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PM set to introduce social housing residency test

26 March 2013

David Cameron will today say that councils will have to introduce a residency test to prevent immigrants gaining immediate access to social housing.

Many local authorities do not already set their own criteria, despite having the power to do so.  The Government is to issue statutory guidance to local authorities in this respect.  Under the proposal, a social housing applicant would have to live in an area for between two and five years before going on the waiting list, with exceptions for British residents who have to move for genuine reasons, such as work or because of family breakdown.

On a practical level, social landlords’ allocations policies will need to be carefully worded to take account of the residency test.  Furthermore, in delaying immigrants’ inclusion on waiting lists, social landlords will need to deal with these individuals under their homelessness policies, which could prove costly.

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