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Can they do this? Changing the goal posts.

(3 Posts)
WhereIsTheBaby Fri 24-Jun-11 00:24:21

Was wondering if you could advise me on my current situation.

There is a small housing association in my town, providing low rent houses. 

It is purely a waiting list game. No priorities, no points, just a waiting list for a house. The only criteria is that you have to be recommended to be put onto the list by a member of the committee (made up of tenants) and you have to of lived in the town and been brought up there.

This association is run as a non profit making limited company.

We were accepted onto the list two years ago. It was confirmed that we were still on the list at the beginning of the year. 

Since then the committee member that recommended us, has fallen out with the rest if the committee. This lady then told us, because of the falling out, we were now off the list. 

I called the secretary today to find out what was going on. This is how the phone call went. 

Me- Hi is that Mrs Blah Blah.  
Mrs- yes
Me- hi it's miss so and so, I think we are on the waiting list for your housing association.
Mrs-there are no houses available.
Me- okay, it's just when walking around I noticed there was a couple of empty ones??
Mrs- well, yes there are. But you have been moved off the list and onto a secondary list.
Me- oh, why is that?
Mrs- because we are only housing second generations of people all ready on the housing plan.
Me- right we haven't been notified of this. 
Mrs- we have not notified anybody. 
Me- we have been waiting 2 years, it would of been nice to know we have moved?
Mrs- it was a recent decision. 
Me- okay, what do you advise I do know ? Is there anyone else I can talk too?
Mrs- nope no body you can talk to. You can stay on the list, but if you get offered somewhere better you should take it.
Me- we went on any other list so we won't be offered anything else. 
Mrs- well you won't be housed before the first list, if ever, we have changed the policy.

Can they do this? She wasn't going to even tell me that we had been moved off the list. Surely when they accepted our application we entered into a contract, can they just change the goal posts so easily? Do I have any rights?

Obviously the policy change thing is just a smoke screen for the fact that they want nothing to do with our recommender, and therefore us. 

We have a "distant neighbour" relationship with the recommender. Stop to say hi, how are the kids? But no more really. 

Would love some advice and insight. 

Thankyou in advance. Really appreciate any input.

Thistledew Fri 24-Jun-11 00:45:41

There is no contract between you and the HA, but you have a legitimate expectation that you will be housed in accordance with the terms of their allocations policy. Provided that they have a policy, they are following it, and it is not plainly irrational or unfair, then it is very hard to challenge the outcome of the policy.

The first thing that you need to do is to get hold of their allocations policy. They should provide this on request or make it available on their website. Your CAB may then be able to help you work out where you come in terms of priority for allocations. It does seem that something may be wrong if there are people on the list but empty houses.

ZillionChocolate Fri 24-Jun-11 07:46:27

Shelter might also be able to offer some advice.

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