How Housing Needs are Assessed

Applicants who are eligible and qualify to join the housing register will have their current housing circumstances prioritised for an allocation by determining in which band each applicant is to be placed.  Band A has the highest priority and Band D the lowest.

Applicants are asked to identify on their social housing application form the reason(s) for applying to join the housing register.                                                                                                                                                                   

Only the highest housing band for which applicants qualify for will be assessed. For example, if an applicant would qualify for a band B or C overcrowding, the band B award will be assessed. If the band B criteria is not met, the band C award will then be assessed. 

Listed below is each housing need and how assessments are usually completed.

The full details of each band award and criteria is available in the summary of the new Scheme and the full policy document.

Armed Forces

This award applies to some current and former members of his Majesty’s armed forces, their spouses or civil partners.

This award will be given if you are a current or former member of His Majesty’s Armed Forces, or you are a bereaved spouse or civil partner of His Majesty’s Armed Forces who has left or will be leaving services accommodation provided by the Ministry of Defence following the death of your spouse or civil partner and whose death was attributed (wholly or partly) to their service.

To be assessed for a banding award on these grounds you will need to upload a copy of your discharge papers or supporting information from the Ministry of Defence to your housing application.

The method of assessment

An assessment officer will check and verify if any of the following criteria is met:

• Former member of the Regular Armed Forces
• Serving member of the Regular Armed forces 6 months prior to discharge
• Serving member of the Armed Forces who needs to move because of a serious injury, medical condition, or disability (encompassing a mental ill health condition) which is wholly or partially attributable to their service
• Serving or former member of the Reserve Forces who needs to move because of a serious injury, medical condition or disability which is wholly or partially attributable to their service
• Bereaved spouse and civil partner of members of the Armed Forces leaving Services Family Accommodation following the death of a spouse or partner, which was wholly or partially attributable to their service.

Care and Support

This award applies to applicants who have a continuing caring responsibility for someone resident in Birmingham, need to give or receive care and those who need extra care or sheltered housing (on medical/social care grounds).

Questions to be answered on the social housing application form includes confirmation that you need to move to give or receive care that is substantial and ongoing. and, if there a Care Plan, Carers Assessment or Needs Assessment has been completed.

All applicants are advised to have had an individual or Carer Assessment completed by Assessment Support Planning (ASP) officers under the Care Act 2014. If required, an assessment can be requested online at How to contact adult social care services | Birmingham City Council.

The method of assessment

We will verify your information with Birmingham's Adult Social Care. 

Child Welfare

This band applies where at least one child is part of an application where there is a need to move, and the accommodation is a contributory factor to the risk of the child or children. This will occur where the child or children are the subject of a Child Protection Plan, and the Child Protection Conference recommends rehousing as being important for the welfare of the child. Where there is a Child Arrangement Order in respect of a looked after child or for a child that is deemed at high risk of becoming looked after otherwise. 

Questions to be answered on the social housing application form includes the name, address, email address and contact telephone number of a designated officer from Birmingham Children's Trust. 

The method of assessment

A referral pathway is in place between the Children's Trust and City Housing.  This housing band assessment will be triggered by a Multi-Agency Proforma (MAP) being provided by a designated officer from the Birmingham Children’s Trust. 

If a MAP has not been provided, an assessment officer will contact the named officer of the Children's Trust to request confirmation. 

Clearance

This award applies to applicants who require rehousing due to a clearance, demolition, Compulsory Purchase Order and/or subject to a local authority approved regeneration scheme.

On rare occasions, this award may also be given when a Council tenant is required to move because the lease on the property is due to expire within the clearance or regeneration area/scheme or if the freehold of the property does not belong to the Council, but the lease is due to end and the Council is obliged to return the property with vacant possession.

The method of assessment

This housing band is predominantly  awarded to Birmingham City Council tenants identified within an approved clearance or regeneration area/scheme and owner occupiers subject to a Compulsory Purchase Order.

We will verify your information from our internal records and/or in consultation with Housing Development Officers.

Exceptional Circumstances

This award may be given to applicants whose need to move is exceptional and is not covered in other areas of the Council’s Allocation Scheme.

Examples include but is not limited to:

  • Providing protection to people who need to move away from another area, to escape violence, harm, or intimidation
  • Enabling those who need support to rehabilitate and integrate back into the community
  • Where there is an urgent need for a particular type of property.

