Local Connection and social housing
How local connection is applied
There is a chronic shortage of social housing in Rother. In order to try to allow local people to remain in the areas where they live, work or have close family connections Rother District Council applies local connection criteria to applicants and on most properties in Rother advertised through the Homemove scheme.
Local connection is applied in two stages:
Stage 1 - Eligibility - From January 2013 only applicants who can demonstrate that they have a local connection to Rother will be eligible to join the register and be eligible for Rother Homemove.
Stage 2 - Allocations - Local connection is used to determine priority for vacancies
How do I know if I am eligible?
You will be seen to have a local connection to each parish where one of the following apply:
- You currently reside in the area/ parish and have done so for 3 of the past 5 years
- You have close family (defined as mother, father, sister, brother, adult children and corresponding step relations) who have resided in the area/ parish for the last five years
- You are currently in permanent paid employment of at least 16 hours per week in the area/ parish or have a confirmed offer of employment
- Provides employment or a community / voluntary based activity or service in the area, for a minimum of 10 hours per week, over at least the last six months. This must be something that provides jobs for local people or a service for the local community and will be awarded at the discretion of the Council.
- Military personnel as defined in the Allocation of Housing (Qualification Criteria for Armed Forces) (England) Regulations 2012 will be granted local connection to the district.
How is local connection applied to Allocations?
For the purposes of allocations the district has been separated into three parish groups or clusters.
Applicants can bid for properties in any area of the district however in most cases priority for vacancies is given to those applicants who have a local connection to a parish, within the parish cluster where the vacancy is.
This means that if you have a local connection to a specific parish then you will also be seen to have a local connection to all the parishes within that cluster.
The parish cluster groups are detailed below:
Parish Cluster Group 1:
Ticehurst, Burwash, Etchingham, Hurst Green
Parish Cluster Group 2:
Battle, Catsfield, Crowhurst, Westfield, Sedlescombe, Whatlington, Ewhurst, Bodiam, Salehurst and Robertsbridge, Mountfield, Brightling, Dallington, Ashburnham, Penhurst
Parish Cluster Group 3:
Rye, Icklesham, Camber, Pett, Fairlight, Guestling, Brede, Udimore, Northiam, Beckley, Peasmarsh, Iden, Playden, East Guldeford
As the majority of social housing is in Bexhill you do not need to have a specific local connection to this area in order to be considered for vacancies.
Example: If a property is advertised in Westfield any Band A applicants who bid for the vacancy will be considered providing it is suitable. Then applicants on the shortlist who have a local connection to any of the parishes within the cluster will be considered. This could mean that applicants in lower bands take priority for the vacancy over applicants who do not have a local connection to any of the parishes within the cluster.
It is your responsibility to ensure the Council is aware of all the areas where you have a local connection, otherwise you may be overlooked for vacancies.
If you wish to update your local connection please complete this form - Local Connection Verification Form [309kb]
Please note that applicants awarded maximum Band A priority will not be required to have a local connection for most vacancies.
If there are no bids from applicants with a local connection within the parish cluster where the vacancy is then the applicant with the highest priority band, with the earliest priority date will then normally be offered the vacancy.
Section 106 Exception sites - properties with a Section 106 Planning agreement have their own local connection criteria.
Please note that currently a local connection by virtue of a non live in carer cannot be considered.
In certain circumstances a local connection to a specific area or parish can be granted under special circumstances. Normally this will only be considered where you can evidence that you were either brought up by a relative resident in the district who had parental responsibility for you or you provide full time medical care to a relative that cannot be carried out by another person. Applicants requesting a local connection for these reasons should put there request in writing to the Homemove Team.
Local connection - FAQ's
Q. I do not have a local connection to Rother - am I still able to apply to join the housing register?
A. Unfortunately only those applicants meeting the local connection criteria will be eligible to apply for social housing in Rother.
Q. I am an existing applicant but do not have a local connection - will I be removed from the register?
A. Yes, but not immediately. At your annual review you will be asked to update your details and provide confirmation of your local connection. If you do not meet the criteria you will no longer be eligible and your application will be cancelled. You will be advised in writing at this time.
Q. I provide employment/ do voluntary work/ or a community activity in the Rother area - what evidence do I need to provide?
A. You will need to provide evidence that you do this activity for a minimum of 10 hours a week for at least the last six months in the form of an official letter from the community group, company director, parish councillor confirming you are engaged in this activity.
Q. How do I know if I have a local connection?
A. If you are unsure about whether you have a local connection please see the Housing Allocations policy for further information.
Q. How do I know that the local connection information on my file is correct?
A. If you want to confirm the information the Council has regarding your local connection please contact the Homemove team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01424 787000
Q. I do not have a local connection why am I being removed from the housing register?
A. The Council is responding to changes in Government legislation giving Local Authorities more power over their housing register. The chronic shortage of social housing in Rother and the lack of resources means it makes sense for the Council to prioritise resources to applicants with a local connection and no longer process applications from applicants with no realistic chance of being housed.
Q. How will the grouping of parish clusters affect my application?
A. Previously if you had a confirmed local connection to a rural parish in Rother you would take priority for vacancies in that parish over those applicants without a local connection to that parish. Following the changes parishes have been grouped together into three clusters. If you have a local connection to a parish you will now have a local connection to all the parishes in that cluster.
This will allow applicants in rural areas where there is little or no social housing a greater chance of securing social housing in the surrounding parishes and will allow applicants in higher housing need a greater chance of securing alternative accommodation.
Q. I or a member of the my family included in my application are or have been in the Armed Forces - will I be affected by these changes?
A. You may be eligible if you meet the definition of Military Personnel, as defined in the Allocation of Housing (Qualification criteria for Armed Forces)(England) Regulations 2012. Please provide the service history of the applicant.