NPH manage the housing...
What is the Housing Register?
Anyone who applies for social housing in Northampton has the opportunity to join a common housing register, called the Northampton Housing Register. This is a list of everyone who is eligible to join the Register according to Northampton Borough Council's Allocation Policy.
The Register is a common register because it is shared by a number of social housing providers and accredited private sector rented landlords to make access to all social housing and affordable housing in Northampton as easy as possible. It provides for access by way of one joint application form.
Are you eligible?
To find out if you're eligible you will now need to answer a few questions so we can determine whether your circumstances allow you to be accepted onto the Housing Register, and provide you with the most appropriate advice and help. These questions should take no longer than 5 minutes to answer.
It is important to answer the questions as accurately as possible. Please be aware that you will not be able to access the online application form unless you are eligible for housing.
Please ring our Contact Centre on 0300 330 7003 if you would like any help or further information about the questions or if you need these questions in another language.
Click on the sections below for other important information.
The banding system
Northampton Borough Council operates a needs based banding system. This means the bands reflect housing need with the highest band indicating the greatest need for housing. Please note that the categories shown against each band are not exhaustive and you should speak to us on 0300 330 7003 if you have a query about how your particular circumstances will affect your banding.
This band includes:
- Applicants who the council has accepted as being eligible homeless and in priority need (except those found intentionally homeless).
- Applicants who have succeeded to a property that isn't suitable for them or live in, or a property designated as sheltered or adapted for which they do not qualify/or there is no right of succession.
- Tenants who have to vacate their homes within six weeks due to a Compulsory Purchase Order or because their council properties need major works. This will be managed in accordance with the council's decant procedure.
- Tenants of Northampton Borough Council and our Housing Association partners who are under occupying their properties.
- Applicants who are statutorily overcrowded ( as defined by the Housing Act 2004).
- Hospital discharge customers who have somewhere to live but it is unsuitable for their needs and cannot easily be adapted.
- Applicants who are being discharged for the Armed Forces who have sustained serious injury , medical condition or disability during service.
- Emergency landlord request transfers.
- Applicants are placed in the emergency group for a period of 6 bidding periods or cycles (6 weeks).
During this time they will be expected to bid for suitable properties in the area of their choice. If the applicant has not been successful in their bidding, within this period the applicant will receive a direct offer of a suitable property within the Borough. If the offer of accommodation is deemed to be suitable and reasonably meets the needs of the applicants, the right to refuse this offer will be subject to a statutory review. If the statutory review identifies that the property was not suitable for the customer, the customer will receive a further direct offer of suitable alternative accommodation and this offer will be made to the customer within 7 days of the outcome of the statutory review.
Customers who are under-occupying will have an unlimited time period to find alternative accommodation.
PLEASE NOTE: The Localism Act 2011 now allows the council to discharge its homelessness duty to statutory homeless households by securing an offer of alternative accommodation in the private rented sector.
Band A - Urgent Need
This band includes:
- Applicants who have a severe medical, welfare award or disability where their current accommodation is unsuitable or it is unreasonable to remain in.
- Applicants who have priority on welfare grounds and require to move urgently because of a risk to their well-being or health. (This includes people who need to move to a different locality to give or receive care, access specialised medical treatment or take up employment, education or training).
- Applicants who permanently lack one or all of these essential facilities - hot water, heating, a kitchen, internal toilet and bathroom.
- Private sector tenants who are required to vacate their home as a result of enforcement action by the council.
- Applicants who are in priority need who have been issued with an effective notice that the landlord requires possession, which has less than eight weeks to run. This banding will remain for a further 6 weeks following the end of notice before being subject to a statutory review.
- Applicants who have a category 1 hazard as defined under the HHSRS legislation and confirmed by the council’s Private Sector Housing Team.
- Applicants who are occupying partnership agency accommodation and who have an agreed move on.
- Applicants who no longer require the adaptations in their current home.
- Applicants who are part of a multi-agency public protection agreement (MAPPA).
- Where there is a serious threat to the well-being of a child and their accommodation is a contributory factor to the risk.
- Customers who have an agreed fostering or adoption agreement in place with Northamptonshire County Council, who need to move to a larger home in order to accommodate a looked after child.
- Customers who could not be expected to find their own accommodation, such as young adults with learning disabilities who wish to leave the family home so that they can live independently within the community.
- Applicants who have ceased, or will cease to be entitled, to live in Ministry of Defence accommodation following the death of their service spouse or civil partner, where the death was wholly or partly attributable to their service.
