Buckinghamshire Council Housing Allocations Scheme

Last updated: 1 April 2022


1.1 Introducing Bucks Home Choice

Section 166(A) of the Housing Act 1996 requires that every local housing authority in England must have an allocation scheme for determining priorities (and the procedure to be followed) in allocating housing accommodation.

Bucks Home Choice is the scheme that is used to allocate affordable housing in the Buckinghamshire Council local housing authority area.

As the demand for affordable housing exceeds availability, Bucks Home Choice prioritises applicants so properties that become available are offered fairly and transparently. This document describes the policy in detail including who qualifies to apply for housing and how we give priority to different applicants based on their housing need.

Bucks Home Choice operates on the following basis: -

  • applicants register with the scheme
  • applicants are prioritised for re-housing based on their circumstances
  • available properties will be advertised
  • applicants can bid on properties they qualify to move to
  • bids on a property will be shortlisted in priority order
  • the property will be offered in accordance with 6.1 of the policy.

The scheme applies to all properties in the Buckinghamshire Council local housing authority area that are owned and/or managed by a Registered Provider and the Council has the right to nominate to. The scheme’s Housing Register is split into four areas which correspond to the former administrative areas of the former District Councils – Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, South Bucks and Wycombe. The Allocations Scheme is subject to a local connection criteria linked to the legacy district areas (see Section 2.3.3) and framed to prioritise local applicants for rehousing within each district area (e.g. applicants with a local connection to the Chiltern area are prioritised for tenancies in the Chiltern area)

The terms “Senior Housing Officer” and “Senior Officer” are used in this policy for ease of reference only. The exact titles of the officers within the Council will vary and may be subject to change from time to time. The Council will have designated officers responsible for the operation of the Bucks Home Choice Scheme and Allocation Policy and details of these officers are available on request.

1.2 Aims of the Bucks Home Choice Scheme

The aims of the scheme are:

The aims of the scheme are:

a) to meet the Council’s statutory requirements and ensure that priority for housing is given to those with the highest level of housing need.
b) to give applicants as much choice as possible having regard to the statutory requirements and the availability of housing stock.
c) to facilitate a degree of mobility across the Buckinghamshire Council local authority area
d) to help and encourage sustainable communities.
e) to make the best possible use of all available housing stock.
f) to allocate housing resources in a way that is as fair as possible.
g) to make the process of allocating tenancies as open and transparent as possible.

The scheme is also committed to:

a) Preventing households from becoming homeless.
b) Providing applicants with sufficient information to enable them to make the right choices about where they wish to live.
c) Providing applicants with information on a variety of housing options to enable them to make informed decisions about their housing application.
d) Ensuring that vulnerable people are able to make the most of Bucks Home Choice to meet their housing needs.
e) Acting sensitively and treating all personal information as confidential.
f) Ensuring customers are advised of their right to a review of decisions.

1.3 Equality Statement

This policy has been drafted in compliance with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and it has been subject to an Equalities Impact Assessment. Applicants will be asked to complete an equalities monitoring questionnaire. This information will be treated in the strictest confidence.

This policy has been drafted to give due regard to the requirement to give Reasonable Preference to those categories of person set out in section 166A (3) of the Housing Act 1996.

In framing the Bucks Home Choice Allocations Policy, we have had regard to all relevant legislation and statutory guidance including (but not limited to):

  • The Allocation of Accommodation: Guidance for Local Housing Authorities in England (MHCLG – First published June 2012 and subsequently updated)
  • Providing Social Housing for Local People: Statutory Guidance on Social Housing Allocations for Local Authorities in England” (DCLG – December 2013)
  • Right to Move and social housing allocations (MHCLG – First published March 2015)
  • Improving access to social housing for victims of domestic abuse (MHCLG Nov 2018)
  • Improving access to social housing for members of the Armed Forces (MHCLG June 2020)
  • The Housing Act 1996 Part 6 (Allocation of Housing Accommodation) and Part 7 (Homelessness)The Localism Act 2011
  • The Housing Act 1996 (Additional Preference for Armed Forces) (England) Regulations 2012/2989 and the Allocation of Housing (Qualification Criteria for Armed Forces) (England) Regulations 2012/1869
  • The Allocation of Housing (Qualification Criteria for Right to Move)

(England) Regulations 2015/967)

  • The Bucks Tenancy Strategy
  • The Homeless Reduction Act 2017
  • The Domestic Abuse Act 2021

The Policy may be subject to minor amendments from time to time (e.g. when there are changes to relevant legislation). These will be agreed and authorised by the Council using the appropriate governance procedure.

1.6 Policy Contents

This policy has been drafted to give due regard to the requirement to give Reasonable Preference to those categories of person set out in section 166A (3) of the Housing Act 1996.

This policy sets down:

  • how applicants can apply to the Bucks Home Choice scheme
  • who is a qualifying person to join Bucks Home Choice
  • who is eligible to join Bucks Home Choice
  • how an applicants’ priority is assessed
  • how members of the Council will determine priorities in allocating housing accommodation
  • how properties are advertised and let
  • how applicants can ask for a review of a decision
  • how the policy will be monitored and reviewed
  • how the Council will comply with the Data Protection Act.

This policy does not cover offers of licences, non-secure, or assured shorthold tenancies granted to homeless households in pursuance of any member of the Council’s homelessness duties under Part 7 of the 1996 Act. This policy does not cover offers of tenancies excluded from an allocation scheme by virtue of S.159 (4A) and s.160 of the 1996 Act.

This policy is available, on our website www.buckshomechoice.org.uk or applicants can request for a copy of the policy to be sent to them.