LB Hammersmith & Fulham are to change the rules about applying for council housing from next week.
From April 2, only people with a five year local connection to Hammersmith & Fulham will be able to apply for a council house.
Last month, H&F Council also stopped issuing lifetime social housing tenancies for new applicants, in one of the biggest housing policy shake-up’s in living memory.
Cllr Andrew Johnson, cabinet member for housing, said: “It cannot be fair for decent, honest people to sit on a council housing register for years and years and then see their housing dreams turn to dust when a new migrant, or someone from elsewhere in the country overtakes them in the queue.
“While we welcome migrants with open arms, this country should not be a soft touch for people who think they can simply rock up at our housing offices and demand a heavily subsidised house.”
The council will also be prioritising those making a significant contribution to the community, for example ex-service personnel and foster carers. At the same time, households earning above £40,200 will be prevented from accessing the housing register and instead directed towards low-cost home-ownership options.
Until now, anyone from across the world has been able to apply to go onto the housing register in Hammersmith & Fulham. This means that the number of people on the register (10,300) bears absolutely no reflection to the number of local people in real housing need in the borough. In fact, one person has been on the waiting list in H&F for 36 years. Last year only 470 new lettings were made.
In the meantime, almost 5,000 people have joined the council’s register for low-cost home ownership. H&F Council recently set up its own housing company in order to meet the huge demand for low cost homes in the borough. This means that the council is now building its own homes for the first time in 30 years. This housing company, together with a joint venture with the private sector, will see 500 low cost homes built in the next ten years.
The council is also on course to have helped 1,000 families into low cost homes through discounted market sale and intermediate rent schemes by the end of the year.
H&F, has one of the highest proportions of social housing in London as a proportion of total housing, with around 31 per cent social rented.
That compares to a London average of 25 per cent and a West London average of 21.5 per cent. Just over two per cent of the borough’s housing is intermediate.
These changes come into affect on Tuesday, April 2.