Unified housing policy will give applicants countywide choice of homes, say council bosses

North Yorkshire Council's County Hall headquarters in Northallerton. Picture: LDRS.

A policy to unify the allocation of North Yorkshire’s 54,000 social housing properties has been approved.

The decision brings together two schemes currently operated across the county and takes on board comments from residents and landlords following a three-month consultation exercise.

The countywide Home Choice Allocations Policy will be in place by April 2025.

In April last year when all eight councils in North Yorkshire became one unitary authority, North Yorkshire Council inherited a standalone scheme for the former Harrogate borough area, and the North Yorkshire Home Choice scheme covering the remainder of the county. But the council must have a single policy and allocations scheme for the county by 2025.

Members of the authority’s executive this week gave the go-ahead for the home choice system to be extended allowing applicants and tenants to bid for properties across the county.

It will give them greater choice and the registered providers, which includes housing associations such as Broadacres Housing Association, Yorkshire Housing and Beyond Housing, will be able to use a central hub for advertising available homes.

The council has 8,299 homes to let and manage with registered providers looking after another 45,623 properties.

North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for housing, Cllr Simon Myers, said: “This new social housing allocations policy gives us a unified scheme which will be beneficial to all our tenants and applicants.

“One of our aims as an authority is to help meet housing needs including the vulnerable and those people with specific needs. The new policy will do just that. It will give people greater choice and will help registered providers minimise voids and hard to let homes and reduce costs.

“The biggest change comes in Harrogate where they will be using the choice-based lettings system for the first time but the consultation exercise saw positive comments from our residents there and we hope they will see the advantages it will bring them.”

Once software has been updated, the 8,000 applicants will be re-registered ready for the new scheme to be operational by April 2025 at the latest. Councillors approved a £10,000 budget for the implementation process.