Thursday, May 19, 2005

Government set to introduce 'fairer Housing points system'

Minister for Housing Jaime Netto has announced that there will be modifications to the Housing Waiting List points system to make it fairer for long-term applicants.

According to the Gibraltar Government, the change is intended to help people who slip down the list, because others who join later, overtake them unfairly. Mr Netto said:

“In future people will get a greater number of additional “waiting time” points every year. In addition people who have been home owners and have chosen to sell their homes will not be entitled to go on the public waiting list unless, in the judgement of the Housing Allocation Committee, the sale was genuinely necessary or there is some other justification for being readmitted. Furthermore no other person will be allowed to earn “overcrowding” points when people move into his home after they have sold their home, unless the HAC rule that the sale was genuinely necessary."

The Minister said extra “waiting time points” will be allocated as follows: 1st Year 100 waiting points; 2nd Year 100 plus 200 (i.e. 300) waiting points; 3rd Year 100 plus 200 plus 300 (i.e. 600) waiting points; 4th Year 100 plus 200 plus 300 plus 400 (i.e. 1000) waiting points etc, etc. He continued:

“Those waiting points will now be added to the housing waiting lists retrospectively. However, this will not adversely affect the position of the first ten people on each list. This problem has been developing over time and we have been keeping an eye on it. Many people who have been on the waiting list for several years never reach the top and never get a house because others are constantly overtaking them, mainly by earning extra points on the grounds of overcrowding.

Sometimes this overcrowding is genuine, but increasingly it is self-induced following the sale of homes by children who then move back in with parents or parents in-laws and put themselves back on the lists. They then earn “overcrowding points” and overtake people who have been waiting on the list much longer.

We hope that this change will remedy this. We will keep its operation under review and modify it as necessary in light of experience. This change will be introduced and incorporated in the Housing Allocation Rules and in due course these will be printed accordingly and made available to the general public”.

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