The housing application form asks for further details to provided, if they have support of an agency and, if so, confirm the agency contact details.  

The method of assessment

Evidence of qualification for this award is via a Council approved risk assessment provided directly from a professional agency to the Council, which demonstrates the exceptional circumstances of the household. For example, a referral from West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service, West Midlands Police or UK Protected Persons Service (UKPPS).

Consideration will be given to:

1. All the circumstances of the applicant, including whether they would usually qualify to join the Scheme, the degree of choice they would be entitled to, the degree of prioritisation they would be entitled to and the type of social housing they might be allocated.

2. What the exceptional circumstances are. They should be unusual or remarkable circumstances which indicate that the applicant’s housing needs are more urgent that other applicants.

3. What will be the consequences if no discretion is exercised? This will include considering how serious the potential consequences are and how likely each potential consequence is.

Discretionary Housing circumstances - The Local Authority recognises that there may be exceptional circumstances where it becomes necessary to reconsider the qualification criteria in the case of individual applicants who would not normally qualify. In such circumstances it may be necessary to award an applicant a higher band or to increase an applicant's priority within a band. This will be limited only to individual cases where there are exceptional circumstances.

In some exceptional circumstances the Local Authority may wish to allocate accommodation outside of the established criteria and this is allowed under the Allocations Policy.  Such allocations are known as Discretionary Lets.

Examples of such Lets below are not exhaustive but may include:

1. Letting an adapted property to a particular applicant whose needs particularly match the adaptations of such property.
2. Letting a property to an applicant in Temporary Accommodation who is Homeless, as defined by Housing Act 1996, Part 7, where the property meets the applicants needs but they have not bid on such property.

Fostering, Adoption or Special Guardianship

This award applies to persons approved by the Birmingham Children’s Trust as foster carers or to adopt, who need to move to a larger home in order to look after a child under the care of the Birmingham Children’s Trust, including those who require a larger property in order to secure a Special Guardianship Order.

Questions to be answered on the social housing application form includes the name, address, email address and contact telephone number of a designated officer from Birmingham Children's Trust. 

The method of assessment

A referral pathway is in place between the Children's Trust and City Housing.  This assessment will be triggered by a Multi-Agency Proforma (MAP) being provided by a designated officer from the Birmingham Children’s Trust. 

If a MAP has not been provided, an assessment officer will contact the named officer of the Children's Trust to request confirmation. 

Hardship

Hardship will be awarded to applicants in exceptional circumstances. This award applies when an applicant and/or members of their household are experiencing financial hardship which can be alleviated by moving, and it is achievable to move to a district(s) within Birmingham.

Applicants will only be awarded hardship if they are looking to move to another district/ward within Birmingham. 

The method of assessment 

Each application will be considered on its own merits. 

Factors considered may include the following:

  • The distance and/or time taken to travel between locations
  • The availability and affordability of transport, considering level of income 
  • The nature of employment, training and whether similar opportunities are available closer to home
  • Other personal factors, such as medical conditions and childcare, which would be affected if the tenant could not move
  • The length of the work contract 
  • Whether failure to move would result in the loss of an opportunity to improve them employment circumstances or prospects, for example, by taking up a better job, a promotion or an apprenticeship.

This is not an exhaustive list, and the assessment officer will consider all appropriate factors.

Homeless

The Local Authority has separate arrangements in place to administer public law homelessness duties. Applicants who meet these criteria first have their needs assessed by Housing Solutions and Support Service.

Applicants are asked to enter their homeless reference number, if known, onto their social housing application. 

The method of assessment

If you have applied on the grounds of being homeless or owed a homelessness duty, an officer will check and verify separate homeless records to ascertain whether you have already made an application for homelessness assistance and the homeless duty, if any, owed. 

Insanitary or Unfit conditions

Banding awards on these grounds are awarded to those who are occupying a property in a state of disrepair or a property which is lacking facilities, and a Category 1 hazard has been identified based on evidence from an Environmental Health Officer.

If you are tenant, in order to deal with disrepair issues, in the first instance you should contact your housing provider for further advice and guidance.

If you are a Birmingham City Council tenant, please be advised you can contact the housing repairs team regarding these issues using the online form at the following link: Order a repair to your council home.

If you are an owner or private tenant, you will need to upload evidence you have received from an Environmental Health Officer or the Council’s Private Rented Services.

