Developing Affordable Housing
Eligibility Criteria for Developing Affordable Housing in North Kent
The local authorities of North Kent (Dartford, Gravesham, Medway and Swale) welcome organisations to work in partnership with each authority and other local agencies to deliver high quality affordable housing in line with identified local needs.
To ensure prospective partners are competent and committed to affordable housing delivery and management in the North Kent area, each organisation is required to meet the eligibility criteria of the development protocol as set out below. This will enable the authorities within the North Kent Housing Partnership to make an informed decision on the ability of an organisation to deliver and manage affordable housing whilst ensuring all interested organisations have a fair and equal opportunity to demonstrate how they would operate.
The North Kent Housing Partnership is committed to continuous improvement and will review the eligibility criteria on a regular basis. It will require organisations to renew their protocol arrangement every three years unless otherwise sought by the Partnership.
Specialist housing providers who are unable to fulfil all the criteria may still be considered but the local authority reserves the right to demand additional information.
North Kent Housing Partnership preferred Registered Social Landlords
The North Kent Housing Partnership has reviewed its partnering arrangements with affordable housing providers for the delivery of affordable housing in the sub-region. This will ensure more affordable housing providers, provided they are eligible (please see the full version of the eligibility criteria below), are able to operate in the sub-region.
Currently, the NKHP's formally agreed preferred partners for delivering affordable housing are:
Swale Borough Council Council welcomes organisations to work in partnership with the Council and other local agencies to deliver high quality affordable housing in the Borough. The Council is introducing a new way of working with affordable housing providers.
To ensure organisations are competent and committed to affordable housing delivery and management in the Borough each is required to meet the eligibility criteria of the development protocol as set out below. This will enable Swale Borough Council to make an open and transparent decision on the ability of an organisation to deliver and manage affordable housing whilst ensuring all interested organisations have a fair and equal opportunity to demonstrate how they would operate in the Borough.
For more information please contact:
Kerry Newbury, Strategic Housing Manager
Telephone: 01795 417628
All affordable housing providers wishing to operate in the North Kent Housing Partnership Area will be expected to be able to fulfil all of the following criteria. They must:
- Be a body registered with the Homes and Communities Agency as a social landlord pursuant to the provisions of the Housing Act 1996 and a housing association within the meaning of the Housing Association Act 1985 with a full set of green lights from the Homes and Communities Agency or any other body or company approved by the Homes and Communities Agency for receipt of social housing grant and approved by the Council.
- Enter into a nominations agreement with the local authority in which the units are to be delivered.
- Be a member of Kent HomeChoice and agree that all local authority lettings will go through the Kent choiced-based lettings system.
- Have an office within the North Kent area or be able to demonstrate that adequate management arrangements have been put in place for the management of the stock in the area.
- Be willing to actively engage as a key stakeholder in the development of policies and strategies developed by the local authorities of the North Kent Housing Partnership where invited to do so.
- Build all of the affordable housing schemes to meet or exceed the Housing Corporations Design and Quality Standards (2007), or any subsequent standard specified by either the Homes and Communities Agency or the North Kent Housing Partnership.
- Achieve minimum Housing Quality Indicator (HQI) score of 41 (size), 32 (layout) and 22 (noise, services, light) for each home to be built or any new scores that the HCA will introduce in future. In meeting the HQI minimum unit layout score, it is expected internal and external storage provisions at least meet the requirements for storage specified in the HQI guidance for the occupancy and do not fall short in any aspect.
- Achieve level 3 (three star) of the Code for Sustainable Homes as a minimum for all new affordable units (or any other minimum level set from time to time by the HCA).
- Assess all new homes against the 20 Building for life criteria and must achieve a minimum of:
- 12 out of 20 positive responses (rural and street-fronted infill)
- 14 out of 20 positive responses (all other developments)
- Use Modern Methods of Construction for all new developments (where practicably possible).
- Use all reasonable endeavours to make developments meet the current Secure by Design standard, and where suitable the additional provisions for specialist provision (unless otherwise agreed by the HCA and local authority in which the development is to be delivered).
- Comply with the standards set out in Fact sheet no. 6 - Design Principles for Extra Care (CSIP, 2008) or any subsequent design standards that may be adopted by the North Kent Housing Partnership where Extra Care Units are to be delivered.
- Agree to a local lettings plan, which as a minimum will comply with the Kent Housing Groups ˜Sustainability Criteria. Such a local lettings plan to be agreed on all developments with 10 or more social rented units.
- Deliver a range of unit types, tenures and sizes as identified by local needs and suitable to the location.
- Build at least 50% of all affordable homes to the Joseph Rowntree Lifetime Homes Standard.
- Build a percentage (to be determined by the relevant local authority) of the affordable dwellings as wheelchair-user housing across the site as set out within the Housing Corporations Design and Quality Standards (April 2007).
- Ensure that their practices are compliant with the Housing Corporations Good Practice Note 8: Equality and Diversity (November 2007). It is aimed at eliminating discrimination and promoting equality in their service delivery to the community through the people they employ.
- Respond in a timely manner to requests by the local authorities for qualitative and quantitative information - including quarterly information on voids, re-lets, decent homes standards and rent levels.
- Be willing to meet quarterly with officers of the Housing Strategy and Enabling Team of each authority to discuss the organisations development plan.
- Agree to provide training to council staff on relevant affordable housing standards and issues, which are of clear benefit to the enabling function of local authorities and affordable housing providers.
- Ensure all sites delivering affordable housing clearly display signboards (containing the local authorities logo), which illustrate the local authorities support and partnership working.
- Provide information on customer satisfaction levels to the North Kent Housing Partnership on a scheme-by-scheme basis.
- Be willing to arrange site visits for local authority staff both prior to and on completion. The aim of this is to assist with developing local lettings plans and to better ensure the properties are correctly advertised on the Kent HomeChoice system.