A Brent social housing tenant fears losing her banding and points after internal housing association allocation systems changed.

Charlene has not been able to bid on social housing properties since Network Homes, a Brent-based housing association, closed its internal housing transfer list in April.

Network Homes handed the nomination rights to its properties to Brent Council and asked tenants to re-apply to the council’s housing register.

Charlene said she has been frustrated at being directed backwards and forwards between the council and Network Homes while trying to get guidance on getting on the list.

She said: “It’s draining going back and forth between different people who are all saying different things.

“It’s been emotionally draining and heart-breaking because they’ve just pulled the rug out from underneath. Now I’m left in limbo with no one really to refer to or go to directly.”

The tenant moved into her property in March 2018 and has been on the waiting list since September 2019, having held the second highest banding before it was closed.

She fears she will lose her banding and accrued points when she re-applies to the council’s housing allocation scheme and will be stuck in her current property for longer.

Charlene said: “It’s distressing because I need to move from where I am. I can’t live in a place where I’m distressed all the time."

She it is “really disgusting" that some residents risk losing points during the changeover.

Earlier this year, Network Homes tenants received a letter stating the internal housing transfer list would close on April 4 and that only tenants wishing to down-size, move to an older person’s housing scheme, or at serious risk of harm would continue to be supported.

Everyone else would have to re-apply to the council and would be assessed under the council’s own housing allocation scheme with banding dependent on individual circumstances alone.

A council spokesperson said: “Earlier this year, Network Homes decided to close their housing transfer list. Network Homes wrote to tenants to tell them they could apply to their local council’s Housing Register instead.

"We have received several applications already which are being assessed under our housing allocations scheme. Those in the top priority band of the Network Homes housing register will keep their status.”

The council clarified that points and banding acquired under the previous housing list would not be carried over and everyone would be newly assessed.

Gerry Doherty, Network Homes director of customer service, said: “We wrote to all residents on our housing transfer list to let them know we would be closing this service except for people at serious risk of harm or those wanting to downsize. We explained that people who were also on their council's waiting list would be able to continue bidding for homes on the Locata system, plus outlined other housing options to consider.

“Sadly, the national housing crisis means there’s a shortage of social housing, especially in London, and for family sized homes. Many people wait years for a social home that’s suitable.

“There were many more people on our housing transfer list than we had available homes, so we felt it gave people false hope. When we closed our housing transfer list there were over 1,750 tenants on it. Many had been on the list for years and faced the prospect of waiting longer.

“We now give local councils the nomination rights for most of our vacant homes to support them to house people on their waiting lists. People can bid for a vacant home when it becomes available, and the council then decides who is in the greatest need of the home and which band they should be in. We feel this is a fairer way of ensuring our homes go to those who need them most.”

Network Homes was founded in 1974 as Brent People's Housing Association and now operates across London and the South East.