If you wish to request an assessment by Birmingham City Council’s Private Rented Service, please see Private tenant advice | Birmingham City Council for further information.

Applicants who have access to shared facilities in shared accommodation do not qualify under these criteria. 

The method of assessment

This will be awarded in cases, as verified by an Environmental Health Officer or equivalent, as hazardous to the occupant’s health and safety using the HHSRS and confirm applicants who permanently lack any or all the following:

  • Lacking a bathroom or kitchen 
  • Lacking an inside WC 
  • Lacking cold or hot water supplies, electricity, gas, or adequate heating 
  • Property in disrepair

Medical and/or Disability

Applicants are assessed for a medical award if their home is making a medical condition worse and if the medical condition would be improved if you moved to more suitable accommodation.

A medical award will normally only be given where a long-term medical problem is being made worse by your current home. 

Awards are not usually given where your health is being affected by living conditions which could be remedied; for example: disrepair. It will not be given for medical conditions that are short term and can be expected to improve or be remedied; for example: following an operation or injury.

Applicants are asked to provide the following information when applying to join the housing register:

  • Details of a diagnosed condition or disability
  • Confirm a need to move and that the condition be improved by moving to another property. 

Supporting information needs to be provided by, for example, the applicant’s general practitioner, hospital consultant or CPN.  Where evidence submitted by an applicant requires clarification on a point of accuracy or of the prevailing circumstances of their condition, we may contact a health or social care professional with direct knowledge of the applicant’s condition and the impact on their housing needs.

If you require an additional bedroom on medical grounds, this must also be supported by a medical practitioner’s report.

The method of assessment 

To assess a medical housing need all relevant information will be considered, including but not limited to:

  • The confirmed medical diagnosis.
  • Independent evidence from a medical practitioner, specialist, consultant, CPN or Occupational Therpist of the condition(s) being made worse as a direct result of the property. 
  • To the medical practitioner’s view and whether the overall impact on the household or any individual member of the household. 
  • The effects caused by present accommodation, either due to the location of the present accommodation and/or due to the physical conditions of that accommodation.
  • Needing to move following hospitalisation or long-term care on medical and/or social care grounds.
  • Need to be near friends/relatives or medical/social care facilities on medical or social care grounds.
  • The need to give or receive care. 
  • Access specialised medical treatment.
  • Need adapted housing and/or extra facilities, bedroom, or bathroom.
  • Need improved heating.
  • Need sheltered housing.
  • Need ground floor accommodation.

The above list is intended to be illustrative and in no way prescribed or definitive.

All applicants citing a mobility need are required to have had a physical function assessment by an Occupational Therapist (OT) from the Independent Living Service. A housing mobility assessment will be requested by the assessment officer following the completion of a mobility referral form by the applicant.

Move on from Care

Questions to be answered on the social housing application form includes the name, address, email address and contact telephone number of a designated officer from Birmingham Children's Trust. 

The method of assessment

For persons leaving care a referral pathway is in place between the Children's Trust and City Housing.  This housing band assessment will be triggered by a referral being provided by a designated officer from the Birmingham Children’s Trust/16+ Care Leavers Service. 

If a referral has not been provided, an assessment officer will contact the named officer of the Children's Trust to request confirmation.  

Move on from supported accommodation

This priority award only applies to residents of supported accommodation in Birmingham.

Questions to be answered on the social housing application form includes the name of the supported housing provider, address, email address and contact telephone number of a designated support worker. 

The method of assessment 

This housing need assessment will be triggered following the receipt of a Move On Referral Form from a Support Worker which should confirm the following:

  • The applicant is ready to move to independent settled housing on the recommendation of the support Scheme Manager and
  • That a support package has been assessed and where required, is in place. 

If a Move On Referral Form has not been provided, an assessment officer will contact the named officer to request confirmation. 

Overcrowding and Severely Overcrowded

If you are residing with family and/or friends you will need to ensure that you add every person living with you to your housing application, even if they are not moving with you. As part of the application, you will be able to indicate anyone not moving with you “for assessment purposes only”.

If you are residing in a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO), or studio/bedsit accommodation, you should select ‘studio/bedsit/HMO’ as the number of bedrooms in your accommodation. This is in the current property details section of the application form.

