Fresource Friday: letters requesting information about social housing applications

28.04.2017

Do you advise people who've applied to go on a council housing waiting list? Use these template letters to request information about issues affecting their application.

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Rights to information

The law gives housing applicants various rights to specific types of information.

To establish whether the council has acted lawfully in relation to a housing application you'll often need information that hasn't been provided to the applicant during the application process. It can therefore pay to make timely requests for additional information to councils (or housing associations that manage allocation schemes).

There are three letters in the Resources section; one for requesting each of the following types of information:

If you manage a housing allocation scheme 

The letters are written for housing advisors. However, if you manage an allocation scheme you need to know what information can be requested.

Ideally the allocation policy and your guidance for staff should make reference to these information rights. In any event s.166(1A) of the 1996 Act (subsection 2 in Wales) provides that every housing applicant must be informed about the information they can request under s.166A(9) (s.167(4A) in Wales).

Underused

These statutory rights are very much underused by applicants. They're unlikely to even know about them unless they get legal advice (and unfortunately legal aid on waiting list problems is limited to those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness).

I'd be interested in hearing advisors' experiences of submitting such requests.

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