West Lothian Council sign new agreement aimed to get homeless people into secure accommodation faster


West Lothian Council has signed new agreements with housing associations in a drive to cut the numbers of people forced into B&B and homeless accommodation.

The new agreement  as part of the council’s Rapid Rehousing Transition Policy RRTP is designed the tackle the growing demand for homes in the county.

A report to councillors on the Services for the Community PDSP said: “The council continues to experience a significant demand from people applying for council housing. As of the end of July 2020 there were 8375 applicants on the Common Housing Register and in 2019/20 the council received 3764 new housing applications for housing and let 1384 houses, including new build.”

The Common Housing Register is an agreement between the council, and housing associations, commonly known as Registered Social Landlords (RSL), Almond and Weslo to hold a register of all their housing applicants. Their allocations policies are separate.

The council has agreed individually with each RSL operating in West Lothian to allocate their lets to homeless as part of the RRTP.

These individual agreements  range from 50% of their lets to 68%.

Other changes in housing allocation  include a new system called Choice Based Letting where potential tenants effectively bid for the properties they are interested in.

This speeds up the letting system and helps people live in communities of their choice.

Choice Based Letting (CBL) is an alternative approach to traditional allocation processes designed to place choice at the heart of the lettings systems.

It is an internet based system where applicants can view properties for let.

Available properties are listed on a website and on a hard copy list which may be published in various outlets.  Applicants can see property details and choose to apply or ‘bid’ for a property via the website. There are different models of CBL however the main feature is that applicants have a choice to bid for a property that they want, therefore reducing refusal rates and creating more sustainable communities. If there are multiple applicants for one property the allocation reverts to  the point system based on the councils Allocations Policy.

Chairing the meeting Councillor George Paul thanked housing officers for a comprehensive report and added: “Choice Based Lettings is a good system” 


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