics and a range of other sources along with a consultation programme with a wide range of stakeholders.

Affordable rent guidance

Under the HCA Affordable Homes Framework 2011–15, Registered Providers (Housing Associations) can charge up to 80% of market rent on new homes and may offer fixed term flexible tenancies. The Council has worked with the East London Housing Partnership and POD consultants to understand the impact of increased rents on the affordability of homes for residents in the borough.

Based upon the research, the Council produced guidance setting out the maximum levels of rent that should be charged on Affordable Rented homes. The guidance was approved by the Council's Cabinet in May 2011 and subsequently updated in August 2011.

In December 2013, the Mayor of London launched an Affordable Housing Investment programme for 2015-2018, under which housing providers are expected to split any affordable rented homes equally between Discounted Rent, with properties let at up to 80% of market rent, and Capped Rent, targeted at households in greatest need and with rents set at around 50% of market rent.

The Council is therefore reviewing its Affordable Rent Guidance. In the interim we advise all developers of affordable housing to contact the Council's Strategic Housing Team at an early stage to agree rent levels. In no circumstances should rents exceed Local Housing Allowance levels.

Development viability guidance

In accordance with national, regional and local planning guidance, the Council is required to secure from all qualifying developments the maximum contribution towards provision of affordable housing consistent with the viability of the proposed scheme.

In instances where schemes are unable to meet policy requirements due to their limited viability, the Council has prepared guidance for applicants to prove their assessment of viability and any supporting assumptions which might be used to further this argument. These guidelines set out the supporting information that is required for any assessment of viability and the process that the Council will undertake on receipt of this.

Download the Development Viability Guidance (27KB PDF file)

Right to Buy

The Right to Buy scheme was introduced in 1980 and is designed to help social housing tenants buy their home at a discount. In March 2013 the maximum discounts in London were increased to £100,000. In January 2014 the government announced plans to increase the maximum discount for a house to 70% of its value, and the cap will start increasing in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation.

Find out more on the Communities and Local Government website

If you are a Waltham Forest Council tenant and are interested in the Right to Buy scheme, please contact Ascham Homes on 020 8496 4197 or view their Right to Buy information.

Homelessness strategy

The Homelessness Act 2002 introduced the requirement for local authorities to publish a Homelessness Strategy every five years. Waltham Forest's current Homelessness Strategy can be viewed here.

Homelessness Strategy 2013-2018 (387KB PDF file)

Temporary Accommodation Policies

These policies set out how the Council acquires and allocates temporary accommodation for homeless households.

Housing Allocation Scheme

This explains how the Council's policy on allocations works and how to understand the priority your application will receive.

Supporting People Strategy

Supporting People is a government programme that funds housing-related support services.

Waltham Forest Council's Supporting People strategy for 20110-2015 (268KB PDF file) can be viewed here.

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