People who have lived in Manchester for less than two years will no longer be able to join the social housing register under new rules drawn up by the council as it aims to prioritise the most vulnerable residents.

Those who live in overcrowded homes will now be prioritised under the allocation shake-up.

The new move will also see homeowners excluded from the register, while the saving limit for applicants will also be reduced from £75,000 to £30,000.

The plans were agreed in Wednesday morning’s executive meeting following a public consultation earlier this year.

A huge rise in homelessness in recent years, an increase in households on the social register and a drop in the availability of social homes had led to the move, a town hall report said.

Housing executive member, Councillor Suzanne Richards, said: “The housing landscape in the city has changed a lot in the last few years due to a range of factors, including welfare reform and increasing private rents.

 

"This means that demand for social housing is going up, while we continue to lose stock through Right To Buy.

"It’s important then that we can react to changing factors to ensure social housing can be accessed by those who need it most.

Councillor Suzanne Richards

“At the same time, the number of people presenting as homeless in the city has increased massively in the past few years, putting an unsustainable strain on temporary accommodation.

"It is right therefore that we can support these residents more effectively with improved access to social housing.”

In a meeting last week she said that having no residency qualification - the town hall's current stance - alongside a rising demand raised the expectations of people unfairly.

And she said: “None of us as councillors want to be making these decisions around the allocation that we’re making at the moment.

"We are measuring different levels of need against one another and deciding which one has the most priority of need. They’re not comfortable decisions to make.”

She also pointed out that other authorities have longer residency qualifications than the two-year one Manchester will introduce.

Liberal Democrat Coun John Leech said he was concerned that the new rule could exclude people who had been placed outside of the borough in temporary accommodation.

But Coun Sue Murphy said that anyone in that situation - but whose case had been handled by Manchester council - would still be able to stay on the Manchester register.

Manchester has more than 65,000 social rent homes, around 30 percent of all housing stock in Manchester.

However demand is high across the city, with more than 5,000 households currently on the register in priority need.