Band B - Moderate Need
- Applicants who are owed a duty under the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976 and Northampton Borough Council service tenants who are due to retire or have their contract of employment terminated.
- Applicants who are sharing facilities (bathroom, kitchen etc), with a separate family household.
- Applicants who require a move for moderate medical or welfare grounds where there is an acknowledgement that alternative accommodation would be beneficial but is not essential.
- Applicants who are not in priority need and have received a Notice to Quit. This includes private rented tenants, tied tenants, lodgers or people residing with family.
- Applicants living in properties assessed by the Private Sector Housing Team as being a Category 2 hazard under the HHSRS legislation.
Reduced priority band
Customers may qualify to join the Housing Register but may be given reduced priority because of one of the following reasons:
- They, or any joint applicant or family members, have rent arrears, or other related housing debt.
- They, or any joint applicant or family members, has committed, or allowed to be committed, acts of anti social behaviour, or caused damage to council property.
- They have refused 3 reasonable offers within a 12 month period.
- They have breached their tenancy agreement in some way.
- They have capital savings or income above the threshold.
- If they are a current council tenant their property does not meet the repair void standard, including its state of cleanliness, or decoration
- If they have been assessed as intentionally homeless due to their behaviour
In line with the council's Allocation Policy you may be deemed ineligible for an offer of accommodation if we are satisfied that you, or a member of your family, has been guilty of unacceptable behaviour serious enough to make you unsuitable to become a tenant.
You may be ineligible if any of the following apply:
- You owe a significant housing related debt to a council, housing association or private landlord.
- A significant debt is the equivalent of 2 weeks or more rent arrears. If you have an approved repayment plan and are making regular payments, once the debt reduces to the equivalent of 2 weeks rent you may then be eligible to be made an offer of accommodation.
- You have not kept to the terms of an agreed repayment plan
- You have a conviction for illegal or immoral purposes
- You have caused nuisance or annoyance to neighbours or visitors
- You have been found guilty committed certain criminal offences in or near the home and are still deemed to pose a threat to neighbours or the community
- You have been violent toards a partner or members of your family
- You have allowed the condition of your property to significantly deteriorate
- You have obtained a tenancy be deception e.g by giving false information
- You have paid money illegally to obtain a tenancy
- You have committed housing or welfare benefit fraud
- You have been the perpetrator of domestic abuse
- You have committed acts of violence or aggression towards staff. Please note: any applicant who uses or threatens violence towards any council employee or contractor will be removed from the Housing Register immediately
Housing related debt
If you are in housing need but have housing related debt you are still be eligible to apply for housing but you will have reduced priority until those debts are cleared. Housing related debts are defined as monies owed to a current or former landlord and include rent arrears, including from temporary accommodation
- repair damage debt
- Housing Benefit overpayment
- damage to a former social housing property
- legal costs arising from court action in connection with a current or former tenancy.
If your debt relates to a previous Northampton Borough Council property for a period over 6 years ago you will be eligible to join the Housing Register but the debt is still payable/recoverable, and you should arrange a repayment plan with us.
If you are in this situation you will normally be given less priority when being considered for offers of accommodation, or when being considered for a nomination to a housing association property, until such time as the outstanding debt has been fully repaid.
However if there are exceptional circumstances e.g. if you are the victim of domestic violence, racial harassment or other hate crime or have urgent medical need we may make an offer of accommodation, when outstanding arrears or property related debts exist.
Appeals about a reduction in priority due to housing related debt can be made to the Housing Solutions Manager either verbally or in writing. These cases will be considered at the Social Welfare Panel. If assistance is required please contact us on 0300 330 7000 for advice about the process.
Significant housing need
Under the new Allocations Policy we will consider you to be in significant housing need if :
- You are already homeless
- you have a home but you are unable to live in it due to fire, flood or another emergency
- You have somewhere to live but you are threatened with homelessness
- You have somewhere to live but nowhere where you can live together rwith your immediate family ( i.e. spouse, partner, children)
Reasonable preference categories
The Housing Act 1996, requires that 'Reasonable Preference' for housing must be given to people in the following categories i.e :
- You must be legally defined as homeless or owed a particular statutory duty by any local housing authority under certain provisions of homelessness legislation.
- You must currently occupy unsanitary, overcrowded or otherwise unsatisfactory housing ( as defined by the Housing Act 2004)
- You need to move on medical or welfare grounds (including grounds relating to a disability)
- You need to move to a particular part of Northampton to avoid hardship to yourself or others.
