What did we ask?
In March 2023, we invited six customers to take part in our lettings policy review. Our customers were asked to examine our policy and then join us in a focus group to discuss how we might improve how we address certain situations.
We asked customers to share their feedback about the policy and three key themes, as seen below:
- Domestic abuse: does our approach ensure the best outcome for the applicant whilst maintaining a requirement to evidence circumstances?
- Management moves and direct lets: Are there any other urgent circumstances that require a tenant to be offered a transfer to a different property?
- Non-traditional households: We are seeing more nominations from local authorities where joint applicants are not partners, for example, applicants with additional needs. Is there value in revisiting this decision?
What did our customers recommend?
- Use a simpler format for the policy
- Remove acronyms and use Plain English
- Keep using our approach of asking customers for evidence of the circumstances of domestic abuse as this is good practice in decision-making
- Our current approach and the circumstances in which we offer direct lets to customers was considered acceptable
- Only exceptional cases should be considered for non-traditional household tenancies.
What did we do next?
We edited our policy taking on the recommendations from customers.
- A new policy template was created. The details on procedure were added to an appendices for ease of reading.
- Added a detailed explanation on age restrictions for sheltered housing.
- We included non-traditional households in the policy to use in exceptional circumstances only and in connection with the local authority.
- Added a detailed explanation on 'direct lets' and 'management moves'.
- Revised the wording on items relating to risk-based lettings to better explain the circumstances why a letting is refused.
- Included an explanation as to how management moves support the decisions to dispose of particular properties by helping people move to more suitable accommodation.
The lettings policy is currently under review with the Board.
Feedback about the process
It shows Selwood Housing to be diverse in their thinking.
Very enjoyable, I learnt more about lettings than I knew before.