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(1)Section 167 of the 1996 Act (allocation in accordance with allocation scheme) is amended as follows.
(2)After subsection (1) there is inserted—
“(1A)The scheme shall include a statement of the authority’s policy on offering people who are to be allocated housing accommodation—
(a)a choice of housing accommodation; or
(b)the opportunity to express preferences about the housing accommodation to be allocated to them.”
(3)For subsection (2) there is substituted—
“(2)As regards priorities, the scheme shall be framed so as to secure that reasonable preference is given to—
(a)people who are homeless (within the meaning of Part 7);
(b)people who are owed a duty by any local housing authority under section 190(2), 193(2) or 195(2) (or under section 65(2) or 68(2) of the Housing Act 1985) or who are occupying accommodation secured by any such authority under section 192(3);
(c)people occupying insanitary or overcrowded housing or otherwise living in unsatisfactory housing conditions;
(d)people who need to move on medical or welfare grounds; and
(e)people who need to move to a particular locality in the district of the authority, where failure to meet that need would cause hardship (to themselves or to others).
The scheme may also be framed so as to give additional preference to particular descriptions of people within this subsection (being descriptions of people with urgent housing needs).
(2A)The scheme may contain provision for determining priorities in allocating housing accommodation to people within subsection (2); and the factors which the scheme may allow to be taken into account include—
(a)the financial resources available to a person to meet his housing costs;
(b)any behaviour of a person (or of a member of his household) which affects his suitability to be a tenant;
(c)any local connection (within the meaning of section 199) which exists between a person and the authority’s district.
(2B)Nothing in subsection (2) requires the scheme to provide for any preference to be given to people the authority have decided are people to whom subsection (2C) applies.
(2C)This subsection applies to a person if the authority are satisfied that—
(a)he, or a member of his household, has been guilty of unacceptable behaviour serious enough to make him unsuitable to be a tenant of the authority; and
(b)in the circumstances at the time his case is considered, he deserves by reason of that behaviour not to be treated as a member of a group of people who are to be given preference by virtue of subsection (2).
(2D)Subsection (8) of section 160A applies for the purposes of subsection (2C)(a) above as it applies for the purposes of subsection (7)(a) of that section.
(2E)Subject to subsection (2), the scheme may contain provision about the allocation of particular housing accommodation—
(a)to a person who makes a specific application for that accommodation;
(b)to persons of a particular description (whether or not they are within subsection (2)).”
(4)After subsection (4) there is inserted—
“(4A)The scheme shall be framed so as to secure that an applicant for an allocation of housing accommodation—
(a)has the right to request such general information as will enable him to assess—
(i)how his application is likely to be treated under the scheme (including in particular whether he is likely to be regarded as a member of a group of people who are to be given preference by virtue of subsection (2)); and
(ii)whether housing accommodation appropriate to his needs is likely to be made available to him and, if so, how long it is likely to be before such accommodation becomes available for allocation to him;
(b)is notified in writing of any decision that he is a person to whom subsection (2C) applies and the grounds for it;
(c)has the right to request the authority to inform him of any decision about the facts of his case which is likely to be, or has been, taken into account in considering whether to allocate housing accommodation to him; and
(d)has the right to request a review of a decision mentioned in paragraph (b) or (c), or in section 160A(9), and to be informed of the decision on the review and the grounds for it.”
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