Choice Based Letting (CBL) is a method whereby available social housing stock is let by being advertised by local authorities to persons on the social housing waiting list. This allows qualified applicants to 'register an interest' in available homes.
Applicants can act on their own initiative to respond to adverts and express an interest in dwellings that they would like to live in, rather than waiting for an authority to offer them a dwelling. This approach offers more choice and involvement for applicant households in selecting a new home, thereby reducing the likelihood of a refusal, and helping to build sustainable tenancies and stable communities.
On 30 September 2016, the Social Housing Allocation (Amendment) Regulations 2016 were made, which required that all local authorities must, if they had not already done so, provide for Choice Based Letting (CBL) as a potential method of allocation in their allocation schemes by 31 December 2016.
Where a local authority, having included a provision on CBL in its allocation scheme, decides to operate a CBL scheme, it must implement it in accordance with Regulations 6 – 11 of the 2011 Regulations. The way in which CBL is implemented, including decisions on which properties are to be offered through it, is a matter for the individual authority concerned. However, it must be done in accordance with the relevant regulations and their own scheme of priority.
30 of the 31 local authorities have updated their allocation schemes to provide for CBL as a method of allocation. The remaining local authority has confirmed to my Department that it intends to bring forward an amended scheme, including a provision for CBL before the end of this year.
My Department monitors the roll-out of CBL across all local authorities, and has undertaken a number of surveys to determine its uptake and impact. The most recent of these was conducted in the last quarter of 2018, at which stage 16 of the 31 local authorities indicated that they were operating a CBL model as part of their allocation scheme. A further 6 local authorities have indicated they were examining the feasibility of CBL with a view to rolling out a solution in the near future. The majority of those local authorities who had implemented it said that CBL has had a positive impact on how they allocate dwellings.
Given the clear benefits offered by CBL, my Department will continue to liaise with the local authorities to ensure that it is implemented as widely as possible across the country. In fact, my Department will be meeting with local authority Directors of Housing later in Quarter 4 this year to look at the operation of CBL.