Determining priority between applicants with Reasonable Preference
We do this by taking into various factors into account including the financial resources you have available to meet your housing costs and the contribution you can demonstrate you make to Northampton or your local community, for example through working or volunteering.
In the Allocation Policy the definition of a working household is that one adult member of the household is in employment and that person:
- has a permanent contract
- or is working as a temporary member of staff
- or is self employed.
You must also have been in work for 16 hours or more for 9 out of the last 12 months.
We check this both when you apply and when an offer is made. To show this you must provide payslips, P45 and P60, tax returns, bank statements and a verifying letter on headed paper from your employer. If your employment status changes then you may retain your priority as long as there is a realistic prospect of re-employment. To decide this we take into account previous employment history, your age and other relevant factors. However you must satisfy the employment definition at the time of the offer of accommodation.
Households actively seeking employment
If you are actively seeking work you will be given additional priority of 1 multiple needs star. We will ask the Job Centre Plus in Northampton to verify this. Please note: if you are actively seeking employment but are not in housing need or a reasonable preference category you will not join the Housing Register
People who play a part in making their neighbourhood strong, stable and healthy – those who help make it a good place to live, work and play – are valuable people. They are the backbone of their community, and they need to be recognised for the good they do. The council's Community Contribution Priority Scheme gives an applicant increased priority, in addition to any other Reasonable Preference they are entitled to because of housing need.
If you are already in Band A or B you will receive 1 multiple needs star.
You can request a Community Contribution award, regardless of which social landlord you originally registered with. This award will also be used to prioritise applicants without Reasonable Preference, who want to move. However please remember if you are making a community contribution but have no housing need or are not in a reasonable preferenence category you will not be able to join the Housing Register.
Community Contribution Awards – how they work in practice
A Community Contribution award is additional to the applicant’s Reasonable Preference status. If you request a Community Contribution but turn out not to qualify, it won’t disadvantage your application in any way. ineligible. It’s also important to make clear that only the criteria below can be used to assess whether someone can have a Community Contribution award.
Definition of Community Contribution
To apply you must be over 16, have lived in Northampton for three years continuously, now or in the past and can pass our ‘current positive local residence history’ test (i.e no anti-social behaviour, hate crime or convicted criminal activity).
If you are a volunteer, a Community Contribution award will be applied. You need to have been volunteering for a continuous period of at least 6 months up to the time when apply and the same at point of offer.Volunteering must be for a not-for profit organisation or a charity and must be for a minimum of 10 hours per month.
N.B. Tenants and Residents Associations, which are constituted are classified as not-for-profit organisation. They must be registered with Northampton Borough Council, or a Registered Provider to qualify.
Evidence required for voluntary work
A letter will be required from the manager of the organisation you volunteer with, confirming your involvement. This person must not be related to you in any way.
Medical and welfare needs
The Housing Act 1996 states that reasonable preference on the housing register should be given to applicants who have a need to move on medical or welfare grounds.This category includes an applicant, or member of the applicant’s household, whose health is being affected by their current property, and where a move to another more suitable property would alleviate their condition or make it easier to manage.
Where we need to make enquiries into your medical condition, we refer the case to an independent medical advisor. You can provide their own medical evidence if appropriate along with a medical/welfare assessment form, which will be sent to the independent advisor. If the Independent Medical Advisor tells us that reasonable preference should be awarded then we will give you either:
- A severe medical award where it can be demonstrated that, due to an illness or disability, it is unacceptable for you to remain in your current home, or
- A moderate medical award when it can be demonstrated that due to an illness or disability you find living in your current home difficult and that remaining there will contribute to a deterioration in your health, or although you can manage at present, a move would be beneficial.
Please note: the council’s Medical Adviser does not carry out individual medical examinations.
Where appropriate, the Medical Advisor will also recommend the type of property most appropriate to your medical needs. The medical award madewill determine the Band you are placed in. Where two or more members of a household qualify for medical priority the highest priority will be awarded with only one priority star applied.
Please note: If your assessment was done over 12 months before you received your offer we will review your medical and welfare priority to make sure the award is still appropriate.
This will include situations such as :
- Infirmity due to old age
- The need to give or receive care
- Behavioural difficulties
- The need to recover from the effects or threats of violence or physical or emotional abuse
- Young people at risk
- A mental or physical disorder
- A physical or learning disability
- Financial hardship.
If you are likely to need adaptations, an assessment of both your current and prospective properties will be completed by the Private Sector or Gateway Team.