The Council's social housing policy
On this page:
- Housing Allocations Scheme Review 2014-15
- Waltham Forest Housing Strategy: 2008-2028
- Creating Better Homes in Waltham Forest 2014-2018
- Waltham Forest's Tenancy Strategy and Tenancy Policy
- Strategic Housing Market and Needs Assessment
- Affordable rent guidance
- Development viability guidance
- Right to Buy
- Homelessness Strategy
- Housing Allocation Scheme
- Supporting People Strategy
- Empty Properties
Housing Allocations Scheme Review 2014-15
The Council has decided to update its Housing Allocations Scheme, which sets out how the authority allocates social rented housing in the borough. Pressures on housing are greater than ever, and we want to have another look at the scheme to ensure that it meets the needs of residents, focussing on:
- Looking again at who is eligible and who gets priority on the Housing Register (waiting list)
- Awarding housing priority to applicants who are making a community contribution by working or volunteering
- Transfer-led lettings - recognising the needs of existing social tenants
To have your say please complete our survey. The survey will be open until January 11 2015.
If you have any queries about the consultation survey or require clarification, please email Bethan Webster or call 0208 496 5488.
Waltham Forest Housing Strategy: 2008-2028
Our 2008-2028 Housing Strategy is a critical element in creating and maintaining sustainable communities and enabling them to succeed.
Creating Better Homes in Waltham Forest 2014-2018
Waltham Forest has produced a Housing Prospectus entitled "Creating Better Homes", which sets out the steps we will be taking over the next few years to improve the housing offer in Waltham Forest for local people. The key areas of focus in the prospectus are:
- Increasing the supply of new high quality homes
- Owning your own home
- Improving our housing estates
- Good quality private rented homes
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.
- Download the Affordable Rent Guidance (39KB PDF file)
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 (26KB 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.
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.
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.
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 2010-2015 can be viewed here.
If you are a landlord or owner with an empty property in Waltham Forest, you may be eligible for a non-repayable grant of up to £15,000 to improve your property. The property only needs to be empty for one month and we could help you bring it back into use. For more information, please visit our Empty Properties webpage.