The method of assessment

For the purposes of determining overcrowding, an assessment will be made against the Scheme’s Bedroom Standard which allows a separate bedroom each for:

  • A married or cohabiting couple
  • The applicant and/or adults aged 21 years or more,
  • Pair of adolescents aged 10-20 years of the same gender,
  • Pair of children aged under 10 years regardless of gender,
  • An adolescent aged 10-20 years paired with a child aged under 10 years of the same gender,
  • An unpaired adolescent aged 10-20 years,
  • An unpaired child aged under 10 years
  • An adult or child who cannot share due to a disability or medical condition, or due to fostering arrangements being facilitated by the Local Authority
  • An overnight carer for any usual household member, if the carer isn’t a usual household member
  • An adult or child where it would be detrimental to their mental health if they should share a room (evidenced by a medical practitioner)

We will do our best to verify your information on Council systems, however we may ask you for additional documentation such as proof of your current property details, proof of address and proof of identification for each household member.

We will write to you if we require further information or in some circumstances, we may arrange a home visit.

Releasing an adapted property

To qualify for this banding award, you will need to be currently occupying a significantly adapted social housing property, no longer require the level of adaptations available, and wish to move.

A significantly adapted property is defined as having the following adaptations:

  • Accessible bathing facilities
  • Ceiling track hoist
  • Level access internal layout
  • Level access shower
  • Lowered kitchen facilities
  • Ramped/level access from external
  • Stairlift
  • Through floor lift
  • Wheelchair access
  • Wider doorways 

If you are not a Birmingham City Council tenant, you will need to provide evidence of your social housing tenancy, property details and confirmation of the adaptations in the property. You can do this by uploading a copy of the tenancy agreement to your housing application (if this includes all the relevant information) or by uploading a letter from your social housing landlord confirming the tenancy, property details and details of all adaptations in the property.

The method of assessment

The information you provide will be verified using various council sources and, may include a home visit and in consultation with an Occupational Therapist.

Sheltered or Extra Care 55+

This award is granted to housing applicants aged 55 and over, with no household members under the age of 18 moving with them.

Housing applicants are asked to indicate if they wish to move to Sheltered and/or  Extra Care Housing.

 The method of assessment

Applicants aged 55 and over with no dependants, aged under 18 will be awarded this band. 

An extra care category based upon the level of support hours required per week will be recorded as: E3 = 7 hours or less E2 = 8 to 14 hours E1 = 15 or more hours. We will verify your information with Birmingham's Adult Social Care (see Care and Support above).

Threats of abuse, violence, or harassment

The housing application form asks for further details to provided, if there is the support of an agency and, if so, confirm the agency contact details.

The method of assessment

A referal pathway is in place between some professional agencies and City Housing, for example, West Midlands Police, Probation and Specialist Domestic Violence Services. 

Evidence of this award is usually via a Council approved risk assessment provided directly from a professional agency to the Council, which confirms a risk of abuse, violence, or harassment. 

Under-occupancy

An under-occupancy band award applies to social rented housing tenants only releasing a property with one of more bedrooms than required and, wishing to move to smaller accommodation. 

If you are not a Birmingham City Council tenant, you will need to provide evidence that the tenancy is in your name and confirmation of the number of bedrooms in the property. You can do this by uploading a copy of the tenancy agreement to your housing application or by uploading a letter from your social housing landlord confirming the tenancy and property details.

The method of assessment

The criteria for assessing this housing band is determined by applying the Scheme’s Bedroom Standard which allows a separate bedroom each for:

  • A married or cohabiting couple
  • The applicant and/or adults aged 21 years or more,
  • Pair of adolescents aged 10-20 years of the same gender,
  • Pair of children aged under 10 years regardless of gender,
  • An adolescent aged 10-20 years paired with a child aged under 10 years of the same gender,
  • An unpaired adolescent aged 10-20 years,
  • An unpaired child aged under 10 years
  • An adult or child who cannot share due to a disability or medical condition, or due to fostering arrangements being facilitated by the Local Authority
  • An overnight carer for any usual household member, if the carer isn’t a usual household member
  • An adult or child where it would be detrimental to their mental health if they should share a room (evidenced by a medical practitioner)

Reasonable refusals exhausted and Failure to bid

Applicants from Bands A or B, or C who have exhausted their right to refuse an allocation of social rented housing or have failed to bid on more than three occasions where a suitable property would be available will be moved to band D .

Applicants will remain in Band D for a period of 12 months.

 

Once your application has been assessed, you will be contacted by email with the decision.